ISSUE NO. 5
Vol. 7 Apr. 2019
arts & culture
Where the Wild Thoughts Run:
letter from the
thanks to our
The production of` our fifth issue has proven to be a very bittersweet task; nonetheless, the sad feelings that accompany the creation of our final issue as the 2018-2019 leadership team are eradicated by those eager to uphold the values of the publication into the next year. Throughout our time as editors, we have become accustomed to the daring nature of advancing our creative frontier; redesigning the C Magazine flag and creating a music section were just the beginning of all the new risks taken and ideas tested. We thank you for your patience as we continue to expand our print and online presence within the journalistic community. “A feeling feared by both parents and children alike;” our shared distaste and disregard for the power of boredom is examined in the cover story “Where the Wild Thoughts Run.” Katherine Buecheler, Chloe Laursen, Isabella Moussavi, Natalie Schilling, Raj Sodhi and Fiza Usman underscore how our dependence on busyness creates a culture that impedes childrens' ability to introspect, create and individualize. A narrative voiced by psychologists, parents, children, authors and scientists, reveals how rediscovering of the value of boredom is arguably long overdue. In “Censor this, #%@*! ” staff writers Ashley Guo, Kimi Lillios and Tamar Ponte describe the effects that artistic censorship has on the progression and advancement of society. While censorship in galleries is a well-established concept, the advancing barriers working to reduce explicit content are becoming especially prominent on platforms that artists initially used to freely display their work and ideas. Staff writers Ellen Chung, Leon Lau, Claire Li and Kimi Lillios work to hone this issue to the Paly community, in which the artwork of C Magazine’s artist of the month, Rebecca Cheng, has undergone extensive censorship. An exploration of Cheng’s experiences further reveal the contradictory nature of artistic censorship and it’s divergence from its fundamental purpose. In “The Needle Drop,” staff writer and music connoisseur Theo Lim-Jisra maps uncharted musical waters, providing an inside look at his personal music collection, consisting of some of his favorite albums from the past few decades. Alongside his own parodied album covers, masterpieces in themselves, Lim-Jisra provides readers with a selection of relatively undiscovered music to enjoy.
SPONSORS Joan Shah Alexandra Scheve Josh Rowell Alyssa Haught Juliana Lee Amanda Hmelar Julie Gerhardt Jacob Andrew Moley Karen Gould Ann and Rob Schilling Kathy Sinsheimer Anna Zigmond-Ramm Katie Look Ann Stern Audrey and Marc Finot Kenneth and Melissa Scheve Li Li Barbara Cottrell Lisa Borland Bob Stefanski Lori Buecheler Bridget Cottrell Lynn Brown Buddy Rowell Martha Castellon Palacios Cathy Moley Melina Lillios Celeste Mimi Veyna Charlee Stefanski Monte and Jan Klein Chris Lillos Nora Bohdjelian Dana Wideman Pritpal Sahota Danielle Lauren Rajul and Alpesh Kadakia Denease G. Rowell Rob Rowell George Putris Ron and Marilyn Schilling Gregg Rowell Ron Papas Harry and Molly Ackley Sarah Correll Jake Wellington Simon and Sarla Wright Jane Varner Stella and Mike Laursen Jasleen Sahota Steve Weiss Jeanne Giaccia Susanna Lee Jennifer Wald Vicken Bojelian Jinny Rhee
Happy reading! Ryan Gwyn, Grace Rowell, Lia Salvatierra and Rosa Schaefer Bastian
EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Ryan Gwyn, Grace Rowell, Lia Salvatierra, Rosa Schaefer Bastian
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Charlotte Amsbaugh
BUSINESS MANAGER Kailee Correll
ONLINE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maddie Yen
STAFF WRITERS Katherine Buecheler, Jack Callaghan, Angie Cummings, Sophie Jacob, Karina Kadakia, Chloe Laursen, Claire Li, Theo Lim-Jisra, Isabella Moussavi, Claire Moley, Tamar Ponte, Natalie Schilling, Hazel Shah, Raj Sodhi, Mahati Subramaniam, Fiza Usman, Gigi Tierney, Tyler Varner, Neive Wellington, Jessica Weiss
MANAGING EDITORS Jaime Furlong, Isabel Hadly, Emily Filter ONLINE MANAGING EDITOR Ellen Chung COPY EDITORS Jack Stefanski, Ashley Guo PHOTO EDITOR Claire Li DIGITAL DESIGN EDITOR Patille Papas WEB DESIGN EDITOR Leon Lau SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Ellie Fitton
ILLUSTRATORS Charlotte Amsbaugh, Bo Fang, Tyler Varner ADVISER Brian Wilson COVER Grace Rowell, Lia Salvatierra, Raj Sodhi
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MAKING WACKY WORK MAKEUP: THE REMAKE SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE CENSOR THIS, #%@*! artist of the month FROM ART TO ACTIVISM
THE MAN BEHIND THE SUNGLASSES NATURE VS. NURTURE ALL IN THE SPIT cover WHERE THE WILD THOUGHTS RUN FRESH OFF THE RUNWAY AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE ORIGINAL
MUSIC METAMORPHOSIS FIGHT FYRE WITH FIRE NOT MUSIC TO OUR EARS THE NEEDLE DROP
Making Wacky Work TEXT AND DESIGN BY ANGIE CUMMINGS, EMILY FILTER AND GIGI TIERNEY ART BY LEON LAU
The best way to grab attention is to do something out of the ordinary; whether it’s hatching from an egg at the 2010 Grammy’s or sharing polka-dot infested hallucinations, artists like Lady Gaga and Yayoi Kusama shock the public with their wild experimentations, meeting headlines and inciting fascination. Due to this pattern, some argue that the enigmatic and controversial nature of artists like these is a greater factor in their success than the art itself.
nglish singer, songwriter and actor David Bowie is remembered as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, as well as one of the world’s best selling rock stars with worldwide sales of 140 million records. Before gaining fame, Bowie attempted to release his first album independently and failed, which caused him to cease music production temporarily. Despite his failure, Bowie jump started his career through signing with Mercury Records, and continued his success by becoming a pioneer in a heavily competitive industry; he intrigued fans by releasing heavier rock sounds and coming out as gay during a more taboo time period to do so. In 1972, he released the album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” that introduced his new identity, Ziggy Stardust. Bowie reached his peak of stardom after introducing this alter ego: his image of a doomed rock star. The 70s marked a time when Bowie developed an enigmatic persona; he was able to explore a unique character and pioneer a new age in rock music, all while consistently releasing albums that hit the charts. In 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, reflecting all of his hard work and dedication towards his career. His musical legacy, including 26 albums, is remembered as one that inspired other artists, including Lady Gaga, to be themselves and to create music with meaning and passion.
ndy Warhol, recognized by choppy white hair and prints of Campbell’s soup, is a character that exhibits the intersection of skill and character. In presenting his influential art, Warhol highlighted more than just his artistic abilities but his reclusive nature and notably odd choice of wigs. Despite Warhol’s praise for highlighting the mass
4 • ARTS
consumerism and materialism prevalent in 1960s America, some critics deny the quality of his art and question the rationale behind his fame. Warhol was a multifaceted figure; his wide recognition brought him success and resulting media interviews, in which he often maintained a mysterious image by leaving long, awkward silences between the question and his answer. When he did answer, he provided solely two or three-word responses. The mystery of his character has continued to incite curiosity, interest in his creative process, and debate about the true messages his art was conveying. Warhol’s “Green Coca-Cola Bottles,” a 2-D depiction of a series of soda
bottles tinted varying shades of green, was recently sold for $57 million in 2010. The value of the piece is largely due to its meaning: Warhol used the bottle as a symbol of equity in American consumerism in efforts to speak to the idea that the richest man and the poorest man can buy and enjoy the same product. “A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking,” Warhol said in response to his work. While his extensive collection of artwork is appreciated in museums and has inspired contemporary advertisement graphics, the way in which Warhol’s shocking mannerisms and the meaning behind his art successfully intertwines is arguably just as memorable as the pieces themselves.
onsumed by her love for polka dots, Yayoi Kusama is a 90-yearold Japanese-American artist who rejects social norms and proudly shares her exuberant personality and artistic abilities. She works using a spectrum of mediums and has created everything from installments to paintings, which consistently encompass the theme of circles and dots. Her wardrobe has also become subject to this
thematic pattern, as Kusama is often distinguished in old photographs by her choice of dotted clothing. Kusama developed into an enigmatic figure in the 1960s, as audiences at her shows would gawk at the intricate nets of dots on her canvases, sometimes spanning up to 33 feet long, or stand shocked as they observed her strolling nude through New York City, painting polka dots on herself and fellow artists. Kusama sees the world— and the universe, for that matter— in dots, and she has devoted her art and life to showing the rest of the world what she sees. While some
might look at Kusama’s work and disparage its apparent childlike nature, millions around the world have come to appreciate the miniature universes she creates in her works like “Dots Obsession” (2003). In this installation, Kusama covered an entirely yellow room— and the enormous inflated balls within it— with black polka dots. Kusama’s efforts were unique— she wasn’t afraid to use installations to project her vulnerable experiences, and, in the process, she created some of the most discussed installations of the past 50 years. When it comes to separating the artist from the work they produce, it is almost impossible to do so with Kusama, as she has repeatedly said that her work is her world, it is what she sees and feels every day.
Is an artist's fame and sucess determined by their outlandish personalities?
ady Gaga, now one of the best-selling musicians in history, first started her career at open mic nights at restaurants scattered throughout New York City. Soon after being discovered by Akon, an award-winning singer and producer, she was signed to his label under which she released her first debut single “Just Dance.” Within the first year of its release, more than seven million copies of the single were sold and Gaga’s road to music success began. Though “Just Dance” was her first release, Gaga grabbed the world’s attention with provocative lyrics and an unconventional public image. From her eccentric concert visuals to her costume and dress, Gaga retained the spotlight through both shocking and entertaining her audiences.
Some of her wildest, most memorable moments include her wearing a dress made entirely of raw meat to the 2010 MTV Music Awards, hatching from an egg on stage during the performance of her song “Born This Way” at the 2011 Grammy Music Awards and releasing her perfume “Fame” in 2012, in which she advertised unique ingredients of blood and semen. Although it takes immense self confidence to be so daring, Gaga revealed in her documentary, “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” that her bold choices were a way to gain control in an oppressive music industry. Her controversial outfits and performances are more than just outlets of self expression but also assertions of power. “What I’ve done is that when they [management] wanted me to
be sexy or they wanted me to be pop, I always fu**ing put some absurd spin on it that made me feel like I’m still in control,” Gaga said. From the beginning of her career, Gaga created a unique image for herself; when she released music, there was always a wacky performance or costume to accompany it that grabbed its own headlines. As a result, her talent as a singer and songwriter has intertwined with her wild image to create a product that is more than just the music.
MAKEUP : the remake
MAKEUP IN THE 21ST CENTURY REPRESENTS MORE THAN CONSTRUCTING A “PRETTY FACE.” IT IS AN ART FORM WHICH IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING INTO IT’S OWN INDUSTRY TO BETTER SERVE A DIVERSE WORLD WITH AN EXPANDING DEFINITION OF BEAUTY.
uscious eyelashes, flawless skin, pink lips and lightly flushed cheeks; throughout time, makeup has offered women the ability to attain these coveted, unrealistic features. Now, the intention of the makeup industry has shifted from a focus of painting perfection to manifesting individual identity. Rather than a tool used to achieve the principles of beauty, makeup is now employed as a form of expression and as an art itself. For as long as many can remember, the makeup industry has been heavily dominated by females, both the creators and consumers, the concept of men using makeup being taboo. But what many are not aware of is that from the Archaic Period through the 19th century, makeup was primarily used by men; it wasn’t until the early 20th century that makeup emerged as notably feminine. Moving into the 21st century, a transformation in the makeup industry has taken place, becoming one of the most versatile artistic forms. As men become more involved in the makeup industry either as makeup artists, drag queens, or everyday consumers, big name brands are making increasingly pronounced efforts to embrace more fluid artistic and gender ideas. This includes companies like Glossier, Covergirl, and Tom
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Ford, who have begun including both men and women in advertisements for the same products— which furthers the notion that makeup is universal. One recent notable campaign was YSL’s photoshoot for their new makeup collection, Shimmer Rush, which is inclusive towards all men, not just makeup artists and drag queens. The campaign featured masculine male models sporting natural looking makeup, including brow gel and concealer. As society becomes increasingly accepting of gender-fluidity, the role of make-up, as exemplified in this recent initiative, will continue to evolve as an artistic canvas for self-expression, becoming accessible to a wider and more diverse consumer audience. Beyond just widening their production to attract and include men, new brands have formed, such as “him” and “Formen,” and are specifically targeting an all-male audience and are helping to change the way people look at the industry. Influencers like James Charles, a popular beauty Youtuber, serve as the forefront of this movement centered around diminishing established cultural and gender norms. Charles’ amassment of 15 million subscribers on YouTube exemplifies the power of this movement, where he has served as a catalyst of the idea makeup’s purpose can extend beyond society’s limited
concept. His tagline, “Unleash Your Inner Artist,” appears within “The James Charles Palette,” his most recent collaboration with the popular brand "Morphe". The 39 different shades featured, ranging from colors like “Guac,” a pigmented green, to “Sister,” a shimmery rose gold, attract all different types of people who are interested in exploring this art form. “Have fun, express yourself and try something new; [...] who knows, you might love it. We all have an artist within us,” Charles said in an interview with Paper Magazine. With the mission of radically challenging stereotypical beauty ideals through creativity and self-expression, Dazed Beauty is pushing boundaries and breaking barriers in the beauty industry. Originally founded as Dazed & Confused in 1991 as an alternative style and culture magazine, this newly launched company and community platform strives to be a “culturally provocative” force through their prominent online presence and website. Dazeddigital.com acts as a business which “continues to champion radical fashion and youth culture, defining the times with a vanguard of next generation writers, stylists and image makers.” With their innovative and bold content approach, Dazed claims on their website that their company is “the most influential independent fashion and
culture title in the world.” Additionally, our digital age has elevated the booming beauty industry onto a visible and shareable platform, gifting “beauty gurus” from all backgrounds, the ability to obtain millions of views and followers across various social media sites. Dazed Beauty has taken this movement in stride, obtaining an Instagram following of almost one million since their launch in September 2018. When one takes a look at the images displayed on the Dazed Beauty social media platforms, they will find a wide array of striking and unorthodox content, with posts that include boldlycolored and digitally-enhanced hair and makeup, exhibited on the bodies of wellknown celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Travis Scott and Kate Moss. The company’s creative director and makeup artist, Isamaya Ffrench,
is “excited to explore new territories in beauty with a distinctly digital angle,” he said. “This is beauty for the social media age. Our aim is really to redefine beauty itself—for everyone.” Editor-in-Chief Bunny Kinney explains that Dazed Beauty is working to represent the changing face of fashion, and feels that the beauty industry is a key component to this shift. “Beauty feels like the new fashion, particularly for young people,” Kinney said. “It’s personal, it’s individual, it’s accessible… We want to reflect those experiences and tell those stories. Beauty provides a toolbox, and a canvas, for people to start experimenting with the person they are becoming both inside and out.”
TEXT AND DESIGN BY ANGIE CUMMINGS, ELLIE FITTON, ISABEL HADLY AND TYLER VARNER•PHOTOS BY PATILLE PAPAS
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The artistic perspective known as the “male gaze” makes its mark on countless art forms throughout history, but recently a new outlook has emerged.
he movie theater screen brightens, sultry music commences and a woman emerges into the shot. The camera steadily pans its way up her delicate and curvaceous figure, lingering momentarily on her chest before ultimately revealing her scarlet lips and sparkling eyes. The scene invites the audience to stare hungrily, free from shame, at the image which does not portray the vulnerable actress behind the lens, but rather an on-screen object of desire. This introduction to cinematic female characters is all too familiar and can be observed in a variety of motion pictures. Hence, audiences have become desensitized to this pervasive perspective known as the “male gaze,” which has been a consistent presence in the expression of art for centuries. More recently, however, a belated perspective has begun to make its rightful emergence in the industry—the “female gaze.” Entertainment often reflects the perspective of the individual behind the camera or canvas as well as the interests of its intended audience. As a result, most works of art produce narratives through the eyes of the male. According to Palo Alto High School AP Art History teacher, Sue La Fetra, this is due to the extensive history of underrepresentation of women in the
art industry. “[Historically,] men tended to be in charge of [the majority of the art industry]” she said. “They were in charge of art schools and therefore did not allow women to enroll, they were the art historians so they decided what [art] went into art history textbooks and they were the heads of museums so they decided generally what art was accepted [into the galleries.]” This constant motif male perspective interwoven in various art forms was first analyzed in 1975 by British film theorist, Laura Mulvey, who coined the term “male gaze” to describe the objectification of women in the Western media. “In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/ male and passive/female,” Mulvey wrote in an essay titled “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. “The determining male gaze projects its fantasy on to the female form, which is styled accordingly.” The origin of the male gaze can be dated back to the very first form of media: art. La Fetra presents the male gaze as a historically consistent and easily distinguishable theme in artwork to her AP art history students. “The women that have been historically depicted in art usually have an attitude that reflects them being subservient to the viewer because the assumption is that the viewer is a dominant male,” she said. “Frequently [a female will have] downcast eyes, and the body will be presented in a way that is obviously meant for the pleasure of the male viewer.” La Fetra believes that the acknowledgment of the male gaze has been beneficial for the art world; “it makes us aware of the limitations that women have been put under and therefore makes us
Shift in Perspective
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more focused on making things more equitable between men and women.” Not only does the male gaze term imply the sexual depiction of females, but it also pinpoints the overall lack of character development of women in movies, television, and literature. These two-dimensional supporting roles refer to characters whose primary purpose is to aid the storyline of the male protagonist, most often as their “love-interest.” This type of individual is commonly referred to as the “manic pixie dream girl,” (MPDG) a phrase devised by film critic Nathan Rabin after he watched Kirsten Dunst’s character, Claire Colburn, in the movie “Elizabethtown.” Rabin describes the form of the archetype as the “bubbly and shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors.” Furthermore, he maintains that the sole purpose of this character trope is “to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” However, just because a film has a male-lead with a quirky female love-interest does not automatically deem it as a concentration of the “male gaze” or poor screenwriting. The depth of a character and a movie as a whole is ultimately up to the interpretation of the viewer. Nevertheless, some other examples of cinematic characters that are popularly considered as falling into the MPDG character trope are Sam in “Garden State,” played by Natalie Portman, Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” played by Audrey Hepburn and Kim in “The Last Kiss” played by Rachel Bilson. Although MPDG characters are most frequently female, there is still no shortage of male characters that fit the prototype. Most notably, Ferris Bueller in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” played by Matthew Broderick, is a character whose depth is essentially never revealed to the audience. Instead, his character is centered around his charisma and wildly-entertaining ability to skip school and drag his gloomy best friend, Cameron, and his glamorous girlfriend, Sloane, along for various adventures all around Chicago. The lack of insight into Bueller’s personal life is synonymous with his characters’ mantra: “life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you might miss it.” Again, this analysis does not translate directly to whether or not these movies are altogether poorly written. Rather, it serves to solely highlight a pattern of the portrayal of underdeveloped characters in the media. Only 20
percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on Hollywood’s top 250 highestearning projects are female, so it comes as no surprise that the “female gaze” is a rather new term. One might expect the female gaze to objectify men when in reality it’s reflection is far more profound. Instead, the female gaze regularly presents the physical and physiological aspects of the female perspective, which provides the viewer with rich and sincere insight into the complexities of a strong female character. Through this progressive cinematic depiction of women, audiences view the hardships and trauma females experience on a daily basis and are often provided with a far more extended outlook. For example, instead of presenting an extensive visual depiction of domestic abuse, films shot through the female gaze work to show the emotional aftermath of the traumatic experience. In the Netflix series “Jessica Jones,” the depiction of leading character, Jessica, is unlike the way most female characters are: perfectly kept hair, flawless makeup and consistently walking around in skin-tight clothing. Instead, her regular choice of distressed jeans and a loose-fitting leather jacket play a small role in defining her on-screen persona, as she spends most of her time working as a private investigator and fighting crime in her city. A major plot point in the show is the PTSD she experiences after previously being raped in her life, however, the audience is never presented with a visual depiction of the actual rape scene. Instead, viewers are continually given insight into the devastating and intricate repercussions of the trauma on various aspects of her life. This choice of narrative direction largely embodies the ideology of the female gaze: the presence of a female perspective on-screen to emphasize the story’s emotions and characters. This can be attributed to the show’s female and Emmy nominated screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg, who in conversation with “Variety”, explains that “[We] have this rich, complex female lead and we are looking at what happened from her perspective.” Through the use of the female gaze, directors have been able to allocate a voice of greater potency to everyday women who have continually felt underrepresented in media. A true sense of depth and thought is put into the development of female characters, creating an environment where women are seen as more than objects used to further male development. However, the recognition of the male gaze works to bolster the expanding frontier of gender equality in arts. “I think the term male gaze is very beneficial because it makes us aware of the limitations that women have been put under,” La Fetra said. “It makes us more focused on making things more equitable between men and women.”
“The term male gaze is very beneficial because it makes us aware of the limitations that women have been put under.”
- Sue La Fetra
TEXT BY ELLIE FITTON, NEIVE WELLINGTON AND ROSA SCHAEFER BASTIAN • DESIGN BY CHARLOTTE AMSBAUGH, ELLIE FITTON, ROSA SCHAEFER BASTIAN AND NEIVE WELLINGTON • PHOTOS BY PATILLE PAPAS • ART BY ELLIE FITTON
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Blocking expression has become a prominent issue, preventing artists from COMMUNICATING their beliefs and in turn halting societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to grow from the exposure to CONTROVERSIAL PERSPECTIVES.
TEXT AND DESIGN BY ASHLEY GUO, TAMAR PONTE AND KIMI LILLIOS
“Let’s be real here. If you feel uncomfortable,ask yourself why.” Emma Toma
ontroversial and sexual expressions of art are the most frequent targets of censorship crusades, fostering the fine line between offensive content and an artists power to convey their unfiltered messages. As many platforms within society continue to block artwork that is deemed offensive, this censorship illuminates the struggle between spreading free thought and creating a “safe” environment.
“Obscene” Content In a historical sense, nudity and sexual content in art were rooted in divine and idealist themes; in more contemporary art forms, these concepts and their application have amassed heavy criticism, in part due to the shift in audiences’ perceptions. When promoted in the name of body positivity or sexual freedom, such art is created to send messages of activism rather than pornography. The censorship of artwork that portrays potentially inappropriate topics does more than shield audiences from ideas considered vulgar or obscene; it stifles the voices of communities that seek to open up the discussion to taboo topics. Social media platforms including Instagram, Youtube and Tumblr have cracked down on posts considered sexually explicit or obscene, causing outrage in many communities who feel that they cannot exercise their freedom of expression. At the end of 2018, Tumblr enacted a regulation to permanently ban adult content and has been a source of alarm for many Tumblr users, as it eliminated a safe platform where they could openly express themselves. However, an opposing view to Tumblr’s previously-relaxed moderation is that it allowed for users to share troubling posts of child pornography and Nazi agitation, causing Apple to remove Tumblr from the app store, ultimately prompting this ban. Though promising to exclude art portraying nudity from the ban, Tumblr has continually incorrectly flagged such content, fracturing
communities that seek to promote body positivity. Instagram also has a strict policy regarding images of nudity, stating that “there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram.” Since Instagram is a popular platform to spread artwork and promote messages of activism, this policy poses an obstacle for some artists who want to explore topics outside of their guidelines. Emma Toma, a Paly graduate and photographer, uses Instagram to promote her art. Her photos, depicting BDSM and nudity, are used to push a message of sexual freedom and enabling female but are often censored by Instagram. “My images aim to perceive women in an empowering way while exploring various themes of sex, love, dominance, submission, equality,” Toma stated in an Instagram post. Because of this, her posts on Instagram are often removed. Though her photos contain content that may be interpreted as obscene or graphic, Toma’s meaning is very positive and functions as a form of activism. “My goal is to push your stereotypical ideals of how a woman should act and present herself,” Toma said. “There are no men in the photos because the woman is taking control of her own sexuality and exploring it for herself, aside from traditional sexual norms and confinements.” The censorship of artists like Toma begs the question of whether
creative expression can be hindered for the sake of promoting content that is appropriate for all audiences. In response, Toma said, “Let’s be real here. If you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself why. Think about why a girl taking control of her own pleasure, her own body makes you feel weird, possibly disgusted or turned off.”
Artist Affiliation Scandalous artists are being silenced, not only by media but also by the public. Unlike artists who have their art blocked due to the controversy around their messages, many are boycotted as a repercussion of decisions made in their personal lives. The question of if this silencing is censorship arises when the public itself is boycotting people who exhibit erratic or dangerous behavior. Problematic creators such as Chris Brown, R. Kelly, Melanie Martinez, Kathy Griffin and Roseanne Barr are examples of the downfall in one’s careers after people unearthed information regarding their partaking in immoral activities. Singer Chris Brown was found guilty of assaulting his former girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, resulting in a backlash of hate from many members of society as well as a heavy depletion of his fanbase that threatened to terminate his career. His presence on the radio has diminished greatly, and many fans are immediately judged for supporting either him or his music. Another example is Kathy Griffin, an actress and comedian, who posted an image of herself grasping the hair of a decapitated and bloody head that bore a striking resemblance to Donald Trump. She received significant criticism for the photos’ brutality and many argued that it promoted violence. The adverse reaction to this event caused Griffin to be removed from the CNN New Year show, which she had co-hosted for many years, and to receive impactful amounts of negative press. This scandal stands to be one of the most prevalent associations with Griffin in the current media and overshadows her previous accomplishments. Melanie Martinez, a rising artist in the music industry, maintained a rapidly increasing fan base until news broke about her alleged sexual assault. Ever since the incident, her following has significantly decreased and she has received no further attention from the media. As people navigate the complicated terrain between appreciating art and endorsing the horribly wrong actions of such public figures, the question remains: is it censorship?
Fear of offending If an artist utilizes negative stereotypes and insulting terms in an attempt to make a statement about prejudice, is it acceptable for the work to be shared, with the risk of potentially offending others? Who determines where the line is drawn and at which point art should be censored? Visual arts are some of the most effective ways to express one’s identity and ideals, as engaging imagery cultivates a wide audience and leaves the viewer with a lasting impactful image. This makes it a common platform to promote activism and other radical ideas. South African performancebased artist, Brett Bailey, created a controversial display at the Edinburgh Festival of 2014, the world’s largest arts festival, with his installation titled “Exhibit B.” The exhibit consisted of African actors on display in cages in realistic, historical scenarios to criticize the grotesque phenomenon of the human zoo, a movement in the 19th century wherein African tribespeople were forced to be displayed in cages, sometimes alongside apes and other exotic animals, for the entertainment of Europeans and Americans. Bailey’s exhibit highlighted the objectification endured by the tribespeople and intended to demonstrate commanding snapshots of racism and colonialism. However, the exhibit was canceled from London’s performing arts Barbican Centre due to a large number of protests and serious threats that ensued after the rehearsal in Edinburgh. The opposition argued that the performance’s purpose was lost behind its depiction of undeniable racism: Black people put on display for white people’s enjoyment. In response, Bailey defended his message, stating his intentions were to challenge perceptions and histories, not blatantly offend people. The debate over whether a statement can become too offensive for public consumption is one that continues to plague the world; whether it be in a prestigious art exhibit or in a local display of student content. Our very own Artist of the Month, Rebecca Cheng, had her art removed without her knowledge, despite intending to highlight the injustices of her past.
Who determines where the line is drawn and at which point art should be censored?
TEXT AND DESIGN BY ELLEN CHUNG, CLAIRE LI AND KIMI LILLIOS
“My hands, tied to these strings, suggest the act of puppeteering, trying to control these aspects of discrimination rather than let them define me, yet I am bound to them.”
“the puppet master” As an artist tackling issues of racism and injustice, Rebecca Cheng has faced pushback through censorship, due to concerns regarding her art’s suitability for public viewing. Despite these barriers, Cheng’s artistic journey has evolved to use non-traditional mediums to illustrate a personal narrative and criticize the inequalities in our modern society.
erely hours after being installed in the Palo Alto district office, Rebecca Cheng’s self portrait, “The Puppet Master,” was torn down and cast aside. A debacle that began with one employee’s complaint of racism later escalated into a legal dispute over rightful censorship; Cheng took to social media to spread the news of the injustice which destroyed her purpose of shining light on racism. “The Puppet Master” is a self-portrait where Cheng looms in front of an American flag while donning a traditional Chinese qipao. Her hands, raised with strands of yarn tied from her painted fingers, represent hanging imagery of racist stereotypes commonly directed at ChineseAmericans. “My hands, tied to these strings, suggest the act of puppeteering, trying to control these aspects of discrimination rather than let them define me, yet I am bound to
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them,” Cheng said. Being Chinese-American herself, Rebecca had witnessed firsthand the prejudice inflicted upon others who identify as Chinese-Americans and had channeled this into her art with great effort and attention to detail. Though this act of silencing had deprived her of showcasing her art and her message to a larger audience, Cheng was initially not angry, and looked for another piece to display. However, after much thought, she realized how the act of censorship undermined her efforts to draw attention to the prejudice against Asian Americans; the whole purpose of her hard work ruined. “The more I thought about it, the more mad I was, and I was really upset that it got taken down because to me it just felt like the opposite of what I was going for with that piece,” Cheng said. “The more I thought about it, the more
mad I was, and I was really upset that it got taken down because to me it just felt like the opposite of what I was going for with that piece,” Cheng said. Cheng’s frustration increased as this piece was prevented from raising awareness to racism against Chinese-Americans within the Palo Altan community, but also how the piece was removed without Cheng’s knowledge. “I don’t think that censorship should exist in terms of social issues or activism,” Cheng said. “The whole point of my piece was for the public to see it and to spread my message and by taking it down I feel like it ruins the entire purpose of the piece.”“I don’t think that censorship should exist in terms of social issues or activism,” Cheng said. “The whole point of my piece was for the public to see it and to spread my message and by taking it down I feel like it ruins the entire purpose of
the piece.” Adding to the upset, “The Puppet Master” was placed in an unknown location, displaying extreme disrespect and disregard for Cheng herself. By removing her artwork, the District Office has raised questions about the meaning of censorship and its impact on the artist and the community. Censorship suppresses the individuality and the voice of the artist and can discourage artists across the community from speaking out about social issues within society due to the fear of having their artwork removed. This example of censorship, exemplifies the neglect of the long nights of careful planning, care, and dedication to the creation of the piece— something many other censored artists experience— from planning her composition, to arranging the red yarn. Additionally, by incorporating racial slurs in her piece, Cheng was working to bring awareness to the effects of racism, however, it was gravely misinterpreted as endorsing racism. Overcoming the barrier of censorship will be something Cheng continues to do in the future, by creating artwork that explores her creative vision by fusing together different media with works that commonly include paint, illustrations and textural aspects such as string and CDs. Through her path of artistic expression, including dance and various art forms like
charcoal, oil paint, and sketching, Cheng has already committed to attending the Rhode Island School of Design as a place to excel academically and receive professional guidance amongst talented, like-minded artists as she continues to develop her artistic abilities. Cheng wants to explore occupations that incorporate her artistic talent, including illustration and graphic design. “I don’t really know what specific job or major I want to do yet, but definitely something [where] my art can have an influence over other people,” Cheng said. For Cheng, the concept of art did not begin with a specific ambition, but rather as a hobby, stemming from fun sessions of arts and crafts. “I went to a teacher when I was really young,” she said. “I didn’t really start getting serious until I switched teachers at the end of seventh or eighth grade.” After middle school, Cheng began to focus on technique rather than recreation and developed her painting and sketching skills. Her exploration of technicality carried on until senior year when she revisited the concept essential to arts and crafts: an eagerness for experimentation. Many of her more recent works feature the innovative use of diverse media, including tissue paper and embroidery, which are items not regularly observed in traditional art. “Painting is cool, but it’s more fun to be able to use different mediums that people
usually don’t think of, and the result is usually more unique,” Cheng said. One of her pieces, “Stitched,” displays a captivating blend of acrylic paint adorned with embroidery and broken pieces of CDs. As seen with her censored piece, these three-dimensional aspects often link her artwork to what it represents. For example in “Stitched,” the embroidery represents a mask of perfection. Meanwhile, the fragmented CDs pasted over the painted portrait cut away at the stitches in efforts to represent one’s true beauty prevailing over an attempted illusion of perfection. Incorporating the use of many unexpected mediums has become a signature aspect of her art and contributed to the individuality of style and voice amongst her pieces. Cheng’s artwork has found success and received attention through being displayed in local art galleries and exhibitions, and her unique style has made many school-wide appearances in murals, posters and spirit week floats. However, she primarily aims to create art that effectively carries her voice regarding societal issues in her personal work. “I believe that art is one of the strongest tools of activism as images are vital lasting communications,” Cheng said. “My hope is to create art that speaks to the ‘error’ that I see and experience in society and create pieces that are able to radiate these messages to my community and beyond.”
ARTS • 15
TEXT AND DESIGN BY TYLER VARNER, JESSICA WEISS AND MADDIE YEN • ILLUSTRATIONS BY TYLER VARNER
The Man Behind the Sunglasses
When Karl Lagerfeld died, he left behind not only a lifetime of creative fashions but also a life of controversy. What is the public supposed to think after the death of a polarizing public figure?
arl Lagerfeld, the fashion mastermind with a ponytail as white and elegant as the cat in his arms, looms large in the memory of the fashion industry. His undeniably iconic nature is seen in the wake of his passing on February 19, 2019, leaving a fortune of $300 million to his cat, Choupette. His death recaptured the public’s attention as his both cherished and complicated legacy is revisited. Some mention his work with Chanel or their admiration for his artistry; others broach the controversies concerning public statements degrading women’s physical appearance, Muslims and sexual assault survivors. Despite his many professional triumphs, it is becoming increasingly impossible, as with many artists, to remember an artist like Lagerfeld without acknowledging his actions and contentious attitudes. He proves that, in the current age, famous figures with misogynistic, body-shaming and xenophobic attitudes leave behind quite complicated legacies for the public to contemplate. Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg, Germany, and while never revealing his true birth date, he is thought to have been born sometime in the year of 1933 into a modestly wealthy family, with much of his youth centered around drawing. His fashion career began in Paris at the age of 14 when he entered a coat design competition, organized
ARTS • 16
by the Secrétariat International de la Laine, where he competed against prominent designer Yves Saint Laurent and won. Following this preeminent victory, he was hired as an assistant by French fashion designer Pierre Balmain, who produced the winning coat with him. In 1962, he became one of the first freelancers in the fashion industry and designed for multiple fashion labels at once, which meant that he was constantly traveling between France, Italy, England and Germany. He later went on to work for other major brands such as Chloé and Valentino, and in 1974, he was hired by Fendi to breathe new life into their fur line. His use of mole, rabbit and squirrel pelts served as the company’s groundbreaking entrance into the realm of high fashion. By the 80s, Lagerfeld was a front runner in the fashion industry, always residing in the company of other acclaimed artists such as Andy Warhol. In 1983, he was approached by a representative of Chanel and asked to save the brand, which had been considered “near-dead” following the death of founder Coco Chanel, furthering his name and prestige. Chanel is now the most profitable label, estimated to have annual revenues of over $4 billion. His work with Chanel brought him international acclaim and a reputation as someone who could break boundaries and fashion
“What I hate is nasty, ugly people”
“ If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model”
rules with his creativity and innovation. This reputation endures with younger generations, too. Avery Van Natta, a senior at Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco, who has designed and produced her own line of clothing, remembers Lagerfeld as a prolific individual. “He is one of the most creative minds in fashion and has been for the last 50 years,” she said. “I think that he really reinvented the fashion show… he is so good at transforming venues and making it kind of a full experience rather than just a traditional catwalk. That’s really changed how people present fashion.” In 1984, Lagerfeld launched his own label, “Karl Lagerfeld,” which became known for high-quality tailoring and bold ready-to-wear pieces and was later sold to Tommy Hilfiger for $27.5 million. Fame undoubtedly presented Lagerfeld with a large platform for his personal thoughts and declarations, something he evidently enjoyed. His eccentric behavior and comments enticed the fixation of media outlets as he expressed his bizarre outlook on life and his polarizing and offensive remarks. Katie Gibson, a Paly graduate now studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, believes that “the fashion industry is...weirdly tolerant of things like fat shaming and racism, which are not going to be good for brand identities as the years go on.” Lagerfeld’s “mad genius” image permitted comments lesser designers would be fired for. His love of the spotlight likely contributed to his prominence at the age of 85 and allowed him to always stay a step ahead of his younger competitors. “His major strength [was] to be about his business in the present and never have a moment for other people to think that he’s passé,” longtime friend and Vanity Fair fashion designer Michael Roberts said. The fashion industry is continuously fluctuating stylistically, but Lagerfeld continued to push the limits of not only Chanel but
also other fashion houses alike. While most fashion designers peak at a certain age, Yves Saint Laurents’ lengthy career, which ended in 2002 due to exhaustion, only served to highlight Lagerfeld’s extensive passion for his work. “Yves pursued the goal of a poetic designer suffering for his art,” Roberts said. “I can’t imagine Karl for one minute sitting down and thinking, I’m going to suffer for my art. Why should he? It’s just dresses, for God’s sake.” In addition to his great achievements, it is difficult for the public to look past the strong personality that led him to make many offensive comments towards various groups of people. His remarks have been criticized by many other figures such as Sara Ziff, the founder of the Model Alliance, an organization that aims to promote fair treatment and equal opportunity within the fashion industry. “Mr. Lagerfeld’s flippant dismissal of reports of abuse, and his characterization of models who have come forward as ‘stupid,’ ‘toxic’ and ‘sordid creatures’ who should quit their profession if they do not like how they’re treated surely demands action,” Ziff said. To Avery Van Natta, Lagerfeld represents the power of the fashion industry in its ability to promote and diminish certain social ideas. “Fashion as a whole, especially as an art form, allows for there to be openly-voiced prejudice,” Van Natta said. On the flip side, Van Natta says that “social change is reflected through fashion.” In addition, while Ziff deemed Lagerfeld’s words to be “disgraceful”, they also brought attention to “just how much work we still have to do [in the fashion industry].” Reflecting on Lagerfeld and his career, we see examples of both immense innovation and attitudes which no longer — and should never — have a place in the world of fashion. Like many artists, there is a balance between holding his contributions to art in high regard, acknowledging his faults and hoping that the industry continues to evolve for the better.
TEXT AND DESIGN BY ELLEN CHUNG, HAZEL SHAH AND MAHATI SUBRAMANIAM
Nurture 18 â&#x20AC;˘ CULTURE
The wavering nature of scientific ethical code is considerably more evident in groundbreaking experiments. The narrative of triplets separated at birth, as told in the recent documentary Three Identical Strangers, serves to present these ethical issues as they are realized in a popular study that has now become the basis of an age-old question: nature or nurture?
hen analyzing nature vs nurture, scientists primarily rely on human subjects. In most studies, they tend to use twins, more specifically identical twins. The personality and tastes one has are derived primarily from the genes and traits that are passed down from their parents through DNA. A study at the University of Minnesota found that when twins live together, they often manifest the traits that are expected based on their
hree Identical Strangers, a documentary by CNN, represents an instance of breach in ethical conduct in pursuit of scientific discovery. The film portrays the untold backstory behind the famous identical triplets, Edward (Eddie) Galland, David Kellman and Robert (Bobby) Shafran, who were separated at birth. When the triplets reunited 19 years later, their experiences from first realizing they were genetically identical, to discovering their forced participation in an experiment, was documented in film. The triplets displayed uncanny similarities, such as their preference of cigarettes to their taste in women. As the talk show host questioned them, the brothers were synchronized in all aspects, from the way they all held the microphone to the manner in which they crossed their legs and relaxed into their seats. While these similarities reflected the triplets’ uniform exterior, underneath, they had evolved into starkly different individuals. The lighthearted and curious nature of the twins’ discovery of one another shifted to confusion when the brothers began to realize their similarities reached beyond pure coincidence. Endless inquiries led to the discovery that the triplets’ adoptions, among many other seemingly normal
genes, such as introverted or extroverted personalities and their personal preferences. Alternatively, when they live apart from each other, it was found that their separate environmental experiences influenced their character more, as they are growing in different environments. This is true amongst any person as the way an individual grows and further develops the identity is largely reliant on their challenges and experiences.
adoptions in the 60s, were actually initiated for the purpose of an experiment with one question at hand: nature or nurture? “These people split us up and studied us like lab rats,” Shafran emphasized in the film. They were robbed of consent or awareness that they were subjected to this study. To better understand the effects of both principles, nature and nurture, the experimenters decided to separate the brothers, placing them into families of varyingIdentical socioeconomic backgrounds: hree Strangers, a Shafran in abyrich family,represents Galland in a documentary CNN, in anmiddle-class instance in family which and there Kelleman was a a lower incomeconduct family. inThese families, breach in ethical pursuit had previously girls from ofwho scientific discovery.adopted The film the agency, were backstory chosen based on their portrays the untold behind parenting styles and were Edward also unaware the famous identical triplets, of their participation within the (Eddie) Galland, David Kellman study. By separating them at who birth, the and Robert (Bobby) Shafran, experimenters ableWhen to distinguish were separated atwere birth. the how each boy19developed triplets reunited years later,individually the whenpromptly put intoreported differenta narrative environments. media Thiswas wascomparable especially to groundbreaking, as that that of a the subjects, who triplets were identical in genetic movie plot. The displayed composition, were like unaware of their uncanny similarities, smoking situation, allowingbrand for the the same cigarette to results having to be raw andtaste unfiltered. Shafran the same in women. As and the Kelleman, talk show host asked his questions, the brothers seemed to be in sync in all aspects, from the way they all held the microphone to the manner in which they crossed their legs and relaxed into their seats. While these similarities reflect the triplets’ uniform exterior, underneath, they had evolved into starkly different individuals. The lighthearted and curious
had loving childhoods, filled with close familial relationships while Galland, had a strained and distant relationship with his parents. Something that was common amongst the brothers since childhood, was the mental health issues they had, predominantly depression. “We were all really emotionally disturbed kids. Sometimes you don’t realize what the answer is until you find it. It’s pretty hard to imagine the answer that we found,” Shafran said in an interview with Vice. This was found to be passed on from their birth mother, who had suffered from similar issues herself. The trends that the experimenters noticed were that their upbringings played a large role in how they dealt with their respective mental obstacles, suggesting that nurture influences what is predetermined by nature. Shafran and Kelleman were able to manage and take care of themselves. Galland, however, had a much harder time dealing with his illness, unable to cope and understand what he was going through, leading to his ultimate death as a result of suicide. While the study had the potential to unveil incredible results, it was never completed due to ethical liabilities and malpractice.
CULTURE • 19
ithin these experiments, there has been a large amount of controversy regarding the ethical protocol. Studies that have been done in the past, similar to the one done on Shafran, Kellman and Galland, are not considered ethical in modern times due to their violation of subject privacy and consent. In an interview with the Institute for Family Studies, Natasha Josephowitz, a research assistant in the study, highlights that to her, the study did not seem as controversial as it truly was. “It did not seem bad...it was a very exciting time,” Josephowitz said. Experiments now must be previously approved by Internal Review Boards (IRB’s) to make sure that they are deemed ethical. They are especially critical in instances like separating twins, specifically at
young ages, as there is often extensive thought put into asking for consent, but is ultimately ignored. “These people [multiple twins within the study]don’t know they were used this way; they will be so upset!” Josephowitz said. Having the subjects unaware is crucial because it is best for the study to run as organically as possible, as to observe the natural way their personalities and identities are forged. While these studies have the potential to solve a natural paradox, they often end with the breaking apart of numerous families, alteration of lives and infringing on human rights. Because of this, there has been immense pushback on these types of experiments because of the consequences that come with it.
“These people split us up and studied us like lab rats”
20 • CULTURE
cience has offered us countless answers to the things that have peaked our curiosity, from the secrets to a healthy life to our increasingly warmer world, but nature versus nurture is one that may always remain a mystery. The ethical practicalities within the process of experimenting on humans are ones that offer
little leeway, limiting how far we really can go in understanding such a complex topic. However, as modern processes and rational continue to improve and expand, there is potential to find a way to answer both the provoking question of nature versus nurture while staying well within ethical boundaries.
privacydna healallmhM nthfuturev arbinrthen discoveryw riskpspitq uresearchz ancestrykl How much is our spit worth?
TEXT AND DESIGN BY JACK CALLAGHAN AND KAILEE CORRELL
MUSIC •• 21 CULTURE 21
actgactga actgactga actgactga ctgactga actgact Our contemporary technology has made information regarding one’s heritage and health increasingly accessible; yet, so many people are still skeptical of genetic testing companies like 23andMe. The question is why?
side from containing enzymes that break down food, saliva is made up of chromosomes that compose the genetic outline of your being. 23andMe, a biotechnology company, provides a unique DNA analysis service that many find fascinating due to the information that can be uncovered. Although it may not seem professional, customers spit in a tube and send their genetic map off to 23andMe where the company breaks the DNA down and analyzes the chromosomes. The results of these tests can reveal key pieces of our genetic blue print that individualize each person, including their heredity lineage and signs of possible health issues that might develop later in life. These kinds of companies are rising to become the most powerful platforms for health, drug and ancestry discovery in the world, meaning that their technology will be constantly and developing, until there is little that they are not capable of knowing. Founded in 2006, 23andMe uses an Illumina genotyping chip, commonly seen in other medical research, that accesses customers’ genetic information, and then align it with other samples that have been collected in the past. “Matching is done by comparing the percent of shared DNA and the length of shared DNA segments with other customers who are participating in ‘DNA Relatives,’” a 23andMe spokesperson, who wishes to remain anonymous, said. “Ninety-five percent of 23andMe customers participating in ‘DNA Relatives’ connect with a third-degree cousin or closer relative.”
Through this matching technique, 23andMe is able to find trends in the clients' DNA and determine various traits, carriers or health risks that may occur as they age. “Our mission is to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome,” the spokesperson said. In addition to learning more about personal data and ancestry, customers are given the opportunity to take part in genetic research studies that the company executes. For those who are interested in volunteering to join the research section of the company, 23andMe makes it as easy as clicking a button to be added to the vast pool of other participants. As of now, they have a Mount Sinai Asthma Health study, as well as MyHeart Counts, a study that is paired with Stanford Medicine. Both of these studies allow participants to join once they have downloaded an app which leads to a few surveys to gather more patient information to base data points off of. After the data is recorded, results are compared to existing patient studies to be examined and searched for external factors that might have had an influence on the data gathered. The Mount Sinai Asthma Health study is searching for possible causes of patient-reported asthma cases, seeing results such as pollen levels and heat. Stanford Medicine’s MyHeart Counts study has the goal of limiting heart diseases, strokes and other diseases by monitoring the activity and health of a participant’s heart. Seeing as MyHeart Counts is also an application, university scientists use the gathered data to improve methods for
“Our mission is to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome.”
22 • MUSIC CULTURE
gactgactg gactgactg actgactga actgactg tgactgac treating and preventing heart-related diseases. Though there are many benefits that come with viewing one’s genetic results, a common concern raised by critics is the consideration of privacy through sharing genetic information. The fear of an invasion of privacy while shipping DNA data to labs is one of the main points anti-genetic analysts are concerned with. As the rise of leaked data fills the headlines of many new sites, society is constantly apprehensive of private information accidentally going public, inciting harsh judgment of services such as 23andMe. “Privacy is important for our customers,” the company spokesperson said. “And 23andMe does not share customer data with any public databases.” Aside from privacy, another concern is that there are alternative consequences that may arise from finding out information about one’s genetic test results. On the 23andMe website, there are two types of tests you can take to decode your genes. One of these tests is the Ancestry Test, which can analyze your genome and uncover exactly where you are from and who you may be related to and the "Health + Ancestry" service will give you a comprehensive report on your genetic health. This report tells customers whether they are at risk of developing a disease in the future, carry certain traits they might be unaware of and provides reports on the customers’ sleep patterns. This poses two controversial questions: is it helpful
for someone to know that they may develop a lifethreatening disease later in life? Would someone want to know if they are a carrier for a disease that could be passed on to their children? Sophie Stier, a Paly junior, has been interested in using a product such as 23andMe to learn more about her family’s heritage and migration history. However, she also considered these controversial questions. “Firstly, my dad thinks that it is possible for them [companies such as 23andMe] to keep my health results and possibly sell them to health insurance companies in the future,” Stier said. “If I am highly at risk for a disease that is expensive to treat, health insurance companies can make me pay a lot more money than I would have if they didn’t know.” While she is still in high school, Stier isn’t ready to have her DNA analyzed but finds the results interesting in terms of what the technology is capable of doing. “Most of my ancestors were from Europe, but they immigrated to Argentina at different times,” Stier said. “I would love to know more about my roots and where they [my ancestors] came from specifically.” As the number of companies similar to 23andMe start to increase, we can only wonder what the next steps in genetic research will allow us to discover. Will our technology let us clone humans from a small DNA sample? If that does happen, then the advancement in our society will be unlike anything we’ve seen before, and all from a single tube of spit.
“I would love to know more about my roots and where they [my ancestors] came from specifically.”
MUSIC • 23
here the Wild
Thoughts 24 â&#x20AC;¢ CULTURE
TEXT, DESIGN AND ART BY KATHERINE BUECHELER, CHLOE LAURSEN, ISABELLA MOUSSAVI, NATALIE SCHILLING, RAJ SODHI AND FIZA USMAN • ADDITIONAL DESIGN BY GRACE ROWELL, LIA SALVATIERRA AND ROSA SCHAEFER BASTIAN
Considered a fruitless and detestable feeling, boredom is actively resisted in rising generations. But revisiting this devalued experience can lead to the rediscovery of its critical importance.
here’s an absence of laughter in the once animated neighborhood. Streets are now vacant; the lack of youth draining the neighborhood’s its prior vibrancy. No longer are children playing outside, rather, they sit stiffly inside, awaiting standardized direction. One by one, they flip through the plans of an itinerary, their days planned to the minute, their brains set on autopilot. The buzz of liveliness that once dominated neighborhoods is lost, and although some kids are being raised to believe so, there is not a single agenda on the planet that details the steps to its recovery. Entangled in the constrictions of societal pressure and competitive edge, many lose sight of what slips through the fingers of a constantly stimulated generation. Most notably suppressed is the kids' ability to access creativity, formulate individualized opinions and perspectives, and develop independence. And so, the solution lies hidden in a feeling feared by parents and children alike: boredom. In Silicon Valley and beyond, there is a constant pressure to drive our lives forward into something more rewarding, continually reaching for greater success. Voids of free time are increasingly replaced with countless activities of “merit” in an attempt for individuals to align themselves with the speed of their respective communities. The difficulty with this over-occupied lifestyle is that it begins manifesting itself among generations of youth, as parents reinforce and reconstruct their childrens' lives to best achieve “success.” Stephanie Brown is a clinician, teacher, and author who studies the concept of speed.
More specifically, she investigates modern society’s craving for an over stimulated lifestyle. “We live in a business-model, fix-it culture, dominated by a singular focus on the outcome. There is only forward movement; there is only progress. You are winning or you are losing,” Brown said. Our culture has made it difficult to step away from the busyness that our lives entail. “Society’s addiction to speed is a tangled necklace of out-of-control behaviors fueled by emotions of fear and desperation,” Brown said in her recent article, “When Chaos Rules: Society's New Addiction to Speed and its Impact on Treatment and Recovery.” The article goes on to express how technology furthers this lifestyle of everlasting speed, “A belief that you shouldn’t have any limits on how fast you can go, how much you can do, or how many topics you can focus on at once.” Technology has proposed the same opportunity to fill the void of boredom, and is becoming increasingly sought by younger generations who reach for it to escape brief bouts of feeling bored. Brown foresees a remedy for our dependence on busyness by re-establishing the importance of moving slower; “what we sacrificed and need to go back to is the importance of being slow enough that we can look inward, that we can look at boredom, quiet time, self-reflection, as the heart of what will ensure our ability to think, feel, understand ourselves, make decisions.” Accompanying a culture of over-occupied youth, there’s been
“What we sacrificed and need to go back to is the importance of being slow enough that we can look inward, that we can look at boredom, quiet time, selfreflection, as the heart of what will ensure our ability to think, feel, understand ourselves, make decisions.”
a growing distrust in children’s freedom of mind to do something beneficial in unstructured periods of time, further enforcing this culture. This mindset can often push parents with the resources to do so, to schedule every possible opportunity for their child. In the process, however, children become uncomfortable with the prospect of free thinking. Accompanying this internal unease is the obvious external pressure from parents, viewing their children’s peers as competition rather than as friends. “Comparison is the thief of all happiness,” Gavin Newsom, governor of California, said in his visit to Palo Alto High School. “When you start comparing yourselves to each other or to other people and you start getting stressed out that you’re not good enough... that diminishes you.” Newsom’s concerns represent the culturally-based argument that we are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the way we choose to spend our timeThe comparison of children to one another is one root of parents’ need to get their kids ahead, which is hindering their natural path of creativity and freedom. Children's psychologist, Christopher Chiochios, has seen how this lifestyle is impacting our attempts to keep up with our communities. “Society, especially a first world society, is moving. Everything is moving so fast and you have to respond instantaneously, you have to get things done very quickly, you have to do multiple things at a time.” Due to this new standard of occupying time, we have ultimately denied children the ability to detach from the incessant buzz of reality. Amidst this systematic reorientation of the average child’s mentality, it
has become a privilege to sit idly, and not race against the taunting tick of a clock. Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of “How to Raise an Adult,” wrote a book that touches upon the counterproductive elements of excessive interference of parents in their children’s recreational time. “Once parents got involved in scheduling, organizing, planning, and handling play, we lost the concept of “free play” which developmental biologists and psychologists say is essential to the healthy development of kids,” Lythcott-Haims said. This perpetual nourishment makes it increasingly difficult for children to explore the depths of their own mind, which is only accessible without distractions. In fact, one’s constant scheduling and lack of free time rids the brain of its default mode: the state in which our brains rest when not engaging in activities. According to University of Central Lancashire psychology professor Dr. Sandi Mann, this mode is when our brain actually becomes active, as it allows us to tap into our subconscious and evaluate intricate thoughts. Therefore, when children are perpetually stimulated, jumping from school to extracurriculars, they are depleting nutrients in the brain essential for creativity. As the brain engages in a neurochemical switch with each transition of a task, it isn’t given the time to delve into one concept for long enough. If anything, boredom is a lot more enjoyable for kids than parents perceive from irritated sighs and declarations: “I’m bored.” As parents designate their kids’ path, these children become dependent on the guidance of others in all aspects of their lives. We have lost faith in the abilities of a child’s inquisitive mind and nature. Why are we overlooking such a promising gift that boredom offers, one that incites creativity, personal thoughts, and independence? It is time to question why we have become so uneasy with being at peace with our own prevailing thoughts. First grader in Palo Alto, Harper Krattiger, finds that when she allocates time away from her busy schedule, she’s able to use this break to investigate more about her individuality. Whether she chooses to read or paint in the art studio, she’s able to discover her own passions through her imagination and believes that kids all around should have downtime as well.
Why are we overlooking such a promising gift that boredom offers, one that incites creativity, personal thoughts, and independence?
26 • CULTURE
“When I lie down and stare at my ceiling, random things just flow through my mind... I was thinking about how cool it would be to be a superhero with powers!” “I think that [children] should have as much free time as they need and want, so that’s different for every child. For maybe younger children and some children that just love to play, they might only want to have at the most one activity a week, just to make sure they have plenty of free time to play with friends,” Krattiger said. If allowed, most kids fill up their downtime in varying ways. Middle schooler Jeremiah Guevara Cabrera has a more imaginative outlook when it comes to free periods of time. “There is nothing specific that I think about. When I lie down and stare at my ceiling, random things just flow through my mind,” Guevara Cabrera said. “Yesterday I was thinking about how cool it would be to be a superhero with powers! I really just enjoy sitting back and seeing where my thoughts take me.” Boredom is also a natural occurrence that poses a way for kids to endeavor on a journey of personal growth. As a young girl growing up in New Mexico, Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts, was determined to play the timbales but was told she didn’t have the strength required to carry the weight of the instrument. This only strengthened her determination to play it each day she got home from school, where she would spend her time collecting large rocks and throwing them to build muscle. The unstructured time she was given is what enabled her to push herself to pursue her interest and fortified her self-assurance. Reflecting back on the impact that unstructured time had on her as a child, Acevedo is “grateful for all of that free time where I could work out and get strong in my own makeshift way...It gave me confidence and it gave me resilience.” Acevedo believes that the doubt directed towards her as a young girl is what helped her tackle later difficulties she experienced as a woman. When pursuing her dream to become a rocket scientist at NASA, she was told she was not smart enough and did not have the skills required to be successful in the job. “If I was an adult and never had that experience [as a kid], I might have just stopped there,” Acevedo said. Seen in Acevedo’s ability to adapt to unforeseen situations, the utilization of our free time as children can play a large role in how we deal with larger problems in our futures. Boredom does not just allow us time, boredom leads our minds
CULTURE • 27
to soak up our surroundings and discover. Carlo Rovelli, the author of “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics,” reflects on his own personal experience with discovery in the silence of nature. With the goal of comprehending Einstein’s theory of relativity, Rovelli immersed himself in extensive research but remained unable to comprehend what the theory was proposing. It was not until Rovelli took a break from his studies, that he was able to reach a greater capacity to perceive and observe. Recognizing the capabilities of his secluded mind, allowed him to approach his understanding of the theory from a different angle. “I remember the excitement I felt when I began to understand something about it. It was summer. I was on a beach a beach at Condofuri in Calabria, immersed in the sunshine of the Hellenic Mediterranean, and in the last year of my university studies.” Spending unstructured time, is what allowed him to understand the theory. “Every so often I would raise my eyes from the book and look at the glittering sea: it seemed to me that I was actually seeing the curvature of space and time imagined by Einstein.” Despite the accomplishments that can be made through boredom, parents shield their children from the natural occurrence. However, if we do not allow children to experience boredom, we are actually inhibiting their success later in life because we are stripping them
of personal growth and development. When a kid's life is entirely structured by other people (i.e. parents) they’re not independent,” Lythcott-Haims said. “This means not only that they don’t get to express and grow their creativity - also they don't have a chance to make choices for themselves, deal with their own mistakes, and that means they’re not developing the skills they need in order to be independent.” As a young girl, Kiana Tavakoli, junior at Paly, used the fields upon fields covered in flowers as an escape from the real world. As a young girl, Tavakoli played hide and seek, threw tea parties and attended fake weddings for her pets. Tavakoli spent the first 10 years of her life living in Cape Town, South Africa where she explored and played, as children should, rather than being shuffled from activity to activity. No matter what Tavakoli was doing, it was always something of her choice and a product of her imagination, helping shape her into who she is today. “My parents always told me that it was good to be independent so I’ve always had that in the back of my mind,” Tavakoli said. “I also almost never asked my parents for help with schoolwork and rather pushed myself to figure it out alone. As I grew up, this independence continued to grow as well.” Today, it can be seen as Tavakoli will run errands or just simply walk to class alone, which may not seem huge, but shows far more independence than her peers are comfortable with. Like everything else, independence requires practice, and as Tavakoli has been exercising individuality for virtually her whole life, it will allow her to thrive throughout her future. Seclusion and independence: the two go hand-in-hand. If one does not spend time with oneself, how will they be able to go out into the world alone and independent? Would they instead choose to surround themselves with others for all public outings?
“I could go backpacking constantly listening to music or podcasts, but I intentionally don’t do this so I can focus more on the nature around me.”
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“The truth is we’ve lost faith in our kids’ imaginations, and the power of human creativity—to generate something when it needs to.” Hannah Shader, a junior at Paly, finds her seclusion in mountain backpacking to help hone in on her own thoughts and self. It may be difficult to imagine how one would not face miserable boredom in this primitive state of isolation for days, but Shader says, “It’s hard to get bored. You have your footsteps to focus on as well as what you’re thinking of.” Once you commit to your mind and your thoughts, they can repeatedly surprise, overwhelm and entertain you. “I could go backpacking constantly listening to music or podcasts, but I intentionally don’t do this so I can focus more on the nature around me,” Shader said. Backpacking is Shader’s time to reflect her emotions and become more self-aware. Immersing oneself in the quietude of nature can also be vital for self-esteem and self-acceptance. Elana Maslow, an Outward Bound backpacking leader, considers outdoor excursions to be an incredibly beneficial tool for personal development that translates into many situations. “Being in the outdoors helps you overcome challenges and feel good about yourself in the normal world,” Maslow said. If you do not take the time to become comfortable with your own thoughts, ambitions, and projects, you will not be confident in them or yourself. Mary Hamershock, VP of HR at Google, agrees. “Personal time outside of work is important to creativity,” Hamershock said. Google implements a unique ‘20-time’ policy for their engineers to strengthen individual creative confidence and innovation. Employees are encouraged to dedicate twenty percent of their time to personal projects that benefit Google, resulting in products like Gmail. “Creativity and innovation are essential to growth for companies. Customers are restless and they expect excellence, they also love modern, fresh solutions. Innovation is that tension when the
‘old way of doing things’ meets up with new possibilities. This is fueled by creativity and while crucial in Tech, is equally important in every other industry.” Hamershock said. So sit down, kick up your feet, stare at the ceiling simply relax and let your thoughts flow through your body. Whether it’s walking to class, waiting at a stoplight, or taking a shower, there are countless opportunities to let our empty, personal thoughts inhabit our mind. Nonetheless, many not only under utilize them but avoid them completely. Even when given short allotments of time to ourselves, we scavenge for ways to break free from the daunting nothingness. One of the only moments we have to step back and truly think freely is within the security of a warm stream of water. As the we stand in the pools at our feet, water seeping through the holes of a metallic drain, the only matter left to permeate through the expanse of the washroom is our thoughts. Many cite minutes spent in the shower as is one of the only environments where we freely introspect, allowing ourselves to completely settle into the company of our own minds. Although it feels difficult to regain the ease felt in the presence of boredom, it is time to reinstate these moments of seemingly remarkable mental clarity in our everyday lives. In Psychology Today, psychotherapist Nancy Colier explains that our fear of boredom stems from a relentless need to spend time purposefully, something now projected onto children, consequently impeding their ability to grow independent, creative and self-reflective. In order to rediscover these lost thoughts, we need to embrace an emptiness that we’ve been conditioned to doubt. “The truth is we’ve lost faith in our kids’ imaginations, and the power of human creativity: to generate something when it needs to,” Colier said.
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30 â&#x20AC;¢ CULTURE
TEXT AND DESIGN BY TAMAR PONTE AND SUKHMAN SAHOTA PHOTOS COURTESY OF AIMEE DOSSOR, KELSEY MORA AND JAKOB ZIMNY
MODELS BACKSTAGE AT CERRUTI, SPRING-SUMMER, 2019 SHOW
articles of makeup saturate the air, shimmering in the repetitive camera flashes. Suddenly, the deafening shouts of directors and backstage staff destroy the fragile scene, only serving to heighten the nerves of the models, who are moments away from hitting the runway. Though to an outsider this chaos may seem too much to bear, these individuals are headstrong in their purpose and can overcome this unease with a rush of adrenaline. To them, it is almost their second nature to begin to take one step in front of the other— chin up, eyes forward, lips pursed — as the show starts. A model’s profession has been seen as an idealistic and luxurious career, as they shape both the expectations and trends of society. While it is seen as a career so unattainable that models are granted immediate fame and status, many do not see that these icons “are just like us.” The modeling industry has grown so immensely that individuals are actually getting recruited off the street. The models seen in fashion shows have become younger, resulting in a shift of the perception of high fashion brands but also transforming these individuals’ childhood experiences.
“Seeing these models motivates me the most to continue modeling because maybe one day, I too can be not just a model for clothes, but a model for the younger generations to not doubt their capabilities and show the world, their full potential.” -Aimee Dossor
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PRADA, FALL-WINTER, 2018-19
ince being introduced to the modeling world in January 2018, Jakob Zimny, a German model and high school senior, has had an extraordinary experience working in the industry. Zimny was never looking to become a model. Instead, he was approached in the street by an agent of a popular German modeling agency. Without thinking anything would come of this opportunity, he happily agreed. Unlike many other models working for years to become recognized and recruited by established brands, Zimny’s first modeling experience was for the Prada Fall Winter 2018 runway show in Milan. “It was so unreal actually being behind the scenes of something you only know from the internet and pictures,” Zimny said. “It was weird having people take photos of you and styling your hair, but it definitely felt good” Since then, he has worked with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Hugo Boss and Balmain. “My motivation to continue is that I have the opportunity to do something not everybody is able to do,” Zimny said. “I have been building up relationships, meeting new people and just traveling around the world. It’s just cool that I have so much fun but I’m still working.”
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LOUIS VUITTON, FALL, 2019
CERRUTI, SPRING-SUMMER, 2019
Amidst the fast pace of an ever-changing career, Zimny has attained a transformative experience reachable only by few. However, in order to advance in this career, Zimny has to travel during the school year, forcing him to miss class and important schoolwork. Fashion week only perpetuates this difficult cycle where he can barely eat or sleep, making it even more difficult to balance his studies. Zimny experiences a variety of reactions when he reveals that he is a model; most people are immediately supportive, yet there are many times when individuals will feel it appropriate to ask him about his salary or if he can connect them with agencies to become models as well. Despite Zimny’s apparent struggles in the modeling industry, female models are faced with even harsher conditions and much more pressure than male models. The point where the male and female modeling industries begin to diverge is in the essential standards the models feel they have to meet. “The female modeling industry is way more serious and has many more restrictions,” Zimny said. “Male models don’t necessarily have to watch what they‘re eating or be on a diet. Girls have to sacrifice their health a lot more; [I remember a time] before one show [where] this one model even lost consciousness.”
imee Dossor, a teen model from Japan, has been modeling on and off since she was two. When Dossor was 13, her interest in fashion and beauty suddenly expanded, and when she began to consider modeling as a future career, she worked to get signed to an agency. “I went to the audition and I got in,” Dossor said. “At first, I went to walking lessons and the agency introduced me to many different types of jobs so [that] people can know my name and face.” At first, she primarily modeled for magazines and advertising campaigns, but the older she became, the more runway experience she gained, in turn fostering maturity and independence. Dossor’s modeling career, however, has not come easily, as she struggles to find a good balance between school and modeling. She often questioned whether going to an audition is worth missing volleyball or basketball practice. “Working as a model while trying to maintain good grades, after-school sports and a social life is almost impossible, so I have to make a lot of sacrifices,” she said. “But I know that it takes time, patience and sacrifices to get to the best place I can be.” While she loves what she does, Dossor is not sure whether modeling is something she wants to do in the future.“In five years, I hope to see myself in college,” she said. “I don’t know if I will continue modeling but I’m hoping that my experience as a model can connect to my study of design, art and fashion.” However, modeling is not completely out of the picture yet. “I am thinking of going to a college
pon being scouted at a volleyball tournament, Kelsey Mora, a seventeen-year-old at Lydian Academy, declined the offer to model thinking it was too risky and timeconsuming. One year later, Mora was approached by the same woman who told her that she saw the potential in Mora and that she could go far in the modeling world. This second time around, she was more open to the idea and decided to seize the opportunity. “I like to meet people and I meet really cool people, like photographers and makeup artists and stuff so it’s really fun,” Mora said. Modeling has helped her discover her passion to express art in different forms, and is now a major part of her life. She strives to work as a runway model full-time in the future with the support of her agency. Although this agency accommodates her busy school schedule, Mora still finds very little free time with the demanding job. She often travels around the world in order to further her career, which sometimes results
in her missing school; as seen with Zimny, balancing school work and modeling is a difficult feat. In 2018, Mora had planned to go to Mexico City for two months to work with Vogue and Calvin Klein yet had to decline this offer due to the amount of school she would miss. Mora’s parents have still been very supportive of her modeling career, yet others are not as open to her unique choice of profession. “People get weird about [my job],” Mora said. “I never bring it up unless somebody else brings it up because I feel like it’s weird, [as] some people are so judgmental.” Regardless, Mora has continued to appreciate the intricate processes that the fashion industry is rooted in. Ever since her first experience as a model, Mora has learned to accept what her profession entails: being vulnerable with strangers. “I was really nervous [my first time,] obviously because I’d never [modeled] before, but the photographers will help you and are also super nice,” Mora said.
outside of Japan, so modeling abroad might be very interesting,” Dossor said. Dossor doesn’t take the career she has been lucky enough to have for granted. She strives to be a powerful and influential person who inspires young girls. “Supermodels such as Gigi Hadid, who works with UNICEF, Adwoa Aboah, an activist for girls, and Zendaya, also an actress and singer, are living proof that models can create, advocate and contribute to the world in a much more meaningful way,” Dossor said. “Seeing these models motivates me the most to continue modeling because maybe one day, I too can be not just a model for clothes, but a model for the younger generations to not doubt their capabilities and show the world, their full potential.” The process of becoming a successful model is a long one, but the job does not end there. Every model experiences the unique pressures of balancing their job and outside life. With this, they must build themselves up in this career by having outrageous work schedules, strict diets and well-developed connections. But the experiences that young models have are unlike anything else, and Zimny encourages any aspiring models to get involved. “It’s very exhausting and you [have to] be comfortable,” Zimny said. “[Modeling has] changed my life for the better because now, I have insights in a business not a lot of people [have] and I’ve experienced things that only a few people are able to ”
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34 â&#x20AC;¢ CULTUREE
Education has remained the same for the past 100 years.
alternative ORIGINAL an to
What happens when schools diverge from the status quo?
TEXT AND DESIGN BY HAZEL SHAH, CLAIRE LI & JACK STEFANSKI • PHOTOS COURTESY OF PALO ALTO HIGH SCHOOL’S MADRONO
CULTURE • 35
yes glance up at the clock every few seconds, waiting for the moment when the minute hand strikes twelve. As the final minutes pass, hands fumble to shove multicolored pens and erasers into pencil cases and spiral notebooks into backpacks in a scramble to leave as soon as the bell rings. This is a common occurrence not only at Paly but within many public high schools across the nation, where the ringing of a bell has come to represent freedom from the workload and overwhelming nature of classes. Some schools experience a different type of phenomenon as the clock inches closer to lunch break. Instead of the clattering of pencils and scurrying feet to rush out, you hear hushed conversations winding down and intricate projects being put away. In these schools, which are founded on alternative learning, the free time signaled by the bell does not indicate the same kind of freedom. This is because classroom curriculum and student-run assignments already give students many opportunities to freely express themselves. These types of schools attempt to redefine the values of freedom and follow the theory of Democratic education, a major branch of alternative learning that strives to instill values of cooperation, fairness and justice in students. Within Democratic education lie the subsets of the Waldorf and Montessori approaches. Waldorf education, founded in the early 1900s, is a type of liberal arts education centered around nurturing student’s natural gifts. The Waldorf method of education differs from that of standard public schools because it encourages students to find their niche and the developed talents that they can improve on. In Waldorf education, teachers initiate an engaging, story-like approach to education, where facts are not simply presented, but also weaved into project and theater based experiences that students undergo. Once individuals enter high school, however, the students who enroll in public school are faced with rigorous and
challenging curricula which can decrease the individuality of a student in the classroom Although developed around the same time period, Montessori schools adopted a philosophy of emphasizing interaction and collaboration amongst classmates in order to improve social skills, something so neglected amidst Silicon Valley’s intellectual competition. The Montessori method utilizes and redirects students’ curiosity into hands-on activities, including construction and building activities and field trips. With both of these methods, instructors aim to foster responsibility, self-motivation and love for learning, all qualities that can be carried into adulthood. As both are united under the idea of Democratic education, they both instill values of free speech and association in students from an early age. Democratic education is based on the idea that each individual is unique and made up of several strengths and weaknesses. Although most Democratic schools vary slightly in their means of incorporating student-governed education, this specific method of teaching that these schools have endured has allowed students to develop a sense of personal motivation, responsibility and enjoyment of learning. Taking inspiration from this educational style, Design Tech High School (D-Tech), a charter school in Redwood City, is aimed towards harnessing Silicon Valley’s culture of innovation through a curricular emphasis on designbased thinking. Many schools that have similar mission statements are private and cost thousands of dollars for this level of education; however, because D-Tech is a charter school, students are picked at random through a lottery system and the tuition is free, making the school less competitive and more diverse. Founded in 2014, D-Tech employs students with essential real-world skills such as leadership, activism and collaboration. D-Tech
“I think those types of skills are something you need in the workforce later in life, and in super academic-based schools you lose that.” Maxine Zigmond-Ramm
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alumna Maxine Zigmond-Ramm was a member of the first graduating class and developed each of those life skills by the time she graduated in 2018. “I learned a lot about how to improve my people skills,” Zigmond-Ramm said. “I think those types of skills are something you need in the workforce later in life and in super academic-based schools, you lose that.” Many alternative learning schools have the goal of fostering life skills in their students, so they can continue, not only as students, but also as independent thinkers and leaders. At the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, teachers focus on individualizing the education system for each student. “I think for me, the most challenging thing and I think actually one of the most fundamental things about Waldorf education is to get out of the intellect, and into the imagination,” said Mary Jane DiPiero, the founder of the Waldorf School. Waldorf schools are growing in popularity as middle schools place a demand on students that increases stress level, while Waldorf schools encourage kids to think for themselves. This makes it necessary to slow down the pace of student learning in order to develop stronger foundational skills to better prepare one for life. These forms of Democratic education are beneficial not simply to the individual, but also the communities and growing workforce. There is commonly an emphasis on freedom to share one’s ideas without repression, and thus, these schools promote moral values including nondiscrimination, liberty and equality. Additionally, they are a large factor in familiarizing students with America’s Democratic system of government from an early age, easing the transition into the participation of activities such as voting, which are important to the future of the country. Democratic education is not solely an alternative form of learning for students, but it also has the potential to instill core values and steer the course of youth participation towards the future by educating youth in a more liberal
environment. An aspect of education that is often overlooked in the public school system is Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ). While many institutions focus solely on one’s raw Intelligence Quotient (IQ), one’s EQ can have just as great of an impact on one’s career, success and overall happiness. Synapse School, which inhabits two renovated warehouses in Menlo Park, attempts to fill this void by providing an innovative and collaborative type of education that is fit for all students. The school was founded by 6Seconds, a nonprofit that strives to implement the social and emotional learning into K-8 schools across the nation. This type of education teaches students lessons beyond the barriers of public school education, such as the topic of mental health and relationship skills. Synapse School teaches EQ in many different ways; they have multi-day EQ learning programs put on by 6Seconds between each term, as well as weekly EQ classes that focus on current topics, such as social justice issues worldwide. They also integrate these learning programs into other subjects by using group and projectbased learning to replicate the environment that is more common in a workplace than a classroom. In the Bay Area particularly, parents are realizing that the key to long-term success and happiness is not simply based on intellectual workload, but on the development of a variety of social skills. These abilities can include improvements in public speaking, everyday problemsolving and collaboration with future co-workers. Alternative learning approaches are becoming more prominent throughout the Bay Area due to a greater emphasis on emotional and liberal arts education. As the popularity of these schools increases, they signal not only a change from traditional thinking but also the realization that one’s life success extends much farther than solely their high school academic performance.
“...one of the most fundamental things about Waldorf education is to get out of the intellect, and into the imagination.” Mary Jane DiPiero
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Music metamorphosis I
mages flicker past in a repetitive motion until the blur culminates to produce a smooth-flowing visual. This elementary form of video, with its grainy pictures and stiff movements, has now morphed into the fluid transitions and crisp visuals that encompass our culture. The process of transforming flickering segments into one whole is videography, a filming method that made its debut in the 17th century with the invention of the Magic Lantern, a device that allowed repeating slides of images to be projected into simple yet smooth motions. As technology advanced with time, the visuals increased in c o m p l e x i t y, growing from two images to hundreds and even thousands, all within one clip. In the 20th century, the invention of the radio added sound to these videos, which led to primitive forms of film and modern music videos. Further, significant developments through the 20th century, such as the television, film technology and the growth of broadcast television led to the eventual development of pop culture and the earliest modern music videos. Experimentation with film techniques and themes became more common amongst artists such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson, a few of the most well known musical influencers. The popularization of these culturally iconic techniques eventually
lead to the creation of the MTV platform, which worked to capitalize the idea of musical television. Spurred by the experimentation of musical giants, more artists began to expand the impact of their music by utilizing the growing medium of creating music videos, which bolstered the importance of MTV in everyday American life. Once an immensely popular television channel known for showing the newest music videos, MTV has drastically declined in popularity with the rise of web platforms like YouTube, Vevo and Vimeo. MTV has declined over the last 15 years, drifting away from the music videos scene. Through modern technology and the easy public access to streaming apps, viewers now have unprecedented freedom to view music videos whenever and wherever they choose, as long as t h e y have internet access. This increased freedom contributed to the diminished excitement that accompanied hopping on the couch on a Saturday and turning on the TV to watch the videos produced to promote artists latest tracks. Through modernized platforms, musicians and artists can now create films quickly and upload their videos with the click of a button, allowing countless more videos to be produced and shared. With an expanse of music videos on the internet, artists need to create an individual and distinct visual style to distinguish themselves from the crowd. High quality videos have the power to create a breakthrough moment for a previously unpopular song,
MTV had 40,545 music video spins in 1999, which dropped to 10,936 spins in 2012
38 â&#x20AC;˘ MUSIC
TEXT AND DESIGN BY ELLEN CHUNG, LEON LAU, CLAIRE LI AND PATILLE PAPAS • PHOTOS BY CLAIRE LI AND PATILLE PAPAS
Within the past 15 years, MTV’s presence has been uprooted by newer platforms like YouTube and Vevo. Consequently, the world of music videos and the respective visions of musical artists have altered to align with cultural advancements, as well as the technological and musical industries of the contemporary era.
set fashion and culture trends, and connect music to streaming technology. In addition to the decline of MTV, music videos in general are also going through a decrease in relevance and popularity. Funds are now often diverted away from creating high quality, engaging videos and less emphasis is placed on the visual aspect of musical expression, as it is no longer viewed as essential to selling music. Music videos, which used to follow a vibrant story line, have morphed into videos that seem to only accompany the song instead of animating it. Though story-based music videos have generally been on a decline, some artists still create memorable and visually appealing videos by incorporating a unique style that embodies their distinctive artistic vision shown through musical and illustrative elements. In order to distinguish themselves from the crowd, artists turn to music videos to create a memorable short film that sets their artistic individuality apart from others in the industry. Beyond the music, directors also play a major role in synthesizing the technical elements in order to incorporate their ideas and enhance the singer’s vision. For example, in the music video, “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, and “Elektrobank” by the Chemical Brothers, the emphasis is placed on the constant motion within the frame and the theme that reflects the mood of the lyrics and the beat. Today, music videos focus more on accessing the sublime, the unconscious emotional responses through unexpected actions that spark unease in the viewers. For the most part, however, music videos have always evoked emotion in the viewer. Older videos tend to use videography techniques such as quick cuts, body movement and unconventional
angles more often, while modern music videos work more directly with close up shots of faces and the emotions that these faces convey. Music videos have largely become less complex in plot and videography, as intricate story lines are replaced by minutes of dancing and morphing colors. This change could largely be an adjustment to the unselective environment that Youtube harbors, where viewers can access any video from any artist at any time. As a public website, anyone has the ability to create an account and upload videos onto this platform. As a response, artists no longer feel the need to create unique videos to captivate the audience’s attention, and largely spend less effort, time and money developing the theatrical, storytelling aspect of music videos. The shift away from music videos that has occurred within the last 15 years represents a large recent change in music culture. Music videos have been leaning towards YouTube and away from MTV, drifting away from the previous fluid narrative style. The previous emphasis on storytelling has gravitated towards technical details with advanced technology and more impressionistic video shots. This visual representation of music has declined in popularity, but it symbolizes a timeless importance of an artist’s unique, creative vision not only through music but through images and film.
vevo had 41 billion views worldwide in 2012, dominating the music video scene
MUSIC • 39
FIGHT FYRE AS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE NOTORIOUS FYRE FESTIVAL CONTINUES TO BE UNCOVERED, DOCUMENTARIES ILLUSTRATING THE CLANDESTINE EVENTS LEADING UP TO AND AFTER THE FESTIVAL HAVE GAINED SIGNIFICANT MOMENTUM.
TEXT AND DESIGN BY SOPHIE JACOB, KARINA KADAKIA AND CLAIRE MOLEY PHOTOS BY RYAN GWYN
lue skies and warm air welcome you to the Bahamas while you quickly descend the aircraft stairs. Eager to arrive at your own villa located along the crystal clear ocean, you don’t think twice as you and your fellow passengers are loaded onto dirty school buses. As the bus arrives at the festival grounds, a state of confusion fills the cramped air and the same thought crosses everyone’s mind: this is not what we signed up for. In an effort to create the best music festival of the decade, Fyre Festival has now become a ridiculed spectacle due to the recent release of documentaries surrounding its fraudulent
40 • MUSIC CULTURE
evered as the cultural event of the decade, and then ultimately turning into a disaster of criminal negligence, Fyre Festival is now known to many as one of the most corrupt scandals in the history of the music industry. The privilege, fraud and exploitation that brought Frye Festival to its failure are evident in its timeline of unscrupulous corruption. Fyre Festival was officially launched in 2016 through a huge social media campaign, using “influencers” to endorse Fyre media. There was a massive influx of eager consumers hoping to purchase excessively expensive tickets that offered amenities from luxurious villas to open bars and a private yacht experience. Additionally, Fyre media boosted a huge lineup featuring celebrated artists such as Kanye West, Major Lazer and Blink 182. Based off of the advertised extravagant experience,
practices. All of this captivating tumult can be owed to the convicted former entrepreneur Billy McFarland, who defrauded investors of 27.4 million dollars by selling tickets to the Fyre Festival and other music events. Currently facing nine lawsuits and six years in prison, McFarland’s oblivious and immoral journey is captured through Hulu’s and Netflix’s informative and entertaining films. The documentaries “Fyre Fraud” and “Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened” bring awareness to the success of marketing and widespread corruption that is present in the music industry.
Fyre Festival seemed to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Unfortunately, McFarland and his team failed to inform the public of the truth behind the production of the festival. On Apr. 27, 2017, attendees began to arrive on the undeveloped festival site. Instead of luxurious accommodations, guests were greeted with hurricane tents and soaked mattresses scattered across the ground, and news that the promised artists had dropped out of the festival. Disillusioned and irritable, the attendees resorted to barbaric tactics in attempts to try and make the island life bearable. The shady and radical deception by McFarland and his management team is an unfortunate example of how corruption in the music industry can evolve into a pyramid scheme of lies and deceit.
s the young generation utilizes social intended to be a documentary series into a feature media as a platform to connect with film titled “Fyre Fraud,” releasing it four days others, pictures are exchanged within before Netflix’s documentary. seconds and information reaches millions with Hulu’s “Fyre Fraud” focuses mostly on Billy the click of a button. The extensive reach of social McFarland’s life in the entrepreneurship industry, media through platforms such as Instagram and highlighting the crimes he committed before Twitter, provided Fyre Festival with a medium to and during his attempts to put on the exclusive lure thousands of people into buying tickets. event. In addition, they also exposed the social In efforts to advertise the music festival to as media marketing agency, Jerry Media, owner of many people as possible, the creators of Frye the popular Instagram account F*ck Jerry, who Festival employed models and social media promoted Fyre Festival and is alleged to have had influencers to advertise the event. Under the eyes of some compliancy in the corruption involved with millions of followers, these models and influencers its production. simultaneously posted a simple orange square with Hulu’s major pull for their documentary was the sole tag of “fyrefestival” on their respective their exclusive interview with the man himself, Instagram accounts. The tag linked to the Fyre Billy McFarland. Despite doubts that the interview Festival Instagram account, which immediately would consist of watered down questions, Hulu presented viewers with the now infamous producers interrogated McFarland to the point promotional video. The video promoted the where he was at a loss for words and demanded festival with images of celebrated models partying a ten-minute break. This interview did not come on yachts and picturesque clips of the crystal clear without controversy, as there was a large amount ocean surrounding the islands of the Bahamas. of outcry surrounding Hulu’s decision to pay These clips teased McFarland to be in viewers and suggested their documentary. “...THIS SEEMINGLY that if they were to buy Many people considered tickets to Fyre Festival, UNREAL PARADISE WOULD McFarland’s payment as this seemingly unreal another way for him to paradise would become BECOME THEIR REALITY...” continue to financially their reality. benefit off the crimes he Social media committed rather than platforms launched Fyre Festival into the hands being rightfully punished. of consumers and thousands quickly purchased Netflix’s “Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never expensive tickets, eager to attend Fyre Festival. The Happened” took a different approach with their festival may not have lived up to its expectations, film, focusing on the creation of Fyre Festival and but from an advertising stance, the event was far the issues faced by the festival producers in the from a failure. Since the truth about Fyre Festival months before their inevitable failure. Additionally, has been revealed, social media is once again used Netflix focused a large part of their film on the as a means to disclose the incidents leading up to Bahamian workers who were taken advantage of the failed music festival, and depicts the event as and never received compensation for their hard the fraud it’s known as today. work. The hype around Fyre Festival resurfaced in However contrasting with Hulu’s film, “Fyre,” early 2019 after its infamous failure in April of received significant criticism due to Jerry Media, a 2017 when two major streaming services, Hulu company previously criticized for being compliant and Netflix, released documentaries about the in fraud, acting as a producer for the documentary. failed festival. While the motives to produce a tell- Critics argued that the film’s lack of criticism all film about this corrupted event presented as against the Fyre Festival advertising and social pure, it seems that Hulu and Netflix have used the media was a strategy enacted by Jerry Media in social media pandemonium surrounding the Fyre order to rebuild their reputation. Festival for their own gain. While both films expose the incompetence of The Netflix documentary, “Fyre: The Greatest the Fyre Festival organizers, the deceptive promise Party that Never Happened,” received far more of a luxury experience, the influence of social promotion for its release date of Jan. 18, 2019 than media promotion and the fraudulent actions of their rival Hulu. But, in the spirit of competition, Billy McFarland, it is ironic that both streaming Hulu was quick to take advantage of the publicity services took distorted measures to be the best surrounding “Fyre” and transformed what was documentary.
CULTURE MUSIC • 41
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42 â&#x20AC;˘ MUSIC
TEXT AND DESIGN BY ASHLEY GUO AND SOPHIE JACOB
music to our ears The trajectory of music education lies in the hands of today’s young musicians. While many are beginning to emphasize an academic approach to music, this reorientation that disregards expression and emotion will taint the future of musical education.
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usic is a medium through which many have the freedom to creatively express themselves. Whether an emphasis is placed on classical, jazz or any other genre, each musician carves their own path and creates their own unique style. Musicians have the opportunity to convey human emotions and speak to their audiences purely through the language of sound. Recently, young musicians have begun to diverge into one of two paths; they either focus on the development of musical appreciation or stress the mastering of virtuous technique. While proficiency in music is desirable to many, investing in this academic pathway overshadows the artistic aspects of music. By emphasizing the mechanical side of music, including sight reading and music theory, young musicians jeopardize the true expressive and creative purpose of music; taking this technicalfocused path harms the growth of music and its future as a form of art. The technicalities of music have become increasingly prominent, and, in some aspects, have begun to dominate the more traditional, artistic side. By establishing standards and awards to test for musical achievement, many young musicians spend countless hours practicing skills such as music theory, sight reading or finger dexterity in order to prepare themselves for musical exams. In California, the most infamous of such exams is the Certificate of Merit (CM). Sponsored by the Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC), the CM program evaluates students from levels one through ten on performance, technique, ear training, sight reading and music theory. Through these evaluations, young musicians receive the equivalent of an academic achievement award, and many become extremely invested in scoring well on these exams. Though the purpose of the CM is to promote musical excellence, it disregards the artistic aspect that fuels music, causing many music students to forget the most essential parts of music: to convey passion and emotion through sound.
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“I’m not a big fan of the [CM tests] because [music] is no longer something you do because you like it.” Nicholas Padmanabhan
The Faulty Test
or young musicians that recognize the value in music beyond the grueling hours of practice and rehashing of technical drills, music provides an artistic outlet that allows for boundless creativity. Paly senior Sebastian Khairkhahan utilizes this outlet to the fullest extent while playing the piano, as his musical education is built off of his deep passion for music. From the start of his musical journey, at age six, until now, he has continuously chosen to emphasize the expression behind the music rather than focusing on the technical aspects of piano. “For the most part, I’m self-taught,” Khairkhahan said. “I never really learned technique the stereotypical way of practicing Hanon [piano drills] and scales.” Khairkhahan does believe, however, that such technical parts are essential to build a sound structure that can lead to a comprehensive understanding of music. “At the end of the day, even if you have to memorize every single key signature and other things, scales and music theory still help a lot,” Khairkhahan said. “If you want to learn the music and you’re curious about music, you already have information in the back of your head like a database that you can build off of.” Over the course of six years, Khairkhahan participated in CM tests and has been assessed through the highest level. While he does believe that some academic aspects of music are beneficial to musical education, Khairkhahan reflects that CM tests and other such exams were not a constructive way to evaluate musical achievement. “The CM made music seem robotic [and] measuring music by a benchmark or rubric has ruined classical piano,” Khairkhahan said. “You are rewarded for playing like a machine. By removing all emotion, there is no love anymore and that is why classical piano is dying.” Because of its promotion of playing instruments in a mechanical manner, Khairkhahan does not support this academic aspect of music and hopes that young musicians will instead use music as a way to express themselves. Many lifelong musicians begin learning an instrument at a young age, and Nicholas Padmanabhan is no exception. At the age of seven, Padmanabhan received a toy guitar from his grandmother and was immediately fascinated. Quickly recognizing his passion, Padmanabhan began playing classical guitar and, since then, he has participated in many competitions throughout the years — both in the United States and internationally. He has not, however, participated in any exams testing achievement in music as he, similar to Khairkhahan, believes that such tests negatively promote the academic aspects of music. “I’m not a big fan of the [CM tests] because [music] is no longer something you do because you like it; it’s something you do because you’re going to get an award at the end,” Padmanabhan said. “It encourages people to just learn a set number of things and not really go beyond that.”
Our Take An Artist’s Craft
ushed into playing the piano by his parents at the age of six, Samuel Lai initially saw music as an obligation and burden. His outlook changed, however, when he found the true meaning of music through playing the violin when he was seven. He discovered a new joy while playing, stemming from the opportunity to communicate his thoughts through music. “I just remember there was one time I was practicing in freshman or sophomore year, and I suddenly realized that I sounded much better than before,” Lai said. “I enjoyed producing really good music, and it made me happy.” As the co-founder and co-president of the Paly Chamber Musicians club, Lai strives to achieve the club’s mission statement of community outreach and the expression of music for everyone to enjoy. Through the club, Lai emphasizes the value of music and shares his playing with others to convey underlying meanings and emotions. Lai firmly believes that creative expression is the essence of music. “The most important part of music is how you express it,” Lai said. “I like to express music towards the community for them to enjoy. My music is not only for myself because it’s a creative way of expressing yourself. It’s like a type of art or language.” Lai recognizes the beauty of music beyond reaching high proficiency and, to him, being a violinist is an important part of his life that he will never let go. “Violin is something I want to keep for the rest of my life,” Lai said. “You can express so much, you can do so much on the violin.”
“My music is not only for myself because it’s a creative way of expressing yourself. It’s like a type of art or language.”
usical competitions and CM testing do nothing but disparage the art behind music. In many instances, CM evaluators do not grade on musicality, but rather on completion, level of memorization and competency of technique. Though the purpose of CM is to provide a rubric or benchmark for musical learning, it trains students to mindlessly grind out the required scales with no actual understanding of the merits to being fluent in scales or being able to sight-read easily. By enforcing a way to quantify musical “excellence,” CM diminishes both the values of creative musical expression and the theoretical concepts behind musical compositions. Even to qualify for Branch Honors, a CM award, participants must reach a high enough music theory score in order to perform at a special concert for such award winners. At these concerts, it is clear that the performers do not have a sense of music, as they opt for showy pieces that display high technique level, low musical appreciation and a poor sense of sound. In creating such standards, the organization solely serves to reward unoriginal and surface-level interpretations of music, contributing to the decline of classical music and leading many young musicians to quit before they even realize that the point of music is to be musical. Likewise, many music competitions leave performers feeling short-changed or unrecognized for their hard work and unique interpretations. Very few competitions value musicality over technical difficulty or accuracy, causing many to turn towards intense training in finger dexterity in order to perform the fastest, most complicated and intimidating pieces known to man. With all of this practice, however, it is rare to find a performer that truly understands the musical significance of the piece that they are playing. In such competitions, those that appreciate real music often do not win as frequently as those who are more technically inclined, as judges often have to pick the musicians whose performances were not very musically interesting or controversial. These middle-of-the-road performances are usually technically nearperfect, but they are often interpreted literally from the sheet music with no individual artistic flair. This encourages young musicians to play by the book and does nothing to push them to creatively grow. Unfortunately, many are pushed into music at a young age not as an artistic pursuit, but for inane reasons such as brain development or a predisposition for success. Though these correlations to musical training may be true, this certainly forces the academic face of music to be more prominent in the education of young musicians, placing artistic expression on the back-burner. The responsibility of a musician is to convey their thoughts and emotions with their audience solely through sound. With an increasing number of standardized musical testing, it is important to remember that the value of music lies in expression rather than achievement. Music has been appreciated as an art since the beginning of civilization; one can only hope it stays that way now and in the future.
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The Need e Drop six influential albums everyone will love
PJ Harvey - Rid of Me (1993) Indie rock maestro PJ Harvey doesn’t disappoint with her sophomore album “Rid of Me.” In her own words, she describes the songs as having “strangely skewed time signatures and twisty song structures.” Often going from sparse guitars and light vocals to powerful cries, clanging drums and heavy power chords, Harvey’s music proves to be just as dynamic as her lyrics. Having dealt with mental health issues before recording the album, she wrote many of the lyrics on her parents’ farm in rural England. Despite the unfitting location, Harvey comes through with tepid, cynical lyrics such as “I might as well be dead / But I could kill you instead” or “You put right in my face / You leave me dry.” Production on the album, done by Nirvana producer Steve Albini, leaves the record sounding dark, desperate and cold upon first listen. But over time, it proves to be an intimate display of raw emotion coming from an up-and-coming working-class woman from England.
Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell (1980) Known to many as the band that kickstarted the heavy metal genre, Black Sabbath’s first three albums are considered to be classics and a cornerstone of modern music. By the end of the decade, however, many metal fans abandoned Black Sabbath. As lead singer Ozzy Osbourne had just been fired due to his increasing drinking and drug abuse and the band recruited Ronnie James Dio — previously of Rainbow Fame — and completely reinvented their sound. Black Sabbath expanded their sonic parameters to cater to Dio’s multi-octave range. The result is some of the best metal music ever written. The band utilized acoustic guitars to form a more classical approach to their signature sound, from the hard-hitting opener “Neon Knights” to the dynamic, majestic builds of both “Children of the Sea,” and the title track. Apocalyptic lyrics such as “Say that life’s a carousel / spinning fast you gotta ride it well” and “Live for today / tomorrow never comes” display a much more intellectual approach to lyrics than the band had ever taken before. In hindsight, “Heaven and Hell” proves to be the perfect album to lauch heavy metal’s best decade.
Bjork - Post (1995) Bjork has dabbled in many genres through her over 40 year career, but her second solo album is regarded by many as her crowning achievement. The Icelandic singer traveled the endless roads of electronic experimentation for this album. This, combined with her quirky lyrics and dynamic singing style, comes together to create an album that sounds like it was made on another planet. She uses bass samples and sweeping orchestral arrangements to back her clear voice, getting an industrial edge in songs such as “Army of Me” and “Enjoy” with their sharp arrangements. Every track is so different from one another, it’s like listening to short stories. The electronic bliss of songs such as “Headphones,” “Possibly Maybe” and “Hyperballad” showcase Bjork’s ability to turn simple stories into tantalizing sagas. “Post” is the work of a true artist; developing her style, surpassing both the competition and herself.
You may recognize some of these bands from thrifted t-shirts or your dad’s radio, but the truth is these albums aren’t as distantly outdated as they seem. In fact, many of these artists have directly influenced the popular music of today. Here is my list of the six most influential albums, accompanied by my own artistic interpretations of their covers.
Depeche Mode - Violator (1990)
This is a dark, moody album by a band usually known for their more light hearted songs. The production, done by Flood — an A-List 90s producer — feels like a trip through space and time. The synths and deep, brooding lead vocals immerse you, each song with its own catchy hook to pull you in. Many of the lyrics discuss grappling with addiction, something lead singer Dave Gahan dealt with first hand. Depeche Mode experiments with their signature synth-pop sound, adding rock guitar on tracks such as “Personal Jesus” and “Policy of Truth,” capturing their own take on the burgeoning industrial music scene with songs such as “Sweetest Perfection” and “Clean.” Strings are the newest addition to the Depeche Mode sound, with the ambient “Waiting for the Night” and mesmerizing “Halo” climaxing in dark, pounding string arrangements. “Violator” proved to be a major influence on electronic music, providing a direct lineage to aggressive techno and atmospheric house music. This is a stunning album on all levels and definitely not one to be missed.
Bauhaus - In the Flat Field (1980) The debut album from goth rock forefathers Bauhaus combines dark, post-punk with a Bowie-esque grandeur. It is at times a dysfunctional mess and at others a juggernaut of anger and tension. Singer Peter Murphy channels his feelings of sadness and isolation into raving yelps, almost as if he’s calling out for help in “A God in an Alcove” as well as the title track. Murphy’s voice, combined with a cacophony of manic drums and frenzied guitars, makes for a very potent mix of despair and anger. The album also owes a lot to the menacing punk attitudes of the late 70s, with lyrics such as “Until exposed became my darker side / Puckering up and down some avenue of sin / Too cheap to ride they’re worth a try” and “In a crucifixion ecstasy/ Lying cross chequed in agony”. The dark, manic piano punk of the final track “Nerves” serves as the great finale to it all, painting a picture much greater than the band: a picture of the postpunk genre as a whole.
Thom Yorke- Suspiria Soundtrack (2018) This double-disc soundtrack album from Radiohead frontman and all-around genius Thom Yorke flew way under the radar when it was released late last year. Yorke’s usual solo output is heavy on electronic music, but, this time, Yorke flips the script, creating an extended, uneasy and ambient soundscape. His haunting, dulcet falsetto radiates across the sides, almost as if the album were a movie of its own. Whether he’s softly playing the piano-laden rock Radiohead is known for in “Suspirium” and “Unmade” or doing ominous, structureless instrumentals featured in “The Hook” or “A Choir of One,” Yorke’s experimentation, while a little drawn out — containing 25 songs — is always a refreshing welcome in today’s musical climate. If you have the patience and the taste, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this offbeat masterpiece from one of music’s most creative minds. TEXT BY THEO L.J. • PHOTOS AND DESIGN BY PATILLE PAPAS AND CHARLOTTE AMSBAUGH