Sun Ra Arkestra: a Mythical Rebirth

By Alexandra Huang| 18 September 2019
The American avant-garde jazz band Sun Ra Arkestra is whimsically dubbed after the ancient Egyptian mystagogues in worship of the Sun. Led by the eponymous pianist of the band since the 1930s, the musicians have created some outlandish soundscapes described as “dark, kinetic sounds bursting with spiky electric piano or fuzzy keyboard lines and collective horn freak-outs that would likely send most punk rockers screaming from the room.” Eerie and bizarre as their music sounds, these improvisers blatantly claim themselves to be “tone-scientist” and “architects of the plane of discipline,” namely, scientists of sound who can achieve mathematic precision.

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On Photography: imprisoning reality, possessing the past

Dexter Yim | 03 June 2019
Human beings are nostalgic animals. We cannot really help looking at photos we took from time to time in order to revisit our past or see how much we have changed over the years. I bet everyone understands this as the ten-year challenge craze sweeps the world. Without photography, we have no choice but to rely on our hazy memories, which are not reliable and verifiable. The art and usefulness of photography unarguably and gradually became indispensable in our daily lives as photography can help us imprison reality and revisit the past at any time. This short article attempts to look into the usefulness and limitations of photography.

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The woman in German poetry: Heinrich Heine’s ‘Die Lorelei’ and J. W von Goethe’s ‘Der Fischer’

Emanuela Militello | 28 May 2019
I am going to focus on the portrayal of women as supernatural characters in two ballads by notable German poets: Heinrich Heine’s ‘Die Lorelei’ and J.W von Goethe’s ‘Der Fischer’, in order to give an insight into how their characterisation of women is influenced by Greek mythology.
In both ballads, women use their voice to entice the man – in a manner reminiscent of the power of sirens in the Odyssey, where sirens are infamous for luring sailors with their voices and for their uncanny appearance. The unfortunate ones who listen to their seductive singing, shipwreck against the rocks of the sirens’ island and meet a horrible death.

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Mary Queen of Scots: a new kind of Period Drama

Eva Dieteren | 29 April 2019
As a fan of period dramas, I was ready to sit back and enjoy what one can typically expect from a big-budget period drama: beautiful cinematography and gorgeous costumes accompanied by dramatic music. And whilst the film certainly ticks all the boxes, its depiction of female sexuality provides a new – and literal – perspective on the term period drama.

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Rolling for Insight: How table-top role-playing games can change the way we see the world

A presentation by Vivek Santayana, ‘Rolling for Insight: How table-top role-playing games can change the way we see the world’.
Vivek won the award for ‘Best Presentation’ at LLC Blethers, an evening of academic storytelling with the University of Edinburgh, February 2019.

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The Failed Orlando: Exploring the Reception of Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor

The revered series Doctor Who has faced harsh criticism in its last season: it was too PC; the actors failed to match the previous cast and even the stories lacked the thrilling qualities that Whovians have come to expect from their favourite TV show. Like all previous cast choices, the announcement of Jodie Whittaker taking the reins as the 13th Doctor was met with harsh opposition. Unlike the previous actors portraying the Doctor though, the disapproval did not abate, but seemed to alienate a significant number of fans. Now that Jodie’s first series is over, a closer look can be taken into the her portrayal of the Doctor.

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How Entertainment Dismantles Reality in Black Mirror

Yan Li | 18 February, 2019
Have you ever pondered over the relationship between how we are entertained and who we are? The TV drama Black Mirroris often regarded as science fiction that aims to reexamine the role of technology in our society. However, I see this episode differently. It is more like an attack on (overly) widespread, immoderate and reckless entertainment than a denunciation of technology. In other words, it is the way human beings present and perceive themselves via entertainment that is being mocked, and technology is the accomplice in this five-act tragedy. 

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‘What it means to be a human being’

Gabriel Smith | 11 February, 2018
Upon entering a bookshop, the canny reader/consumer (a heart-breaking slash) becomes aware that critics’ praise now adorns the cover of every newly released book, and therefore no book can be chosen on the basis of what critics are saying on its dustjacket. A massively inflationary adjectival market has rendered superlatives valueless.

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