Category Archives: 2014

You don’t have to look very hard to find media art these days. From seven second Snapchat videos to massive multiplayer online role-playing videogames that have accrued literally billions of hours of gameplay, the 21st century world is inescapably drenched in it. Like our advances in science, our media is constantly evolving due to new technological discoveries and artists breaking fresh ground. And perhaps, like science, it is helping us understand our world a little better.

As we explore this vast canon of art with open eyes, an open heart, and an engaged intellect, we hope that the narratives we engage with will not only entertain, but that they may inform and edify as well.

We present for you Aperture’s blog. This blog will be dedicated to supplying you with weekly explorations into the world of Media Arts. Without further ado, strap in tight, prime the hyper-drive, and prepare to see the, good, the bad, and the transcendent in your everyday media.

The Silent Soliloquy: Echoes of The Passion of Joan of Arc within Imperator Furiosa

In a deserted and desert post-nuclear world, society has been reduced to roving gangs fighting for control of resources: water, fuel, bullets, and women. Imperator Furiosa (CharlizeTheron) leads a group of escaped wives from the enslavement of crime lord Immortan Joe. On the run, Furiosa teams up with road warrior Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) to fight off Immortan Joe’s army, sent to reclaim the overlord’s brides.
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The Silenced and the Forgotten within The Farm: Angola, U.S.A.

The Farm: Angola, U.S.A. (1998) is a chilling examination of prison life in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Although the documentary is set almost entirely within the penitentiary, the issues it addresses emanate from outside the prison’s gates. The directors present the unjust captivity and unfair treatment of Angola’s inmates as a microcosm of the pervasive, systemic oppression of African-Americans in the United States.
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Olan Rogers and New Media Narrative Structure

We are the generation accustomed to instant access to knowledge of any and all kinds—and access to stories in all shapes and forms. YouTuber Olan Rogers represents this melding of traditional storytelling and the digital generation with his video, “Midnight Claw.” His jump-cut editing style and direct address to the audience reflect society’s need for fast information consumption and demonstrates how the traditional narrative is being adapted to new media.

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The Grey

A plane full of labourers travelling home from the oil rigs crash-lands in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Ottway (Liam Neeson) and six of his co-workers survive. They scramble out of the plane’s carcass and soon realize they are far away from society. Temperatures drop and wolves descend on their camp, forcing the survivors to trek into the forest in search of sanctuary.

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Stefon and the Benign Violation

Saturday Night Live has had a number of memorable characters over the years—just think of Matt Foley, the motivational speaker who warns about the eventual fate of living in a van down by the river, or Debbie Downer, the buzz-kill queen who brings up her dead mother at the most inappropriate moments. But more recently, Bill Hader has made his mark on SNL history through his odd, yet popular, character Stefon. 

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Portal 2: A Critical Analysis of Game Design

Let’s talk games. Game developers constantly struggle to balance mechanics and story. Too little plot makes for a monotonous, soulless game, and too little mechanics (game play design, controls, physics engine, etc.) makes for a type of low-grade, minimally-interactive film. Portal 2 straddles the two perfectly, blending a compelling story, engaging characters, and whip-smart dialogue with innovative gameplay and challenging levels.

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Princess Academy

This past weekend I saw Brigham Young University’s play, Princess Academy, an adaptation of the children’s book of the same name by Shannon Hale. Lisa Hall Hagen adapted the book for the stage. It’s about a young girl (Miri) that is taken from her home on a mountain and is selected to attend school to become a princess that the prince will choose to be his wife. Along the way Miri runs into problems like a mean teacher, a harsh winter, terrifying bandits, and hurtful schoolmates. However, through friendship, confidence, and love she is able to overcome some of the most difficult of obstacles. She learns to use the telepathy that people use to communicate on the mountain to communicate with the other girls at the academy to help them get through their dreadful times when at the school. In the show she comes to gain an education, and although she does not end up with the prince, she makes strong friendships and helps the people of her home learn to read and write. This performance was beautiful in so many ways: from the writing and visuals, to the vivid characterization.

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The Apartment: Finding Happiness in Broken Reality

At its beginning, Billy Wilder’s 1960 film The Apartment seems to have a cheerful sort of concept. C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) has a life he enjoys, and for the moment his one complaint is that his own apartment is too often borrowed by others (stemming from a simple favor, Baxter now lets his work superiors borrow his apartment as a setting for their own romantic affairs). However, he’s pleased with his consequent promotions and is interested in one of the elevator girls, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine). However, this pleasantness is brief. Kubelik has been involved in a disastrous affair with Baxter’s boss, Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), in that very apartment. This all comes to a head when Baxter comes home to find the nearly dead Kubelik has attempted suicide in his home

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