The Examined Life
I went to see The Examined Life last night, a really, really good film about … philosophy. Wonderfully done. Interviews with eight philosophers (Zizek, Cornell West, Judith Butler and more) about their thoughts and work.
It’s no easy feat making an entertaining feature-length talking-head documentary, especially about philosophy, but Astra Taylor succeeds in this one. Not sure if/when it will be available online, or where you can see it, but here is the trailer:
My big question though is when are the action figures coming out? Cornell West vs. Peter Singer throwdown!
Blind Spot, Chapter Three
From an old unpublished novel, for a lark, here is Chapter 3:
Vivianne stood inside the walk-in refrigerator, with her back to me, her small wiry body tight and ready to pounce, her mass of curly blond hair bobbing with her head. She wore her crisp white chef’s jacket, with loose-fitting black-and-white checked pants, held a note pad and pen in her little hands. She swore in creative flourishes, in English and French, at the produce.
“Nothing,” she said, turning to me finally, “is personal in my kitchen. There’s no such thing as private personal business in the kitchens of Révolution”
Genevieve, the manager responsible for scheduling had failed to accommodate my request for time off for driving classes; she had referred my application for Tuesday nights off to Vivianne. I pressed my case. She walked past me out of the refrigerator.
“This is a collective kitchen. We,” she continued, sweeping her hand around the room, as if showing me her kitchen and staff for the first time. Julie rushed into the kitchen, taking her pink, puffy winter jacket off and she hurried by us, muttering an apology for her tardiness, which Vivianne ignored. “We are a team, a unit,” she continued. “One for all, Oscar. It’s like a, like a … battalion in, you know, a … an army here. The marines. No man left behind, that sort of thing.”
Previously, on Blind Spot:
Blind Spot: Chapter One
Have I ever mentioned that I wrote a novel? I finished Blind Spot in 2005, sent it out, got a stack of rejections. It’s been sitting in various formats of a drawer for years now, and I figured it was time to release it into the wild.
The about goes something like this:
A novel about learning to drive, dying student drivers, terrorists, the CIA, an anarchist driving instructor, and one, or more, murders.
And here is the beginning of Chapter One:
He talked about the car crash all through the evening shift. Sylvain was shaken, true, but there was something reverential about his tone, as if he felt honoured to be the universe’s first chosen beholder of these deaths, and now that the two of us were alone, finishing the last of the kitchen clean-up, he grew more animated in his descriptions, more precise, more excited. His eyes sparkled as he spoke.
It was incredible, he said. Just incredible. The blood, the bone fragments. The damage done to a human body.
The sound of the crash had woken him at 7:12 a.m. that morning, and he had rushed out of his Villeray apartment, wearing only a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, despite the cool of the October morning. He expected survivors, he said, and took his cell phone with him, dialing 911 on the way down the stairs. The little red car had smashed head-on into a poorly-placed concrete divider, and as he rushed towards the steaming metal, Sylvain lost hope of finding anyone alive. The damage done to the automobile was frightening, and he braced himself for the carnage he would find inside.
“Have you ever seen a really bad car accident?” he asked me, suddenly. “I mean close up, I mean with the bodies, I mean before it gets cleaned up? Have you ever seen what actually happens to people?” He wasn’t interested in my answer to that question, and he pushed on with an uncomfortable mix of glee and horror, giving me more details I didn’t want to hear. The smashed windshield, jutting bits of metal, and descriptions of blood and bodies, the angle of one of the victim’s arms. “Pointing in all the wrong directions,” Sylvain said. “It was so weird.” He rested his chin on his mop, sombre and somehow pitying my lack of knowledge of the world. “You have no idea, Oscar,” he said, and the lights glinted off the shining tile of the floor, “how terrible it really is. How really terrible when you see it up close like that. These were people talking and breathing and all of a sudden they’re gone. I’m not religious,” he continued, cleaning again as he spoke, paying close attention to the floor, moving the mop in slow figure eights, the cleansing symbols of infinity, over and over in front of him. “But it’s scary seeing a body moments after the soul disappears. You have no idea.”
I did have an idea but instead of saying so, I just nodded. [more…]
It’s available in multiple formats:
- I’ll be publishing chapters weekly (Wednesdays), on http://blindspot.hughmcguire.net
- I’ll be podcasting each chapter weekly (Wednesdays), on http://blindspot.hughmcguire.net
- You can download the pdf (free!), or epub ebook (free!)
- You can buy the softcover.
I’ll be exploring more channels for getting it out there (Smashwords, Shortcovers, Podiobooks etc.) in the coming weeks.
And of course kind feedback is always appreciated.
From Superbomba’s superb flickr stream.
Her Morning Elegance
From Oren Lavie:
Oren Lavie’s flash site (sigh).
And a live set on Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Knitted Animation: Tricot Machine
Knitted animation, a music video of the song Les peaux de lièvres, from Montreal band Tricot Machine… wow:
Wifi and Space
Wi-fi structures and people shapes, from Dan Hill:
One of the ideas I’ve been exploring relates to how urban industry – in the widest sense of the word – in the knowledge economy is often invisible, at least immediately and in situ. Whereas urban industry would once have produced thick plumes of smoke or deafening sheets of sound, today’s information-rich environments – like the State Library of Queensland, or a contemporary office – are places of still, quiet production, with few sensory side-effects. We see people everywhere, faces lit by their open laptops, yet no evidence of their production. They could be using Facebook, Photoshop, Excel or Processing. [more…]
feria: a poempark & movie
My friend Oana Avasilichioaei recently released her latest book of poetry, feria: a poempark (amazon link):
Oana Avasilichioaei deftly dismantles language and landscape in a whirling collection of poetry. feria is a poetic frolic in Vancouver’s Hastings Park eluding boundaries of landscape, time and narrative. Avasilichioaei writes and rewrites over this image, interpreting its evolving layers. Park and book coincide, and the author finds herself asking what is natural, what is language, and whose voices are we listening to. This is a book that pulls the reader into a wild ride, leaving you breathless but exilirated by the end.
Part of the project included shooting a beautiful film, which was done by another friend of mine, Theirry Collins:
I’m at the annual conference of the Open Content Alliance, hosted by the Internet Archive. They’re just launching their open source Flip Book. Very nice, and you can embed it in your site, to whit:
Pretty neat, eh?