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  • 312211.1251

    An illustration and caption from A Model of Visual Motion Processing in Area MT of Primates, Sejnowski and Nowlan's remarkable paper describing basic neural organization across areas of the brain. From Gazzaniga's masterful, first The Cognitive Neurosciences

  • 312211.1052

  • 312210.1413

    Did you know 850K Americans hold top-secret security clearance? The Post seizes the moment to explore the post 9-11 security reaction and the monstrous bureaucracy that may be indications of an empire's overreaching. Where has innovation gone? How do you oversee a system that neither Congress nor the Executive branch has full oversight of.

     

    overview: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/

    Intro Article: projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/

  • 312206.0813

    Frontspiece, Scaffold-house, Cradle

  • 312203.0720

    The Senoi taught children through a form of dream therapy to navigate the edge of their fears and likewise navigate their fears in the outer world. Inception requires this fear to navigate its narrative, a  curtain falling endlessly on western myths: does the dreamstate reveal our failure to conceive a life beyond fears?

    "The simplest anxiety or terror dream I found among the Senoi was the falling dream. When the Senoi child reports a falling dream, the adult answers with enthusiasm, "That is a wonderful dream, one of the best dreams a man can have. Where did you fall to, and what did you discover?" He makes the same comment when the child reports a climbing, travelling, flying or soaring dream. The child at first answers, as he would in our society, that it did not seem so wonderful, and that he was so fightened that he awoke before he had fallen anywhere.

    "That was a mistake," answers the adult authority. "Everything you do in a dream has a purpose, beyond your understanding while you are asleep. You must relax and enjoy yourself when you fall in a dream. Falling is the quickest way to get in contact with the powers of the spirit world, the powers laid open to you through your dreams. Soon, when you have a falling dream, you will remember what I am saying and you will feel that you are travelling to the source of the power which has caused you to fall."

    "The falling spirits love you. They are attracting you to their land, and you have but to relax and remain asleep in order to come to grips with them. When you meet them, you may be frightened of their terrific power, but go on. When you think you are dying in a dream, you are only receiving the powers of the other world, your own spiritual power, which has been turned against you and which now wishes to become one with you if you will accept it."

  • 312203.0605

  • 312202.0311

  • 312201.1127

    "I think sable is a great Texas coat. I can see this with jeans, I can see this with an evening gown." - Nieman Marcus Fur Salesman

     

    WISEMAN LOOKS AT AFFLUENT TEXANS

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ''The Store,'' Frederick Wiseman's film portrait of the Neiman-Marcus department store in Dallas, will be shown on WNET/Channel 13 on Wednesday evening at 9. The two-hour study is the award-winning film maker's 16th movie and his first documentary in more than three years. From 1967 (''Titicut Follies'') through 1980 (''Model''), Mr. Wiseman had produced a new film each year, and his work received such critical acclaim that a Wiseman documentary heralded the beginning of each new Public Broadcasting Service season for more than a decade.

    His latest work, according to the 53- year-old film maker, is the continuation of what he perceives as a 25- to 30-year-long overview of American life. For Mr. Wiseman, the making of ''The Store'' represented a financial struggle that he has not had to face since his earliest ventures. It is a lament that is not unfamiliar to independent film makers, even those with credentials as formidable as Mr. Wiseman's.

    ''The Store,'' his first documentary filmed in color, continues in the cinema verite tradition, a genre in which Mr. Wiseman is an acknowledged master. Though ''The Store'' stands as a single entity, Mr. Wiseman believes that it fits perfectly into his ''institutional series,'' a collective look at those places which, he says, are both common experiences in people's lives and are vital for the functioning of society.

    According to the film maker, the idea of taking a close look at Neiman- Marcus was an outgrowth of his last documentary, ''Model.'' That documentary focused on the creation of advertising for consumer products; ''The Store'' takes that a step further and looks at the actual selling of those products. Mr. Wiseman says he chose Neiman-Marcus because in many people's minds it represents the store, the most famous emporium in the country and perhaps the world.

    ''If you are going to have theories about American society, you've got to look at all aspects of it,'' he said during a recent interview in his Cambridge studio. ''You've got to look at how the images are created that affect people's lives and the choices of consumer goods they buy.''

    To this end, ''The Store'' focuses on the institution, which to many, symbolizes Texas prosperity. During the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, Mr. Wiseman's unobtrustive camera zeroed in on virtually every aspect of life within the renowned department store. Among the collage of images: a society matron who spends several days each week in Neiman-Marcus' luxurious dressing rooms trying on various ensembles with the aid of two saleswomen; in the fur salon, a customer wearing a full-length sable coat ponders the purchase of another but only if she can get the same inner lining in the new one; a member of the sales force telephones a customer for whom she is handling the Christmas shopping and reports: ''I don't have the reindeer. But surprise - I do have the angel''; an exercise teacher greets a group of saleswomen and leads them in smile exercises; the expected and countless staff meetings with various executives and staff members, addressing marketing strategies, security, sales techniques and staff morale.

    Ironically, this view of the nation's moneyed society was plagued in its creation by financial woes. Though P.B.S. is presenting ''The Store'' and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's program fund did provide 40 percent of the film's cost, Mr. Wiseman's relationship with public television is anything but amicable. Indeed, the film maker says he wouldn't be working at all if it weren't for an MacArthur Prize fellowship, an award of $50,000 per year for five years for being what the MacArthur Foundation calls ''a genius.''

    The MacArthur award arrived in 1982 ''at a really critical moment,'' as Mr. Wiseman put it, when his second five-year contract with WNET/ Channel 13 had run out and the financially strapped station could not renew the agreement. Having finished work on his first theatrical film, ''Seraphita's Diary'' (which was privately funded), Mr. Wiseman was anxious to begin work on ''The Store.'' His proposal to the C.P.B.'s program-fund panel was rejected. The panel, he recalled, wanted to know why he had chosen Neiman- Marcus rather than Macy's or Gimbels as his subject.

    The MacArthur money was enough to allow Mr. Wiseman to begin work on ''The Store'' last fall, but he was forced to pledge his collection of films as collateral for a loan to complete the $235,000 documentary. After he was done filming, he did receive $90,000 of C.P.B. funding, although it came, he pointed out, at the prompting of the program-funds director, who overrode the panel and ''decided to take a chance.''

    Mr. Wiseman, whose work has been honored with any number of prestigious awards, is angry at what he feels is an undeserved struggle to fund his latest venture. He calls the public-television system a ''bloated and engorged bureaucracy'' in which an independent film maker simply ''doesn't fit.''

    Yet, despite his frustration with public television, Mr. Wiseman is pleased with ''The Store.'' He believes that this film, like his others, has cross references to all his work. In ''The Store,'' he pointed out, the viewer can see the doctors, lawyers and judges who run the institutions in his other films and learn how they spend their money.

    When queried as to why, indeed, did he choose Neiman-Marcus over such stores as Sears or Macy's, Mr. Wiseman responded that while those places are equally valid subjects, they don't reflect what he was looking for at Neiman-Marcus. ''I don't believe in a kind of populist film making in the sense that one has to always take subjects that reflect the broadest stream in society,'' he said.

    Nevertheless, such films as ''Titicut Follies,'' ''Law and Order,'' ''Hospital'' and ''Juvenile Court'' earned Mr. Wiseman the reputation as an incisive social commentator. The starkly revealing portraits of these institutions, the people who populate them and the people who run them were more than disquieting. In some cases, such as ''Primate,'' ''Juvenile Court'' and ''Titicut Follies,'' they provoked anger and threats of legal action from the subjects (to this day, a Massachusetts court order is required for a screening of ''Titicut Follies'').

    With ''Model'' and now ''The Store,'' the film maker appears to have moved away from the kind of institutions that inspired his earlier work. He bristles, however, at the suggestion that he has mellowed and is no longer willing to take on the tough ones.

    ''My blunt reply to that,'' said Mr. Wiseman, ''is that anybody who feels that way doesn't know what I'm doing.'' He added just as emphatically that he has never been a muckracker and is not interested in exposes. He believes that both ''Model'' and ''The Store'' are just as, if not more, revealing about our society as ''Titicut Follies'' and ''Law and Order.''

    ''There's a certain group of both documentary film makers and documentary film critics who feel that you have to make movies about poor people,'' he said. ''That's the subject. That's social criticism. My feeling is that anything you think is a decent subject for a movie, if you make it right, is a possible movie. There's more to the society than poor people, and there's obviously a relationship between poor people and rich people.''

    Although several of Mr. Wiseman's films provoked unfavorable reaction from his subjects, he said he met with no resistance from Neiman-Marcus in doing ''The Store.'' The company's executives set no prior conditions and gave him free run of the entire operation, from staff meetings to dressing rooms.

    According to Mr. Wiseman, Neiman-Marcus officials who have viewed ''The Store'' were pleased with its outcome; however, he said he is unconcerned with how the subject as well as the audience responds to his portrait and rejects the idea that he is too soft on his subject in ''The store.''

    ''I don't think my films particularly confirm or deny - and they're not meant to - any particular social theory and they don't offer solutions,'' he said. ''They're meant as explorations of as many aspects of American life as I can do and have an interest in doing.''

    As with his other work, Mr. Wiseman spent a full month shooting and the better part of the year editing his current film. He did no prior research and tried to avoid any pre-conceived thinking about Neiman-Marcus.

    ''The shooting is the research,'' he explained. ''I discover what I'm trying to say both in shooting and, more specifically, in the process of editing.''

    ''The Store'' is the first documentary that Mr. Wiseman has shot in color. His 1982 commercial venture, ''Seraphita's Diary'' - both a critical and box-office flop - was also done in color. The driving force behind the switch from black and white was a new, ultra high-speed color film that, for the first time, responded technically to the demands of the hand-held, natural-light circumstances under which Mr. Wiseman works. Neiman- Marcus, he felt, was ''like being handed a $20-million set.'' Although tip-lipped about future projects, Mr. Wiseman indicated that he will attempt another theatrical venture despite the negative response to ''Seraphita's Diary.'' He is also determined to continue his documentary work regardless of the financial struggles. About public television, he was outspoken:

    ''I cannot let what I do be determined by the political vagaries of public television,'' he said.

  • 312201.0251

  • 312195.1605

    Set in the near and far future, A.I. was to be Kubrick's antithesis to both The Shining and 2001, instead of an odyssey, a fable: on an Earth succumbing to greenhouse ocean encroachment, a boy named David is created mechanically to imitate love on behalf of humans (an indication that humans no longer experience it), he gains greater awareness than his human owners (and creator) of the emotion, is orphaned by expulsion, experiences dire adventures with an opposite (a male robot created to fulfill pleasure instead of love) then escapes all grasp as he comprehends what they do not. His final act is to submerge in the underwater valleys of New York's ruins and patiently await the awakening of a statue of The Blue Fairy (set in the ruins of Luna Park, Coney Island). Thousands of years pass, metaphysically like the stargate infinity or the mute finiteness of Mr. Torrance's frozen still; life becomes extinct on an ice covered earth, the boy's passage is ended when ultra conscious beings, hybrids between robots and living entities, unearth him and allow him a 'day' of consciousness before his data is assimilated. No doubt an adventure Kubrick would have engineered as near satire hovering above calm efficiency, its remains exist inside an oddly sentimental version made by Spielberg. By rendering it for children he collapses the very meaning of the film while keeping its plot largely intact. Was it a test given to him by Kubrick? Thames and Hudson published a coffee table book that showcases how closely Spielberg followed the visuals Kubrick imagined, and incredibly, it proves visuals alone are not the center of any director's craft, we require the tone of interaction. Kubrick was certain David was to be a digital creation as no human could truly imitate a robot.

    Could Kubrick have been any more obvious: the mecha discover a scaled-monolith before they find David. The test, how do you get this mega-structure onto a frame 2.33:1?