24 March 2007

They won't take it with them

This video was shot on Tuesday, the 20th of March in Paris between the rue Rampal and rue du Général Lassalle in the 19th district of Paris. It was around 6pm, as parents were picking-up kids from the nearby elementary school. A Chinese grandfather who was going to pick-up his grandchildren in other nearby schools was detained in a café for an hour on the account that he was a "sans-papiers"/illegal immigrant and then arrested (according to the police prefecture, the police was in the café in the first place because they were looking for unlicensed weapons). When the police proceeded to his arrest, although the person wasn't violent, they used unnecessary force in front of parents and their kids and it prompted the crowd to stop the police from taking him away.
This video shows people trying to stop the police car in which they placed the grandfather to drive away. The only way the police managed to leave the scene in the end was to throw tear gas at people (their children got some too).
The day after, the head of the school was taken into custody for 7 hours for "affront".
Earlier in the week, an Asian woman was also briefly arrested as she was picking-up her niece in another nearby elementary school before people surrounding the scene prompted the police to release her.
Apparently, 9 illegal immigrants were arrested in that week near schools. And this, in spite of an instruction of the Ministry of Interior dating from last September to not proceed to arrests inside or in the proximity of schools (similar commitments had been taken from the Police prefecture last summer).
It reminds me of an event dating from the last 30th of January when the police waited for "sans-papiers" to come to a "Restos du coeur" food distribution on the Place de la République in Paris and started to arrest them based on their look ("visibly aliens").
And so the police is using baits: schools, Restos du coeur... what's next? Hospitals? Places that immigrants can't avoid and that are essentials to their lives? To use baits to make raids just shows how low, how degraded, how mediocre and how impotent the police is. What a way to set an example and to make things better in our society.
Side note: At the beginning of the video, you see a policeman asking the woman shooting the scene with the camera for a press card and telling her not to get policemen on the video. Personally, I don't know where it is written that you can't use a camera if you're not a journalist???
More info (in French) in an article in Le Monde + on the RESF website (Réseau Education Sans Frontières).

20 March 2007

Greek History by Hollywood by The Guardian

An hilarious (watch for Okla-Homer) A-Z account of how Hollywood pictures Greek history, probably extrapolating what we could be said about the depiction of Roman history as well.
More seriously, since cinema is about clichés and about a narrative basis we inherited from Aristotle and that mythology and Ancient History (is it how you call it in english? in french, we say Histoire Antique) have been serving the key plots of most tragedy playwriters from Eschylus to Shakespeare to Racine to Anouilh, it shouldn't be a surprise that Hollywood keeps the tradition high. Although, probably without the same benefits.
Once, the Spartans got me the highest grade of my Ancient History class in university at the main semester exam (="partiel" in french) and they hence got my wonderful professor, Daniel Nony, quite proud. Also, I so enjoyed to expose their decline in some lecture I gave before that. Now, they're gonna provide me with good cinematic entertainment... I hope. Frank Miller vs Daniel Nony.. that should be good match, or not. I know Nony won already with his lasting impression on me - I still remember almost 14 years later his definitive sentence: "the secret of pedagogy is the art of repetition".

--Joëlle.

09 March 2007

The last important message from Seth Cohen

As the O.C wrapped-up, I think we can all agree that the one thing we can keep from the last season is the otar-saving-plan awareness - I mean it's too cute, isn't it?

07 March 2007

New Look

The Superficiel blog's archives went raw html code for some reason so as I looked inside the template to get the problem, I decided to change it altogether and republish the blog with an airier, bolder look, until we move to another blog editor.
Also, it's been some time that we're thinking of giving the entire Superficiel site a new look, if not a new navigation system.
For a while, we thought the homepage could actually be the blog itself but that would be like giving in to the fashion.
We're aware the Superficiel content access mode was never super-intuitive, although the idea behind it was the quickest possible access to an art piece - and I think that it was right to try that way when we started but after nearly 7 years of existence, it might be time to change without betraying the original ideas: most of the content at the surface (no hierarchy, no menu depth or no more than 2 clicks to get where you want to go), a new homepage each time there's a new feature and a sense of minimal/raw design to let the interactive features be the meat of the experience. We agreed though that a bit of contextualization of the works put in words wouldn't harm anyone. Since there's a great diversity of works displayed, and we refuse to put them in a scale of value, maybe it's a good idea for each to tell the user its story or the incitment behind it.

In 7 years of experience, Superficiel saw the world of the net-art evolve and each original member had their interests shift: Enrico got seriously deep into typography for the best of this art, Ulf perfected his brilliant designer's skills to make it look like it's spreading soft butter on a delicious toast, Raphael went over to Ivrea to discover himself's an interaction designer with a starred destiny in Berlin. As for me, between Nofrontiere, Hyptique and the Media Lab, I opened my eyes to the world of "(to infinity...and )beyond-the-screen". So I guess the net-art raison d'être was a bit overlooked in the last years. Thankfully, we got many guests who fed the site some of the nicest bones to munch on.
Actually, I guess Superficiel was never about net-art but rather about making a statement about the creative process: we would indeed show net-art works but also works that are in general feeding our constant quest for experiences.

The new look is in its progress: stay tuned on the blog to hear about the change!

--Joëlle