Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kafka / Up in the Gallery

Up in the Gallery
by Franz Kafka
Translated by Ian Johnston

If some frail tubercular lady circus rider were to be driven in circles around and around the arena for months and months without interruption in front of a tireless public on a swaying horse by a merciless whip-wielding master of ceremonies, spinning on the horse, throwing kisses and swaying at the waist, and if this performance, amid the incessant roar of the orchestra and the ventilators, were to continue into the ever-expanding, gray future, accompanied by applause, which died down and then swelled up again, from hands which were really steam hammers, perhaps then a young visitor to the gallery might rush down the long stair case through all the levels, burst into the ring, and cry “Stop!” through the fanfares of the constantly adjusting orchestra.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Kafka / The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China
by Franz Kafka
Translated by Ian Johnston

The Great Wall of China was finished at its northernmost location. The construction work moved up from the south-east and south-west and joined at this point. The system of building in sections was also followed on a small scale within the two great armies of workers, the eastern and western. It was carried out in the following manner: groups of about twenty workers were formed, each of which had to take on a section of the wall, about five hundred metres. A neighbouring group then built a wall of similar length to meet it. But afterwards, when the sections were fully joined, construction was not continued on any further at the end of this thousand-metre section. Instead the groups of workers were shipped off again to build the wall in completely different regions. Naturally, with this method many large gaps arose, which were filled in only gradually and slowly, many of them not until after it had already been reported that the building of the wall was complete. In fact, there are said to be gaps which have never been built in at all, although that’s merely an assertion which probably belongs among the many legends which have arisen about the structure and which, for individual people at least, are impossible to prove with their own eyes and according to their own standards, because the structure is so immense.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Kafka / A Report to an Academy

Illustration by Triunfo Arciniegas

A Report to an Academy

by Franz Kafka
Translated by Tania and James Stern.

Honored members of the Academy!

You have done me the honor of inviting me to give your Academy an account of the life I formerly led as an ape.

I regret that I cannot comply with your request to the extent you desire. It is now nearly five years since I was an ape, a short space of time, perhaps, according to the calendar, but an infinitely long time to gallop through at full speed, as I have done, more or less accompanied by excellent mentors, good advice, applause, and orchestral music, and yet essentially alone, since all my escorters, to keep the image, kept well off the course. I could never have achieved what I have done had I been stubbornly set on clinging to my origins, to the remembrances of my youth. In fact, to give up being stubborn was the supreme commandment I laid upon myself; free ape as I was, I submitted myself to that yoke. In revenge, however, my memory of the past has closed the door against me more and more. I could have returned at first, had human beings allowed it, through an archway as wide as the span of heaven over the earth, but as I spurred myself on in my forced career, the opening narrowed and shrank behind me; I felt more comfortable in the world of men and fitted it better; the strong wind that blew after me out of my past began to slacken; today it is only a gentle puff of air that plays around my heels; and the opening in the distance, through which it comes and through which I once came myself, has grown so small that, even if my strength and my willpower sufficed to get me back to it, I should have to scrape the very skin from my body to crawl through. To put it plainly, much as I like expressing myself in images, to put it plainly: your life as apes, gentlemen, insofar as something of that kind lies behind you, cannot be farther removed from you than mine is from me. Yet everyone on earth feels a tickling at the heels; the small chimpanzee and the great Achilles alike.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Kafka / Unhappines

Poster by T.A.

by Franz Kafka

Translated by Claudia Furrer

When it had already become unbearable – by an evening in November – and I was running along over the narrow carpet in my room as on a racetrack, frightened by the sight of the lights in the street turned around again and was given a new goal in the depths of the room, at the bottom of the mirror, and I cried out, just to hear the scream which is answered by nothing, and from which nothing takes the strength of the scream, which therefore rises up, without any counterpoise, and cannot cease even when it grows silent; a door was opened in the wall so hastily, since haste was indeed necessary, and even the wagon-horses down on the pavement reared, like crazed horses in a battle, their throats exposed.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Isabelle Tessier / I Want to Be Single But With You

A Ring
Medellín, 2015
Photo by Triunfo Arciniegas
Isabelle Tessier

I Want To Be Single 

- But With You

I want you to go have a beer with your friends, for you to be hungover the next morning and ask me to join you anyway because you feel like having me in your arms, for us to nuzzle against one another. I want to talk in bed in the morning about all sorts of things, but sometimes, in the afternoon, I want us to decide to take different paths for the day.
I want you to tell me about your evenings with your friends. To tell me that there was a girl at the bar who gave​​ you the eye. I want you to send me text messages when you're drunk with your friends, for you to tell me unimportant things, just so you can be assured that I think of you, too.
I want us to laugh while we're making love. For us to we start laughing because we're trying new things and it just doesn't make sense. I want us to be with our friends, for you to take me by the hand and take me to another room because you cannot take it anymore and you feel like right there you have to make love to me. I want to try to stay silent because there are ears that could hear us.
I want to eat with you, want you to make me talk about me and for you to talk about you. I want us to rant about the North Shore vs. South Shore, West suburb versus East. I want to imagine the loft of our dreams, knowing that we will probably never move in together. For you tell me about your plans with neither head nor tail. I want to be surprised, for you to make me say: Take your passport; we're leaving.
I want to be afraid with you. To do things I would not do with anyone else, because with you I am confident! To return too drunk after a good evening with friends. For you to take my face, kiss me, use me like your pillow and squeeze me so tightly at night.
I want you to have your life, for you decide on a whim to travel for a few weeks. For you to leave me here alone bored and wishing for the small Facebook pop-up with your face that tells me "hi."
I don't always want to be invited for your evenings out and I don't always want to invite you to mine. Then I can tell you about it and hear you tell me about yours the next day.
I want something that will be both simple and at the same time not so simple. Something that will make sure that I often ask myself questions, but the minute I'm in the same room as you, I know. I want you to think I'm beautiful, for you to be proud to say that we're together. I want to hear you say you love me and I especially want to tell you in return. I want you to let me walk ahead of you so you can watch my bottom swing from left to right. For you to let me scrape the windows of my car in winter because my butt wiggles and it makes you smile.
I want to make plans not knowing whether or not they will be realized. To be in a relationship that is anything but clear. I want to be your good friend, the one with whom you love hanging out. I want you to keep your desire to flirt with other girls, but for you to come back to me to finish your evening. Because I will want to go home with you. I want to be the one with whom you love to make love and fall asleep. The one who stays away when you work and loves it when you get lost in your world of music. I want to live a single life with you. For our couple life, would be the equivalent of our single lives today, but together.

One day I will find you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Six-year-old’s brutal murder at hands of other children shocks Mexico

Authorities carry the body of six-year-old Christopher who was killed on the outskirts of Chihuahua. / EFE

Six-year-old’s brutal murder at hands 

of other children shocks Mexico

Torture and killing of young boy rallies Mexicans to demand end to rampant impunity

Mexico has been shaken by the violent death of a six-year-old boy who was reportedly tortured, stoned and stabbed to death by two cousins and three other friends, all aged between 11 and 15, in a small shantytown in the northern state of Chihuahua.
The body of Christopher Márquez Mora was found on Saturday in a shallow grave in Laderas de San Guillermo, located on the outskirts of the state capital, which is also named Chihuahua.
The five juvenile suspects reportedly took him by the hand “to play kidnappers,” according to authorities.

This is a problem concerning a breakdown of society – not a police matter”
“This is a problem concerning a breakdown of society – not a police matter, but instead a loss of values,” said a shocked investigating prosecutor.
In a country where random murders take place each day, the case has become a wake-up call for Mexican society to reflect on how runaway violence has even affected the way children play.
“As a society, how should we respond to something like this?” asked the editor of the influential Mexican daily Excelsior in a column. “What do kids see in their surroundings that pushes them to play kidnappers?”
According to investigators, the five children had brutally killed a stray dog before they took Christopher. One of the eldest in the group, who led the children on their rampage, reportedly ordered his friends to search for another victim after they attacked the dog, authorities said.
At 10am on May 14 Christopher was playing by himself on a street near his home, as he often did. The children asked him to help them find wood to burn and Christopher followed.

The children brutally killed a stray dog before they took Christopher
He knew the kids in the group: two of them were his cousins and the others were friends from the dusty and dilapidated poor neighborhood.
When they reached a stream, the group asked Christopher if he wanted to play kidnappers. They then tied his hands and feet and choked him with a stick until he fell unconscious. The barbarities then followed.
They allegedly beat him, stoned him, and then stabbed him with a knife, say investigators.
Afterwards they dragged the boy’s body and tried to bury it in a shallow grave, covering it with loose dirt, plants and the dead dog.
The following day, as the police began searching for Christopher, one of the boys’ mothers approached them after her son told her what had happened.
The two eldest boys, both 15, could face 10-year prison sentences if they are found guilty: two girls, both aged 13, and another 11-year-old boy cannot be charged but could face other penalties, according to prosecutors.

The only remedy to cure this madness is to hand down justice”
Meanwhile, Mexico searches for answers. “This is a reflection of an entire generation that has been raised on the idea that if you kill someone you won’t face any consequences,” said journalist Sandra Rodríguez, who is the author of Fábrica del crimen (Factory of crime), an account of a 2004 murder committed by juveniles in Chihuahua.
“What can we expect if they live in a state that champions impunity and where life doesn’t matter? This is what they have learned. The only remedy to cure this madness is to hand down justice. Mexican institutions must make it clear that murder in Mexico is not going to be tolerated,” she said.
At the funeral on Sunday, the outrage poured out. “My son wasn’t a dog,” cried the grief-stricken mother.
During the past decade, 10,876 minors were murdered in Mexico. Last Thursday, Christopher became another one of them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Marion Cotillard says feminism has no place in the film industry

Marion Cotillard

Marion Cotillard says feminism has no place 
in the film industry

Surprise comments follow Emily Watson’s claim at the San Sebastián film festival that equal pay was not her ‘personal quest’

Ben Child
The Guardian
Tuesday 29 September 2015

The Oscar-winning actor Marion Cotillard has said there is no place for feminism in Hollywood because the very term itself creates “separation” between the sexes.

Interviewed in Porter magazine, the French star of La Vie En Rose and Rust and Bone said she did not consider herself a feminist

Marion Cotillard

The Cannes film festival has been at the centre of claims that it fails to promote diversity since 2012, when all 22 films in the major competitions were directed by men. But, addressing the issue, Cotillard said she struggled to see a problem.

“Film-making is not about gender,” she said. “You cannot ask a president in a festival like Cannes to have, like, five movies directed by women and five by men.

“For me it doesn’t create equality, it creates separation. I mean, I don’t qualify myself as a feminist.

“We need to fight for women’s rights but I don’t want to separate women from men. We’re separated already because we’re not made the same and it’s the difference that creates this energy in creation and love. Sometimes in the word feminism there’s too much separation.”

Cotillard’s comments echo those made by British actor Emily Watson at a press conference at the San Sebastián film festival. “In terms of equal pay, there’s obviously a question to be answered about how it’s divided up, but I don’t think it’s my personal quest,” said the Oscar nominee. “I just feel so grateful that I do ajob that I love and someone pays me.”

Hollywood’s struggles with gender equality have been a hot issue recently to the point that a backlash now appears to be brewing. Women made up only 30.2% of all speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing films distributed in the US between 2007 and 2014, according to research conducted by the University of Southern California for the Geena Davis Institute, with a remarkably low 1.9% of those films directed by women.

Patricia Arquette raised the issue of the pay gap during her best supporting actress acceptance speech at February’s Oscars, and Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson and Carey Mulligan are among actors who have added their voices to calls for Hollywood to address it.