06 September 2012



Sleeping Beauty (2011) - Written & Directed by Julia Leigh. Starring: Emily Browning, Rachel Blake, and Ewen Leslie

In cognitive science, I am aware of the so-far human phenomenon which allows our brains to collect partial impressions from the external world and internally compile them into one complete picture. We fill in the blanks, connect the dots, continue patterns, draw conclusions, and all from, at times, so limited a quantity or quality of information. Highly useful for brains wired, through survival adaptations, for rational thought and problem solving. No doubt, it paid off, both to our ancestors and eventually us, to daw inferences from clues; say a lion's paw print in mud, a nearby, newly killed antelope, a growl, and then a moving bush, where would we be today if these things remained separate in the brain, never cross-referenced by memory or experience? 

However great this organization of thought and ability to perceive whole forms, whether shapes, ideas, or compositions, from segmented parts, I feel it is exactly this cognitive tendency, that director Julia Leigh takes certain liberties with which to express her story in her 2011 directorial debut, Sleeping Beauty.

The film follows university student, Lucy who struggles with money and works serving tables at some cafe/restaurant, as a receptionist of some sort at an office, and occasionally picks up random men for what I believe would be paid sex. She comes across an ad in the student paper and discovers a highly discreet, upscale erotic gig, that pays well albeit clients not requiring her services as frequent to allow her to quit her other jobs. Lucy is eventually used in an erotic sleep fetish, where she is drugged into somnolent absence and a client may do as he or she pleased with her so long as there is no penetration or marks left on her slumbering body. 

The film was eerie, with a dull, classic-furniture look that is too expensive to touch but really not comfortable or inviting in the first place. To its defense however, any stylistic visuals or change in tone or color would have subtracted from this film, a complimentary atmosphere between the language of image and story. This being said, the scenes never fully informed us, only hinted and assured us time was passing by. Lucy neither grew nor shrunk, even with her slight breakdown at the end, I had no more idea of who she was in the conclusion than I had at the film's commencement. 

It was like being told a story by a secretive person who didn't want to reveal anything. The result, I wouldn't say was a bad one--Just, plenty of questions remained. The main, for me, was that of the main character Lucy--Who was she? What was she really doing? Events happened but what did they do to her, how did they effect her? She carried on, just as the 30 year old referenced in the anecdotal short story  recounted by one of sleep clients. It was as if she was herself was asleep throughout the entire film. Perhaps, this was the point. Its a reminder of how we at times sleep through our lives, omitting the full details when in retrospect we can always reform the full picture from the partial impressions, however altered they may then become. At the risk of not respecting the weight of our many choices and reactions that gather up into the direction we take in life. Or maybe the film is just saying I need to sleep more.  

03 September 2012

Concluded Space

by AE Paulino
She was older and smelled really good. I was still asleep when she woke and brushed up her hair and got half-dressed. My roommate was still away so she used his towel, she made herself coffee and answered a few texts by the living room window. When I woke up I assumed she had left but that's where I found her, on the window sill, she smiled up with her wide mouth and dark lips. I pretended I wasn't just talking to myself, maybe she heard me. I said hello, so did she. Her chin indicated a cup of coffee she made me; it sat on the stove, heat, like an apparition, hovered out from it like an exorcism. I nodded and expected her to understand it meant thanks. I brushed my teeth and she was fully dressed when by the time I was finished, she was ready to go. This was disappointing because I was hoping to join her at the window sill and talk a little more. 

"I'll call you later if I can." She said, her hand petting my abdomen and her words, tracing my ears. 

I wanted to kiss her but she had already began to walk away and I felt silly holding her or calling her back for something as little as a kiss. I went out to the fire escape to smoke a cigarette, blowing the smoke into the breezy Sunday afternoon. I wish my window was to the front of the building so I could watch her walk away. I'm sure my pillow still smells like her scent. A mixture of shampoo, cigarettes, sweat, and I swear there is something else--something only detected by the nose when attracted to someone, when stimulated by them in such a way that an awareness opens the nerves and vacuums in all sorts of information usually kept from entering by both parties. if estrogen had a scent, maybe it was that but I think its something else. Maybe her soul, aura or her DNA. 

23 August 2012

Who Are You?

How important is self-image? Say if, everyone thinks you're a joke and you're the only one who doesn't know--Are you what you think you are or what others see of you? Is it like that bothersome tree in the woods that doesn't fall because no one is there to hear it? Is the Self limited to this sort of participation, available only as reflection or echo, never there unless bounced off a surface; and certainly not a thing indigenous to and sustained of its own accord--Is a person defined by their own perception or by that of those who come in contact with them, or is it how much these two are at odds that profoundly illustrates the character of an individual? 

10 March 2012

On Jobs in an Industrial Society and its Presupposed Value

Work pays you, not for the time or life it steals from you but only to recognize the fact that it steals these things from you. If your job were to pay you based on the value of that which it stole from you, it wouldn't be able to afford you for more than a few handful of hours a month--maybe two or three weeks a year, these are unestimated, dramatically concluded guesses, the real amount is possibly even less. But in any case, your job cannot afford all the time and life you give to it, not really. So never feel bad about giving your job the very absolute minimum of your attention, effort, and lifetime. Insofar, as you preserve your position enough to survive in an industrial society that feeds and cares for you only in exchange for manual labor, do as little as possible. And the truth about an industrial society, especially one that exploits manual labor, is that it needs it workers as much or even more than its workers need the industrial society. It isn't necessary to work as so many of us do, however it is necessary for us to work as we do in order to maintain the structure of the industrial society, which conveniently enough, acts as if without it, we'll be worse off. If someone is addicted to heroin and then they just stop, lock themselves in a room for a few days, the withdrawal is scary, dangerous even, but they can survive through it and the result is usually for the better, or the first step towards it. Withdrawal from an industrial society would be similar.

11 February 2012

On Greenberg and the Catharsis of Human Memory


The last time I saw Noah Baumbach's film Greenberg, was when it was in theatres back in 2010. Watching it again tonight was weird because I remembered the film much differently. Having seen it only once doesn't help but I could've sworn that certain parts of the story have changed since the last viewing; or certain themes have altered in relevance. Maybe I watched a director's cut unknowingly or maybe its something else entirely.

Recently, I came across a blog about 9/11 and human memory. The author stated that neuroscience has concluded through studies, that human memory is not kept in one permanent state that is conjured up continually in the same form it was originally stored. Meaning when we think of a memory it all depends on our current mood and state of mind, the same memory today could have made you feel an entirely different way two months ago, and will most likely be an altogether different experience two months from now, depending on what happens in your life between then and now. But thats not all, not only does your memory change in context but also in content. The things that shape your life and its experiences also shape your memories, information and details shift depending on emotions and these are then stored as your memories which will later evolve even more when recollected at a future time.

What I remembered from Greenberg was perhaps relevant to what was happening to me in 2009. I wrapped the memory of that film in old newspaper which no doubt left the scent of what were the current events of that time. Thats why certain elements of the plot and theme aren't as prevalent to impress on my memory as they were when I first viewed the film. Its a very well written story though, both today and yesterday. The main part that sticks to me now is Ivan's line about how difficult it is to finally accept the life you never planned on living. That echoed for a few minutes after the scene. Regret is a very fucked up emotion, its the one I hate the most. But regarding how we store memories, its no doubt that with age, you start to regret things you never regretted before because the emotions attached to these memories have changed. On the positive side of this logic however, it should hold true that we, with age, also accept things we never thought we'd accept before because of where we currently are mentally. But how do we feel content without feeling as if we're compromising? How do we feel as if we're not simply settling for less?

I don't know. I just have the question, nothing of an answer seems to participate. I do know that at some point what a person wants, what a person strives for and attempts to create for their self, this becomes less important and the effort seems like a harrowing chore rather than a natural part of your day when its based on desperate nostalgia. Its as if the body recognizes a visitor that has overstayed their welcome and slowly stops accommodating this imposing guest.

Like Ivan, this is not the life I thought I'd be living but from where I stand, living the life I imagined doesn't seem as important as the one I want to maintain and make the most of in the present. Its sorta like saying:

Okay I wanted to live this way but didn't and thats okay because it doesn't matter now; but I am disappointed that at one point it did matter and I didn't respect that enough to make it happen--so now let me make sure I respect how I want to live and make it happen.

And that, I believe is the best any of us can do, until our memory tells us otherwise.

05 February 2012

Waste of Insomnia


Not writing. Not cleaning. Not thinking. Not awake. I should be asleep. Very little times do I respect that biological stamp of necessity, very seldom do I admit that there is nothing better to be done with my present time than shut everything down and sleep. Its been a long day. Full and perhaps confusing at a few turns but it was, no doubt, a good, long day where the present was heavy with new places and ideas. Yes friends, today I earned my sleep.

But if awake, I shouldn't be awake for what I'm awake for. I shouldn't be writing what I writing. There were so many ideas today on what a city is, what social classes were and the interactions of either two on college towns. Thoughts on films, thoughts on music, thoughts on food and technology and yet none of these occupies the attention of my forced insomnia. None of these hold enough weight right this instant. I should just go to sleep. But I just don't get why I get included in things that have nothing to do with me. I just can't piece together why a situation is made into THEATRE when it just could have been w a t e r , something fluid which moves and adapts to any shape. My eyes are starting to itch.

29 January 2012

Perspective of Singular Expansion v. Accelerative Constriction

The Days are Literally Getting Longer

There is a phenomenon called Tidal Acceleration, its the accumulative result of the Moon's tidal force acting on our oceans. The Moon presses down on Earth like a comfortable lover and this impression pushes the oceans down to the ocean floor when under the Moon. The oceanic movement (waves) produced by this effect actually slows down the Earth's rotation at a rate of roughly 1 second every one hundred thousand years. 400 million years ago our daily rotation was 22 hours long, with shorter days comes longer years unless the revolution around the sun has also decreased, we most likely had 13 months in a year. In short, the years are getting shorter and the days are getting longer.

In purely hypothetical projection, this means that a time will come when one earth day will be as long as one earth year. Of course, scientist believe the Sun will become a Red Giant and Earth's oceans will be a dream before we even reach a 30 hour day. Still hypothetically, if left to continue perpetually, the Earth will also reach a time when the year is shorter than the day; so we spin around the sun faster than we make a daily rotation.

Even though none of these hypothesizations will ever come to be, one thing to note is how much our time is a product of our planet's behaviour. We count time by how fast the planet spins a full rotation and by how fast we revolve around the sun, neither of these have any significant effect on universal time which passes with all its disregard for what's happening on Earth. We're continually disconnecting ourselves from the universe and shutting ourselves into the nature of our planet. And there's nothing wrong with making Earth your priority, especially if its your home but your mind is universal and its home continues to expand while the Earth's constricts. Something to keep in mind since the Earth and our Solar System are both made up of Universe.