For the past five years, a mock prison facility in Hongcheon, South Korea, has been locking up paying “inmates” for brief stays in simple cells where mobile devices are prohibited, talking with other participants is not allowed, and no clocks can be found. Kim Hong-Ji, a photographer with Reuters, visited “Prison Inside Me” recently, reporting that it has hosted more than 2,000 inmates since 2013, “many of them stressed office workers and students seeking relief from South Korea’s demanding work and academic culture.” Noh Ji-Hyang, a co-founder, was inspired by a comment from her husband, a prosecutor, who said that he’d rather spend time in solitary confinement than go back to a 100-hour workweek: “After a stay in the prison, people say, ‘This is not a prison, the real prison is where we return to.’”
If you haven't yet listened to the American Cinema Foundation's podcast, there might not be a better episode to begin with than the latest on Rocky. So many "culture" podcasts (I won't name names) are...well, let's just say that they're more Big Macs than T-bones. You'll need a steak knife for this one.
"While this perspective seems intuitive, it is also incorrect. Architecture critic Dankwart Guratzsch even speaks of the architectural program of post-war modernism as a second destruction of Europe. In fact, during reconstruction, many buildings in Europe could have been saved, but were demolished because did not match the futuristic ambitions of city planners. In Germany, a period of Entstuckung, literally “de-stuccoization,” the removal of ornamental building facades, coincided with the period of reconstruction. Certainly of little economic benefit, Entstuckung was a way to pay tribute to a now-dominant aesthetic that emerged at the beginning of the century which equated ornament with crime following the essay of Adolf Loos. Taking up the principles of Le Corbusier’s and CIAM’s Athens Charter from 1933, post-war architects and city planners on both sides of the iron curtain aimed for an economic and functional reorganization of the city. West Germany even embraced architectural modernism earlier than East Germany: In the GDR, it was only introduced after the death of Stalin – centrally commanded to the Soviet Union’s vassal states as a dominant motif by Moscow to illustrate de-Stalinization also as aesthetic caesura. The universal adoption and prevalence of modernism across the iron curtain reminds one of convergence rather than of a competition between East and West."
“The Cosmos is luminous for the paradox of imperfection-perfection, of an order in movement toward order. Moreover, man is not only conscious of the paradox, not only does he ‘know’ about it, he partakes of it inasmuch as the bodily located psyche called man is one of the ‘things’ in the cosmic order of things. The paradox of order-disorder, thus, seems to attach to existence in the mode of thingness. But if it attaches to thingness, can there be an order of ‘things’ free of disorder? Or would the establishment of true order require the obliteration of ‘things’? But if the ‘things’ were abolished, what would there remain to be in order or disorder? Plato raises these questions, not in order to dispose of them with clever answers, but in order to raise the paradox of thing-reality and It-reality to full consciousness.” (Voegelin, 2000, 116 – emphasis in original)
"I imagine a character like Eddie Morra from the film Limitless as the Bartleby of the future. In Limitless, Morra is a blocked writer who takes a nootropic, “mind-enhancing” drug which allows him to not only write a book that his publishers are happy with, but to become an expert investor. He also dresses nicer and acts more urbane.
The title of the film is revealing here, not so much as a hyperbolic reference to Morra’s cognitive abilities but as a signifier of the liberation of the office from physical space into the neural web of the brain itself. “Limitless” does not denote a liberation from constraints, but confinement within a near infinity of accelerated “sameness”—what Han identifies as the inability to escape the self. The emancipatory promise of the drug in Limitless, an amplified version of students taking Ritalin to study, is predicated upon the maximization of the achievement society into the core of self-identity. “Not many of us know what it’s like to become the perfect version of ourselves,” Morra says at one point.31 And yet how banal that the highest function of the human mind culminates in day-trading. How banal that the highest purpose of the human mind is an instrumental function at all.
If the failure of the open office concept is any indication, the total internalization of the spirit of capitalism will not represent an escape from its contradictions. It is only an advanced stage of its afflictions."
My introduction (ongoing, as I’m slowly picking my way through the book and savoring each sentence) to Coomaraswamy has been through his book Christian & Oriental Philosophy of Art, a slim collection of essays put out by Dover Press. The first essay in the collection, which I believe was actually the original title of the book on its first printing, “Why Exhibit Works of Art?”, avoids the compartmentalized thinking about visual arts so endemic in contemporary art “discourse” and presents instead a fully fleshed out philosophy of Being. That sounds like heavy lifting but, being a traditionalist in the best sense of the word, Coomaraswamy knows that others—Aquinas, Plato, Confucius—have already done most of the grunt work themselves. As he witheringly puts in the essay, “It should be one of the functions of a well organized Museum exhibition to deflate the illusion of progress.” ...
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor