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Virtual Reality Takes On the Videoconference – WSJ

Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Sept. 18, 2016 10:06 p.m. ET

Get ready for your next conference callin virtual reality.

With equipment for virtual-reality viewing now on the consumer market, public tech companies and venture capitalists are exploring possible applications in everything from videogames to medicine. And some are betting that virtual-reality headsets could be the next big thing in business-meeting software, upending the dreaded videoconference call.

Some of virtual realitys potential as a meeting and collaboration tool is suggested in a video recently recorded at the NYU Media Research Lab. In the video, lab researchers strap on Samsung SSNHZ0.00% Gear VR headsets with antler-like sensors attached to thegoggles. The headsets usher the researchers into a virtual-realityenvironment in which they see digital avatars of themselves movingaround a simulated environment. Soon, using hand-held electronicwands, the researchers are drawing 3-D models together.

Ken Perlin, a computer-science professor at New York University anddirector of the research lab, has been studying collaboration inthe virtual world for the past two years, attempting to understandhow virtual reality might change societyincluding the workplace.

Of course were going to embrace any technology that makes us feel more connected, Prof. Perlin says.

A global survey of attitudes toward technology in the workplace suggests he may be right. The survey, in a report from Dell Inc., Intel Corp. INTC -0.05% and consultants Penn Schoen Berland, found that 57% ofemployees around the world prefer face-to-face conversations withcolleagues. But more than half said that better communicationstechnology could make such interactions obsolete in the future.Millennials particularly were open to using virtual- andaugmented-reality products at work, with 77% saying they would tryit.

Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford Universitys VirtualHuman Interaction Lab, says business calls using virtual-realitytechnology can offer many benefits over videoconferencing.

VR meetings will allow for nuanced nonverbal communicationproper eye contact, subtle cues such as interpersonal distance, and eventually virtual touch and smell (when desired), Prof. Bailenson writes in a recent email.

For most companies investing in the medium, virtual-reality meetings are still experimental. Employees from the Bank of Ireland BIR 0.00 % and National Grid NGG -0.16% PLC, the British utility, have tweeted about their earlysampling of virtual-reality meeting software. Mike Harlick, head ofthe Bank of Ireland Worklab, said to him it felt like the futureof collaboration.

Mr. Harlick told The Wall Street Journal that his firm has been experimenting with several virtual conferencing centers. He said he doesnt see virtual reality replacing video calls, but that it provides functions that other office collaboration tools do not offer. He said he thinks it will help his team be more effective in how they communicate.

In the context of office meetings you now have a whole virtual environment where you can co-create and interact, he wrote in an email. So you may have white boards on one wall, a shared document on another.

The National Grid employee who tweeted, David Goldsby, said a team he presented to was seriously impressed by the technology. However, he said the Wi-Fi in their hotel presented challenges. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Still, for many companies, experts say virtual-reality meetings may offer real improvements over the typical videoconference experience.

Some of the earliest adopters are in videogaming and the virtual-reality industry itself. Neil Glenister, founder of a London-based gaming company called 232Studios, says his team has typically conducted lengthy weekly groupmeetings on Skype. But the team, he says, is tired ofvideoconferencing. It doesnt make them feel as if they are in thesame room, he says, and they have trouble seeing each others handgestures.

Instead, Mr. Glenister and his team recently tried an app called vTime, which allows people to meet in virtual environments using avatars. From a menu of possible settings, Mr. Glenister and his employees chose to meet in a simulation of outer space.

At times, he says, they struggled to focus on work-related topics because they were distracted by the planets surrounding them.

Still, he says, that sense of presence was really good. The dynamics of the calls through Skype werent as friendly.

Skype, which is owned by Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.21% , didnt say if it has developed a virtual-realityapplication, but a spokesman says the company is testing the watersin augmented reality, a close cousin of virtual reality in which aviewer sees digital images imposed over real-world environments.Skype says it has developed an application for the HoloLens,Microsofts augmented-reality device that is currently onlyavailable to developers.

Something else that virtual reality provides that video calls typically dont: eye contact. Though theyre looking through their avatars eyes, participants in a virtual-reality meeting get the feeling they are making eye contact, says Eric Romo, chief executive of AltspaceVR Inc., a Redwood City,Calif., company that designs environments for virtual-realitymeetings using avatars. Some virtual-reality companies areexperimenting with eye-tracking technology that would allow thegoggles to better track users eye movements and convey even morerealistic eye contact.

In a typical video call, by contrast, a participant may think he or she is making eye contact, but to the other person they appear to be looking down. Instead of looking directly at each others image, you have to look into the camera for the other person to get the feeling you are looking into their eyes.

Other kinds of physical cues missing from most telecommunication may be incorporated into virtual-reality calls as well. While arms are frequently out of sight in video chats when people are sitting close to the camera, some virtual-reality headsets are able to capture arm and hand gestures that are then imitated by an avatar. Participants can get visual insights into group dynamics, as well, such as how close certain avatars stand to one another.

There are all these nonverbal cues we have physically that we dont have in [most] communication technologies except for VR, Mr. Romo says.

One of the biggest challenges today for companies creating meeting spaces in virtual reality is to make avatars that realistically capture and instantly reflect the users emotions. Some companies are putting transitional technologies, like emojis, into their virtual environments. But companies are experimenting with technologies that would allow avatars to capture facial expressions.

Another hurdle that technologists are addressing is capturing fine movements. With hand controllers, avatars can imitate simple gestures, like waving a hand. Researchers and businesses are pushing to capture finger movements.

Other impediments remain as well. Even if a person or a business invests in the equipment needed to hold a virtual-reality meeting, the equipment is still relatively rare. Others have to invest as well for meetings to be possible. Early headsets that use mobile phones also have very limited battery life, connectivity issues and can overheat.

If virtual-reality meetings do catch on, researchers are at odds over whether they will dramatically change the amount of business that people conduct in person. Prof. Bailenson says he believes that adoption of virtual-reality meetings will result in a major decline in commuting.

Prof. Perlin, meanwhile, says the impact of virtual-reality meetings will be similar to other communication technologies that have come before.

I think its important also to keep in mind when you look at historical trends, the more weve embraced new kinds of telecommunication media, things like Skype, the more weve traveled, he says. The more we feel connected to people, the more we want to physically be together.

Ms. Zakrzewski is a reporter in The Wall Street Journals San Francisco bureau. She can be reached at cat.zakrzewski@wsj.com.

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Virtual Reality Takes On the Videoconference – WSJ

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Ai Weiwei – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: September 11, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei in 2008

Ai Weiwei (Chinese: ; pinyin: i Wiwi, English pronunciation(helpinfo); born 28 August 1957 in Beijing) is a Chinese Contemporary artist and activist. His father’s side’s original surname is Jiang.[1][2][3] Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics.[4] As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called “tofu-dreg schools” in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.[5] In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, he was held for 81 days without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of “economic crimes”.[6]

Ai’s father was the Chinese poet Ai Qing,[7] who was denounced during the Anti-Rightist Movement. In 1958, the family was sent to a labour camp in Beidahuang, Heilongjiang, when Ai was one year old. They were subsequently exiled to Shihezi, Xinjiang in 1961, where they lived for 16 years. Upon Mao Zedong’s death and the end of the Cultural Revolution, the family returned to Beijing in 1976.[8]

In 1978, Ai enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy and studied animation.[9] In 1978, he was one of the founders of the early avant garde art group the “Stars”, together with Ma Desheng, Wang Keping, Huang Rui, Li Shuang, Zhong Acheng and Qu Leilei. The group disbanded in 1983,[10] yet Ai participated in regular Stars group shows, The Stars: Ten Years, 1989 (Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong and Taipei), and a retrospective exhibition in Beijing in 2007: Origin Point (Today Art Museum, Beijing). In 2014, Ai had a piece named, “Illumination (2014) is housed in the old prison hospital, which looks and feels like the set of a horror film needing no embellishment. For this work, Ai has installed recordings of Tibetan and Native American chants in two psychiatric evaluation rooms, which are tiled chambers created for the observation of mentally ill patients. In these cramped rooms, the rhythmic noisesspiritual, strong, and culturally significantcontrast with the shiny mint-colored walls. The mix of clinical and consciousness is startling, bringing presence to a place that even when it was open and functioning was meant to reduce human to subject. Both haunting and aesthetically delightful, this ambitious exhibition exposes issues of freedom of speech and human rights by creating artistic possibility within and about a broken system. Giving a collective voice to silenced dissidents might just prompt newly sympathetic ears.”[11]

Ai Weiwei came top of Londons paid exhibitions list in 2015 with 4,335 visitors a day at the Royal Academy of Arts.[12]

From 1981 to 1993, he lived in the United States, mostly in New York City.[10] He studied briefly at Parsons School of Design.[14] Ai attended the Art Students League of New York from 1983 to 1986, where he studied with Bruce Dorfman, Knox Martin and Richard Pousette-Dart.[15] He later dropped out of school, and made a living out of drawing street portraits and working odd jobs. During this period, he gained exposure to the works of Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns, and began creating conceptual art by altering readymade objects.

Ai befriended beat poet Allen Ginsberg while living in New York, following a chance meeting at a poetry reading where Ginsberg read out several poems about China. Ginsberg had travelled to China and met with Ai’s father, the noted poet Ai Qing, and consequently Ginsberg and Ai became friends.[16]

When he was living in the East Village (from 1983 to 1993), Ai carried a camera with him all the time and would take pictures of his surroundings wherever he was. The resulting collection of photos were later selected and is now known as the New York Photographs.[17]

At the same time, Ai became fascinated by blackjack card games and frequented Atlantic City casinos. He is still regarded in gambling circles as a top tier professional blackjack player according to an article published on blackjackchamp.com.[18][19][20]

In 1993, Ai returned to China after his father became ill.[21] He helped establish the experimental artists’ Beijing East Village and co-published a series of three books about this new generation of artists with Chinese curator Feng Boyi: Black Cover Book (1994), White Cover Book (1995), and Gray Cover Book (1997).[22]

In 1999, Ai moved to Caochangdi, in the northeast of Beijing, and built a studio house his first architectural project. Due to his interest in architecture, he founded the architecture studio FAKE Design, in 2003.[23] In 2000, he co-curated the art exhibition Fuck Off with curator Feng Boyi in Shanghai, China.[24]

Ai is married to artist Lu Qing,[25] and has a son from an extramarital relationship.[26]

In 2005, Ai was invited to start blogging by Sina Weibo, the biggest internet platform in China. He posted his first blog on 19 November. For four years, he “turned out a steady stream of scathing social commentary, criticism of government policy, thoughts on art and architecture, and autobiographical writings.”[27] The blog was later shut down by Sina on 28 May 2009 due to its popularity and Weiwei’s outspoken attitude on events such as the Sichuan earthquake and the Beijing Olympic Games. Since then he has turned to Twitter and writes prolifically over the platform, claiming at least 8 hours online every day. He tweets almost exclusively in Chinese on the account @aiww.[citation needed] As of 31 December 2013, Ai has declared that he would stop tweeting but the account remains active in forms of retweets and Instagram posts.

He also supported the Amnesty petition for Iranian filmmaker Hossein Rajabian and his brother, musician Mehdi Rajabian and released the news on his Twitter pages.[28][bettersourceneeded]

Ten days after the 8.0-magnitude earthquake took place in Sichuan province on 12 May 2008, Ai led a team to survey and film the post-quake conditions in various disaster zones. In response to the government’s lack of transparency in revealing names of students who perished in the earthquake due to substandard school campus constructions, Ai recruited volunteers online and launched a “Citizens’ Investigation” to compile names and information of the student victims. On 20 March 2009, he posted a blog titled “Citizens’ Investigation” and wrote: “To remember the departed, to show concern for life, to take responsibility, and for the potential happiness of the survivors, we are initiating a “Citizens’ Investigation.” We will seek out the names of each departed child, and we will remember them.”[29]

As of 14 April 2009, the list had accumulated 5,385 names.[30] Ai published the collected names as well as numerous articles documenting the investigation on his blog which was shut down by Chinese authorities in May 2009.[31] He also posted his list of names of schoolchildren who died on the wall of his office at FAKE Design in Beijing.[32]

Ai suffered headaches and claimed he had difficulty concentrating on his work since returning from Chengdu in August 2009, where he was beaten by the police for trying to testify for Tan Zuoren, a fellow investigator of the shoddy construction and student casualties in the earthquake. On 14 September 2009, Ai was diagnosed to be suffering internal bleeding in a hospital in Munich, Germany, and the doctor arranged for emergency brain surgery.[33] The cerebral hemorrhage is believed to be linked to the police attack.[34][35]

According to the Financial Times, in an attempt to force Ai to leave the country, two accounts used by him had been hacked in a sophisticated attack on Google in China dubbed Operation Aurora, their contents read and copied; his bank accounts were investigated by state security agents who claimed he was under investigation for “unspecified suspected crimes”.[36]

In November 2010, Ai was placed under house arrest by the Chinese police. He said this was to prevent the planned party marking the demolition of his newly built Shanghai studio.[37]

The building was designed and built by Ai upon encouragement and persuasion from a “high official [from Shanghai]” as part of a new cultural area designated by Shanghai Municipal authorities; Ai would have used it as a studio and to teach architecture courses. But now Ai has been accused of erecting the structure without the necessary planning permission and a demolition notice has been ordered, even though, Ai said, officials had been extremely enthusiastic, and the entire application and planning process was “under government supervision”. According to Ai, a number of artists were invited to build new studios in this area of Shanghai because officials wanted to create a cultural area.[38]

On 3 November 2010, Ai said the government had informed him two months earlier that the newly completed studio would be knocked down because it was illegal. Ai complained that this was unfair, as he was “the only one singled out to have my studio destroyed”. The Guardian reported Ai saying Shanghai municipal authorities were “frustrated” by documentaries on subjects they considered sensitive:[38] two of the better known ones featured Shanghai resident Feng Zhenghu, who lived in forced exile for three months in Narita Airport, Tokyo; another well-known documentary focused on Yang Jia, who murdered six Shanghai police officers.[39]

In the end, the party took place without Weiwei’s presence; his supporters feasted on river crab, an allusion to “harmony”, and a euphemism used to jeer official censorship. Ai was released from house arrest the next day.[40]

Like other activists and intellectuals, Ai was prevented from leaving China in late 2010. Ai suggested that the authorities wanted to prevent him from attending the ceremony in December 2010 to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to fellow dissident Liu Xiaobo.[41] Ai said that he had not been invited to the ceremony, and was attempting to travel to South Korea for a meeting when he was told that he could not leave for reasons of national security.[42]

In the evening of 11 January 2011, Ai’s studio was demolished in a surprise move by the local government.[43][44]

On 3 April 2011, Ai was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport just before catching a flight to Hong Kong and his studio facilities were searched.[45] A police contingent of approximately 50 officers came to his studio, threw a cordon around it and searched the premises. They took away laptops and the hard drive from the main computer; along with Ai, police also detained eight staff members and Ai’s wife, Lu Qing. Police also visited the mother of Ai’s two-year-old son.[46] While state media originally reported on 6 April that Ai was arrested at the airport because “his departure procedures were incomplete,”[47] the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on 7 April that Ai was arrested under investigation for alleged economic crimes.[48] Then, on 8 April, police returned to Ai’s workshop to examine his financial affairs.[49] On 9 April, Ai’s accountant, as well as studio partner Liu Zhenggang and driver Zhang Jingsong, disappeared,[50] while Ai’s assistant Wen Tao has remained missing since Ai’s arrest on 3 April.[51] Ai’s wife said that she was summoned by the Beijing Chaoyang district tax bureau, where she was interrogated about his studio’s tax on 12 April.[52]South China Morning Post reports that Ai received at least two visits from the police, the last being on 31 March three days before his detention apparently with offers of membership to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. A staff member recalled that Ai had mentioned receiving the offer earlier, “[but Ai] didn’t say if it was a membership of the CPPCC at the municipal or national level, how he responded or whether he accepted it or not.”[52]

On 24 February, amid an online campaign for Middle East-style protests in major Chinese cities by overseas dissidents, Ai posted on his Twitter account: “I didnt care about jasmine at first, but people who are scared by jasmine sent out information about how harmful jasmine is often, which makes me realize that jasmine is what scares them the most. What a jasmine!”[53][54]

Analysts and other activists said Ai had been widely thought to be untouchable, but Nicholas Bequelin from Human Rights Watch suggested that his arrest, calculated to send the message that no one would be immune, must have had the approval of someone in the top leadership.[55] International governments, human rights groups and art institutions, among others, called for Ai’s release, while Chinese officials did not notify Ai’s family of his whereabouts.[56]

State media started describing Ai as a “deviant and a plagiarist” in early 2011.[57] The China Daily subsidiary, the Global Times editorial on 6 April 2011 attacked Ai, saying “Ai Weiwei likes to do something ‘others dare not do.’ He has been close to the red line of Chinese law. Objectively speaking, Chinese society does not have much experience in dealing with such persons. However, as long as Ai Weiwei continuously marches forward, he will inevitably touch the red line one day.”[58] Two days later, the journal scorned Western media for questioning Ai’s charge as a “catch-all crime”, and denounced the use of his political activism as a “legal shield” against everyday crimes. It said “Ai’s detention is one of the many judicial cases handled in China every day. It is pure fantasy to conclude that Ai’s case will be handled specially and unfairly.”[59] Frank Ching expressed in the South China Morning Post that how the Global Times could radically shift its position from one-day to the next was reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.[60]

Michael Sheridan of The Times suggested that Ai had offered himself to the authorities on a platter with some of his provocative art, particularly photographs of himself nude with only a toy alpaca hiding his modesty with a caption (“grass mud horse covering the middle”). The term possesses a double meaning in Chinese: one possible interpretation was given by Sheridan as: “Fuck your mother, the party central committee”.[61]

Ming Pao in Hong Kong reacted strongly to the state media’s character attack on Ai, saying that authorities had employed “a chain of actions outside the law, doing further damage to an already weak system of laws, and to the overall image of the country.”[57] Pro-Beijing newspaper in Hong Kong, Wen Wei Po, announced that Ai was under arrest for tax evasion, bigamy and spreading indecent images on the internet, and vilified him with multiple instances of strong rhetoric.[62][63] Supporters said “the article should be seen as a mainland media commentary attacking Ai, rather than as an accurate account of the investigation.”[64]

The United States and European Union protested Ai’s detention.[65] The international arts community also mobilised petitions calling for the release of Ai: “1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei” was organized by Creative Time of New York that calls for artists to bring chairs to Chinese embassies and consulates around the world on 17 April 2011, at 1pm local time “to sit peacefully in support of the artist’s immediate release.”[66][67] Artists in Hong Kong,[68] Germany[68] and Taiwan demonstrated and called for Ai to be released.[69]

One of the major protests by U.S. museums took place on 19 and 20 May when the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego organized a 24-hour silent protest in which volunteer participants, including community members, media, and museum staff, occupied two traditionally styled Chinese chairs for one-hour periods.[70] The 24-hour sit-in referenced Ai’s sculpture series, Marble Chair, two of which were on view and were subsequently acquired for the Museum’s permanent collection.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the International Council of Museums, which organised petitions, said they had collected more than 90,000 signatures calling for the release of Ai.[71] On 13 April 2011, a group of European intellectuals led by Vclav Havel had issued an open letter to Wen Jiabao, condemning the arrest and demanding the immediate release of Ai. The signatories include Ivan Klma, Ji Grua, Jchym Topol, Elfriede Jelinek, Adam Michnik, Adam Zagajewski, Helmuth Frauendorfer; Bei Ling (Chinese:), a Chinese poet in exile drafted and also signed the open letter.[72]

On 16 May 2011, the Chinese authorities allowed Ai’s wife to visit him briefly. Liu Xiaoyuan, his attorney and personal friend, reported that Wei was in good physical condition and receiving treatment for his chronic diabetes and hypertension; he was not in a prison or hospital but under some form of house arrest.[73]

He is the subject of the 2012 documentary film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, directed by American filmmaker Alison Klayman, which received a special jury prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and opened the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, North America’s largest documentary festival, in Toronto on 26 April 2012.[74]

On 22 June 2011, the Chinese authorities released Ai from jail after almost three months’ detention on charges of tax evasion.[75] Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. (Chinese: ), a company Ai controlled, had allegedly evaded taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents. State media also reports that Ai was granted bail on account of Ai’s “good attitude in confessing his crimes”, willingness to pay back taxes, and his chronic illnesses.[76] According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, he is prohibited from leaving Beijing without permission for one year.[77][78] Ai’s supporters widely viewed his detention as retaliation for his vocal criticism of the government.[79] On 23 June 2011, professor Wang Yujin of China University of Political Science and Law stated that the release of Ai on bail shows that the Chinese government could not find any solid evidence of Ai’s alleged “economic crime”.[80] On 24 June 2011, Ai told a Radio Free Asia reporter that he was thankful for the support of the Hong Kong public, and praised Hong Kong’s conscious society. Ai also mentioned that his detention by the Chinese regime was hellish (Chinese: ), and stressed that he is forbidden to say too much to reporters.[81]

After his release, his sister gave some details about his detention condition to the press, explaining that he was subjected to a kind of psychological torture: he was detained in a tiny room with constant light, and two guards were set very close to him at all times, and watched him constantly.[82] In November, Chinese authorities were again investigating Ai and his associates, this time under the charge of spreading pornography.[83][84] Lu was subsequently questioned by police, and released after several hours though the exact charges remain unclear.[85][86] In January 2012, in its International Review issue Art in America magazine featured an interview with Ai Weiwei at his home in China. J.J. Camille (the pen name of a Chinese-born writer living in New York), “neither a journalist nor an activist but simply an art lover who wanted to talk to him” had travelled to Beijing the previous September to conduct the interview and to write about his visit to “China’s most famous dissident artist” for the magazine.[87]

On 21 June 2012, Ai’s bail was lifted. Although he is allowed to leave Beijing, the police informed him that he is still prohibited from traveling to other countries because he is “suspected of other crimes,” including pornography, bigamy and illicit exchange of foreign currency.[88][89] Until 2015, he remained under heavy surveillance and restrictions of movement, but continues to criticize through his work.[90][91] In July 2015, he was given a passport and may travel abroad.[92]

In June 2011, the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau demanded a total of over 12 million yuan (US$1.85million) from Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd in unpaid taxes and fines,[93][94] and accorded three days to appeal the demand in writing. According to Ai’s wife, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd has hired two Beijing lawyers as defense attorneys. Ai’s family state that Ai is “neither the chief executive nor the legal representative of the design company, which is registered in his wife’s name.”

Offers of donations poured in from Ai’s fans across the world when the fine was announced. Eventually an online loan campaign was initiated on 4 November 2011, and close to 9 million RMB was collected within ten days, from 30,000 contributions. Notes were folded into paper planes and thrown over the studio walls, and donations were made in symbolic amounts such as 8964 (4 June 1989, Tiananmen Massacre) or 512 (12 May 2008, Sichuan earthquake). To thank creditors and acknowledge the contributions as loans, Ai designed and issued loan receipts to all who participated in the campaign.[95] Funds raised from the campaign were used as collateral, required by law for an appeal on the tax case. Lawyers acting for Ai submitted an appeal against the fine in January 2012; the Chinese government subsequently agreed to conduct a review.[96]

In June 2012, the court heard the tax appeal case. Ai’s wife, Lu Qing, the legal representative of the design company, attended the hearing. Lu was accompanied by several lawyers and an accountant, but the witnesses they had requested to testify, including Ai, were prevented from attending a court hearing.[97] Ai asserts that the entire matter including the 81 days he spent in jail in 2011 is intended to suppress his provocations. Ai said he had no illusions as to how the case would turn out, as he believes the court will protect the government’s own interests. On 20 June, hundreds of Ai’s supporters gathered outside the Chaoyang District Court in Beijing despite a small army of police officers, some of whom videotaped the crowd and led several people away.[98] On 20 July, Ai’s tax appeal was rejected in court.[99][100] The same day Ai’s studio released “The Fake Case” which tracks the status and history of this case including a timeline and the release of official documents.[101] On 27 September, the court upheld the 2.4million tax evasion fine.[102] Ai had previously deposited 1.33million in a government-controlled account in order to appeal. Ai said he will not pay the remainder because he does not recognize the charge.[103]

In October 2012, authorities revoked the license of Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd for failing to re-register, an annual requirement by the administration. The company was not able to complete this procedure as its materials and stamps were confiscated by the government.[104]

On 26 April 2014, Ai’s name was removed from a group show taking place at the Shanghai Power Station of Art. The exhibition was held to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the art prize created by Uli Sigg in 1998, with the purpose of promoting and developing Chinese contemporary art. Ai won the Lifetime Contribution Award in 2008 and was part of the jury during the first three editions of the prize.[105] He was then invited to take part in the group show together with the other selected Chinese artists. Shortly before the exhibition’s opening, some museum workers removed his name from the list of winners and jury members painted on a wall. Also, Ai’s works Sunflower Seeds and Stools were removed from the show and kept in a museum office (see photo on Ai Weiwei’s Instagram).[106] Sigg declared that it was not his decision and that it was a decision of the Power Station of Art and the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture.[105]

In May 2014, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, a non-profit art center situated in the 798 art district of Beijing, held a retrospective exhibition in honor of the late curator and scholar, Hans Van Dijk. Ai, a good friend of Hans and a fellow co-founder of the China Art Archives and Warehouse (CAAW), participated in the exhibition with three artworks.[107] On the day of the opening, Ai realized his name was omitted from both Chinese and English versions of the exhibition’s press release. Ai’s assistants went to the art center and removed his works.[108] It is Ai’s belief that, in omitting his name, the museum altered the historical record of van Dijk’s work with him. Ai started his own research about what actually happened, and between 23 and 25 May he interviewed the UCCA’s director, Philip Tinari, the guest curator of the exhibition, Marianne Brouwer, and the UCCA chief, Xue Mei.[107] He published the transcripts of the interviews on Instagram.[109][110][111][112][113][114][115][116][117] In one of the interviews, the CEO of the UCCA, Xue Mei, admitted that, due to the sensitive time of the exhibition, Ai’s name was taken out of the press releases on the day of the opening and it was supposed to be restored afterwards. This was to avoid problems with the Chinese authorities, who threatened to arrest her.[107]

Beijing video works

From 2003 to 2005, Ai Weiwei recorded the results of Beijings developing urban infrastructure and its social conditions.

2003, Video, 150 hours

Beginning under the Dabeiyao highway interchange, the vehicle from which Beijing 2003 was shot traveled every road within the Fourth Ring Road of Beijing and documented the road conditions. Approximately 2400 kilometers and 150 hours of footage later, it ended where it began under the Dabeiyao highway interchange. The documentation of these winding alleyways of the city center now largely torn down for redevelopment preserved a visual record of the city that is free of aesthetic judgment.

2004, Video, 10h 13m

Moving from east to west, Changan Boulevard traverses Beijings most iconic avenue. Along the boulevards 45-kilometer length, it recorded the changing densities of its far-flung suburbs, central business districts, and political core. At each 50-meter increment, the artist records a single frame for one minute. The work reveals the rhythm of Beijing as a capital city, its social structure, cityscape, socialist-planned economy, capitalist market, political power center, commercial buildings, and industrial units as pieces of a multi-layered urban collage.

2005, Video, 1h 6m

2005 Video, 1h 50m

Beijing: The Second Ring and Beijing: The Third Ring capture two opposite views of traffic flow on every bridge of each Ring Road, the innermost arterial highways of Beijing. The artist records a single frame for one minute for each view on the bridge. Beijing: The Second Ring was entirely shot on cloudy days, while the segments for Beijing: The Third Ring were entirely shot on sunny days. The films document the historic aspects and modern development of a city with a population of nearly 11 million people.

2007, video, 2h 32m[118]

This video is about Ai Weiwei’s project Fairytale for Europes most innovative five-year art event Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany in 2007: Ai Weiwei invited 1001 Chinese citizens of different ages and from various backgrounds to Germany to experience their own fairytale for 28 days. The 152 minutes film documents the whole process beginning with project preparations, over the challenge that the participants had to face until the actual travel to Germany, as well as the artists ideas behind the work. This is a work I emotionally relate to. It grows and it surprised me Ai Weiwei in Fairytale.

2008, video, 1h 18m[119]

On 15 December 2008, a citizens investigation began with the goal of seeking an explanation for the casualties of the Sichuan earthquake that happened on 12 May 2008. The investigation covered 14 counties and 74 townships within the disaster zone, and studied the conditions of 153 schools that were affected by the earthquake. By gathering and confirming comprehensive details about the students, such as their age, region, school, and grade, the group managed to affirm that there were 5,192 students who perished in the disaster. Among a hundred volunteers, 38 of them participated in fieldwork, with 25 of them being controlled by the Sichuan police for a total of 45 times. This documentary is a structural element of the citizens investigation.

2009, looped video, 1h 27m[120]

At 14:28 on 12 May 2008, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake happened in Sichuan, China. Over 5,000 students in primary and secondary schools perished in the earthquake, yet their names went unannounced. In reaction to the governments lack of transparency, a citizens investigation was initiated to find out their names and details about their schools and families. As of 2 September 2009, there were 4,851 confirmed. This video is a tribute to these perished students and a memorial for innocent lives lost.

2009, video, 48m[121]

This video documents the story of Chinese citizen Feng Zhenghu and his struggles to return home. The Shanghai authorities rejected Feng Zhenghu, originated from Wenzhou, Jiejiang, China, from returning to the country for a total of eight times in 2009. On 4 November 2009, Feng Zhenghu attempted to return home for the ninth time but the police from Shanghai used violence and kidnapped him to board a flight to Japan. Feng refused to enter Japan and decided to live in the Immigration Hall at Terminal 1 of the Narita Airport in Tokyo, as an act of protest. He relied on food gifts from tourists for sustenance and lived at a passageway in the Narita Airport for 92 days. He posted updates over Twitter, they attracted much concern and led to wide media coverage from Chinese netizens and international communities. On 31 January, Feng announced an end to his protest at the Narita Airport. On 12 February, Feng was allowed entry to China, where he reunited with his family at home in Shanghai. Ai Weiwei and his assistant Gao Yuan, went from Beijing to interview Feng Zhenghu three times at the Narita Airport of Japan on 16 November 20 November 2009 and 31 January 2010, and documented his life at the airport passageway and the entire process of his return to China. No country should refuse entry to its own citizens.

2009, video, 1h 19m[122]

Ai Weiwei studio production Laoma Tihua is a documentary of an incident during Tan Zuorens trial on 12 August 2009. Tan Zuoren was charged with inciting subversion of state power. Chengdu police detained witnessed during the trial of the civil rights advocate, which is an obstruction of justice and violence. Tan Zuoren was charged as a result of his research and questioning regarding the 5.12 Wenchuan students casualties and the corruption resulting poor building construction. Tan Zuoren was sentenced five years to prison.

2010, video, 3h[123]

In June 2008, Yang Jia carried a knife, a hammer, a gas mask, pepper spray, gloves and Molotov cocktails to the Zhabei Public Security Branch Bureau and killed six police officers, injuring another police officer and a guard. He was arrested on the scene, and was subsequently charged with intentional homicide. In the following six months, while Yang Jia was detained and trials were held, his mother has mysteriously disappeared. This video is a documentary that traces the reasons and motivations behind the tragedy and investigates into a trial process filled with shady cover-ups and questionable decisions. The film provides a glimpse into the realities of a government-controlled judicial system and its impact on the citizens lives.

2010, video, 2h 6m[124]

The future dictionary definition of crackdown will be: First cover ones head up firmly, and then beat him or her up violently. @aiww In the summer of 2010, the Chinese government began a crackdown on dissent, and Hua Hao Yue Yuan documents the stories of Liu Dejun and Liu Shasha, whose activism and outspoken attitude led them to violent abuse from the authorities. On separate occasions, they were kidnapped, beaten and thrown into remote locations. The incidents attracted much concern over the Internet, as well as wide speculation and theories about what exactly happened. This documentary presents interviews of the two victims, witnesses and concerned netizens. In which it gathers various perspectives about the two beatings, and brings us closer to the brutal reality of Chinas crackdown on crime.

2010, voice recording, 3h 41m[125]

On 24 April 2010 at 00:51, Ai Weiwei (@aiww) started a Twitter campaign to commemorate students who perished in the earthquake in Sichuan on 12 May 2008. 3,444 friends from the Internet delivered voice recordings, the names of 5,205 perished were recited 12,140 times. Remembrance is an audio work dedicated to the young people who lost their lives in the Sichuan earthquake. It expresses thoughts for the passing of innocent lives and indignation for the cover-ups on truths about sub-standard architecture, which led to the large number of schools that collapsed during the earthquake.

2010, video, 1h 8m[126]

The shooting and editing of this video lasted nearly seven months at the Ai Weiwei studio. It began near the end of 2007 in an interception organized by cat-saving volunteers in Tianjin, and the film locations included Tianjin, Shanghai, Rugao of Jiangsu, Chaoshan of Guangzhou, and Hebei Province. The documentary depicts a complete picture of a chain in the cat-trading industry. Since the end of 2009 when the government began soliciting expert opinion for the Animal Protection Act, the focus of public debate has always been on whether one should be eating cats or not, or whether cat-eating is a Chinese tradition or not. There are even people who would go as far as to say that the call to stop eating cat meat is “imposing the will of the minority on the majority”. Yet the “majority” does not understand the complete truth of cat-meat trading chains: cat theft, cat trafficking, killing cats, selling cats, and eating cats, all the various stages of the trade and how they are distributed across the country, in cities such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Rugao, Wuhan, Guangzhou, and Hebei. This well-organized, smooth-running industry chain of cat abuse, cat killing and skinning has already existed among ordinary Chinese folks for 20 years, or perhaps even longer. The degree of civilization of a country can be seen from its attitude towards animals.

2011, video, 1h 1m[127]

This documentary is about the construction project curated by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. One hundred architects from 27 countries were chosen to participate and design a 1000 square meter villa to be built in a new community in Inner Mongolia. The 100 villas would be designed to fit a master plan designed by Ai Weiwei. On 25 January 2008, the 100 architects gathered in Ordos for a first site visit. The film Ordos 100 documents the total of three site visits to Ordos, during which time the master plan and design of each villa was completed. Until today, the Ordos 100 project remains unrealized.

2011, video, 54m[128]

As a sequel to Ai Weiweis film Lao Ma Ti Hua, the film So Sorry (named after the artists 2009 exhibition in Munich, Germany) shows the beginnings of the tension between Ai Weiwei and the Chinese Government. In Lao Ma Ti Hua, Ai Weiwei travels to Chengdu, Sichuan to attend the trial of the civil rights advocate Tan Zuoren, as a witness. In So Sorry, you see the investigation led by Ai Weiwei studio to identify the students who died during the Sichuan earthquake as a result of corruption and poor building constructions leading to the confrontation between Ai Weiwei and the Chengdu police. After being beaten by the police, Ai Weiwei traveled to Munich, Germany to prepare his exhibition at the museum Haus der Kunst. The result of his beating led to intense headaches caused by a brain hemorrhage and was treated by emergency surgery. These events mark the beginning of Ai Weiweis struggle and surveillance at the hands of the state police.

2011, video, 2h 22m[129]

This documentary investigates the death of popular Zhaiqiao village leader Qian Yunhui in the fishing village of Yueqing, Zhejiang province. When the local government confiscated marshlands in order to convert them into construction land, the villagers were deprived of the opportunity to cultivate these lands and be fully self-subsistent. Qian Yunhui, unafraid of speaking up for his villagers, travelled to Beijing several times to report this injustice to the central government. In order to silence him, he was detained by local government repeatedly. On 25 December 2010, Qian Yunhui was hit by a truck and died on the scene. News of the incident and photos of the scene quickly spread over the internet. The local government claimed that Qian Yunhui was the victim of an ordinary traffic accident. This film is an investigation conducted by Ai Weiwei studio into the circumstances of the incident and its connection to the land dispute case, mainly based on interviews of family members, villagers and officials. It is an attempt by Ai Weiwei to establish the facts and find out what really happened on 25 December 2010. During shooting and production, Ai Weiwei studio experienced significant obstruction and resistance from local government. The film crew was followed, sometimes physically stopped from shooting certain scenes and there were even attempts to buy off footage. All villagers interviewed for the purposes of this documentary have been interrogated or illegally detained by local government to some extent.

2011, video, 1h 1m[130]

Early in 2008, the district government of Jiading, Shanghai invited Ai Weiwei to build a studio in Malu Township, as a part of the local government’s efforts in developing its cultural assets. By August 2010, the Ai Weiwei Shanghai Studio completed all of its construction work. In October 2010, the Shanghai government declared the Ai Weiwei Shanghai Studio an illegal construction, and was subjected to demolition. On 7 November 2010, when Ai Weiwei was placed under house arrest by public security in Beijing, over 1,000 netizens attended the “River Crab Feast” at the Shanghai Studio. On 11 January 2011, the Shanghai city government forcibly demolished the Ai Weiwei Studio within a day, without any prior notice.

2013, video, 1h 17m[131]

This video tells the story of Liu Ximei, who at her birth in 1985 was given to relatives to be raised because she was born in violation of Chinas strict one-child policy. When she was ten years old, Liu was severely injured while working in the fields and lost large amounts of blood. While undergoing treatment at a local hospital, she was given a blood transfusion that was later revealed to be contaminated with HIV. Following this exposure to the virus, Liu contracted AIDS. According to official statistics, in 2001 there were 850,000 AIDS sufferers in China, many of whom contracted the illness in the 1980s and 1990s as the result of a widespread plasma market operating in rural, impoverished areas and using unsafe collection methods.

2014, video, 2h 8m[132]

Ai Weiweis Appeal 15,220,910.50 opens with Ai Weiweis mother at the Venice Biennial in the summer of 2013 examining Ais large S.A.C.R.E.D. installation portraying his 81-day imprisonment. The documentary goes onto chronologically reconstruct the events that occurred from the time he was arrested at the Beijing airport in April 2011 to his final court appeal in September 2012. The film portrays the day-to-day activity surrounding Ai Weiwei, his family and his associates ranging from consistent visits by the authorities, interviews with reporters, support and donations from fans, and court dates. The Film premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam on 23 January 2014.

2015, video, 30m[133]

This documentary on the Fukushima Art Project is about artist Ai Weiweis investigation of the site as well as the project’s installation process. In August 2014, Ai Weiwei was invited as one of the participating artists for the Fukushima Nuclear Zone by the Japanese art coalition ChimPom, as part of the project Dont Follow the Wind . Ai accepted the invitation and sent his assistant Ma Yan to the exclusion zone in Japan to investigate the site. The Fukushima Nuclear Exclusion Zone is thus far located within the 20-kilometer radius of land area of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. 25,000 people have already been evacuated from the Exclusion Zone. Both water and electric circuits were cut off. Entrance restriction is expected to be relieved in the next thirty years, or even longer. The art project will also be open to public at that time. The three spots usable as exhibition spaces by the artists are all former residential houses, among which exhibition site one and two were used for working and lodging; and exhibition site three was used as a community entertainment facility with an ostrich farm. Ai brought about two projects, “A Ray of Hope” and “Family Album” after analyzing materials and information generated from the site. In “A Ray of Hope”, a solar photovoltaic system is built on exhibition site one, on the second level of the old warehouse. Integral LED lighting devices are used in the two rooms. The lights would turn on automatically from 7 to 10pm, and from 6 to 8am daily. This lighting system is the only light source in the Exclusion Zone after this project was installed. Photos of Ai and his studio staff at Caochangdi that make up project “Family Album” are displayed on exhibition site two and three, in the seven rooms where locals used to live. The twenty-two selected photos are divided in five categories according to types of event spanning eight years. Among these photos, six of them were taken from the site investigation at the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake; two were taken during the time when he was illegally detained after pleading the Tan Zuoren case in Chengdu, China in August 2009; and three others taken during his surgical treatment for his head injury from being attacked in the head by police officers in Chengdu; five taken of him being followed by the police and his Beijing studio Fake Design under surveillance due to the studio tax case from 2011 to 2012; four are photos of Ai Weiwei and his family from year 2011 to year 2013; and the other two were taken earlier of him in his studio in Caochangdi (One taken in 2005 and the other in 2006).

Ai’s visual art includes sculptural installations, woodworking, video and photography. “Ai Weiwei: According to What,” adapted and expanded by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden from a 2009 exhibition at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, was Ai’s first North American museum retrospective.[134] It opened at the Hirshhorn in Washington, D.C. in 2013, and subsequently traveled to the Brooklyn Museum, New York,[135] and two other venues.

More recent works address his investigation into the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake and responses to the Chinese government’s detention and surveillance of him.[136]

In 2002, he was the curator of the project Jinhua Architecture Park.

In 2006, Ai and HHF Architects designed a private residence in upstate New York.[137] According to the New York Times, the Tsai Residence is divided into four modules and the details are “extraordinarily refined”.[137][138] In 2009, the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design selected the home for its International Architecture Awards, one of the world’s most prestigious global awards for new architecture, landscape architecture, interiors and urban planning.[139] In 2010, Wallpaper magazine nominated the residence for its Wallpaper Design Awards category: Best New Private House.[140] A detached guesthouse, also designed by Ai and HHF Architects, was completed after the main house and, according to New York Magazine, looks like a “floating boomerang of rusty Cor-Ten steel.”[141]

In 2008, Ai curated the architecture project Ordos 100 in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. He invited 100 architects from 29 countries to participate in this project.[142]

Ai was commissioned as the artistic consultant for design, collaborating with the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, for the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics, also known as the “Bird’s Nest.”[143] Although ignored by the Chinese media, he had voiced his anti-Olympics views.[3] He later distanced himself from the project, saying, “I’ve already forgotten about it. I turn down all the demands to have photographs with it,” saying it is part of a “pretend smile” of bad taste.[144][145] In August 2007, he also accused those choreographing the Olympic opening ceremony, including Steven Spielberg and Zhang Yimou, of failing to live up to their responsibility as artists. Ai said “It’s disgusting. I don’t like anyone who shamelessly abuses their profession, who makes no moral judgment.”[146] In February 2008, Spielberg withdrew from his role as advisor to the 2008 Summer Olympics.[147][148] When asked why he participated in the designing of the Bird’s Nest in the first place, Ai replied “I did it because I love design.”[149]

In summer 2012, Ai teamed again with Herzog & de Meuron on a “would-be archaeological site [as] a game of make-believe and fleeting memory” as the year’s temporary Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens.[150][151]

On 24 October 2012, Ai went live with a cover of Gangnam Style,[152] the famous K-pop phenomenon by South Korean rapper PSY, through the posting of a four-minute long parody video on YouTube. The video was an attempt to criticize the Chinese government’s attempt to silence his activism and was quickly blocked by national authorities.

On 22 May 2013, Ai debuted his first single Dumbass over the internet, with a music video shot by cinematographer Christopher Doyle. The video was a reconstruction of Ai’s experience in prison, during his 81-day detention, and dives in and out of the prison’s reality and the guarding soldiers’ fantasies.[153] He later released a second single, Laoma Tihua, on 20 June 2013 along with a video on his experience of state surveillance, with footage compiled from his studio’s documentaries.[154] On 22 June 2013, the two-year anniversary of Ai’s release, he released his first music album The Divine Comedy.[155] Later in August, he released a third music video for the song Chaoyang Park, also included in the album.[156]

Ai is the Artistic Director of China Art Archives & Warehouse (CAAW), which he co-founded in 1997. This contemporary art archive and experimental gallery in Beijing concentrates on experimental art from the People’s Republic of China, initiates and facilitates exhibitions and other forms of introductions inside and outside China.[157] The building which houses it was designed by Ai in 2000.[158]

On 15 March 2010, Ai took part in Digital Activism in China, a discussion hosted by The Paley Media Center in New York with Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter) and Richard MacManus.[159] Also in 2010 he served as jury member for Future Generation Art Prize, Kiev, Ukraine; contributed design for Comme de Garcons Aoyama Store, Tokyo, Japan; and participated in a talk with Nobel Prize winner Herta Mller at the International Culture festival Litcologne in Cologne, Germany.

In 2011, Ai sat on the jury of an international initiative to find a universal Logo for Human Rights. The winning design, combining the silhouette of a hand with that of a bird, was chosen from more than 15,300 suggestions from over 190 countries. The initiative’s goal was to create an internationally recognized logo to support the global human rights movement.[98] In 2013, after the existence of the PRISM surveillance program was revealed, Ai said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”[99]

In 2012, Weiwei interviewed a member of the 50 Cent Party, a group of “online commentators” (otherwise known as sockpuppets) covertly hired by the Chinese government to post “comments favourable towards party policies and [intending] to shape public opinion on internet message boards and forums”.[160] Keeping Ai’s source anonymous, the transcript was published by the British magazine New Statesman on 17 October 2012, offering insights on the education, life, methods and tactics used by professional trolls serving pro-government interests.

Ai designed the cover for 17 June 2013 issue of Time magazine. The cover story, by Hannah Beech, is “How China Sees the World”.[161] TIME Magazine called it “the most beautiful cover we’ve ever done in our history.”[162]

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Trance (2013 film) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: September 10, 2016 at 5:30 am

Trance is a 2013 British psychological thriller film directed by Danny Boyle with a screenplay by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge from a story by Ahearne. The film stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, and Rosario Dawson. The world premiere of the film was held in London on 19 March 2013.

Simon (McAvoy), an art auctioneer, becomes an accessory to the theft of a paintingGoya’s Witches in the Airfrom his own auction house. When a gang attacks during an auction, Simon follows the house emergency protocol by packaging the painting. The gang’s leader Franck (Cassel) then takes the package from him at gunpoint. Simon attacks Franck, who delivers him a blow to the head that leaves him with amnesia. When Franck gets home, he discovers that the package contains only an empty frame. After ransacking Simon’s apartment and trashing his car, the gang kidnaps and unsuccessfully tortures him. But he has no memory of where he has hidden the painting. Franck decides to hire a hypnotherapist to try to help him remember.

Franck makes Simon choose a hypnotist from a directory, and he chooses a woman named Elizabeth Lamb (Dawson). As a first hypnotic exercise, Simon recalls where he put some car keys. Elizabeth exposes the gang’s plan to have her hypnotize him, and demands partnership. In a next hypnotic episode, under gang supervision, Simon remembers that, shortly after the blow to his head, he awoke alone. On finding the stolen painting hidden in his suit, he left the art gallery. Distracted by a phone text message, while crossing the road, he was hit by a red car. The female driver tried to take him to hospital. Simon, in a kind of memory fugue, believed the woman was Elizabeth, recalling that she had made him forget her. The gang tries violently to force Simon to remember where he put the painting, and that ends the hypnotic episode. When asked by Elizabeth about how he met Franck, Simon confesses that he has a gambling problem. Franck helped him pay his debts in exchange for his help in stealing the painting.

To help Simon recover from the violence, Elizabeth stays overnight in his apartment. In the morning, Simon dreams of Elizabeth’s having used a brain-scan behaviour-conditioning technique to erase an obsession that he had for her. Elizabeth tells Franck about that.

For the next step to recover the painting, Elizabeth tells Franck that she will sexually seduce Simon. Simon’s feelings for Elizabeth recur, gently this time. At the same time, Franck and Elizabeth have unanticipated sex, and she steals his pistol from his bedside drawer. Nate, a gang member, sees them together and warns Simon, who confronts Elizabeth with it. She responds by touching his erotic mindspot, related to Goya’s Nude Maja.

Remembering where the painting is, Simon goes with Franck and his associates to reveal the location, but overhears their plan to kill him. He calls Elizabeth and tells her that the painting is in a red car in a certain car park, and unable to leave Franck’s apartment, he returns and kills the gang members instead. After shooting Franck, Simon wakes up: this was all dream, and he still is in Elizabeth’s apartment. Elizabeth takes the car keys and goes to get the painting, leaving Franck’s pistol for Simon. While searching for Elizabeth, Simon finds Franck in her apartment. Nate and his associates intercept Elizabeth and bring her there. Franck takes Simon to get the painting, and as he kisses Elizabeth, she secretly passes three bullets into his mouth. On the elevator, Simon stops Franck with a fire extinguisher, and then with the pistol, now loaded with the three bullets. In the apartment, Nate prepares to rape Elizabeth. Heading back into the apartment, Simon shoots the three gang members. He takes the car keys from Elizabeth, and loads the pistol with the remaining three bullets. He takes Elizabeth to get the painting, and she tells him to let Franck come with them. With Franck driving, Simon leads them to a parking garage where the painting is.

They collect the red car and drive it to a safe warehouse. During the trip, Elizabeth reveals that Simon was previously a client of hers. He had a gambling addiction he wanted to fix. They started an affair, and she found his erotic mindspot. However, he became obsessed with her, and eventually abusive. Fearing for her life, she re-directed the hypnosis to make him forget her. This led him back into his gambling addiction, which as previously stated, caused him to go in debt and to try to pay it off by stealing a painting, with the help of Franck. Simon recalls that, after the heist, when he was hit by the red car and mistook the female driver for Elizabeth, he strangled her.

At the warehouse, in the car’s trunk, Elizabeth finds the painting and the body of the female driver. Simon, having at last remembered his past and wanting to forget, douses the car in fuel with Franck zip-tied to the steering wheel, sets it on fire and tells Elizabeth to run away with the painting. She runs away but promptly returns driving a truck which she drives into Simon, pinning him against the other car, and ultimately sending Simon, and the car Franck is trapped in, into the river.

Franck manages to escape, while it is implied that Simon is killed. The scene cuts to Franck swimming in his apartment while thinking of the event. He gets out of the pool and receives a package. He opens the package and finds an iPad that plays a video of Elizabeth talking about the painting, which is now hanging in her apartment. She reveals that when she hypnotized Simon to make him forget her, she also hypnotized him to go back into his gambling addiction and then try to steal a painting to pay off his debt. When this happened, he would instead give the painting over to Elizabeth. This explains why Simon took the painting away from Franck at the beginning and the text message he received before being hit by the car, which is revealed to be from Elizabeth telling Simon to deliver the painting to her. Elizabeth tells Franck that he can search for her and try to find her, but also gives him the option to forget the entire ordeal, and a button for an app called “Trance” appears as the video ends. Franck is shown debating whether to press the button just as the screen cuts to black.

After director Danny Boyle filmed Shallow Grave in 1994, Joe Ahearne sent the director his screenplay for Trance, seeking Boyle’s encouragement. Boyle thought that the project would be “quite difficult” for a beginning screenwriter. Ahearne later turned the script into a 2001 television movie.[5][6] Boyle never forgot it, and almost two decades after their original conversation he contacted Ahearne about turning it into a feature film.[7] Partially based on Ahearne’s 2001 British television film of the same name, Trance underwent script doctoring by screenwriter John Hodge marking the fifth motion picture collaboration between Hodge and Boyle.[8]

In May 2011, Michael Fassbender was cast as Franck but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.[9][10]Colin Firth was considered for the part before Cassel was cast.[11][12]Scarlett Johansson, Melanie Thierry, and Zoe Saldana were considered for the role that went to Dawson.[12][13]

McAvoy, who accepted the role in 2011, said that he almost turned down the part, while reading the script, because Simon seemed to be a victim, which didn’t interest him. He told NPR’s reporter Laura Sullivan, “And then I got about 15 or 20 pages in, and I started to sense that something else was coming in the character. And then something else did come. And then about every 10 pages, something else came. Until at the end, I was hunching at the bit, as we say in Scotland… It just means I was desperate…I was hungry to play this part.”[14]

Principal photography began in September 2011. After filming wrapped up, the film was placed on hold in order for Boyle to work on the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Post-production was then picked up again in August 2012.[15]

Boyle said that this is “the first time I put a woman at the heart of a movie.”[8] He also said that he originally intended to set the movie in New York City,[16] but it was filmed in London and in Kent instead, as Boyle’s Olympic ceremony duties meant he had to stay in the UK.[17]

On 4 January 2013, it was announced that Rick Smith of the band Underworld would be composing the music for the film.[18] Underworld previously contributed tracks to other Danny Boyle films, including Trainspotting (1996), A Life Less Ordinary (1997), The Beach (2000), and Sunshine (2007). About the collaboration, Smith said, “After finishing the Opening Ceremony, I hardly knew what day of the week it was. I took a month off work, off music, off everything. Exactly one month and three days after we said goodbye in the stadium, I received a text from Danny that said, ‘Do you ever want to hear from me again workwise and would that go as far as having a chat about Trance… Questions, questions.’ Two Minutes later I was on board.”[19] The soundtrack album for Trance was released in the United Kingdom on 25 March and in the United States on 2 April 2013.[19][20]

When asked by an interviewer about the secret of their 17-year-old creative partnership, Boyle joked, “He’s cheap.” Then, answering seriously, he said that they both like electronic music and that he doesn’t prescribe a sound for a scene, but lets Smith follow his own instincts.[21]

Boyle showed a teaser trailer and an extended version of an alternate ending at South by Southwest on 9 March 2013.[22][23] The entire film could not be screened at the festival, as is usually done, because the producing studio Path owned the rights to the world premire.[24] The world premire of the film was held in London on 19 March 2013.[25] The film saw general release on 27 March 2013 in the United Kingdom,[26] with a United States release date on 5 April 2013.[27]

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives a score of 68% based on reviews from 160 critics; the site’s consensus is: “As stylish as ever, director Danny Boyle seems to be treading water with the surprisingly thinly written Trance — but for fans of Boyle’s work, it should still prove a trippily entertaining distraction”.[28]Washington Post writer Michael O’Sullivan describes Boyle as “playing fast and loose with reality.”[29]

On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 based on reviews from film critics, the film has a rating score of 61% based on 37 reviews.[30]

Empire magazine in its review gave the film 4 out of 5 and called the film “a dazzling, absorbing entertainment which shows off Danny Boyle’s mastery of complex storytelling and black, black humour.”[31]Empire also ranked it 27 in its top 50 films of 2013.[32]

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Virtual reality opens world of possibilities for seniors

Posted: September 8, 2016 at 6:39 am

A startup calledRendeveris working towards a future where the physical limitations many seniors face wont prevent them from traveling virtually.

The men and women at the Brookdale Senior Living Community got to try out the companystechnology. Theydont need to leave the building to take a trip to the French countryside, soar through Yosemite National Park and explore the depths of the ocean, all thanks to the power of virtual reality.

MIT graduate students Dennis Lally and Reed Hayes are pioneering the use of this technology with seniors, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

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2016 is shaping up to be the year of virtual reality. Video games, Hollywood and media giants are embracing the technology and driving VR into th…

I feel for the people living inside these communities, that they dont have enough stimulation, Hayes said. They need to have a sense of wonder about the world again, they need to be curious, they need to be exploring. And when youre physically not able to do that by yourself, then virtual reality is a wonderful aid to provide that.

Much of the touring is done through Google Maps footage, but they also showcase 360-degree films.

Vanessa Rosenzweig has been living at the community for two years.

When I tour I ask a hundredquestions, Rosenzweig said, just like she does on actual tours in real life.

The experience is even more meaningful for seniors like Marion Keefe, who got the opportunity to return home.

Do you recognize your house? Lally asked.

Yeah. Well, wait a minute, Keefe said, putting her hands to her mouth, getting emotional. Oh, dont say that. Thats the most beautiful area in the world.

How virtual reality can change how you act toward others

You touched off her emotions. She felt something, Miller said.

Absolutely. Other people in the room felt it, Hayes said. And those were extremely powerful moments that 2D picture wont provide. It requires virtual reality, the immersive nature of it, to generate those emotions.

90 Lupin Way! Keefe exclaimed. Who did this?

In a follow-up interview, we asked Keefe about her experience, but she struggled to take us back to that precisemoment.

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Revenue from virtual and augmented reality could reach $120 billion by 2020, but what will the future of this advanced technology look like? CBS …

What does that tell you is happening? Miller asked Lally.

Its a spark. Without us bringing her there, she wouldnt have had those memories, she wouldnt have remembered the neighborhood that she walked in and the fact that her husband worked at the back of her house, Lally said. Virtual reality allows us to really spark that new memory.

But neurologist Gayatri Devi said thatwhile virtual reality does indeed have the power to stimulate, the brain is a complex organ that benefits from real connection.

Nothing can ever replace human touch and human interaction, Devi said. It needs to be able to feel the texture of theplace, it needs to be able to smell the place, it needs to be able to taste the place.

Abdus Shakur, a chef,said hes still got many traveling days ahead of him. But he was overjoyed to virtually visit a restaurant he opened in Berlin nearly two decades ago.

Thats seriously addictive, come on! Shakur said about the virtual reality experience. I could stay there just, you know, go wherever I want, without going anywhere.

Lally and Hayes plan to start offering their service to senior communities for an upfront fee plus a monthly subscription.

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Ayn Rand – Salon.com

Posted: September 2, 2016 at 6:00 am

The HBO show’s creator may or may not be a Randian, but a version of her philosophy runs through his body of work

Carl Barney has run a lucrative nonprofit education empire under the principles of the libertarian figurehead

The Uber model just doesn’t work for other industries. The price points always fail — and that’s a good thing

Yesterday, the House Speaker apologized for calling America’s impoverished “takers.” But he hasn’t changed a bit

Snyder working on an adaptation of Rand’s novel makes perfect sensejust look at his body of work VIDEO

John Boehner is laying the groundwork for a “Draft Ryan” campaign at the GOP convention. The whole thing is absurd

Values voters, Tea Party conservatives, faux-populists grifting for book deals and Fox spots — meet today’s GOP

Fans feel “so betrayed” seeing the “Star Wars” heartthrob in an “Atlas Shrugged” shirt

The brilliant critic Evgeny Morozov discusses the myths Silicon Valley tells about itself, and why we believe them

The most effective ways to expose their contradictions and faulty logic

A stern, serious Krugman says anyone who doesn’t believe the GOP’s real gold standard fervor is deluding themselves

Freedom now means winner-take-all capitalism, and it’s slowly morphing our political system into a plutocracy

We’ve been a fed a myth about heroic individuals — and that allows the 1 percent to prosper at everyone’s expense

The Wisconsin congressman may be a radical, but he’s also a product of the insider cronyism the Tea Party abhors

Read about Paul Ryan and you might think he is a thoughtful, right-of-center policy wonk, not an Ayn Rand ideologue

The wingnut pundit resents the liberal tone of TV, but turns out cartoonish, right-leaning prose

What’s causing the GOP’s slide into complete dysfunction? It’s not overheated rhetoric; it’s the politics of race

EXCLUSIVE: New transcript of Rand at West Point in ’74 enthusiastically defends extermination of Native Americans

Conservatives have long wielded “socialism” as a pejorative — but Sanders owns it and is transforming politics

The objectivist classic is brimming with historical revisionism, faulty economic theory and dubious sexual politics

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Oceania (song) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: August 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

“Oceania” is a song recorded by Icelandic singer Bjrk for her sixth studio album Medlla. It was written and produced by Bjrk, with additional writing by Sjn and production by Mark Bell. The song was written by the singer specially for the 2004 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, after a request by the International Olympic Committee. “Oceania” was released as a promotional single in 2004, by One Little Indian Records. The song was written at the ocean’s point of view, from which the singer believes all life emerged, and details the human’s evolution, whilst accompanied by a choir. “Oceania” was generally well received by music critics, who believed it was the best track from Medlla, although some thought it was not the best choice for a promotional release.

The accompanying music video for the song, directed by Lynn Fox, features Bjrk as “Mother Oceania”, whilst being jewel-encrusted in dark watery depths, with a colourful sunset and swirling floral creatures above her. A remix of the song, featuring additional lyrics and vocals by Kelis on her point of view of the continents, was featured as a B-side to the “Who Is It” single. A piano version also appeared on the DVD single, and was assisted in its creation by Nico Muhly. The song was premiered during Bjrk’s performance on the Summer Olympics ceremony, and was later included on the setlist of the Volta Tour (200708). At the 47th Grammy Awards in 2005, it was nominated in the category of Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Cover versions of “Oceania” were done six times, while it was sampled once.

The International Olympic Committee commissioned a song by Bjrk specially for the 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. The singer revealed that the committee asked her to do a kind of “Ebony and Ivory” or “We Are the World” type of song, which are “smashing tunes” according to her, but she thought, “‘Maybe there’s another angle to this’. When I tried to write an Olympic lyric, though, it was full of sports socks and ribbons. I ended up pissing myself laughing”. Then, she called Sjn, an Icelandic poet who had previously collaborated with her on songs such as “Bachelorette” from her fourth studio album Homogenic (1997). When she said to him that they would need something “suitably epic” for the Olympics, the poet even took a short course about Greek mythology at Reykjavk University. “Oceania” was the last song recorded for Medlla.[1] Bjrk said about the song: “I am incredibly honoured to have been asked to write a song and sing it at the Olympics. The song is written from the point of view of the ocean that surrounds all the land and watches over the humans to see how they are doing after millions of years of evolution. It sees no borders, different races or religion which has always been at the core of these [games]”.[2]

During an interview with British radio station XFM, Bjrk explained its recording process, saying work on “Oceania” was kept being delayed because she wanted to do it especially for the Olympics. During the last day of mixing, she thought she needed “sirenes”, like in Greek mythology. She called up an English choir to record these sounds. The singer had done an arrangement for piano on the computer that was impossible for a piano to play, and she got them to sing it. Then, she also called up beatboxer Shlomo, who was recommended to her as “the new bright hope of the hip hop scene”. He went to record the next day and Bjrk asked him to do a techno tango beat, which he did. Recalling her work on the song until her last day of mixing, she commented, “That was the most fun part, in the end. Sometimes it’s good for you to work with a gun against your head and just go for it, because you can sometimes sit too long with ideas. Sometimes adrenaline is a good thing.”[3]

The song was written at the ocean’s point of view, detailing the human’s evolution.[4] According to Jason Killingsworth from Paste magazine, it calls listeners’ attention to “Mother Oceania” from which the singer believes all life emerged, whilst she sings: “You have done well for yourselves / Since you left my wet embrace / And crawled ashore []”. The song anchors the midsection of Medlla, “jubilantly punctuated with bubbling synth and propelled by the rolling, spitfire cadence of Rahzel’s beatbox”, according to the reviewer.[5] The last line from the song, “Your sweat is salty/ And I am why/ Your sweat is salty/ And I am why”, is about how “we were all little jellyfish or whatever before we made it on to land”, according to the singer.[1] Elthan Brown from New York magazine considered these lyrics as “frank sensuality”.[6] “Oceania” also features The London Choir.[7]Entertainment Weekly’s writer Chris Willman commented that “the computer-enhanced choir behind Bjrk [suggests] a cosmic harem of pleased dolphins. Here she imagines herself as the sea itself, proud of all the belegged creatures she’s spit out onto land over the last hundred million years. It’s the nearest evolutionists have come to having their own gospel tune”.[8]

A remix version of “Oceania” featuring additional lyrics and vocals by American singer Kelis was recorded. She explained they were set to perform on Fashion Rocks concert in London the previous year, and their dressing rooms were right next to each other. Bjrk had an album by Canadian singer Peaches that was skipping, then Kelis gave her the copy of the album she had. They started talking and eventually hung out and exchanged numbers after the show, and later Bjrk contacted Kelis to work together, which she agreed. Then, Kelis recorded her vocals at Electric Lady Studios in New York City,[9] and wrote her own words in the song, from the point of view of the continents.[10] Originally not intended to be commercially released, the remix leaked after being played on BBC Radio 1’s The Breezeblock, but was then included on the “Who Is It” single as a B-side. According to The Guardian, “it’s a brilliant fusing together of two distinct voices, Kelis handling the breathy first verse, as layers of her chopped-up vocals form the rhythm track, while Bjrk at first comes across as restrained, allowing Kelis’ ad-libs to soar before unleashing a song-stopping, wordless roar that heralds the song’s dramatic final coda”.[11]

A piano version also appeared on the DVD single, which was assisted in its creation by Nico Muhly. During an interview he stated, “When Bjrk asked me to play piano on Oceania, she sent me the music, and it was as complicated and layered as any piece of classical music I’ve played. I spent a few days figuring out how to make her vision of ‘dueling lounge-lizard pianists’ physically possible, and in the session, we ran through those quickly. Then, she experimented with different ways to space the progression of chords that runs through the piece – I suggested big, Brahmsy blocks – as well as the ending, for which we tried diaphanous, Debussy-like arpeggios”.[12] Bjrk decided to stick with the album’s vocal concept and use electronically tweaked choral voices. Before some last-minute polishing by Mark Bell, this version of “Oceania” was the last track to be worked for Medlla.[13]

“Oceania” received generally positive reviews from music critics. Jennifer Vineyard from MTV News called the song “one of those polarizing songs, with its Ethel Merman-like synchronized vocal sweeps that do suggest the aquatic, in a 1950s sort of way”.[14]Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Willman labeled the track as a “strikingly beautiful” song.[8] Alex Ross, reporter writing for The New Yorker stated that with “Oceania”, Bjrk “confirmed her status as the ultimate musical cosmopolitan”, acquainted with Karlheinz Stockhausen and the Wu-Tang Clan.[13] Matthew Gasteier from Prefix magazine called the track “the best song on the album”, whilst complimenting “its swooping chorus [which] recalls the migration of birds or the time-elapsed drifting of icebergs, a swirl of beauty and power crashing down onto and then rising above the mix. It culminates in the near screech that leads into the sexy-spooky coda”.[15] According to Andy Battaglia from The A.V. Club, in a positive review, “the electronic flourish strays from her organic vocal focus, but Bjrk summons the same kind of tingle with choral language” in the song, “which finds The London Choir reacting to what sounds like a thrilling slow-motion circus act”.[7]

“Oceania” was “spoilt by some overenthusiastic vocal whoopings”, according to David Hooper from BBC Music.[16]The Guardian’s writer David Peschek said that when the singer sings in the song, “choral swoops [explodes] like fireworks behind her”.[17]AllMusic’s Heather Phares noted that the song, along with Medlla’s lead single “Who Is It”, “have an alien quality that is all the stranger considering that nearly all of their source material is human (except for the odd keyboard or two)”.[18] Dominique Leone of Pitchfork thought “Oceania” was hardly the most obvious choice for a promotional single release, despite its “bizarre, swooping soprano lines and cyclical chord progression outlined by a chorus of Wyatt vocal samples”.[19] Jeremy D. Larson from Time magazine provided a mixed review to the song, stating that it was the best Olympic theme song, but during the Olympics performance, “when she sang ‘Every pearl is a lynx is a girl’ we think you could hear the world collectively sigh, ‘Where’s Celine Dion?'”.[4] In 2005, the song was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 47th Grammy Awards but lost out to Norah Jones’ “Sunrise”.[20]

The accompanying music video for “Oceania” was directed by Lynn Fox, and was premiered on August 13, 2004 through Bjrk’s official site.[21] According to Lynn Fox, Bjrk gave the team the initial sketch of the track in January 2004. Whilst they were doing scribbles for it, they had several phone conversations with the singer and emailed her images to keep her up to date with the progress of the work. For “Oceania”, initial animations took six weeks, then had couple of days preparing for the shoot in Iceland and a few more days after to put all the shots together.[22] Like in the song, in the music video Bjrk is depicted as “Mother Oceania”. The video opens with the surface of a body of water appearing yellowish and bright. Camera pans down to darker, deeper waters. Bjrk appears out of the dark background, singing and covered with sparkling jewels. As the second verse begins, images of sea anemones, representing the continents (her children) are thrown from Bjrk’s hands.[23]

During the third verse they swim around and away from their mother, carried by the currents, which move in time with the song. In the bridge section, new sea flowers, with brilliant colors, emerge from the background, in contrast to the muted and darker colors of previous scenes. As the fifth verse continues, the camera pans back up to the much lighter surface, not seen since the beginning of the video. All sorts of marine life are swimming about the surface. Shortly after the sixth verse begins, Bjork is shown in deep, dark water. Several seconds later, the lighter surface of the water is shown without her. When she begins to sing “Your sweat is salty”, a somewhat rapid alternation of images ensues: the light surface is shown for one second, followed by Bjrk singing in the deep water; these scenes alternate until she stops singing during the coda. Bjrk’s vocal repetition ceases at the same time the visual alternation stops. The surface scene recedes, and Bjrk in the deep water comes to the fore, slowing. At the end of the video, she stands and smiles.[23]

At the 2004 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, where Bjrk premiered the song, she wore a very large dress which unfolded during her performance of “Oceania” to eventually occupy the entire stadium, and showed a map of the world in sign of union.[4] Additionally, Bjrk wore “bluish-purple glittery eye shadow across her lids. Her dark hair dangled in tiny twists that framed her pixieish, freckled face”.[24] Immediately after the performance at the Olympics opening ceremony, the song was downloaded more than 11,000 times on the iTunes Store.[25] Jake Coyle from Today commented that her dress was “reminiscent in its uniqueness to the infamous swan dress she wore to the Oscars in 2001”.[26] According to Jeremy D. Larson from Time, if it weren’t for the fireworks at the end of the song, he was legitimately unsure if people in the audience would have cheered.[4] Dominique Leone of Pitchfork was surprised by the committee’s choice of bringing Bjrk to perform at the ceremony, and stated: “They could have had anyone– say, a reassuring Celine Dion or a physically ideal Beyonc– but they chose a prickly, decidedly uncomfortable Icelandic woman. On aesthetic grounds, I can’t argue with their choice, but I continue to wonder about Bjrk’s significance”.[19] “Oceania” was also performed during the Volta Tour (200708).[27]

The song was sampled by E-40 in the track “Spend the Night” featuring Laroo, The DB’z, Droop-E and B-Slimm on his 2010 Revenue Retrievin’: Night Shift album.[28] SPIRITWO and singer Yael Claire covered “Oceania” with a Middle Eastern theme for the 2012 London Olympic games.[29] Aspirant singer Srbuhi Hovhannisyan also covered the song on The Voice of Armenia in 2014.[30] “Oceania” covers also appear on the albums by Beliss, Harmen Fraanje Quintet, Murphy’s Law and Serena Fortebraccio.[31]

Credits adapted from Medlla liner notes.[33]

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Index [www.susanblackmore.co.uk]

Posted: August 12, 2016 at 2:39 pm

“Should Blackmore’s theory turn out to be true, there’s little doubt she will be remembered as one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.” Barry Lyons reviewing The Meme Machine

Je suis Charlie and why

New

AI is already evolving beyond our control – the implications of a third replicator in CommentisFree September 2015

“Genes, Memes and Tremes” on TV in Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, May 2015

Twitterbrain – how analyses of viral memes is helping track information spreading in the brain.

and a must-watch video ‘This video will make you angry’ is a brilliant rant about ‘thought germs’. What a shame it mentions the word ‘meme’ only once.

The Eye of the Tremes Watch our New Video. This is based on the idea that the phones, computers and servers we are building are becoming interconnected like neurons in a brain. But this treme machine has no eyes. Or does it? With the advent of drones we may have found the eye of the tremes.

Tremes v temes

I have had such trouble with the term ‘temes’ that I am trying ‘tremes’ instead. I am sorry if this is confusing but I hope it might help.

100 walked out of my lecture on memes. On the RDF website with hundreds of comments. Aug 2014

Practical Memetics: A huge new website by Martin Farncombe devoted to understanding memes in business and organisations, includes extracts from my work.

Paper on memes in science Kuhn et al 2014 Inheritance patterns in citation networks reveal scientific memes

A fun article on Internet memes in the Virgin Australia Inflight Mag -refers to ‘the burgeoning field of memetics’!

The third replicator –

To find out more about temes, watch my TED talk now podcast in English and with a choice of subtitles in 21 other languages! or short lecture at the Hay Festival 2011 “Genes, Memes and Temes” read a book chapter a blog from Hassners on my lecture or read the Feature article in New Scientist .

Podcast interview with Sue on US Public Radio To the best of our knowledge about memes and temes. 29 July 2012

Jonnie Hughes article in The Independent 14 July 2012 on his new book On the Origin of Tepees.

Alan Winfield’s 5 minute lecture on dancing robots, from his Artificial Culture Project at UWE Bristol. Interview on dancing robots in BBC News Technology June 2012

Q&A with Sue for Know Your Meme, April 2012

Art experiments with copying and Chinese Whispers by Rachel Cohen

Richard Dawkins on memetically engineering the word “bright” in “Atheist – the Dirty Word” YouTube

Edge Question 2009 What will change everything? Read my response – Artificial, self replicating meme machines.

How to get rid of religion – a memetic view by Floris van den Berg

Imitation makes us human Extract.

The Loo Roll meme !

More criticisms from Mary Midgley

Virus of the mind Jolyon Troscianko

Memetics UK

This site began with the Bristol based memelab. I hope to provide a simple, but useful, resource for finding out what is happening in the world of memes and memetics.

About memes

Links to other memes

People

Publications

Sue’s publications on memes.

To watch or listen …

Interview on memes with Karol Jalochowski, with subtitles in Polish, Jan 2012

Internet memes on The Pod Delusion 2010

C-Realm podcast – Sue talks to KMO about memes, drugs and Zen. 28 Jan 2009

Genes, memes and temes. Lecture at TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Monterey, CA, 28 Feb 2008

Is God a dangerous delusion? A debate with Alister McGrath at Bristol University, 13.11.2007

Darwin Day Lecture “Darwin’s Meme: On the origin of culture by means of natural selection” , , University of Central Lancashire, 12.02.07 Abstract

The Sci Phi Show – Outcast #8, Interview on Memes, 21 August 2006

The Future of Memetics audio of a lecture given at Pop!Tech 2005

To read ….

my blog at CiF is about Internet memes April 2011

The Edge Question 2010. How is the Internet changing the way you think? See my response on Self and the Third Replicator as well as previous answers.

Articles in New Humanist – Natural selection applies to everything, in Aesthetica – Memes, Creativity and Consciousness, and follow up to Massimo Pigliucci’s objections to memetics in Skeptical Inquirer 2008.

Art and memes article

Interview for NextModernity Library.

Review of Richerson and Boyd’s new book Not by Genes Alone.

Interview for GEO magazine (German), December 2003 Die Tyrannei der Meme.

Interview with Pascal Jouxtel for the la Socit Francophone de Mmtique, inboth French and English

Memes in Japan

… and Old (1997)! Interview with Andrew Brown for Salon Magazine

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Immortality Immorality – TV Tropes

Posted: July 31, 2016 at 5:48 am

“When one tries to rise above Nature one is liable to fall below it… Consider, Watson, that the material, the sensual, the worldly would all prolong their worthless lives. The spiritual would not avoid the call to something higher. It would be the survival of the least fit. What sort of cesspool may not our poor world become?”

Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Creeping Man

open/close all folders

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

Films Animated

Films Live-Action

Teague: The trick isn’t living forever, Jackie. The trick is living with yourself forever.

Blackbeard: I’m a bad man.

Literature

Kumori: Can you imagine if da Vinci had continued to live, to study, to paint, to invent? That the remarkable accomplishments of his lifetime could have continued through the centuries rather than dying in the dim past? Can you imagine going to see Beethoven in concert? Taking a theology class taught by Martin Luther? Attending a symposium hosted by Einstein? Think, Dresden. It boggles the mind.

“Her only sin was that she loved life and all the meanings of life,” said the Stygian girl. “To win life she courted death. She could not bear to think of growing old and shriveled and worn, and dying at last as hags die. She wooed Darkness like a lover and his gift was life-life that, not being life as mortals know it, can never grow old and fade. She went into the shadows to cheat age and death ”

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

Video Games

Web Original

Webcomics

Western Animation

Narrator: [singing] Oh Marceline! Why are you so mean?

Marceline: ‘[singing back] I’m not mean, I’m a thousand years old, and I just lost track of my moral code.

Real Life

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Immigration’s Human Cost – human consequences of open …

Posted: July 23, 2016 at 4:26 am

Welcome to Immigrations Human Cost, a website that focuses on the fact that illegal immigration is not a victimless crime.

You can view archives from our original site by following the link in the navigation panel to the right.

Houston mother of five, Tina Davila (picured), was stabbed to death in 2008 when Timoteo Rios tried to hijack her SUV, but she refused to give up the keys because her 4-month-old baby was in the vehicle. The killer was identified by the surveillance tapes from the store near the crime and he quickly fled to Mexico.

He had been arrested earlier for marijuana possession but had not been deported. See my blog from the time, Whyd They Let Him Go? Previously Arrested Illegal Alien Kills Woman In Carjacking Attempt.

Now, more than two years later, the Mexican government has extradited Rios to be tried in Houston. Unfortunately, the extradition come with the usual Mexican requirement that the death penalty not be pursued by the prosecution.

The murder deprived five children of their loving mom, and that kind of pain never goes away. The kids are relieved that some justice may be at hand, but terrible memories are returning. The clip following is from KIAH-TV in Houston, Murder Suspect Faces Extradition.

Illegal immigrant extradited in Houston moms death, Houston Chronicle Blog, December 13, 2010

Tina Davilas youngest child, Kaylynn, was just 4 months old, a chubby-cheeked baby strapped snugly into a car seat, when her mother was stabbed to death fighting off a carjacker in the spring of 2008.

On Saturday, Davilas family will get together to celebrate Kaylynns third birthday. For Davilas older children, the birthday is a reminder of how much time has passed since their mother was buried at a cemetery on the citys east side.

Finally this weekend, her family members saw the main suspect in her murder, 26-year-old Timoteo Rios, extradited to Houston. And as grateful as they are that Rios will have to answer for Davilas death, the extradition has reopened old wounds.

I guess it just brings back too much pain and memories. I think my kids were having a hard time, said Eric Matt, 43, Davilas ex-husband and father of her three eldest children. Each one of them, it makes them angry. It makes them wonder why. With the holidays and everything, it just makes it really hard.

Davilas eldest daughter, 20-year-old Patricia Matt, said the extradition one year and four months after Rios arrest in Mexico brings some relief, but also has dredged up difficult memories. She said she recently saw the video of her mothers April 2008 murder, captured on a surveillance camera outside a Harris County cell phone store, on the news again.

The video shows Davila struggling with a suspect for her car keys before shes stabbed. Witnesses said she screamed, My baby, my baby! before stumbling into the store and collapsing. The carjackers left without taking the SUV, and Kaylynn was unharmed.

We have to go through all of these feelings again, said Patricia Matt, a nursing student who attends San Jacinto Community College. Were pretty much reliving what we first felt.

After Rios was charged with capital murder and fled to Mexico, his case became a high-profile example of problems with Immigration and Customs Enforcement screening at Harris Countys jails.

Rios, an illegal immigrant with a criminal record, had admitted to local law enforcement twice before the slaying that he was in the country illegally, but had not been deported, according to arrest and immigration records.

I just dont think its fair that you can come here without papers and get all of these tickets but not be deported, Eric Matt said. I dont understand why they didnt do anything way back then.

Since spring 2008, the Harris County Sheriffs Office and ICE have taken steps to increase screening at the local jail, which was the first site in the nation to participate in Secure Communities, a federal program that automatically checks inmates fingerprints against an immigration database. The county also participates in ICEs controversial 287(g) program, which deputizes local law enforcement to help ICE agents identify and detain suspected illegal immigrants in detention. Continue reading this article

In August 2007, three college students who were hanging out in a schoolyard were brutally attacked and shot to death by six MS-13 gangsters. Another young woman managed to survive, despite her terrible injuries, which have left her with facial paralysis to this day. The two women were raped and hacked with machetes.

See my report on the first trial First Newark Schoolyard Trial Gets Conviction.

One man, Melvin Jovel, confessed to being the only shooter, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Admitted triggerman in Newark schoolyard slayings receives three consecutive life terms plus 20 years, Newark Star-Ledger, November 4, 2010

Of the six young men who authorities say set upon a group of college friends behind a Newark schoolyard, fatally shooting three execution-style and leaving the fourth badly hurt, only one pulled the trigger.

The admitted gunman, Melvin Jovel, 21, was sentenced this morning to three consecutive life terms in prison plus 20 years.

Jovel had pleaded guilty in September to three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and weapons charges in the Aug. 4, 2007 attack behind Mount Vernon School.

Jovel said he alone shot in the head Terrance Aeriel, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harve. Moments later, he walked over to Natasha Aeriel, Terrances sister, and shot her in the head. Only Natasha Aeriel survived.

He tried to take my life. I dont even know what to say, Natasha Aeriel said in court, before Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin imposed his sentence. Aeriel, now 22, made several prayer readings and said she even thanked Jovel for allowing me to get closer to Christ.

She added, he tried to take my life. I dont even know what to say.

Jovel, who listened through a Spanish translator, said little except to tell the judge that one of the other co-defendants, Rodolfo Godinez, sentenced in July to identical counts, had nothing to do with the killings.

While noting that by pleading guilty Jovel spared the victims families another trial, Judge Ravin said he did not believe that was the defendants motivation. Ravin said of the defendant, He was the slaughterer. He was the executioner.

The brutality of the killings Hightower and Natasha Aeriel were sexually assaulted and attacked with a machete shocked the city and became a rallying cry for community groups and Mayor Cory Booker to end the gun violence that has plagued Newark for years.

The six defendants are said to be affiliated with MS 13, a violent Central American street gang.

Jovel is the second defendant to be convicted in the killing. Ravin had sentenced Godinez on the same counts, which under New Jersey law, adds up to 245 years in prison. A jury found Godinez guilty on all charges at his trial in May.

The remaining defendants, Jose Carranza, 31, Shahid Baskerville, 18, Gerardo Gomez, 18, and 20-year-old Alexander Alfaro who is Godinezs half-brother will be tried separately.

The current AP story about the sentencing notes that Jovel is an illegal alien, a fact that was strongly hinted in his first court appearance where he swore innocence:

Newark slay suspect pleads not guilty, Newark Star-Ledger, August 21, 2007

Jovel, who is from Honduras, told the judge he does not have a Social Security number or a green card, but his immigration status remains unclear, prosecutors said. A U.S. passport was found among his belongings when he was arrested Sunday night, but officials are still trying to determine whether the passport is valid, Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Thomas A. McTigue said. Federal authorities have placed a detainer on Jovel because his status is uncertain, McTigue said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials participated in Jovels arrest, and a spokesman for the agency said it becomes involved when they suspect a person is in the county illegally.

Below, criminals Melvin Jovel, Jose Carranza and Rodolfo Godinez.

There are many tragic stories about the victims of illegal alien criminals, but it doesnt get much worse than the deaths of Leigh Anna Jimmerson, 16, and her boyfriend, Tad Mattle, 19. The couple died in a fiery crash in April 2009 when their car burst into flames after being struck by illegal alien Felix Ortega, who was drunk at three times the legal limit for Alabama.

The prosecutor put together a deal where Ortega pleaded guilty to two murders in return for a 15 year sentence and eligibility for parole in 12.5 years. It was acceptable to both families who presumably didnt want to go through a trial where the horrific details of their kids deaths would be brought out. Even so, the plea agreement seems weak punishment indeed for the preventable deaths of two young people with their whole lives ahead of them.

Tad Mattles mother to Felix Ortega: I hope every day you will think about them, Huntsville Times Blog, August 30, 2010

HUNTSVILLE, AL The mother of one of two Huntsville teens killed when illegal immigrant Felix Ortega slammed into their car in 2009 told him in court today that she hopes he thinks about their deaths every day.

Felix Ortega pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of murder for the traffic deaths of Tad Mattle and Leigh Anna Jimmerson and received a 15-year sentence as part of a plea agreement. Ortega entered the plea before Circuit Judge Dennis ODell for the April 17, 2009, crash that killed Grissom High School sophomore Leigh Anna Jimmerson, 16, and her boyfriend, Tad Mattle, 19, a 2008 Grissom graduate.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Whitesburg Drive and Airport Road, after Ortega had fled in his truck from a Huntsville police officer whod been called after Ortega hit another car in his apartment building parking lot.

Mattles Toyota burst into flames after the accident, but police have said the collision caused their deaths before the fire started. Prosecutors said Ortegas blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit at the time of the crash.

After he was sentenced, Ortega, who had an interpreter in court helping translate the proceedings from English to Spanish, asked to address the teens families. The parents of both teens were in the courtroom and Ortega spoke to them in English.

I just want to say I never meant for this to happen, he said. I am really sorry for the pain I caused your family and my family. I just pray to God that you find it in your heart, so you can forgive me. I wish I could change it. Thats all.

Tad Mattles mother, Terri Mattle, then addressed Ortega, questioning whether he was breathing a sigh of relief when the teens parents would never see their children breathe again. She told him that both teens were beautiful and had their whole lives in front of them when he took them away. She questioned whether when he took that first drink that day he realized what would happen.

I hope everyday you will think about them, she said. Its not fair. We hurt everyday. It doesnt bring them back and it never will. [. . .]

[District Attorney Rob] Broussard said hes not concerned about public criticism of the plea agreement, given that the difference in Alabama law between reckless murder and reckless manslaughter can be a somewhat fuzzy standard for juries.

I dont worry about that as long as I know Im doing my duty and the most competent job I can in this county, Broussard said. With a guy like Felix Ortega, under these facts, its my duty to keep him off the streets for as long as I am able.

Broussard was asked how the sentence might affect the families and their suffering.

It is my experience that the families will always suffer the loss, no matter what the sentence, even if the defendant gets the death penalty, which was not an option in this case, he said. They will always have a hole in their hearts for that lost loved one. The plea agreement allowed us to avoid having to relive the horrible facts in this case.

Below is a remembrance video of Tad and Leigh Anna, celebrating their brief lives. Why didnt their country protect them from foreign criminals?

A stiff sentence was handed down to Jaime Alvarado, a serial drunk-driving twice-deported illegal alien, who killed Nashville businessman Robert Benn shortly after he arrived in Austin for a new job.

Benn was driving from the airport when his car was struck by the inebriated Alvarado as the Guatemalan was fleeing police because he feared being deported.

In a cruel coincidence for the family, Benns granddaughter was born a few hours before he was killed, so he never got to meet her. Robert Benn was 64 and had three children.

Repeat drunken driver gets 50 years for fatal wreck , Austin Statesman, September 15, 2010

A drunken driver who caused a fatal accident while fleeing police in East Austin last year was sentenced to 50 years in prison Wednesday by a Travis County jury.

Jaime Bonilla Alvarado, 24, had pleaded guilty earlier in the week to murder in the death of Robert Benn, 64, an information technology consultant from Nashville, Tenn., who was in Austin on business.

Alvarado is a construction worker from Honduras who prior to the Aug. 31, 2009, crash had been convicted of drunken driving three times and deported twice. Some of Alvarados family members cried when the verdict was read in state District Judge Jim Coronados court.

After the verdict, Benns daughter Andrea McKee took the witness stand and told Alvarado that she often thinks of her fathers last moments, alone in a strange city. She told Alvarado that her daughter was born earlier the day of Benns death.

Benns wife, Sherrie Benn, said: I wanted justice for Bob. I think we got justice.

Alvarado faced from five years to life in prison. During closing arguments, his lawyer, Brad Urrutia, asked for 25 years.

He is remorseful, and he is repentant.

Prosecutor Erika Sipiora asked for 50 years. She noted that according to Alvarados testimony, he was warned four times the night of the crash not to drive drunk: by two store clerks, a friend and his wife.

For the second time in the trial, she showed video of the smoky crash, taken by a police officers dashboard camera.

Where on this video does it show that Jaime Alvarado was taking into consideration anyone but himself? she asked.

Earlier in the day, Alvarado took the stand and told the jury about his life. He said he grew up poor and received only an elementary school education in the small Honduran town of Santa Rita Yoro.

He said he first came to the United States in 2005, when he was 19, but was caught on his way to Houston and deported. He said he returned soon after and settled with his twin sister and two brothers in Austin.

All three of his DWI arrests were in East Austin in 2006 and 2007. He did not show up for court each time, and when he was finally arrested, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 80 days in jail. He was later convicted in federal court of illegal re-entry by a deported alien and was deported again.

Alvarado said he returned to the U.S. within a month of his deportation and worked as a construction worker. He testified that he worked on a house near Loop 360 on the day of the crash a Monday. He said that after work, he bought a 24-ounce Dos Equis beer, a 12-pack of Corona beer and a six-pack of Dos Equis. He drank most of the beer, he said, in a park and in his Lincoln Navigator near a disco on East Riverside Drive.

He was heading home when he drove north on Pleasant Valley Road past a police car and the officer noticed him speeding and playing loud music, according to testimony.

Alvarado did not stop, even though officer Christopher Geck turned on his lights and sirens attempting to make a traffic stop. Alvarado said he was afraid of being deported and ultimately decided he would try to drive home before being arrested so his SUV would not be impounded. [. . .]

Alvarado, who had a 0.20 blood alcohol level, 21/2 times the legal limit, suffered only minor injuries.

On August 1, a previously arrested drunk-driving illegal alien killed a nun, Denise Mosier (pictured left), and seriously injured two others. The alien, Carlos Martinelly Montano (pictured right), had twice been handed over to ICE for deportation, but had instead been released into the community pending a deportation hearing (occasions which have notably poor attendance among those invited).

A few days later, the Chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors, Corey Stewart requested information from ICE that would reveal how many illegal aliens are being released by the agency into the county and their crimes.

The rather surprising news is that ICE has agreed:

ICE Agrees to Release Illegal Immigrant Data to Virginia Official, Fox News, August 7, 2010

ICE contacted me this morning, with great news for Prince William County citizens. They have agreed to release to Prince William County the identities and final disposition of every convicted criminal illegal alien apprehended in Prince William County, Virginia and turned over to ICE through the countys 287(g) partnership, Stewart said in a statement.

Stewart said his countys police referred Carlos Martinelly Montano for deportation twice in the past after he served sentences for drunk driving convictions. But immigration officials released Montano, who allegedly killed Sister Denise Mosier and injured two other nuns in the Aug. 1 accident, on his own recognizance pending a deportation hearing.

Regardless of which side of the aisle youre on, or on this issue, we can all agree that if you are an illegal alien and youve committed a crime, that you should be deported afterward, Stewart told Fox News on Friday. But this guy had been twice handed over to immigration officials and twice released back into the community even though there was an immigration detainer on him. And of course hes gone right back out and committed the same crime and killed a nun.

This is good news if true. Dependable illegal alien crime statistics are normally hard to find and squishy. The government has routinely covered up, lied about and obfuscated the degree to which predatory foreign criminals have had their way in easy-going America. Authorities like to say they are pursuing the real bad guys, but recent history is replete with multiple cases of dangerous aliens arrested and released without being deported, with tragic results. (One crime that comes to mind is the preventable deaths of Tennesseeans Sean and Donna Wilson at the hands of a drunk-driving illegal who had been arrested 14 times without being deported.)

Some information about illegal alien crime is available, but mostly in limited quantities for local jurisdictions. For example in 2008 the Houston Chronicle did a fine investigative series on alien crime from researching the Harris County records of arrests and releases. The use of 287(g) which checks the status of arrested persons makes the number of aliens arrested available.

A recently released stat from ICEs home office is that 120,000 criminal aliens have been deported in the last three years,/a>. That number is only 40,000 per year, and doesnt count the crimes or classify them regarding violence and deaths. Whats needed is a true picture of the mayhem resulting from open borders and inadequate immigration law enforcement. Of course, all working aliens are job thieves (and may use a stolen Social Security number, a felony), which is not an insignificant crime during this employment depression.

Statistics are lifeless artifacts, which is why I have focused on the individual stories of crime victims for ImmigrationsHumanCost.org, but numeric information is required to develop adequate enforcement policy.

Anyway, the video below has more about Supervisor Stewarts success in getting ICE to reveal local statistics, particularly the number of dangerous foreigners released instead of deported. Obviously the death of Sister Denise Mosier indicates the Obama gang is no more serious about criminal alien enforcement than previous administrations.

From the sanctuary city of Houston: Shatavia Anderson, a 14-year-old girl, was shot in the back and killed by a Salvadoran illegal alien and his Honduran associate, apparently just to rob her.

Suspect in fatal shooting of teen was deported twice, Houston Chronicle, August 12, 2010

The suspect in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old Houston girl was an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who previously was deported twice by immigration officials, authorities said.

Melvin Alvarado, 22, was convicted of two separate intoxicated driving offenses in Harris County in 2006 and 2007, criminal records show. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail in connection with the last arrest in November 2007.

Gregory Palmore, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said immigration officials removed Alvarado from the country in April 2008 and again in May 2009.

Palmore said it was unclear from his records whether Alvarado was picked up directly from Harris County Jail after the last intoxicated driving conviction.

The second suspect in the fatal shooting of Shatavia Anderson on Saturday, Jonathan Lopez-Torres, 18, was a lawful permanent resident from Honduras, Palmore said. Harris County records show Lopez-Torres was arrested and accused of auto theft in February 2009. That charge was later dismissed.

The two suspects allegedly saw Anderson as merely a target of opportunity for an armed robbery, Houston police homicide detectives said Wednesday.

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Welcome to Oceania Cruises

Your World. Your Way.

Filled with a spectacular array of diverse and exotic destinations, your world awaits your discovery. There is simply no better way to explore it than aboard the elegant ships of Oceania Cruises. Our unique itineraries are handcrafted, featuring the most fascinating destinations throughout the world. As Regatta, Insignia, Nautica, Sirena, Marina and Riviera are all comfortably mid-size, each ship calls on the worlds most desirable ports, from historic cities and modern meccas to charming seaside villages and faraway islands. On a voyage with Oceania Cruises, each day offers the rewarding opportunity to experience the history, culture and cuisine of a wondrous new destination.

Relax on board our luxurious ships and savor exquisite cuisine that not only is renowned as the finest at sea, but also rivals the best restaurants ashore. Inspired by Master Chef Jacques Ppin, these culinary delights have always been a hallmark that distinguishes the Oceania Cruises experience from any other. Considering the uncompromising quality, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of an Oceania Cruises voyage is its incredible value. Lavish complimentary amenities abound, and there are never supplemental charges in any of the onboard restaurants. Value packages ensure that sipping a glass of vintage wine, surfing the Internet or enjoying a shore excursion is both convenient and affordable.

As the leader in destination cruising, Oceania Cruises sails to more than 330 ports around the globe. Itineraries are unique in that they call on the perfect mix of must-see marquee and boutique, off-the-beaten-path ports. Multiple overnight calls afford an in-depth, enriching destination experience and allow travelers to immerse themselves in the cuisine, culture and history of the ports we visit.

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