Coded Realities

Broj 1 - Godina 4 - 12/2013

Uvodnik

The seventh issue of [sic] was conceived as an open-themed issue, unrestricted by a specific topic, genre or mood. Yet, the papers that made it through the review process all seem to remind the readers that our reality is coded in so many ways. Whether it is by means of a literal code, such as the one used between the brothers Vrančić, one a cardinal and writer, the other a diplomat and poet, to prevent others from reading their letters, or a less conspicuous one, such as the one that transforms reality into reality TV, our literature, art and culture seem to rely heavily on cyphers, secrets and the tension between the real and the false. At times, in Grand-Guignol, the boundaries between viewing a play and witnessing a violent act become blurred as the viewer unintentionally becomes a witness or even the perpetrator of violent acts represented (faked!) on a stage in order to seem real. Questions of (in)authenticity and the construction of personal or cultural identity also contribute to our sense of our life, our very existence being coded intentionally and unintentionally in a myriad of ways. ..

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Izdvojeno

Na ovim je sjevernim zemljopisnim širinama temperatura od 17 stupnjeva ispod ništice bila pravo ljeto. To je najhladnije nastanjeno mjesto na zemlji. Pričalo se da se jedan starac na trenutak zaustavio jednog popodneva i krv mu se sledila u žilama. Stoga su Eveni, nomadski narod, s razlogom nastavljali svoj put, uostalom, samo su držali korak sa životinjama. Njihov bog Hovki stvorio je sve oko njih, iako su pojedinosti o tome kako je to činio pomalo nejasne. Ipak je to bilo jako davno, no oni znaju da pripadaju svemu ovome, svemu oko sebe i prirodi, kao da im je rođak. Njihova riječ za medvjeda ista je kao ona za djeda. I dovoljno dugo su tu da bi znali da starješine lete prema suncu na leđima sobova. Životinje su se teškim korakom kretale po mahovini, a njen je paperjasti prekrivač upijao svaki zvuk. Kroz nepregledni gustiš breza tanke zrake sunca, poput bambusovih stabljika, pokazivale su smjer, a tajga se činila kao da joj nema kraja. Goniči sobova zgrbili su se od hladnoće, a krhki se led hvatao za slojeve sirove kože i krzna koji su ih poput kukuljica branili od zraka na kojem se sve smrzavalo kao u tekućem dušiku. A tempom od pet milja na dan uz životinje probijao se i Boz koji je na ove ledene sibirske temperature došao kako bi pobjegao od žene. ...

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Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys provides different perspectives of the educational system, which are reflected in different teaching techniques used by the fictional teachers. The play reflects the clash between two ways of producing legitimacy for education – the modern that relies on grand narratives, and the postmodern that relies on performativity and profitability. The issues raised by Bennett concern the changes in the educational system triggered by reforms introduced in the 1980s that were perceived as a gradual commodification of education. Changes in educational policy governed by neoliberal logic continue to have great impact on contemporary education with the introduction of the Bologna process. The only female teacher in Bennett’s play Mrs Lintott, offers a feminist critique of the system of education as well.Keywords: Alan Bennett, The History Boys, neoliberalism, education, commodificationSet during the rule of Margaret Thatcher in England, Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys reflects the changes in educational policy and strategies at that period (Jacobi, 76), and raises many issues about the nature of education and knowledge that remain important even today. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate two ways of producing legitimacy for knowledge that can be detected in Bennett’s work: the modern that relies on grand narratives and the postmodern that uses performativity as the crucial criterion of legitimacy. In the play, the clash of the two ways of producing legitimacy is represented as the clash of teaching methods employed by different teachers and is most evident in opposing ideas about knowledge espoused by the teacher of general studies Hector and the history teacher Irwin. New ways of producing legitimacy need to be analyzed in the context of the changes in social and political reality that started in the 1980s and continue to have great impact on contemporary education with the introduction of the Bologna process. Irwin’s teaching ethics and his approach to history go hand in hand with the changing perspectives on education supported by the school headmaster who embraces educational reforms that seek to adapt systems of education to the new economic climate governed by neoliberal logic that subjects all aspects of life to demands of the market. In addition, the history teacher Mrs Lintott, whose teaching method is not suitable for the new political and economic context either, offers a critique of the educational system from a feminist perspective....

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Mamica se opet bavila svojim brkovima, jak miris voska, kovrče pare iznad lonca. Bila je grozno opsjednuta uklanjanjem dlaka; ovo joj je bilo drugi put u tjedan dana. Pribor razbacan po pultu u prednjem dijelu kafea, ljepljive posudice voska među prašnjavim staklenkama za slatkiše, drveni štapići vire iz posude za žličice za kavu. "Uz malo sreće, ti ovo nećeš morati raditi", rekla je nanoseći zlaćanu smjesu iznad gornje usnice. Pogledala se u zrcalu na reklami Coca-Cole koja je visjela na zidu s brodskim podom i pritisnula komad gaze na usta dok se tekućina ne stvrdne. "Vidi me, ja sam Sicilijanka. Prekrivena dlakama koje ne želim, kao Turkinje, kao Grkinje. Ali ti si Irkinja, Majella, i bjelja od toga ne možeš biti. 'Trebaju ti samo dvije generacije da se asimiliraš.' To mi je rekao tvoj stari nono kad si se rodila. 'Sad si Irkinja, Bonfilia. I imaš irsku bambinu kao dokaz.'" Uprla je štapićem u mene. "Ali nisam postala plavuša zbog tebe, je l' da?" Moj je nono sjedio u stražnjem dijelu prostorije, u separeu uz prozor. Ustajao je u četiri svakog jutra, dolazio u gaćama i naopako okrenutom vunenom džemperu i sjedio u kafeu. Nije se micao do osam uvečer, jeo je mliječne kekse i smrdio na pišalinu, kako obično mirišu devedesetogodišnjaci. Ponekad si je umišljao stvari; vikao na ljude kojih nema, bijesno mahao rukama. Mamica je rekla da ponovno proživljava dane u talijanskoj mornarici kada se borio u Španjolskom građanskom ratu. Uopće nije obraćao pažnju na nas jer se u njegovoj šašavoj glavi još nismo ni rodile. Ni mi nismo previše obraćale pažnju na njega, pa zato nismo ni primijetile da je prošli tjedan imao drugi moždani udar. ...

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In after show interviews, reality television stars often cite the camera and producorial manipulation, like editing, when trying to explain away their conceivably indefensible behavior. And much academic criticism of reality shows hinges on these very same “negative” features of the format: technological mediation, truthiness, their “lack” of reality. However, given the pervasiveness of 21st Century digital communication technology, and our decades worth of exposure to the regulating gaze of CCTV cameras, this rhetorical position is increasingly losing merit, despite its continued deployment—at the start of 2013, A&E’s Storage Wars was met by denouncements of a similar flavor. This paper attempts to draw on technology’s current place in the cultural milieu to challenge, at the very least, the theoretical position that might find reality TV external to our lived reality. Some specific reality TV personalities, ones who have denounced or commented on their on-screen selves, are examined in order to open up a conversation worried less about the contrivance of reality TV and more about the contrivance of contemporary living. MTV’s Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, The Hills, and ABC’s The Bachelor are some of the televisual texts sampled for the content of this paper....

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