City Tech, Fall 2016

Author: Emm (Page 2 of 2)

History repeats itself

The film starts out with machinery film shots which capture attention well to give off a theme of an industrial life for those who we are introduced to. The workers, the people who keep all the machinery flowing smoothly. At 5:04, you see that their heads are looking downward as they drag their feet to work. Have they accepted their fate as nothing more than a drone living for only one purpose? As they head down to the  Worker’s City, the buildings remind me of the housing projects I see everyday in The Bronx. It feels a bit eerie to see something made so long ago only to have it spawn in your neighborhood in the present. In this movie, your freedom depends on who you born into. Child of a worker lives a meaningless life of labor in the machines. The offspring of the city’s social elite is given access to the Son’s Club, a place teeming with knowledge and activities. You can go visit the library, run the track field or play in the Eternal Gardens. (6:10)

In minutes 15-17, Freder witnesses an accident at the Machine-Halls. He had a vision where the Machine took the form of a giant demon face, eating up the workers harmed by the steam. It looks like a symbol of the human toll it takes to keep these leviathan metal contraptions running. When the injured and dead are cleared, the work continues like nothing has happened. After this, we meet Joh Fredersen, the man who planned the building of Metropolis. Joh is the mind in this film, for he is the one made the city plans. He is a man of little compassion. He does not seem to worry about the workers upon hearing about the explosion. When Joh’s son asks where the ‘people who built this city’, his response is merely ‘…Off where they belong.’ (24:30)

(52:33) Maria begins her tale: The Legend of the Construction of Tower of Babel. She talks of a grand tower that stretched into the sky. The men who had thought up this tower couldn’t do it alone. They hire help, a lot of it. It is built by the sweat and blood of the common man. The praise from the makers had begun to grow sour on the workers. In altercation, the tower is destroyed. I find this to be interesting as I consider it the foreshadowing of of events to come. The hard work of the common man feels taken for granted from the men on top of the tower. When left with no options, anger can make people do the unthinkable. In this case, nearly bringing a city to ruin.

Class Notes 9/1

Objective:

Analyzing Science Fiction Text

Finding and incorporating textual evidence.

Part 1

-When reading SF (Science Fiction) text, it’s a good idea to take your time and really examine what is presented to you.

-Annotation on the text helps mark down what really stands out to you in the text.

Write Notes on:

  • Parts of the text that confuses you (For class discussion and to solve what the material means)
  • Ideas that come to you from reading the text.
  • Unfamiliar Vocabulary : This is always a great thing to take note of, as we expand our literary repertoire.
  • Some main elements to consider when analyzing SF literature:
    • Conflicts: Some may be more minor than others in a story, but finding some sort of conflict is a good place to start.
    • Values: What values are promoted in the society (or societies)? What is discouraged?
    • Themes: What are the messages you’re getting from the reading?

Part 2

-When you make a claim about an element in a story, textual evidence complements your claim.

  • Professor’s Advice: Try to make a claim in the form of a question. That way, you can find evidence to which you can support the claim you end up at. (Did I get that right? Correct me if I’m wrong)
  • With your analysis of the text, what questions can you derive from what you’ve read?
  • Once you’ve identified your questions, evidence is need. Some examples of textual evidence are:
    • Character Quotes or Dialogue
    • Events in the story
    • Character Actions
    • Setting
    • Symbols
  • After you’ve gathered enough evidence, you can conclude a claim to which you have the literary foundation to support it with.

Vocabulary

persiflage: Synonym for witty banter.

subjunctivity: The relationship to reality to what is depicted in fiction work.

subjective: Particular to a person; varying perspective.

objective: Something known to be absolute.

reverberated: The continuing effect of sound.

atavism: The emergence of genetic traits that have appeared in past generations.

acquiescence: Accepting something without protest.

 

Disconnected through connections

E.M. Forster has brilliantly carved out a world from his imagination onto paper with ‘The Machine Stops’.  The setting takes place underground our planet which I find so interesting because I immediately thought of the ant colony mentality, where no one really stands out and all serve a singular purpose; to protect the queen. The Machine being the queen in this story, humankind lives to serve it while the Machine attends to all their needs such as sleep, food, information and communication among its nearly infinite functions. Values in this society are knowledge and spiritual growth. But I ponder, is it objective knowledge or knowledge that is allowed by the Committee?  The progress of society slowed to a crawl when the machine was built. Everyone may have had equality since everything in their environment is identical. The rooms, the airships, vehicles summoned at their convenience and even the same arm chairs. This builds upon the expanse in personal communication that humans already lack from being in individual chambers. They may have voice access and hologram like communication, but to even speak to someone else in person was taboo.  The human element of faith, physical prowess, and love are all conspicuously absent from this advanced society.   Babies determined to be physically strong were killed. This infanticide was defended by the notion that it would have only been a life of misery for able bodied people. It was necessary for the survival of humankind and the progress of The Machine. It almost seems like dissent is frowned upon in the future as well.

While religion no longer existed in this time, their god was a humming mechanical labyrinth molded into the inner surface of the planet. Their bible is a guide on which function the machine can perform to facilitate everyday life.  In all, humanity has advanced to the point to where all they need to do is lift a finger.  Love is obsolete in a sense here. Vashti, one of the characters in the story, becomes teary eyed when she hears Kuno talk of his experience above on the surface. She remember when he was a baby and she taught him the Machine’s functions and how to press buttons. Those were her cherished memories of him. To her, that’s what love meant; teaching her son about the Machine which has been a part of her entire life.

After Kuno is banned into homelessness and some years pass since their visit. When the Machine stops working, Vashti and the rest of the colony panic. When our comfortable reality is shattered, panic usually ensues when we see the truth. The truth being unable to fend for themselves or even stand after generations of dependency on the Machine and social engineering by the Committee. I especially enjoyed the ending because it gave them one last moment to be truly experience human feelings. They stared at a beautiful piece of the sky as they joined the many who perished, hopefully in the sacrifice of humankind getting on its feet again.

Loony Lunar Landing

The film, “Voyage Dans La Lune” by Georges Méliès is a confusing and over-the-top movie about some men who make a journey to the moon. But when you stop trying to understand and go with the film’s story, you see man’s attempt to understand what he does not yet know.  The setting is during the infancy of industrialization which can be from the 1760’s to mid 1800’s. These gentlemen all seem to be commotion over the moon, as the large telescope is pointing right at it in the background.  One man seems to suggest that they go there, much to the malcontent of the rest of the group. After quite a rambling over this idea, these wealthy men decide to make it happen.

Their wealth is well represented with being overdressed for a space launch and overseeing the construction of their capsule to the moon. To much publicity, the crew of rich galactic explorers are launched from a giant cannon in their capsule and headed for the moon. The background of space from this time and perspective is quite comical given what we know now about the conditions of the next frontier. These men are flat characters but nonetheless make the plot more interesting with their antics as the story progresses. I imagine that the writers of this story had imagined the moon had caves on its surface as they sleep in a ‘moon cave’ for the night. They encounter a lunar being and completely baffled by it, one of the men kill it with an umbrella.

As humans, we fear what we do not understand, which is why the killings of aliens done by humans seems archetypal. We don’t understand the moon creatures intentions until somebody kills one, which becomes clear that it’s justice from the king. Our brave space pioneers possibly face a tribunal from the king if not for the actions of one the men to free themselves. They escape into their in order to escape the ordeal of being chased by the moon creatures. They somehow manage to get back to earth by crash landing in the ocean. Once again, to much publicity, they are awarded medals and a statue to showcase their extraordinary feat. No guts, no glory is one of the themes I caught in this film.

I like the lively backgrounds they incorporated in scenes such as when the men slept on the moon and when they began to plan their journey there. The obvious staging makes me thankful that air travel is cheaper now so filmmakers can go to their desired settings. I also enjoyed the descent because even though we now know Earth’s atmosphere is made up multiple levels and they would have burned to a crisp before landing, it’s good to see that writers back then were willing to stretch their imagination when it came to scenarios never attempted by humankind.

Getting to know Emmanuel

My name is Emmanuel Rodriguez and I’m a Biomedical Informatics major here at NYCCT. This is my fourth year here but i still have some classes to go since I switched majors a few years back. I was born in the Bronx but raised between there and Queens.  For me, this was the best and worst summer due to personal circumstances but I’m finally moving on with my life to get where I want to get going. I spent this summer playing handball and working in between the semesters to pay the bills. I want to visit the Colorado Rockies this winter and enjoy the serenity of the mountains.

One of my main interests is bicycling. It had helped me lose the weight I gained after I finished my enlistment in the US Army. I’ll bike just about anywhere  where my feet can take me now. I also took an interest in PC building not too long ago and built my own computer. Crime or medical dramas like The Knick and True Detective are my favorite; or comedies such as Broad City or Workaholics. Pizza is my vice, as I can’t get enough of it. Lastly, I began to learn physics on my own from free lectures online.

My "battlestation"

My “battle station”

Writing is important to me because events during my enlistment had affected me in ways I couldn’t comprehend. I realized that writing about these experiences helped me accept  what happened and spilling my emotions on paper really gave me the help I needed. I welcome critical thinking and writing because its can be beneficial to get a different perspective of your work from someone else so you know what message your sending with your words. This is my first time using OpenLab and it seems pretty straightforward, nothing confusing about it so far.

I am a casual fan of science fiction since I saw Back to the Future as a kid, but Cloud Atlas is absolutely my favorite. I also like alternate timeline science fiction, but the cliche of the Nazis winning WW2 and ruling the world is sort of played out. I’ve only started reading sicence fiction books like Brave New World and Dark Prophecy.  Science fiction can become real life the sooner we make discoveries like nuclear fusion in physics and human genome manipulation in biology (although the ethics of the latter can be debatable). I hope that these leaps in science will be made in our lifetime. I want to learn a lot in this class about the different fields that cover science fiction, maybe even write one of my own.

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