Coded Realities

No. 1 - Year 4 - 12/2013

Editorial

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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Featuring

During the sixty-year period of its existence, Grand-Guignol, the French theatre of horror, gained a status of a legendary theatre which dealt with horrors and terrors of human mind, successfully connecting faits divers (common, everyday facts) with the erotic and titillating scenes of violence on stage. The performance style, the writing, the special effects, and the directorship over the course of years, made this theatre a legendary place where blood flowed in streams and people fainted during performances, in this way making its indelible mark in horror genre today. In this paper, the author is trying to focus the attention on the theatre of Grand-Guignol as a form of violent entertainment and the way the representations of violence and horror enacted on its stage affected the audience, through Goldstein’s theory of the importance of visual imagery in different media today. Furthermore, through comparison of violent acts presented on the stage of the Grand-Guignol and the atmosphere they create in the viewer’s mind with some of the aspects of Artaud’s vision of his theatre of cruelty, the author attempts to show how this form of violent entertainment in the theatrical media influences the vision of that same violence within the audience, with the sense of security as the main idea in which the viewers feel safe to enjoy, envision and in a way become the participants in the performances enacted on the small stage of the Grand-Guignol. ...

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U Iraku se zvao Salim Abdul Husain i radio je za općinu kao čistač, u skupini kojoj je upravitelj dodijelio zadatak čišćenja nakon eksplozija. Umro je 2009. u Nizozemskoj pod drugim imenom: Carlos Fuentes. Salim i njegovi kolege, puni dosade i gnušanja, kao i svakoga drugog jadnog dana, čistili su tržnicu nakon što je eksplodirao tegljač s gorivom, zapalivši piliće, voće, povrće i pokojeg čovjeka. Meli su pažljivo i polako od straha da ne pokupe neki zaostali komad ljudskoga tijela. Uvijek su tražili netaknutu lisnicu ili možda zlatni lanac, prsten ili sat koji je još pokazivao vrijeme. U potrazi za posmrtnim dragocjenostima Salim nije imao sreće kao njegovi kolege. Trebao mu je novac za vizu kako bi otišao u Nizozemsku i pobjegao iz ovog vatrenoga užasa prepunoga smrti. Samo mu se jedanput posrećilo pa je našao prst s dragocjenim srebrnim prstenom, vrlo lijepim. Salim je poklopio prst stopalom, pažljivo se sagnuo i skinuo prsten s gađenjem. Prsten je završio na Salimovoj ruci, zadivljeno je promatrao dragi kamen i na kraju odustao od pomisli da ga proda. Može li se reći da je osjetio duboku duhovnu povezanost s prstenom? ...

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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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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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