week 10: Whale Rider

First of all I can’t even imagine how many different tribes and individual cultures there is around the world… most of them we won’t ever hear of… How crazy is that? I had no idea that New Zealand had their own tribes.. I mean I never thought about it… Im not surprised tho as different ways of practice life and/or religion is inevitable in our huge world.

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(Photo from the movie, Paikea the Whale Rider)

This movie pays a lot of attention to the fact that the chosen one is a girl… at first glance it is like its no surprise that the gender is the topic.. cultures as many as there is it seem to always have a problem with the females. So it must be cultural that the girl could not be the savior/prophet.
I found it sad that the grandfather or “Paka” couldn’t see that all that he wanted in the first born boy was right there in front of him, the whole time.. in the first born girl… and then blame all the things that went wrong on the poor girl.

With the grandpa’s intense connection to his tribe and his beliefs I think he should have noticed her abilities earlier… I find it a bit strange that he didn’t see it or feel it as he was the chief. It almost felt like the grandma and uncle could see Paikea for what she was, way before she swam down to catch the whale tooth. Maybe they choose to not say anything to “Paka” because everyone needs to find their answers in their own way, and in their own phase. We can’t rush epiphanies.  And sometimes we push to hard on what we believe in that we forget to open our eyes to what is right in front of us… and in this case that is what “Paka” did, he believed so strongly in the male leader version that he got blinded towards the potential of a female chief.

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(Photo from movie, Paikea)

I learned through this movie that our native tribes are everywhere, even if we don’t hear about them, even if they are not widespread or turned in to movies there is so much going on in our world that we do not know about, that we to be honest have not a single clue about.
That is what makes this world interesting and scary all at the same time.

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(My photo from Aussie 2009, Manly Beach in Sydney)

On the end note… How nice isnt the New Zealand english language? I love their accent, and couldn’t help but wanting to move back to Australia where I lived 7 years ago, with the very similar accent. And not to mention the scenery… I loved the nature!
Now I gonna spend some time reminiscing my 7 months Down under.

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(Myself posing with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background)

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week 9: Smoke Signals

A movie about native American Indians based on a story by an actual native American Indian; Sherman Alexie.

By watching Alexie’s interview by Bill Moyers first I got a better understanding about the Indian culture, and traits that Alexie then added in the movie, such as alcoholism.

The movie was cosy and must have been low budget based as its very simply done, even if it was back and forth scenes between the past and present.
Taken place mainly on the reservation we again see a beautiful nature…reminds me of how sad it is that our culture & society neglects it, its sad that we don’t appreciate the nature around us.

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(f.l Thomas & Victor, screenshot from movie)

Victor and Thomas is the main characters in the movie, childhood friends with inconveniences here and there.
Victor may have had the slightly bigger role, however I paid more attention to Thomas, I love that he was true to himself & his culture/heritage. It may sound stereotypical but he was portrayed as how I expected an Indian to be. In a good way (!!) 
I do not mean to stereotype anyone or negatively call someone out, the complete opposite… I love the humans differences and I believe it something we should embrace and learn from… Its a good thing that we’re not all the same because how boring would our lives be?
We need to question our beliefs and get other point of views to become better people ourselves.

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(Sherman Alexie – picture from Bill Moyers interview)

Back to the interview between Alexie & Moyers, I could really relate to certain aspects of Alexie’s life, as he mention fitting in and not fitting in… born an Indian but looking like a mixed “race” (yes quote marks as we all are of the human “race”).  I myself is of mixed heritage and although I am consider white in America back in Sweden with my dark features I was often asked where I came from… I like Alexie can also make conversations from both sides of the table so to speak.. however being able to “fit in” here and there have had an opposite effect on me, i don’t feel like I fit in… anywhere…

One usually fit in with people with same culture, values&beliefs, religion and or other similarities.. I’m considering myself an atheist white/latina woman..I like to have a “hippie” mindset where peace is the main focus. Free spirit people are a rare breed in a capitalistic world and maybe that why I feel so lonely?

week 8: Billy Elliot

The award winning movie about a boy overcoming his own and his families prejudices towards males dancing ballet. A touching movie which ironically enough didn’t touch me. I have chosen not to watch this movie before because I got a sense that I wouldn’t like it… and now that I had to watch it I found myself having a hard time paying attention, it just didn’t get me caught up in it…

However, yes I can see the cultural aspect of the movie, it takes place in a 1984 English countryside, at the same time as the miner’s strike (where Billy’s dad & brother works), this pushing on the gender roles and their “right” ways of being, as no mines has female workers. Yes the main theme of the movie might very well be gender and what one should and should not do according to “gender rules”.
Being 11 might not be as much of a struggle as being a teenager, but having to deal with the loss of a parent is not a child’s task, I think that when Billy discovered ballet and dancing he finds a way to deal with his loss, it gives him a way to express his sorrows, anger and joy. Expressing oneself in any form of art has a healing effect, at least in my own experience, I mean I agree with Billy when he describes how dancing makes him feel and that it easier to let go of things and not think about it.
Unfortunately like with everything hobbies takes time and my own dancing has been put on hold whilst I still try to keep up with photography and drawing.

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Its ironic that the movie contains few female actresses as gender differences seem to be so important to them (writers/directors). This movie came out in 2000, and as I said takes place in 1984, our society looks at things differently now, thankfully. We have done some progress, but far from enough, as long as blue will be seen as a “boy” color and pink as a “girl” color we are gonna have to work for gender equality. No one should have to hide who they really are, and whatever our interests are shouldn’t matter.
Pursuing our own dreams should be everyones life goal, not our parents dream, nor teachers or other.. because its yourself who has to live with the decisions.
I didn’t like the movie as much as many others, maybe because I think this topic should be a given, because it is to me, I don’t care what you like as long as you don’t force me in to it. At the same time I won’t stop you from doing what you like. with the exception that it doesn’t hurt anyone else..

We should all learn to just accept, respect and believe in ourselves, just like Billy ended up doing!
My favorite scene is when he’s dancing on the rooftops & streets and billy-elliot_06.jpg…just exploding in electricity..

week 7: Songcatcher

I don’t think i would ever have watched the Songcatcher if it wasn’t for this class, but I’m glad I did because I kinda liked it. It was a pretty movie.. beautiful might be a better word? It was almost all nature through out the movie and i liked it.

I enjoyed the movie for many reasons not only the nature scenery. I liked that there was a lot of music in it, even if it was old scots-irish folk songs and ballads. The sound was soothing, and seeing Dr. Penleric  and the apparatus she has to use to record songs, it reminds me on how far the progress of technology has come. How easy it is for almost anyone to just press play on ones phone and then record whatever one want. And if we don’t like what we  record we can always erase and re-do it. The dedication, energy and tolerance for such work back then. songcatcher-2.jpg

I also like that they decided to have a lesbian couple in a movie taking place in the early 1900’s. Another reminder of our progress and the struggle for people to be able to be with whom ever they like. I mean there is still people out there committing the same sort of hate crime as some of the men did in the movie. Kind of make you think how we can be so far along in technology advancement and still have so far to go in human knowledge and common sense.
Anyway, I liked everyones accent it really added to their characters and the setting of the movie, it enjoyed the movie so much i actually cried towards the end. 11.jpg

week 6: Mi Familia/La Mission

We had to watch two movies this week, both about mexican-american families, both which confirmed or supported some of my prejudices about the meximerican culture.

I watched La Mission first, and for a movie being that long (1h55min) I was expecting another or better ending. Im not gonna spoil the movie as I did like it for the most part and for anyone interested in watching it should. Both the mural art and car art symbolized a lot of culture, family and religion confirming the prejudices about mexican-american catholics. Also supporting that is the fathers reaction when he finds out the truth about his son.  The son who in my opinion portrayed the most masculine role, which is no surprise as a homosexual male in a catholic environment has to come across as strong to not lose face.
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In Mi Familia a movie I must say I liked better we get a whole life story told to us and I really enjoyed the history part in the movie. I loved how the house was the meeting point, the center of the movie, it made it easier to understand the family value and connection they all had. It again is confirming the meximerican culture but also helps in understanding their values and beliefs. I also enjoyed that each room in the house had a different strong color, it was suited with the way the movie was shown, time periodically. In both movies the message is the importance of family, and that the struggle is part of life, we get through it, we fight and we survive with the help and understanding from the people around us. Our family.

These movies are both being portrayed to take place no later than the 80s-90s, (yes Mi familia start out way earlier) and what I notice is that there is still people living like they do, there is still these division between people, culture and class, 20-30 years later and we still struggle with this… makes you question if it will ever change..

week 5: Buena Vista Social Club

Overall a nice little movie about a musician (Ry Cooder) who travelled to Cuba to meet people who are still in touch with there culture & music. He wanted a view of Cuba that didn’t focus on their politics but on their music.

Unfortunately I didn’t get capture in it, the intro with jumping back and forth between looking for the location where the Social club had been and the set up of the concert mad it hard for me to follow and pay attention.
Latino music in my opinion is always beautiful, and having a mom with her roots in Peru latino music has always been a part of my life, so the music they played in this movie really reminded me of home and made me reminisce back to my childhood. All in all it made me miss my mom a little more than before.. ( she’s all fine and that its just that my family is all the way in Sweden when I’m writing this, and distance is always a bummer)

What I liked and appreciated with this movie was the footage of it, the pictures of Havana and Cuba overall, I would love to travel over there. Cuba has always seemed like a country with a lot of culture, and is so different from the society I’ve been growing up with and know of. The old architect and history makes me think about what I think Ibrahim Planes said “we have learned to resist both the good and the bad” which I understood as while a lot of other countries accepted the “good” of commercialized & mainstream consumption Cuba and the cubans  didn’t. They still have their culture & their companionship for each other. I think that is really beautiful.  It was also great to see these old men (and woman) with such energy & joy, I hope I at least got half of that when Im in my 90’s.

week 4: deLIMITations

I took my trip to downtown and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego about one and  a half week ago, because it was the third thursday of the month and it was suppose to be free for people over 25. Being 27 years old I had to take advantage since I’m a international student and not allow to work here my budget is very tight. Of course when I got there at 2pm they tell me the free entrance for 25+ starts at 5pm, the time they usually close… yes super confusing I know, and having to pay kind of threw me of my mood.

Anyway, having read the article assigned for this visit I was prepared to see this exhibition “DeLIMITations: A Survey of the 1821 United States-Mexico Border”. An instillation containing 47 obelisks monuments set up on the 1821 border between the U.S and Mexico with photographs and video documentation along the way created by artist Marcos Ramirez (also known as ERRE) and photographer David Taylor.
Understanding their background and their relationship with the international border it make sense that they want to create something that teaches us something about history, parts which gets left out in our ordinary history textbooks. Little did I, a girl from Sweden, know that the border once crossed through states like Colorado, Utah and Oklahoma. Even worse is to understand that most americans didn’t even know that. Especially now that all this wall building has been a hot topic, and who is an immigrant and who isn’t. Its ridiculous and wouldn’t it all be so much easier if we just ignored the borders completely, like hey were all cool, we belong to the human race and whats mine is yours?

No? Just me who likes that idea?


(Selfie required, photos of the obelisks)

I like that they documented the trip (there was a picture of each obelisk on the wall at MCASD) and the work process of it, it made me feel more included in the project. Driving around in a van and sending the messages that ERRE thought was missing from the textbooks – the old border, the forever that only lasted 27 years. Their dedication and determination, setting up these obelisks some on places without permission is inspiring, and I’m always fond of people who stay dedicated, who manage to not give up and sometimes breaks the rules. The borders we have doesn’t only determine which side you “belong” to, but also limit us from opportunities we could have had, if we had only been born on the “right” side. This topic was important for the artists as well, for the labor workers that is being legally able to work in the states still doesn’t feel the sense of belonging to this country.. because it will always be a division between us and them. I find it sad that it is so hard to change where you want to live.. we should all be able to cross any borders because after all it’s just invisible lines that creates division, jealousy and hate. We all belong to earth, no matter how south, east, north or west it goes.

peace out.

week 3: Bela Fleck

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Who new the banjo is an african instrument? I had no idea, and thats just one of the things we get to learn when watching Throw Down Your Heart 

Its not often we get to see a positive picture of Africa, its always from the negative side. In the movie Throw Down Your Heart banjo playing Bela Fleck takes us on a journey to four different African countries. He travels with the purpose to create music with his banjo together with the musical culture to where the banjos from.
It was nice to see what comfort music has to people, and what joy it brings. The women in Uganda sang all the time while going through their chores, they said they console themselves with music.And maybe its the music that makes the women of Uganda so strong, as the men mention that the women were the strong ones around there.

No matter which country Fleck visited (Gambia, Uganda, Tanzania & Mali) he always engaged with the people and he seemed to be very welcome regardless. They all had such appreciation for music, and I liked how they encouraged children to watch and listen to it, so that they can learn and keep the traditions of their cultures alive.  Music surrounds us almost all the time and its nice to see that not only photographers and painters try to make a different in our world but also musicians trying to create music to connect us with each other.

oh and I also liked all the different instruments they had in Africa, like the ngoni and akonting(ancestor of banjo) which also helped maintaining their culture.
Anyway with a weekend filled with bad news (my roommate moving out n dropping out of school) I was a bit distracted while watching this film however I liked that we got to watch something that gave a more positive view of Africa and how cool wouldn’t it be to travel there? So much culture and contrast from our everyday lives.

week 2: Wasteland

Watched the documentary Wasteland the other day, it took some time do digest what I had seen.
How much garbage is being thrown away each day is one thing but having to work in that amount is something that I doubt just anyone would do. Vik Muniz spent two years creating this project to try and make a difference in this world. He wanted to give back for the success he had gained even though he came from a poor background. Muniz saw beauty where everyone else saw trash. In this movie Muniz introduced us to people who’s life is spent on this garbage yard where they work, trying to collect trash to be recycled. The workers we meet are a mix of people who sees their work differently, some very proud some wanting to move on but for now its a way to make a living. It really is inspiring how they view their lives, and devastating to know how spoiled me, myself have been in my life.

It gives me joy to know that there is still good people out there, who try and make a difference. The art work Muniz created while he was in Brazil was made out of garbage and sold for several thousand pounds. All profits went to the workers to help them in their lives. This doesn’t only give them hope that theres a better future ahead but also invites hope in the viewer of this movie. Muniz used a creative way to make us look at things differently.. one mans trash is another mans gold.

week 1: JR – Can art change the world?

Choosing an artist to focus on the choice was easy, as I picked JR.

I watched two clips from TED talks where JR talked about his projects and his goal and drive with his art. Starting out as a graffiti artist to leave a mark on society and then to grow in to this huge artist who help others leave their mark on society and the world. The simple picture of someones face is a genius idea as a persons face can express so much emotions and speak to people without any use of words. JR raise the question “can art change the world?” and I think we the audience has to answer that, an being an old arts major myself my answer from the beginning was yes! Of course it can, but sometimes I think we as the people have to work for it and that is exactly what JR is doing. With his project Inside Out he help people to take a stand, to make a different and to help change the world one person at the time.

It is people like JR that we need to hear and see more from, people who work without credits, no sponsors or other government or corporations behind them. With his Inside out project he showed that there is thousands of people out there who wants peace and are ready to help make a difference in the world. We need to start seeing the world from different perspectives and with this project that does not include the mainstream media we get a more honest picture of how different places in the world look.

If you want some inspiration or confirmation that there’s still people out there trying to do good have a look at JR’s speech from TED talks. Link below..

JR Ted talks