Archive for ‘Reading’

February 6, 2012

Realizing Empathy: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Making

by Nick Brewer

This is a pretty unique way to take a look at the process of making. That the process of creation, whatever the medium is the ability to empathize with the materials and people who will be interacting with it.

From the author Slim:

It is a book about how making works (as a process), what it means (to make something), and why it matters (to our lives). One of the central theme is the relationship between the act of empathizing with the act of making.

If you feel like donating to his kickstarter campaign, the address is

November 21, 2011

For Job Hunters, Digital Merit Badges

by Nick Brewer

A great article on using merit badges to help employers find out more about prospective employees.

The badges will not replace résumés or transcripts, but they may be a convenient supplement, putting the spotlight on skills that do not necessarily show up in traditional documents — highly specialized computer knowledge, say, or skills learned in the military, in online courses or in after-school programs at museums or libraries.

“The badges can give kids credit for the extraordinary things they are learning outside of school,” as well as being a symbol of lifelong learning for adults, said Connie M. Yowell, director of education grant-making at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago.

September 22, 2011

Salon Apocolypse: “Secret Theater” THE TAZ IS REAL

by athenallewellyn

The TAZ is real, and in this manifesto Hakim Bey conjures it.  My copy was just returned to me after a mysterious disappearance when a friend visited from Iceland this weekend. This book is a gust of clairvoyance after a mortal fall to earth.

The Temporary Autonomous Zone is a makers space, a pirate utopia of creation, free of hierarchy for the pure giving of gifts. Divided into communiques, communique #6 I, entitled Salon Apocolypse: Secret Theater, is a beautiful compliment to Boal and Schuman’s work. The book can be found in its entirety online here , but I suggest buying a copy. Carrying a copy of the TAZ is wearing an amulet.

I. Salon Apocalypse: “Secret Theater”

AS LONG AS NO Stalin breathes down our necks, why not make some art in the service of…an insurrection? Never mind if it’s “impossible.” What else can we hope to attain but the “impossible”? Should we wait for someone else to reveal our true desires?

If art has died, or the audience has withered away, then we find ourselves free of two dead weights. Potentially, everyone is now some kind of artist–& potentially every audience has regained its innocence, its ability to become the art that it experiences.

Provided we can escape from the museums we carry around inside us, provided we can stop selling ourselves tickets to the galleries in our own skulls, we can begin to contemplate an art which re-creates the goal of the sorcerer: changing the structure of reality by the manipulation of living symbols (in this case, the images we’ve been “given” by the organizers of this salon–murder, war, famine, & greed).

We might now contemplate aesthetic actions which possess some of the resonance of terrorism (or “cruelty,” as Artaud put it) aimed at the destruction of abstractions rather than people, at liberation rather than power, pleasure rather than profit, joy rather than fear. “Poetic Terrorism.” Our chosen images have the potency of darkness–but all images are masks, & behind these masks lie energies we can turn toward light & pleasure.

For example, the man who invented aikido was a samurai who became a pacifist & refused to fight for Japanese imperialism. He became a hermit, lived on a mountain sitting under a tree..

One day a former fellow-officer came to visit him & accused him of betrayal, cowardice, etc. The hermit said nothing, but kept on sitting–& the officer fell into a rage, drew his sword, & struck. Spontaneously the unarmed master disarmed the officer & returned his sword. Again & again the officer tried to kill, using every subtle kata in his repertoire–but out of his empty mind the hermit each time invented a new way to disarm him.

The officer of course became his first disciple. Later, they learned how to dodge bullets. We might contemplate some form of metadrama meant to capture a taste of this performance, which gave rise to a wholly new art, a totally non-violent way of fighting–war without murder, “the sword of life” rather than death.

A conspiracy of artists, anonymous as any mad bombers, but aimed toward an act of gratuitous generosity rather than violence–at the millennium rather than the apocalypse–or rather, aimed at a present moment of aesthetic shock in the service of realization & liberation.

Art tells gorgeous lies that come true.

Is it possible to create a SECRET THEATER in which both artist & audience have completely disappeared–only to re-appear on another plane, where life & art have become the same thing, the pure giving of gifts?

(Note: The “Salon Apocalypse” was organized by Sharon Gannon in July, 1986.)

September 20, 2011

The Use of Theatre For Change / Ismat Chughatai

by StefiaMadelyne

Mumbra’s women use theatre for change

Mumbra is a suburb of Mumbai that’s often in the news for the wrong reasons, located outside Mumbai it is notorious for its high crime rate and terrorist shootouts – An image that women from the community are trying to change through theatre. The words of writer Ismat Chughtai, written nearly 70 years ago continue to resonate in modern day Mumbra.

Ismat Chughtai

Ismat Chughtai (Urdu: عصمت چغتائی) (August 1915 – 24 October 1991) was an eminent Urdu writer, known for her indomitable spirit and a fierce feminist ideology. She was considered the grand dame of Urdu fiction, as one of the four pillars of modern Urdu short story, the other three being Saadat Hasan MantoKrishan Chander, and Rajinder Singh Bedi.  Her outspoken and controversial style of writing made her the passionate voice for the unheard, and she has become an inspiration for the younger generation of writers, readers and intellectuals.

September 20, 2011

Theatre of the Oppressed

by StefiaMadelyne

Augusto Boal and Theatre of the Oppressed in Rio De Janeiro Screener

Screener for Augusto Boal and Theatre of the Oppressed in Rio De Janeiro DVD available online at

A documentary by Ronaldo Morelos. Associate Producer Rod Wissler – Centre for Innovation in the Arts In 1994 Morelos spent 5 months in Rio de Janeiro, observing and documenting the work of Augusto Boal and the Centro de Teatro do Oprimido. It was the time of the Brazilian national elections. This time was also a year and a half into Boal’s term as a Vereador (Councilor) of the Legislative Chamber of the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro. This documentary chronicles that time, the words and the work of Boal and his collaborators. It is a record of the work of a theatre maestro undertaking a daring and difficult experiment in overtly melding the concerns of theatre, therapy and politics. An account of a theatre company that is elected into public office. It is a story from the world of Theatre of the Oppressed. 53 mins, English

Theatre of the Oppressed Workshop

A theatre workshop facilitated by La Cambalacha, Guatemala, as part of Globalfest Conference ’09. This took place in Millennium Hall, Cork on July 6th 2009.

India Matters: Theatre of the Oppressed

The play was born of the experience of 25 rural women in West Bengal who created it at a workshop. It depicts a woman who is treated as a commodity at the time of marriage. Later she faces violence and oppression by her husband.

September 18, 2011

Who Wants to Say Something Through Theater? The Wresting Cholitas in the Bolivian Andean Highlands

by Ariana Stolarz

“…people tried speak with their bodies” (Boal p.131)

 “The poetics of the oppressed is essentially the poetics of liberation” (Boal p.155)

The twenty first century has brought a variety of changes to Bolivian society. It is fair to suggest, that among the most noticeable of all these changes is the re-emergence of the once relegated native and autochthonous values, and the new role that indigenous women play in this transformed scenario. In a culture where machismo tints social dynamics at all levels, it is inconceivable for women to participate in a sólo de hombres activity (for men only). And it is even more difficult to accept, when these women have indigenous origins and the activity involves the use of physical power.

The Bolivian cholitas are the first indigenous women to fight professionally in the male-dominated world of lucha libre. Despite their increasing popularity on the global stage, locally, the wrestling cholitas are rejected by the Bolivian male-wrestling show business, and they are even forbidden from wrestling in the national circuit. Bolivian cholitas professionally wrestle to promote their culture and to fight for their rights, because “we cholitas have been highly humiliated and discriminated in the past” (Carmen de Rosa, qtd. in Schipani, Andres. “Women Wrestling Sweeps Bolivia.” 31 May 2008. BBC.).

The documentary Wrestling with Manhood: Boys, Bulling & Battering establishes the connection between professional wrestlers from the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the construction of contemporary masculinity. Chapter 3 (“Making Men”) draws the ideal of manhood proposed by the league, which associates masculinity with violence and dominance of others. Chapter 5 (“Divas: Sex & Male Fantasy”) elaborates on the control over women, and shows how their humiliation is associated with the heterosexual fantasy that intends to leave no room for uncertainty to the straightness of the male wrestlers. Finally, Chapter 6 (“Normalizing Gender Violence”) shows how the WWE league normalizes and justifies men’s violence against women in the real world.

As shown in the 2009 documentary film Mamachas del Ring, cholita wrestlers are on their own: they manage their own business and contracts, they organize and promote their own shows, and they even create their own costumes.  These women are fighters in the ring and in life. Most cholitas are street vendors. They have many kids in their household (ten seems to be an average number), and a husband who questions their role in the family. Today’s wrestling cholitas are struggling to manage and balance their lives as artisans, mothers, and wives, with their passion: wrestling.