This morning the Today Show reported on the AWARE (AWAreness during Resuscitation) study. The study is trying to determine if people really do have out-of-body experiences (or if it’s just a mind trick) and what the implications of a true out-of-body experience are. Involved in the study are 25 major medical centers throughout Europe, Canada, and 2 hospitals in the United States.
As part of the study a special monitor is placed on a coding patient to determine the amount of oxygen perfusion in the brain; a picture is also placed on a shelf above the bed in each hospital room. The shelf is high enough that the picture can’t be seen from floor level, and the idea is that someone would see the picture if they were having a true out-of-body experience. I wonder what was chosen for this picture, or maybe its just a sign that says:
“You are dead!
Option A: Go toward the light
Option B: Go back to your body and tell us you saw this sign”
It will be interesting to see what the study unearths. Will it confirm the possibility of life after death, or just open a host of new questions? Either way it reminds of the movie Ghost Dad with Bill Cosby. The UK Resuscitation Council, the Horizon Research Foundation, and the Nour Foundation in the United States are supplying funding for the study.
So I might be a little behind in my movie going expeditions, but I finally saw 9 this weekend. The movie was done very well. Character development has gotten very good over the last few years, and this movie is a prime example of that. The movie centers on anthropomorphosised burlap sacks who fight against a machine that destroyed humanity. Each of the 9 hero characters had a well-defined, if not stereotypical personality, though not all of them had much airtime. The villain cast of characters included a bionic cat, a cobra-esque burlap snake, and a soul-sucking machine.
The movie is set in a post apocalyptic time where machines have snuffed out human existence. The overall aesthetic of the film is reminiscent of World War I with elements of World War II era technology. I assume the city is loosely based on Paris, France, as the Cathedral of Notre Dame appears to have been used as the bases for one of the buildings. Regardless the imagery is amazing, and I liked the ambiguity of the back-story – you learn more about what happened to the human world and how as the hero character does.
I enjoyed the move. I felt the character development was strong, the story weaved in back-story and key plot ideas at it unfolded, and the imagery was spectacular. If you get a chance to see this in the theater I would recommend it, if not get it on Blu-Ray with the special features.
What happens when you trudge up a small hill, climb 105 steps up a spiral staircase, take in the view at 146’ then walk down the 105 steps and the small hill? You get a little tired. But you also get some cool photos and a little history lesson.
Today was the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Day, where 1000 participating museums nationwide allowed free admission to anyone who downloaded the pass from Smithsonianmag.com. To change things up from our usual experiences in art and design venues we headed north to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. The museum showcases exhibits about Florida’s earliest inhabitants, the history of the lighthouse, and the area’s military activities during WWII. It is located in a World War II U.S. Naval housing building that was built as the married men’s quarters of the Directional Finding Station known as “Station J” The station was used to locate German U-boats and also to serve as a navigational beacon for military ships and aircraft during the war. The building is now owned by the Town of Jupiter and operated by the Loxahatchee River Historical Society.
Jupiter Lighthouse, the one with all the steps, was first lit on July 10, 1860. It has remained, with the exception of a few years during the Civil War, a functional lighthouse ever since. The US Coast Guard took over operation of the beacon in 1939, and has never missed a night. As part of the admission to the museum you are given the opportunity to climb the steps, view the light mechanism, and peer out over the Loxahatchee River from 146 feet above the water.
After our trek up the lighthouse and through the museum we decided to check out another rather unknown area of Florida – The Blowing Rocks Preserve. The preserve is a 73-acre barrier island sanctuary that includes walking trails, an open-air butterfly garden, and most impressively a beach lined with Anastasia limestone rock formations. The formations have been eroded over time to form blowholes able to shoot sea spray up to 50 feet in the air. A very impressive sight indeed!
We had a fun day participating in the Smithsonian’s Museum Day and exploring a little on our own. The lighthouse and museum are finishing restoration on a second building, and should have that open in the coming months. I plan on visiting Blowing Rocks more; it was a beautiful beach with excellent photographic imagery.
It’s graduation season at the Art Institutes again, and once again I was not disappointed at the showing in Miami. The graduating class at Miami International University of Art and Design seemed a little smaller this quarter compared to last, but the work was equally as good. Interior design was set up outside the hall and the extra space allowed for a little less congestion throughout portfolio review. Fashion Design, Accessory Design, and Fashion Merchandizing had a good showing with a wide variety of styles represented. Graphic Design showed sound composition and design aesthetics. Juan Lopez from the Graphics Department caught my eye with some interesting 3D work.
Visual Arts had only two graduates this quarter, but both were very strong. Alejandra Cicilia showed her diversity in photography. She had some fantastic photos of construction workers in front of the Fontainebleau on Miami Beach, her fashion photography was well composed, and her nighttime photography has an amazing use of color. The work of Chantal Disler can be an event in itself. She takes watercolor, newsprint, and other mixed media and forms them into beautiful arrangements of harmony. Her branding seems to be set around birds in different forms and flight patterns. Her photography, drawings, and portraits all follow a free will aesthetic.
This quarter’s showing was very good. The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale had their portfolio review today at the Broward County Convention Center. Unfortunately I was unable to attend both, but wish graduates from both schools the best of luck!
Reproduced from an email by the Wolfsonian Museum:
The second and final Miami-Dade County public Budget Hearing is scheduled for this Thursday, September 17th and your personal messages to the County Commission about the value of support to cultural organizations is critical. Presently, if no positive action is taken, there will be “zero” dollars in the County budget for social service and cultural organizations.
We all recognize the arduous task before the County Commission; however, we have all worked so hard over the past two decades to build a vibrant cultural community that reflects the creativity, innovation, and generosity of our community. The arts have demonstrated their impact on quality of life, education, the economy, and job market, not to mention that almost all of the good news that comes out of Miami-Dade County is related to cultural organizations and arts events.
The severe reduction of County support of the arts will impact every cultural institution and the community it serves. It will result in the reduction of staff and seriously curtail most public, educational programs—exacerbating an already dire economic situation. Furthermore, the economic multiplier of this loss of funding is immeasurable, affecting numerous local businesses, service providers, and countless individuals. No one would argue that Art Basel and Design Miami, among other major conferences and events, have chosen to come to Miami, in part, because of its dynamic cultural scene.
If you have a strong opinion about the County budget, we urge you to attend the upcoming budget hearing and state your concerns.
Alternatively, if you are unable to attend the meeting, you may write members of the Miami-Dade County Commission to express your opinions or concerns. Visit http://artsactionalliance.wordpress.com/elected-officials/ for a list of Miami-Dade County Commissioners. Your individual letters about your personal experiences are more valuable than a form letter.