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

During the period of their correspondance, the brothers Mihovil and Antun Vrančić would occasionaly write messages in code: Antun in a letter written while on a diplomatic mission in Paris in 1546, and Mihovil in four letters written in Šibenik some twelve years later. While conducting the necessary research required for our investigation, we discovered that one letter had, until now, remained unknown. We succeeded in deciphering Mihovil's system of signs by comparing the frequency of signs in the coded parts of the text with the frequency of signs in those parts of his letter composed in Latin script. The majority of the signs are derived from the Latin script and only their quality has beeen changed. It seems that this was influenced by the Polygraphia, a work by the then contemporary cryptographer Iohannes Trithemius. In addition, a certain number of Arabic signs as well as signs from other scripts have been included.Most of the hidden content deals with investments in real estate and other buisiness ventures, thus the purpose of this secret system of writing was evidently to prevent the competition from gaining a possible advantage over Antun and Mihovil. At the time, after a four-year diplomamtic embassy position in Turkey, Antun had been awarded by the Emperor Ferdinand and his income had increased significantly. The need for caution and discretion is evident in two messages in which we find Mihovil warning his brother to be wary of two other brothers who have a dubious moral reputation....

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Taking (in)authenticity as his subject and intertextuality as the structuring principle, Peter Carey brings together Australian literary and social history, literary theory and a self-reflexive probe into the issues of identity, authenticity and cultural insecurity of a postcolonial society. The novel is interpreted as an allegorical account of national history and an allegorical narrative on the theoretical matters of originality and authorship.Keywords: Carey, identity, (in)authenticity, intertextuality, text, postcolonialism. The most well-known Australian author today, Peter Carey, has more than once found inspiration for his novels in already existing texts of British and Australian cultures. The most notable examples are his sixth novel titled Jack Maggs, his seventh novel titled True History of the Kelly Gang and the one explored in this paper, his eighth novel titled My Life as a Fake. Carey’s Jack Maggs (1997) retells the story of Dickens’ Great Expectations and in a postcolonial fashion of re-writing imperial texts gives voice to the previously marginalised point of view so that the story is told from the perspective of the runaway convict, Magwitch. The Booker Prize winning True History of the Kelly Gang (2001) is inspired by the so-called “Jerilderie letter,” which was written by Australia’s most famous outlaw, Ned Kelly, after a bank robbery in 1879. The fifty-six page long original letter is expanded in Carey’s version into thirteen parcels which actually make up this epistolary novel. My Life as a Fake (2003) is a roman a clef based on the literary hoax which took place in Melbourne in 1944 and assumed an Ossianic significance in the Australian literary establishment. Wishing to explore the depths of degradation which, in their opinion, Australian modernist poetry had reached, two young disgruntled poets, Harold Stewart and James McAuley, conjured up a fictitious poet, Ern Malley, a mechanic and the author of The Darkening Ecliptic, a collection of about fifteen poems, whose verses were actually put together by Stewart and McAuley in a patchwork manner. They borrowed lines randomly from various books of poetry and military manuals at hand to assemble a manuscript which was “found” by Malley’s equally fictitious sister after Ern Malley’s untimely tragic death and sent to Max Harris, the editor of the literary magazine Angry Penguins. Unsuspecting Harris was immediately taken in and published the poems. However, the praise he expressed for Malley’s poetry in his admiring preface was shortly after matched by the disgrace he suffered after the hoax had been revealed, ruining his career and making him the butt of all jokes in Australian literary circles. Moreover, as some prudish readers found those poems to express unacceptable homoerotic content, Harris faced charges for publishing obscene materials. ...

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Otkako je u selu ostalo još samo jedanaest učenika i četiri učitelja, koji zajedno čine osnovnu školu, nastavnik tjelesnog odgoja predaje prirodu i društvo. Otada se na satovima prirode i društva uvježbava skok u dalj preko jedne vječito mokre pješčare i igra graničar, ljeti s loptama, zimi s grudama. U ovoj igri učenici se dijele na narode. Koga lopta pogodi, mora se povući iza linije paljbe jer je mrtav i gledati dok svi iz njegova naroda ne budu pogođeni, gledati dok, kako to selo zove, ne padnu. Nastavniku tjelesnog teško je podijeliti učenike. Zato nakon svakog sata zapisuje kojem je narodu koji pripadao. Tko je na prošlom satu bio Nijemac, na sljedećem mora biti Rus, a tko je na prošlom satu bio Rus, taj smije na sljedećem biti Nijemac. Događa se da nastavnik ne uspije nagovoriti dovoljan broj učenika da budu Rusi. Kad više ne zna kako dalje, samo kaže, Budite onda svi Nijemci. Idemo! Budući da u ovom slučaju učenici više ne shvaćaju za što bi se borili, dijele se na Sase i Švabe. ...

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The paper analyzes the use of humor in the work of Luiseno artist James Luna. Utilizing the media of performance, photography and installation, using himself as the object of representation, Luna has created a recognizable artistic style that addresses the complex issues of American Indian identity and representation. His installations The End of the Frail (1990-91) and The Artifact Piece (1987, 1990) both point at the constructed nature of Native identity. Whereas the former employs satire, self-stereotyping, parody and humor to expose and confront the colonial myths, distorted attitudes and pictographic representations of Native Americans, the latter addresses the issues of Native absence and invisibility in the dominant culture. Representing himself as an artifact to provoke laughter, shock and discomfort, in The Artifact Piece Luna clearly disclosed the relationship between Western institutions of knowledge and the culture of the spectacle. Both installations draw attention to the tie between imperialism and material forms of production and representation, indicating the still ongoing institutional investment in Native allegorization through commodification and scientific practices, the fact that even today Native American identity is compromised by the colonial discourse and its disciplinary practices and imagination. Using Bhabha’s concepts of mimicry and hybridity, Bakhtin’s theory of humor and Vizenor’s trickster holotrope, our analysis discusses the subversive potential of Luna’s auto-ethnographic project, its potential to deconstruct the meta-narratives of Otherness and colonization, and create new spaces for social dialogue and cultural survival. ...

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