Archive for February 6th, 2013

February 6, 2013

Marc Quinn

Marc Quinn (b. 1964) is a British artist and one of a loose group known as the Young British Artists. He is known for ‘Alison Lapper Pregnant’ (a sculpture of Alison Lapper, an English artist who was born without arms) and ‘Self’ (a sculpture of his head made with his own frozen blood). Quinn has used blood, ice, and faeces to make sculptures; his work sometimes refers to scientific developments.

Quinn’s oeuvre displays a preoccupation with the mutability of the body and the dualisms that define human life: spiritual and physical, surface and depth, cerebral and sexual. Quinn’s sculpture, paintings and drawings often deal with the distanced relationship we have with our bodies, highlighting how the conflict between the ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ has a grip on the contemporary psyche. In 1999, Quinn began a series of marble sculptures of amputees as a way of re-reading the aspirations of Greek and Roman statuary and their depictions of an idealized whole.

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February 6, 2013

Daniel Edwards

Daniel Edwards (born 1965) is a contemporary artist whose pieces address celebrity and popular culture in ways that have often stirred controversy. His work is generally accompanied by press releases. He includes the idea of promotion and associative fame in his own marketing of his art. His work includes a sculpture of the disembodied head of Ted Williams, a life-sized statue of Britney Spears giving birth while nude on her hands and knees on a bearskin rug (Edwards titled the piece ‘Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston,’ explaining that it symbolized Spears’ decision to put childbirth ahead of her career; Britney Spears actually had a caesarean section), a bust of Senator Hillary Clinton, and a 25-foot (7.6 m) bust of Fidel Castro.

In an Associated Press interview, Edwards asserted that he incorporates celebrity stories because: ‘You’re bombarded with these stories. And there’s a thread that winds back to the art. That’s not a bad thing. People are interested in sex, and it works for art as well.’

February 6, 2013

Dan Hibiki

Street Fighter

Dan Hibiki is a video game character from Capcom’s ‘Street Fighter’ series of fighting games. Introduced in 1995 as a secret character in ‘Street Fighter Alpha,’ Dan is consistently portrayed as an arrogant, overconfident, yet utterly feeble character. Shortly after the release of ‘Street Fighter II’ in 1991, rival company SNK released their own fighting game, ‘Art of Fighting.’

The principal character of this series, Ryo Sakazaki, bore a resemblance in appearance and name to ‘Street Fighter’ mascots Ryu, as well as other aesthetic similarities to Ken, wearing an orange gi and sporting blonde hair. In humorous retaliation, ‘Street Fighter II’ co-designer Akiman drew an artwork of Sagat holding a defeated opponent by the head during the release of ‘Street Fighter II: Champion Edition.’ The defeated opponent wore an attire similar to Ryo’s: an orange karate gi with a torn black shirt underneath and geta sandals; but had long dark hair tied to a ponytail like Robert Garcia, another character from the ‘Art of Fighting’ series. This character design would become the basis of Dan.

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February 6, 2013

Gold Sink

Gold sinks are economic processes by which a video game’s ingame currency (‘gold’), or any item that can be valued against it, is removed. Excess currency leads to inflation of player driven prices. Game designers must balance between scarcity of currency and ease of acquiring currency.  This process is comparable to financial repression (measures that governments employ to channel funds to themselves, that, in a deregulated market, would go elsewhere). Most commonly the genres are role-playing game or massively multiplayer online game.

The term is comparable to timesink (an activity that consumes significant time), but usually used in reference to game design and balance, commonly to reduce inflation when commodities and wealth are continually fed to players through sources such as quests, looting monsters, or minigames. Gold sinks are commonly called drains or gold drains. They can also be associated with item drains. The intent of a sink is to remove added value from the overall economy. For example, in ‘Ultima Online,’ items that were placed on the ground would be gathered by the server. This form is referred to as decay or garbage collection.

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February 6, 2013

God Gene

faith by Timothy Goodman

The God gene hypothesis proposes that a specific gene (VMAT2) predisposes humans towards spiritual or mystic experiences. The idea has been postulated by geneticist Dean Hamer, the director of the Gene Structure and Regulation Unit at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and author of the 2005 book ‘The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into our Genes.’ The God gene hypothesis is based on a combination of behavioral genetic, neurobiological, and psychological studies.

The major arguments of the theory are: (1) spirituality can be quantified by psychometric measurements; (2) the underlying tendency to spirituality is partially heritable; (3) part of this heritability can be attributed to the gene VMAT2; (4) this gene acts by altering monoamine levels; and (5) spiritual individuals are favored by natural selection because they are provided with an innate sense of optimism, the latter producing positive effects at either a physical and psychological level.

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February 6, 2013

Free Store

Give-away shops, swap shops, freeshops, or free stores are stores where all goods are free. They are similar to charity shops, with mostly second-hand items—only everything is available at no cost. Whether it is a book, a piece of furniture, a garment or a household item, it is all freely given away, although some operate a one-in, one-out–type policy (swap shops).

The free store is a form of constructive direct action that provides a shopping alternative to a monetary framework, allowing people to exchange goods and services outside of a money-based economy.

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February 6, 2013

Femme Fatale

A femme fatale [fem fuh-tahl] is a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. She is an archetype of literature and art. Her ability to entrance and hypnotize her victim with a spell was in the earliest stories seen as being literally supernatural; however, the femme fatale today is still often described as having a power akin to an enchantress, seductress, vampire, witch, or demon, having some power over men. The phrase is French for ‘deadly woman.’

A femme fatale tries to achieve her hidden purpose by using feminine wiles such as beauty, charm, and sexual allure. In some situations, she uses lying or coercion rather than charm. She may also make use of some subduing weapon such as sleeping gas, a modern analog of magical powers in older tales. She may also be (or imply that she is) a victim, caught in a situation from which she cannot escape; ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ (a 1947 film noir) is one such example. A younger version of a femme fatale would be called a fille fatale, or ‘deadly girl.’

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February 6, 2013

Ingenue

The ingénue [awn-zhuh-nyoo] is a stock character in literature, film, and a role type in the theater  generally a girl or a young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome. Ingenue may also refer to a new young actress or one typecast in such roles.

The term comes from the French adjective ‘ingénu’ meaning ‘ingenuous’ or innocent, virtuous, and candid. The term may also imply a lack of sophistication and cunning. 

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February 6, 2013

Help at Any Cost

Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids’ is a 2006 non-fiction book by science journalist Maia Szalavitz analyzing the controversy surrounding the tough love behavior modification industry. Szalavitz focuses on four programs: Straight, Incorporated, a copy of the Straight Inc. program called KIDS, North Star wilderness boot camp, and the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools.

She discusses the background, history and methodology of the troubled teen industry, including techniques drawn from attack therapy, Erhard Seminars Training (est), and Synanon, all of which are highly controversial. She uses first-person accounts and court testimony in her research, and states that no evidence exists proving that these programs are effective. The book also includes advice for parents and an appendix with additional resources on how to get responsible help for teenagers.

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