Art Gallery 360 of Northeastern University

Art Gallery 360 of Northeastern University

viejo-balcón-machicao     Gallery 360 is a place full of artistic atmosphere; it displays many creative and diversified contemporary artworks by Northeastern students and faculties all year round. The gallery is located on the aisle of the second floor, which between the Curry Student Center and the Ell Building. Visitors may find it easily, taking stairs to the second floor of the Curry Student Center. The gallery opens from 10 am to 7 pm, Monday through Saturday (Northeastern University Creates, 2007, para.3). Upon entering the art world, the iridescent and colorful paintings that are hanging on the corridor wall will be the most eye-catching works; and then, through the pellucid glass wall, the main gallery brings some unique sculptures with profound meanings to all visitors.

“Alive, The Legacy”, which is one of the themes of the current art exhibition, painted by the members of the Latino Cultural Organization. According to Gallery 360 official website, those artists express an extremely deep “connection” with “their ancestral past” and present with contemporary way (2012, para.5). As showing in the main gallery, the “Twenty Seven Figures and a Warthog” is another theme. All 27 exquisite sculptures were carved out of wood, reflecting the “primitive” part of human natural instincts (2012b, para.3).

However, some people may think most of the paintings seem to be abstract or hard to understand. For instance, the oil painting, called “Duality”, is composed of geometrical lines and dark colors; the monochromatic oil painting “Ancestors on Ochres” has a highly simple composition. But they will completely change their mind until they get a glimpse of the biggest, gorgeous color painting- “Shared Corner”.

There are two aspects of “Shared Corner” that is worth people to explore. Firstly, this is in stark contrast to other works, not only because it has the biggest size but also because it represents a scene of historical reality. The artist, Persi Narvaez, used smooth and flowing strokes to deliver a sense of history. Every pillar or eave embodies the corner has gone through many changes and fixes. Secondly, in some cases, the artist used his painting brush, putting all color blocks together just as working on a puzzle. Some pieces of the puzzle are rounded, some are quadrate; but when Persi Narvaez put them together, all pieces of the puzzle became a marvelous artwork. Persi Narvaez has shown his great passion about color to everyone and the longing for a real and simple life.

To put it briefly, the gallery collects many outstanding artworks that created by  local artists. The enlightening art exhibit that on display at the gallery welcomes everyone who is interested in contemporary painting and sculpture.

References

Northeastern University Creates. (2007). Gallery 360. Retrieved from Northeastern University, Boston, Northeastern Creates website: http://www.northeastern.edu/northeasterncreates/gallery360/index.html

Northeastern University Creates. (2012). About the Current Exhibit. Retrieved from Northeastern University, Boston, Northeastern Creates website: http://www.northeastern.edu/northeasterncreates/gallery360/currentexhibit.html

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Cultural Understanding between Chinese and American Film Industries

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On February 17, 2012, the Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, ratified a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden in Los Angeles; the agreement would allow 50% more American films to be shown in China. As a consequence, it will provide a dramatic enhancement of the revenues of U.S. film studios (Finke, par. 1). I felt so excited at first because I expected more varieties of movies that differ from “Transformers” or “Spiderman” to have access to Chinese audiences for a long time. Whereas, when I continued to read some articles related to this one, it says the pact only emphasizes the amount of 3D, IMAX and other similar format movies, which prefer to be commodity rather than art, will increase by an extra 14 films each year (Waxman, par. 5). The Chinese film industry should import more American movies with profound implications and deeper inspiration, rather than those which just depend on high-tech and stereotyped plots. The current impact of globalization between Chinese and American film industries does not improve cultural understanding. It even makes some Chinese filmmakers lose their own “cultural heritage and cultural identity” (Johnson 414); Hollywood movies dominate the life of young Chinese. Many of them seem to value American culture which they’ve learned from the cinema more powerfully than their own traditional culture.

The Chinese film industry had gradually released its market to foreign countries since 2001, when China joined the WTO. In the meantime, it has brought a significant impact to the indigenous filmmakers; they have to face the most challenging competitor around the world and try to find a way out. Admittedly, Hollywood is equipped with the most advanced filmmaking techniques and it is adept at producing big-budget movies; this is exactly what the Chinese filmmakers need, but these kinds of pressure made many of them too anxious for success. They have been imitating Hollywood’s shooting style. For instance, “The Promise”, which was directed by one of the best-known Chinese directors, Chen Kaige in 2005, was the biggest budget film at that time in China. It is seen as the lowest rated film in history, although it cost 30 million dollars and was made in cooperation with many international action directors, photographers and actors (Kozo, par. 1). At the outset of the production, Chen wanted to combine Kung-Fu features that belong to traditional Chinese culture, with dazzling high-tech effects that indicate classic Hollywood style, together to expand the audience base on worldwide dimension. As can be seen from the results, simply depended upon a huge amount of capital investment to imitate Hollywood-filming approaches does not get the same profits. Even worse, some Chinese filmmakers are gradually losing their own “cultural heritage and cultural identity” (Johnson 414). They think imitating Hollywood blockbusters is more profitable and more likely to succeed, while the domestic film industry is picking up the pace to enter a dimension of globalization.

Another example could be the black comedy film “Crazy Stone” which was shown in 2006. In spite of the 400 thousand dollars low-budget and cast of unknowns, it earned a 3-million dollar box office in China (McMillin, par. 1). After it had gained immense profits, several movie critics asserted that the whole story was based on the masterpiece comedy “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”, which was directed by the globally renowned British director, Guy Ritchie. More attention was placed on the immoral borrowing of the plot at that time within the Chinese film industry. In spite of how successful it did in box office, the suspicion still reflected the lack of originality of Chinese filmmakers. However, Ang Lee, who is the first Chinese Oscar-winning director, claims his secret of success is that Chinese movies should retain the inherited traditional character types. You are still perceived as imitating other’s work, regardless of how Hollywood-like your movies (“Ang Lee”, par. 6-7). Increasing cultural imposition through imported films is swallowing Chinese filmmakers’ creativeness and competitiveness. No one will understand Chinese culture better than China’s own screenwriters or directors. So those indigenous professional people should not undermine the power of domestic culture and should make full use of local advantages, instead of imitating Hollywood’s shooting approaches or plots.

Contemporary Chinese youth are dominated by 3D and IMAX films; they rarely choose low-budget homegrown Chinese films. Although there is a strict quota of imported films controlled by the Chinese government, China still represents the most promising international market for Hollywood film studios. In 2011, ten of the highest-grossing movies in China, six of them were produced in the US. “Transformers 3”, “Kung-Fu Panda” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” led the incredible box office revenues; each of them could take in 100 million dollars in China (Waxman, par. 13). With regard to the young generation, visual effects and audio effects are decisive for choosing a movie. When they decide to watch a movie, the first choice will be 3D or an IMAX Hollywood blockbuster, such as “Transformers 3”. It is not an exaggeration to say that most of the young people already know all the specific information about a Hollywood film, even before the film has finished its final cut (Zhu and Rosen 59). Compared with some Chinese independent films, which have fewer movie stars or spend less money on advertising, the remarkable and fantastic posters of Hollywood films are much more attractive to Chinese youth. The agreement, which was signed by the two national vice-presidents, not only indicates the US has won 14 additional 3D or IMAX films, but also provides a bigger chance to exert American cultural influence on Chinese youth. A college student explains why they only favor Hollywood movies, according to a Chinese TV report. Students always get a lot of assignments to do, readings and writings engage most of their spare time; therefore, they would rather watch some funny and less thought-provoking films than some serious instructive films. I think young people are the future and hope of a nation and their cultural value is directly related to the prosperity of the nation. If they worship American culture more than anything else, then traditional Chinese culture will not last for long. Similarly, no one wants to have his or her national culture replaced by another culture.

In contrast, some critics argue that the impact of globalization on the film industry “has brought new possibilities of pleasing everyone” (Johnson 414). Since Hollywood movies are allowed to be shown in Mainland China, they increased the competitiveness and openness of the Chinese film industry; Chinese audiences also have an enhanced understanding of American culture. On the other hand, some Chinese-language films have done well at the box office in the US market and other parts of the world, such as “Hero” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. Despite the cultural and linguistic obstacle, many American people have accepted Chinese culture by watching those Chinese films.

While, the production in China has reached more than 500 films every year (Hays, par. 37), the Chinese films that are exported to the US are extremely few. This imbalance cannot stimulate a healthy competitive environment and reasonable cultural understanding among the two nations’ film industries. In addition, even though there are some Chinese films that can be shown in the US, they rarely create international influence or are appreciated by American people. “Hero” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” are rare successes. They may not suffice to facilitate mutual understanding and achieve equal exchange. A famous Chinese director, Zhang Yimou, confesses that Hollywood films do challenge their domestic films a lot; many big-budget and all-star cast Chinese films still failed in foreign markets, because foreign audiences cannot understand and be touched by the stories (Hays, par. 50). As Zhang says, the unilateral exchange between the two countries will take a long time to overcome. So the current impact of globalization on the two nation’s film industries does not increase cultural understanding.

In terms of the recent landmark agreement that signed by Chinese Vice President, Xi Jinping, the US film studios will pour in more and more films with commercial purpose and boost Chinese audiences swarming into cinemas to watch those unrealistic stories. Filmmakers and the young generation are the essential components of the Chinese film industry. If both of them are swallowed up by Hollywood, how will Chinese culture have the chance to be shown in foreign countries? And how can the two film industries achieve mutual understanding? Since globalization began, cultural understanding has been always on the run.

Works Cited

“Ang Lee and Feng Xiaogang on Chinese Films Going International.” 23 Jun. 2006. 1 Aug. 2012 <http://english.cri.cn/3178/2006/06/23/60@105933.htm>.

Finke, Nikki. “Reaction To Today’s U.S.-China Film Pact.” Deadline. 17 Feb. 2012. 1 Aug. 2012

<http://www.deadline.com/2012/02/reaction-to-todays-u-s-china-film-agreement/>.

Hays, Jeffrey. “Foreign Films in China and Chinese Films Abroad.” Factsanddetails. Mar. 2012. 1 Aug. 2012 < http://factsanddetails.com/china.php? Itemid=241&catid=7&subcatid=42 >.

Johnson, June. Global Issues, Local Arguments: Readings for Writing. Seattle:   Pearson Education Inc., 2009.

Kozo. “The Promise.” Love HK Film. 2005. 13 Aug. 2012 <http://www.lovehkfilm.com/reviews_2/promise.htm >.

McMillin, Calvin. “Crazy Stone.” Love HK Film. 2006. 13 Aug. 2012 <http://www.lovehkfilm.com/panasia/crazy_stone.htm&gt;.

Waxman, Sharon. “White House Gets China To Open Market to U.S. Movies        (Updated).” Reuters. 18 Feb. 2012. 1 Aug. 2012  <http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/18/idUS420251887620120218>.

Zhu, Ying, and Stanley Rosen. Art, Politics, and Commerce in Chinese Cinema.  Hong Kong: Ho

Local Food Systems Benefit Most People

The Case for White Bread

After watching the video presentation by Louise Fresco on TED called “The Case for White Bread”, I don’t quite agree with what she said, but I remember one question she asked: “How many of you can actually tell wheat apart from other cereals?”(Fresco). And I’m reminded of what my father used to say, when I was very little. He pointed to a large green field and asked me: “Can you make a distinction between wheat land and grassland?” I felt quite ashamed that I couldn’t answer this simple commonsense question. Because my father was born and grew up in rural, farming and nature have been an essential concept that deeply rooted in his heart. Nowadays, most of us buy food from a supermarket near our home. We rarely go and visit local farms. As a consequence, we have no idea how vegetables or fruits grow or what kind of fields they are planted in. I believe that it is crucial to move toward local food systems instead of keeping the current industrial agriculture. Rebuilding small-scale food systems can help most poor farmers who live in developing countries get rid of poverty and backwardness, retard climate change and environmental deterioration, and greatly enhance the connectedness between consumers and local food producer groups.

First of all, moving toward locally owned food systems can eliminate global hunger and poverty by increasing incomes for poor farmers. Surprisingly, the truth is that the majority of the world’s poor populations are dependent on agriculture, and 50 percent of the people who suffer from hunger are small-scale farmers (qtd. in Johnson 398). One reason that farmers who live in developing countries suffer is that the distribution of food prices returning to farmers is an exploitative trade. In China, the food prices sored 12 percent in 2007, but farmers’ living conditions and incomes did not change at all. However, a food dealer said the truth: from procurement, processing to marketing each of the middlemen captured a high profit but not farmers (Xinhua news, par. 7). This phenomenon exists not only in most of the developing countries, but also in some First World nations. “Fifty years ago, farmers in Europe and North America received between 45-60 percent of the money that consumers spent on food” (Pretty par.8), but now, that proportion has plummeted to just 7 percent in the UK and 3.5 percent in the USA (Pretty par.8). Another reason is that highly concentrated supermarket chains always offer consumers lower prices while destroying locally owned food stores. As a consequence, poor farmers who owned retail stores lost their jobs and lands gradually. They lack adequate money to make a living and they struggle with financial difficulties. As long as farmers do not have to compete with multinationals and supermarket chains, they will gain great benefits.

Secondly, local food systems are greener than industrial agriculture. According to the video called “How I Fell in Love with a Fish”, Dan Barber said that they have been fishing the seas like they clear-cut forests for the past 50 years (Barber). Indeed, the problem is not only in the fishing industry, but also in many other industries. If we had grown food with fewer antibiotics or herbicides, the earth and ocean would not have been so contaminated. What’s more, most food travels hundreds, even thousands, of miles from farm to plate. As a result, transportation processes emit a large amount of carbonic-acid gases, which are leading to climate change (qtd. in Johnson 397). However, if we develop the local food systems, the shipping distances will not be as far as for industrial agriculture. Consumers will benefit from the freshest local foods, while we won’t need to worry about the potential for climate change.

Finally, creating a strong sense of connectedness between consumers and local food producer groups will help people understand nature better. People will notice that they could learn a lot from farmers’ markets. “Children will learn a carrot is not a glossy orange bullet that comes in a bag but is actually a root” (qtd. in Johnson 390). We could observe how vegetables grow and see what the real flavor of a fruit is. In a way, people are reestablishing the connection with nature through those fresh vegetables and their planters.

Some opponents argue, how could local food systems feed the whole world? Based on the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports, the world’s population has been estimated at more than 8 billion by 2030 (qtd. in Johnson 358). As the world’s population continues to boom, it seems that moving toward local food systems might not solve the basic problem. They argue the world hunger will last much longer, because local food systems cannot serve sufficient food to sustain lives.

However, the fact is that the world has produced enough food to more than feed the world. “Because of gross inequalities in distribution, not tonnage makes one billion people go hungry even today” (Barber). The problem that causes huge amounts of people to suffer hunger is the unfairness of the global food trade system, as Dan Barber said, there is not too little food. What’s more, neither science nor technology is a panacea for world hunger. In order to solve this problem, we have to figure out a better distribution system. Local food systems are a way to increase farmers’ incomes and distribute consumers’ money more fairly.

In a word, moving toward a local food system has many benefits. Farmers could get the benefits they deserved, making trade equal and reasonable; environment and resources could be developed sustainably; consumers could get more chance of communicating with local food growers and learning from nature.

Works Cited

Barber, Dan. “How I Fell In Love With A Fish.” TED.com. Mar. 2010. 4 Jul. 2012 <http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_how_i_fell_in_love_with_a_fish.html?quote=661>.

Fresco, Louise. “How to Feed the Whole World the Case for White Bread.” TED.com.  Feb. 2009. 8 July. 2012. <http://blog.ted.com/2009/05/08/how_to_feed_the/>.

Johnson, June. Global Issues, Local Arguments: Readings for Writing. Pearson Education, Inc. 2009.

Pretty, Jules. “Some Benefits and Drawbacks of Local Food Systems.” 2 Nov. 2001. 4 Jul. 2012 < http://www.sustainweb.org/pdf/afn_m1_p2.pdf>.

Xinhua news. Xinhuanet.com Sep 2. 2007. Jul 5. 2012. <http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2007-09/02/content_6647588.htm&gt;.

 

Movie “Philadelphia”

philadelphia-movie-poster-1993-1010471485Movie “Philadelphia” tell us a story that a person with HIV/AIDS fought for rights. “The movie signaled a shift in Hollywood films toward more realistic depictions of gays and lesbians.” (Philadelphia. Dir. Jonathan Demme. Perf. Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington. TriStar Pictures, 1993.)

In this film, Andrew was infected with AIDS because of homosexuality. He was considered demoralization and dismissed by his boss. Consequently, he started to sue his former firm for wrongful termination and to fight the bigotry faced by people with AIDS. (Maslin, 1993) There are some movie plots I would like to share with you. Joe Miller refused to act as Andrew’s defender at first. His homophobia derived from a hostile social environment for homosexuals as ordinary people. Andrew was discriminated against by the librarian and the public, when he was looking for case analysis about the “AIDS discrimination”. The story is not complicated, but an ethical issue has been raised in the United States. What attitude to take towards the people with AIDS? It is a widely accepted principle that people with AIDS need our love, care and help. Some viewers might be uncomfortable during the scene when Andrew was dancing with Miguel. That is because homosexual was disgraced by mainstream society even in the United States. Those viewers would be shamed by the couple’s behavior.In the film, Andrew and his partner Miguel have not been given unequal treatment from his family. There is a dialogue between family members. Andrew’s father: “We’re incredibly proud of you.” Andrew’s mother: “You get in there and you fight for your rights.” Andrew: “Gee, I love you guys.” (Maslin, 1993) And I clearly remember at the end of the movie, when he laying in the bed, his mother said: “Goodbye, my angel, my sweet boy.” Fortunately, Andrew had a warm family, and the family support gave him great strength and courage.

However, discrimination and prejudice remain problems. The film ended in such a sad and helpless way. Thankfully, the filmmaker, Jonathan Demme, was not afraid to evoke this social issue to which little political attention has been paid. I believe that it could be regarded as a symbol of social progress.

 

 

Reference:

Maslin, J. (1993). Review/Film: Philadelphia; Tom Hanks as an AIDS Victim Who Fights the Establishment. December 22, 1993. Retrieved from http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F0CE1DC163CF931A15751C1A965958260

Hello from Ziyuan

Hello everyone,

My name is Ziyuan Wang. I am from Beijing, China. I graduated in July 2011 from Capital University of Economics and Business with a BS in Economics. And I’ve been in Boston for almost 18 months. This is my last semester. My concentration is Multinational Commerce. Nice to meet you, and I appreciate everyone’s help.

Ziyuan
Thank you!
Ziyuan