"nature selects for survival, man for appearance."
Creation, the film about Darwin, had trouble finding a US distributor over the volatility of the content for some on these golden shores, but even the hardest creationist shouldn't worry too much about this film because Darwin's theories take quite a back seat to a larger narrative in the movie, namely, the death of his much-loved daughter. Of course, there is plenty of stuff showing Darwin at work honing his theory and refining his experiments, but essentially it is a homage to a man's love for his child and the awful pain that the death of a child wreaks upon the soul. Darwin was broken by the death of his daughter (not the only one of his children not to make it either) and combined with an already fragile belief in God, it only helped him move towards his idea that natural selection shapes creation and not God. It is quite difficult to imagine the furour at this, but the film does attempt to put the theory into it's historic context and it does a pretty good job of pitting science against religion (which is a bit of an unnecessary stretch I think. Having read On the Origin of the Species recently, I still don't get the antagonism some argue that it expresses towards God--that is not to say it is without bias, but I think we have to take Darwin off of the contemporary theist/atheist continuum, and put him, his life, his times and his contexts, into the broader Victorian world he inhabited. I realize that his ideas are still viewed as blasphemous by some, but having discovered that most people I ask have never read the book itself, I would hazard that a false dichotomy is being set up).
Darwin is played by Paul Bettany and his real wife Jennifer Connelly plays Emma, Darwin's wife. Together they capture the tensions in a marriage torn by both loss and opposing views of faith. Much of the film moves at a glacial, almost dreamy space, matching Darwin's grief malaise. He struggles to write, to engage with his family, to live essentially, and spends most of his day in a stupour recalling moments with his daughter. In fact it is only in the last ten or fifteen minutes of the film, when he has found healing between himself and his wife, in spite of their theological differences, that the film picks up pace and he actually writes his book. The ending is rather abrupt if you are waiting for big moments concerning his theory or responses to it, but as I said, this film is more about the role that grief played in this man's life than about his theory that changed the world.
It is a lovely film, shot in classic BBC Film style, with enough contemporary effects to make it more than simply a period drama, and it is hard to fault Bettany, who plays this grief-stricken man with empathy and tenderness. Everyone else is essentially a bit-player, including Connelly, but everyone is on their game and it makes the film rich and immensely watchable.
In spite of continuing resistance from some quarters, we seem to have embraced evolutionary concepts and their effects on virtually all aspects of our lives, it is amazing to think that this is a new idea in the grand scheme of things, 150 years old or thereabouts, and not exclusive to Darwin---as with most ideas it seems to emerge in the cultural ether and any number of people find their lives circling around similar thoughts and ideas. And, as with most ideas, the theory itself is morphing and changing--many of Darwin's original ideas have been tweaked, rejected, developed, as our knowledge grows about the world around us. Yes, even evolution is evolving!
Craig Costello, New York-based street artist and creator of Krink, has applied his singular silver line style to the Mini. His Mini Cooper S is on currently display, it's probably hard to see out of the windows, but the look is cool. You could also get a matching laptop carry-case if you wanted to.
Began a new discussion group last night: If I Only Had A Brain, a chat about the brain and whether or not a 'right brain' church might look different from our present models. A device really to think about faith in different categories. We began with a general conversation about the brain and our perception of it, the mechanistic model of humanity versus Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight, and a few rightbrain/left brain games.
Flowmarket is a globe-travelling pop-up store that sells a unique brand of goods. What they sell are concepts--cans of aspiration, desire, and other aspects of our shared humanity. Their site declates that, "A change process begins with an awareness that something needs to change." The products, which are essentially, cool packages containing nothing, are designed to make us think twice about what we are buying. Flowmarket is the brainchild of Mads Hagstrom, a Norwegian designer.
Logorama is short film by French design collective H5. The video interview is in French, which you may or may not parlez (moi? Je parle un peu), but you can get the general idea from the accompanying images and repeated watching!!
"logorama presents us with an over-marketed world built only from logos and real trademarks that are destroyed by a series of natural disasters (beginning with a hurricane, cyclone, tidal wave...). logotypes are used to describe an alarming universe (similar to the one that we are living in) with all the graphic signs that accompany us everyday in our lives. this over-organized universe is violently transformed by the cataclysm becoming fantastic and absurd. it shows the victory of the creative against the rational, where nature and human fantasy triumph."