Month: February 2013

Humanity and Nature are One – Segmento

Following from the world of advertising and persuasion of last week’s post, I want to present this provocative image courtesy of The Third Ray, a blog by Joe Zammit-Lucia. Mr. Zammit-Lucia is constantly interested in exploring connections between nature and culture beyond traditional labels of environmentalism and notions of “saving the planet”, and his blog focuses on the role of art in shaping “the cultural framework surrounding the sustainable development debate.” His most recent post takes a look at an image created by a Brazilian ad agency called Segmento. The campaign is titled “Humanity and Nature are One.” I like what Mr. Zammit-Lucia had to say about the concept behind the image:  Rather than the usual – and largely ineffective – environmental narrative of “Human vs Nature,” this campaign focuses on our inseparable inter-relatedness and inter-dependence. It tries to bring us closer to nature rather than to create artificial separation. What do you think? Are there any other messages from the image that speak to you?

Shan Shui Chinese Industrial Pollution

Past Meets Present: Shan Shui Environmental Art

Literally translated as “mountain water”, Shan Shui is a specific style of Chinese landscape art that rose to prominence in the 5th century during the Liu Song Dynasty (wikipedia). In the depiction of pristine rivers, ethereal mists, and hallowed mountains, the artist’s ultimate goal is to capture the ch’i, or vital breath, of the world around them. This ch’i must be caught even at the expense of realism, for if the artist misses it, they have lost the very essence of the landscape. In this way, Shan Shui paintings are only expressions of art, but also provide insight into how the artist, influenced by culture and society, views the natural world. I recently came across the work of a modern artist who sought to introduce modern human presence and impact into Shan Shui paintings. Commissioned by the China Environmental Protection Foundation, Yong Liang Yang utilizes the traditional art style in ads to promote awareness of major environmental problems. The paintings and the associated video highlight the effects of rapid industrialization and urbanization within a Chinese …

Ghibli Only Yesterday Safflower

Nostalgia Distilled: Ghibli’s Only Yesterday

I came across Studio Ghibli’s Only Yesterday (titled Omohide Poro Poro in Japan) at a time of transition in my life. Having just having graduated from school and secured a job in my field, I had hoped that the path forward was secure, certain. The hours were nice and the pay was good, but as time went on I felt a growing dissatisfaction I could not dismiss but could not articulate. Catching the film by chance on television one late night, I connected with the protagonist’s own yearning for something more in life. This resonance spanned the gulf between gender, culture, and life experience; her fictional journey of self-discovery inspired me to reflect honestly on my own life. How does the past shape my present identity? Am I satisfied with the course of my life? Am I courageous enough to pursue what makes me genuinely happy? After seeing the film again this year, I believe Only Yesterday is one of the finest animated films ever made. Quiet, intimate, and poignant, Isao Takahata’s masterpiece contains elements Studio Ghibli …

Brazil Wordle 1

Escape to Happiness and Insanity: Gilliam’s Brazil

Brazil is a mess of a movie in the best possible way. Terry Gilliam’s creation is wildly original and incredibly chaotic, blending elements of comedy and drama into an unforgettable piece of cinema. Visually extravagant and thematically dense, Brazil rewards observant and repeat viewers with a barrage of imagery and subtext ripe for speculation and analysis. A story with almost too much to say, I regard Brazil as one of the most memorable explorations into the absurdities and perils of modern society, and worthy of becoming an Ekostory.

Thoreau at Walden Word Cloud

Art Meets Philosophy: Porcellino’s Thoreau at Walden

The comic book is not the first medium that comes to mind for conveying the ideas of Henry David Thoreau, but it’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised. I stumbled upon Thoreau at Walden by John Porcellino at a small local bookstore several years ago and was immediately drawn to the thin tome. In this graphic novel, distilled passages are fused with a minimalistic art style to create a unique work that captures the essence of Thoreau’s physical and spiritual sojourn at Walden Pond. It has since become one of my favourite interpretations of the famous transcendentalist’s work, serving as a handy and accessible resource for Thoreau’s exploration into nature, culture, and self.