Photo by Mostafa Ashraf Mostafa on Unsplash

The winter air is crisp and unforgiving in January. Gusts of wind mercilessly bite at exposed fingertips, toes, and the entirety of the bridge of your nose. Winter’s cruelest crime is that it provides no reprieve to those already trapped in the icy tundra of social isolation, and in this unabashed lack of empathy, it is no different from most people you’ll meet on the street.

Nora is in her room, in an apartment complex with not a single soul left to spare, because everyone else fled at the first sign of the freeze. This is a one-in-a-lifetime kind of…

A Digital Toolkit for Turning Cabin Fever Into Creative Fervour

Back in mid-March of 2020, panic about a globally mandated lockdown as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus infiltrated every news source, social media post, and university cafeteria conversation. Gradually, most people began scrambling for the first flight home — especially several international students across the world. However, a significant number of them were to remain where they were because they were unable to travel home for some reason or other — including me.

Life in my university residence was plunged into a deep, devastating sense of isolation. The first few days were the hardest; for I…

Source: Adobe Creative Cloud

In “Gender and Early Telephone Culture”, Michèle Martin cites a source stating that telephone-company managers believed “women’s use of men’s technology would come to no good end (1988, p. 23). This misconception is perhaps even more ill advised when considering a racialized view of gender in the context of the photographic equipment industry. Taking an intersectional approach and narrowing down the focus to gender in relation to race helps to accentuate the flaws of these technological industries, and shows how underestimated marginalized communities have to often forge their own paths to find their place in these contexts.

While two men…

In his book Promotional Culture: Advertising, Ideology and Symbolic Expression, Andrew Wernick (Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies and Sociology at Trent University) claimed that in terms of content, “the most obvious effect of media dependency on advertising is to create a situation where not only are ads designed with available advertising opportunities in mind, but the non-advertising component itself, i.e., the space between the ads, is also fashioned to suit the ads within its space”.

Had Andrew Wernick made his arguments regarding promotional culture and messaging in 2021 instead of two decades prior in 1991, most of his statements would…

BoJack Horseman (2014–2020) [Source: Reddit]

Before delving into the mechanics of how BoJack Horseman simultaneously accumulated a dedicated fan base and equally appreciative critics and film scholars, it would help to dive deeper into the past of the animation industry itself.

Going as far back as the 1870s, this was the period where the vaudevillians Joe Weber and Lew Fields began to produce their well-known comedic acts. These traditions would go on to influence the Fleischers, who adopted the “two-act” form and concocted a relationship between their inversely sized protagonist and antagonist, which existed in the “material order of an industrial society, [where] the very…

How do warehouse environments complicate ways we typically think about work in the digital era?

Gabriel Mac’s (formerly known as Mac McLelland at the time of publication) investigative piece on the harsh realities of warehouse work environments seemed reminiscent of notions regarding infrastructures hidden in plain sight. Much like how the omnipresence of shipping containers is often concealed from the periphery of our vision, our understanding of what it means to live in a “digital era” often blinds our cognizance of the nature of human labor conditions. …

The Exorcist (1973) [Source: No Film School]

The horror films The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973) and The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014) both have varying representations of gender and sexuality that fit their own unique narrative style. The concepts of psychoanalysis and the Oedipus complex are deeply embedded in the characterization and interrelationships within The Babadook.

Chris Dumas describes the onset of one’s sexual awakening with the “infants feelings of satisfaction and need at the mother’s breast”. In The Babadook, this is integral in the approach of understanding Samuel’s developing sexuality, and is exemplified through several of his actions. For instance, in a discomforting scene, he is seen…

Black Mirror — “Nosedive” (2016) [Source: The Verge]

“Nosedive” was the first episode of the third season of the dark science-fiction anthology series Black Mirror and it was released on October 21, 2016. This particular episode, like most of the rest of the series, is social satire in the context of modern technology. Let me explain how.

The growing pessimism associated with modern technology and the fears that derive from it are deeply rooted in society’s lack of self-awareness, which is a proposition I’ll strive to explore here.

In his interview with Der Spiegel, German philosopher Martin Heidegger makes the statement that all our “relationships have become merely…

All About My Mother (1999) [Source: IMDb]

Luchino Visconti’s film Bellisima (1951) and Pedro Almodovar’s film All About My Mother, or Todo sobre mi madre (1999) both delve distinctively into the overarching theme of “motherhood” in its various forms. Whilst Bellisima approaches motherhood in a focused, mother-daughter relationship dynamic, All About My Mother is multi-dimensional in its outlook towards maternity and its relation to womanhood and feminine solidarity.

Volver (2006) [Source: IMDb]

Pedro Almodóvar’s film Volver (2006) is a blend of several themes including maternity, the countryside as a setting, as well as a female universe as the family. However, its title in itself is the exposition of its main theme, the word ‘volver’ “means ‘going back’ or ‘coming home’ in Spanish, or in the film, the return of the supposedly dead mother.

An overarching theme that looms over the entire plot of the film is the idea of the “supernatural”, which happens to be a first of the kind for the famously agnostic Almodóvar. This rare theme is presented with a…

Keya Shirali

Writing. Literature. Film. Art. Culture. Creativity. Sharing whatever I’m passionate about.

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