Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts, Homepage

The Bravery in Art

Art is expression; it is an act that allows for creativity, imagination, and most importantly, it allows one to share their voice. Through descriptive language, imagery, symbolism, metaphors, and a variety of other techniques, writers are able to capture the essence of a person, thing, place, or moment and convey an image that can be seen and understood in the minds of readers; art is able to establish mutual understandings and inspire others to use their voices and create their own forms of expression. Through hosting an Open Mic Night event, Obscura hopes to promote expression through art; it is an empowering experience to be able to get on stage and use your voice to create an image and comprehension in the minds of listeners; it is equally empowering to be in the audience and be able to understand someone else’s point of view through art.

William Wordsworth’s poem “She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways” phenomenally depicts the notion that one person can make a difference. The poem is as follows:

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
—Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!

The speaker of the poem conveys what a difference Lucy has made for them. While the poem is eerily morbid, it does contain the important concept that one person can make a difference. If Lucy made such an impact on the speaker while she was mostly “unknown,” then what kind of difference would she have made if she let herself be known? We hide our voices away due fear of not saying the right thing, or being judged, or because we are shy; we can make a difference to others by just being courageous enough to first make a difference for ourselves by expressing one’s thoughts and emotions.

Through one simple action, through a few words, and simply through noticing another person, a difference is made; we all contain the ability to make a difference by speaking out and using our voices to express ourselves and by listening to those who are brave enough to step up and express themselves. So, if you are on campus Wednesday November 29, come by Obscura’s Open Mic Night in SLB 111 between 4:30PM-7:30PM and support all the individuals willing to use their art to share their voices. Maybe you’ll even become inspired to sign up and express yourself at our next event!

 

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

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Posted in Homepage

MASTERPIECE, OR THE ART IN THE ART?

CINÉMONDAYSWITHHARDIK:

Masterpiece

(Written and Directed by Runyararo Mapfumo)

(Short Film, 7 minutes)

You say it’s a chair, I say it’s a chair. I say it’s a chair, people. People say it’s a chair then. Where is the art in that?

Where is the art in the art? Is it that art is in and of the art?

Art is held ‘art’ when it finds admirers who perceive it as art, critics who perceive it as art, I say.

For then the question becomes: what informs the admirer/critic that it’s art?

Interpretation, at the very start.

Simbai has come far with his art, has even felt gutsy enough to show it. His friends could praise it now, at least say something. So, what do you think?

They know it’s art, Simbai’s art. But how? Where is the art in his art?

In Runyararo Mapfumo’s short film Masterpiece, Simbai’s friends struggle to interpret his art. What entails is a funny episode that leaves its audiences reflecting on questions of art and interpretation, of Masterpiece.

David Isiguzo plays Simbai. Emmanuel Ojiji, Michael Akinsulire, Idris Debrand, Kwame Augustine play Simbai’s friends Jacob, Darren, Olu, and Thomas respectively.

 

~ Hardik Yadav

Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

Junky: “Boy, You Better Treat Me With Respect”

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #10

Usually I alternate from writing about comics and music each week, but there is this boyband that I have been listening to nonstop and I couldn’t wait for next week to write about them. So instead of writing about a comic this week, I’ll be writing about a rap collective based in California called Brockhampton. Originally formed in Texas, the thirteen members talked via Facebook and decided one day to move into a house together to form a boyband. Some of the members are artists and designers, some double as producers and rappers/singers. The vocalists of the band include Ameer Vann, Kevin Abstract, Dom McLennon, Merlyn Wood, Matt Champion, JOBA, and Bearface. Each vocalist brings something different to the table and they all come together each with an individual unique sound  make such a fire sound. Bearface’s sweet sounding voice and Kevin’s sultry power vocals and Ameer’s smooth, deep voice and Merlyn’s in-your-face rapping and Dom McLennon’s strong lyrics. And then there’s Matt Champion’s rap verse in Brockhampton’s album Saturation II from the song “Junky”. It’s a very topical song that covers all kinds of serious issues like drug addiction and homophobia in the rap game, but Matt Champion’s verse about rape culture has a really strong message that I feel needs to be highlighted.

I watched this interview by MTV of Brockhampton and I found out that the rape culture verse was actual a personal subject for Matt Champion. You can tell from the lines in the verse that it’s something that Champion really cares about and feels strongly about He raps, “I hate these shady folk that want a ladylike/But don’t treat lady right, but they be sayin’ like just the tip”. He calls out the men out there who have forced women into having sex and doing things they don’t want to do. I feel like this topic is so important and relevant in today’s world. For those who keep up with the Twitterverse, #MeToo was circulating around and it was starting a lot of discussions and it did a great job of raising awareness toward something that often goes unvoiced or ignored. Champion continues by rapping, “And yeah, you mad ’cause she ain’t f*ck, mad ’cause she ain’t suck/Beat your a** before you got time to say “why not?” I used to have the erroneous idea that I had to please and listen to everything my partner wanted even if it made me uncomfortable or if I didn’t even want to do it, but as I’ve learned through discussion with other women I’ve come to the realization that it’s okay to say “No” and if a man doesn’t respect your wish then he’s doing something wrong, not you. Matt Champion’s anger toward men who feel like they’re entitled to a woman’s body feels like righteous fury that fuels the feminist in me. And he goes on to rap, “Where the respect? Is your a** human?” I share Champion’s frustration. I don’t think there’s any excuse for sexual harassment or rape. And I don’t like getting political, but some of the dumbest, most ignorant comments about rape have come from the mouths of politicians, men in power, men with influence, men. Champion ends the verse by expressing his frustrations with a death threat to any potential rapists and sexual harassers. My best advice to men like that is to heed Champion’s words:”Respect my mother, ‘spect my sister, ‘spect these women, boy.”

As a woman who has experienced some of the things that Matt Champion raps about, this song has a special meaning to me. A personal meaning. The line that I use in the subtitle of today’s blog is actually from Brockhampton’s song “Gold” from their album Saturation but I felt that it really applied to the subject at hand. I actually wrote a poem recently in dedication to all those who participated and also to those who were spiritually a part of the #MeToo. It’s entitled “A History of Touch” and I’ll be performing it at Obscura’s Open Mic Night next week Wednesday on November 29th. You should come through and see me and all the other amazing performers. Also, don’t forget to give Brockhampton’s “Junky” a listen and while you’re at it their whole discography (keep an eye out for Saturation III).

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier

Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts, Homepage

Time to Re-tune

As November comes to an end, most of us are preparing for Thanksgiving. We buy tons of food and sweets and look forward to spending our day off with our family. Our family and friends are important; they are the people who constantly impact our lives, and each Thanksgiving I am appreciative that I get to spend my day with them. While I become excited each year to spend time with my family, I always dread the black Friday sales the day after. As someone who works in retail, I cannot begin to describe my shock each year when people line up outside stores at the crack of dawn less than a day after they spend an entire day being thankful and appreciative for everything in their lives.

We spend our Thanksgiving appreciating everything we have, how then has black Friday become one of the biggest sale days in the year? It is saddening that instead of valuing time with one’s family, people are rushing and strategizing where to start shopping and how early they need to arrive in order to secure a decent spot on the long waiting lines. William Wordsworth’s poem “The World is Too Much With Us” reminds me that we need to learn to appreciate the real, living, and valuable things in life rather than focusing on material gains. In the poem the speaker states, “the world is too much with us; late and soon / getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; / little we see in Nature that is ours… / for this, for everything, we are out of tune.” The speaker of the poem draws attention to the notion that humans have lost their ability to appreciate the natural things in life and because of this humanity has become lost. This poem reminds me that we need to remember to appreciate the world and the people around us because they are the things of true value, not material items.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away; I hope you all have a wonderful day spent being thankful for the phenomenal people that are in your life. While black Friday deals are great, there is nothing greater than living in the moment and being able to spend an entire day off with your loved ones while eating delicious food. As the speaker in Wordsworth’s poem “The World Is Too Much With Us” states, “we are out of tune;” hopefully, this Thanksgiving brings the world back into tune with the important things in life.

 

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Posted in Homepage

Thank You, Ms. Dickinson

THANKSGIVINGTUESDAYWITHHARDIK:

A Quiet Passion

(dir. Terence Davies)

Thank you, Ms. Dickinson.


Emily Dickinson is immortal, a sea. Her revolution: the quiet and the gushing of her poetry. She is one that could not be discouraged, not toward her poetry. Constantly flowing. When one dispiriting publisher Thomas Wentworth Higginson tried, she wrote:

I smile when you suggest that I delay “to publish” –– that being foreign to my thought, as Firmament to Fin.

If fame belonged to me, I could not escape her –– if she did not, the longest day would pass me on the chase –– and the approbation of my Dog, would forsake me –– then. My Barefoot-Rank is better.

You think my gait “spasmodic.” I am in danger, Sir.

You think me “uncontrolled.” I have no Tribunal. . . .

The Sailor cannot see the North, but the Needle can.

The Needle can. Ms. Dickinson knew to let her poems be the Needle, the informer of her fate.

During her lifetime when not even a dozen of her 1775 poems was published, she kept writing. These that were published were considerably altered, kept anonymous, to suit the convention that Ms. Dickinson was not, still she kept writing. Higginson claimed he altered the four poems “to make (her) meaning clearer to the reader”; now, anyone messing with her punctuations, she did not endure: “Clarity is one thing, sir, Obviousness quite another,” she told him, “The only person qualified to interfere with the poet’s work is the poet herself.” How was that to put a pause to her flow? Ms. Dickinson went on with her writing.

Death and Immortality were recurring themes in her poems. After she died of Bright’s disease in 1886, her younger sister, Lavinia (‘Vinnie’ to her), found a collection of her works and set out to get them published. Four years later, a 115 of her poems were published, altered however. Emily Dickinson has remained immortal ever since.

Terence Davies’s A Quite Passion is quite aware of the genius Ms. Dickinson is, the poetry she is. Cynthia Nixon plays Emily Dickinson, and one is thankful she does, because no one else could, not with the same voice and quiet. Instead of employing voice-overs, the movie employs Ms. Nixon’s recitations of Ms. Dickinson’s poetry. It’s a needle effect, inspire silent tears.

While one might not have been there to thank Ms. Dickinson for her poems, personally or in letters, it befits that the movie reminds us to thank her, her poems and biographies let us thank her.


My favorite of her poems remains: Because I could not stop for Death (479).


This Thanksgiving, thank an artist who did not hear your THANKS she deserved, in her lifetime.

~ Hardik Yadav

 

(Illustration by Antoine Maillard for The New Yorker)