Day 126 of 159

December 6th marked the end of my study abroad program and, consequently, the end of my Swiss Pass validity (provided by SIT). Knowing that I would never have the opportunity to travel around Switzerland for free again, I tried to fit in a whole rush of trips towards the end of my program. Below are some of the last spots I was able to hit before leaving CH for France.

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Afyon: A Short Documentary on Opiate Use

Afyon is a short documentary that considers the differences between predominantly exogenous and endogenously stimulated lifestyles. It was filmed in Washington, a state that is currently struggling with increasing opiate use (especially amongst young adults), but at the same time is well known for it’s culture of fitness, healthy/organic eating, sustainability and highly educated, wealthy population.

http://www.businessinsider.com/most-educated-states-map-2014-3 ]

http://adai.uw.edu/pubs/infobriefs/ADAI-IB-2013-02.pdf ]

Putting the life of a Triathlete and user in a juxtaposition, Afyon illustrates the different ways both lifestyles stimulate the brains natural reward circuitry, fulfilling our inherent drive for pleasure.

Afyon was created for my senior project, which I completed at the Seattle Waldorf High School. I edited it on Final Cut Pro X and filmed it with a Nikon D5100 – fixed 50mm lens and cheap external mic. Hope you enjoy.

Interview – Anita Yandle, Yes on I-522

Q: How have you seen outside state corporate spending effect the campaign?

A: Well, I mean, it’s definitely just mind boggling how much money the big corporate donors have put in to stop us from having the center, taking out the air waves on television, radio, pandora, they’re everywhere just spreading false information and misleading ideas about labeling and that just an interesting and difficult thing to deal with when its simply our right to know what in our food.

Q: If you had to address one piece of misinformation, one misconception, about the campaign, what would that be?

A: The main thing I find that is a misconception about it is that it would in anyway raise grocery prices. That is just false. The same companies said the same thing in the 90’s with nutrition labeling, you know, calorie count and stuff, and there was no price increase due to that. Other countries already have labeling for genetically engineered food and there has not been a price increase due to it and companies change their labels all the time, they change them for Halloween and for Christmas and to put a new sports player on the front and it doesn’t cost anything so its just a scare tactic to trick the other side into making people vote no.

Q: Do you think that level of corporate spending is acceptable in an election like this?

A: Well, I mean, it has been approved by the Supreme Court that they can do that so I don’t really think its my place to comment on that.

Q: Are you familiar with California’s Prop. 37 from last year?

A: I am more or less familiar with it, yes. It was a very similar proposition.

Q: Do you see any connection between the marginal failure of that bill and the large corporation spending in opposition to it?

A: So, in California, because it was the battleground state for GMO labeling, it hadn’t happened before, they didn’t expect to have the opposition put in–I think it was $47 million there–so they were unprepared for that. But here, we saw that happen in California, we knew that it was probably going to happen, so thats why we worked on getting such a strong grassroots support before we got to the election.

Excerpt of an interview conducted on October 27th with Anita Yandle, the social media coordinator of the Yes on I-522 campaign. Thank you so much, Ms. Yandle, for taking time out of your day to talk to me!

Reclaim Your Vote

“Once the financial industry came unmoored from its ethical base,  financial firms were free to behave in ways that were in their – and   especially their top executives’ – short-term interest without any   concern about the longer term impact on the industry’s customers, [and] on the broader American economy,” Gregory Curtis, Chairman  of Greycourt & Co, wrote in his paper on the financial crisis of 2007.

The idea that corporations should be entitled to the same protection of political expression, as established in Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion on Citizens United (CU) v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) 2010, is as dangerous to a democracy as discouraging profit and ingenuity would be to capitalism.

    The primary goal of a financial corporation in a capitalist society is profit. While citizens have a civic duty in a democracy, corporations have a duty of profit in capitalism. Unlike citizens, corporations by nature do not have the best interests of the United States in mind, so they should play no role in the electoral process on a state or nationwide level.

    Last year, California residents voted on Proposition 37, a bill that would have subjected all Genetically Engineered (GE) food products to labeling. While it enjoyed a 61% lead (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll), the proposition failed to pass after corporations in the Agro Industry, such as Monsanto, outspent supporters by over $37 million.

    Just last week, Washington’s measure I-522, a bill similar to Prob. 37, failed to pass after seeing a record breaking amount of campaign contributions raised against it. Out of all of Washington only five residents donated to the No campaign, raising $550, a small amount in comparison to the $22 million raised by out of state corporations. The political expression of such corporations did not contribute to our democracy. It undermined the majority to help increase profit for the Agro Industry.

    This year, in Washington, Comcast worked against the re-election of Mayor McGinn, donating thousands to anti-McGinn Political Action Committees (PAC’s) (Andrea Peterson, Washington Post). Ostensibly, because of McGinn’s efforts to offer higher internet speeds at lower costs to Seattle residents. He was working to do so through a public-private partnership known as Gigabit Squared, which would offer cheaper and faster internet than was currently provided by comcast. Comcast’s interests clearly conflict with those of the citizens.

    Corporations belong to capitalism, not democracy. When they are allowed to participate in democratic proceedings they do not act as democratic figures, but as capitalist ones, focusing on profit rather than civic responsibility. In Washington, and across the nation, its time we stop taking steps in the wrong direction and reclaim our democracy from the self-interests of corporations.

Chapel of St. Ignatius

Steven Holl is an American architect and watercolorist who currently resides in New York city, teaching at Columbia University and designing at his architecture firm, Steven Holl Architects. He is internationally recognized and has won many awards in the fields of architecture and modern art, including the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) prestigious Design Award for his work on Chapel of St. Ignatius.

“When we move through space with a twist and turn of the head, mysteries of gradually unfolding fields, of overlapping perspectives are changed with a range of light.” – Steven Holl

     Chapel of St. Ignatius is located in Seattle, WA at Seattle University, a Jesuit institution. It was designed from 1994-96 and constructed from 1996-97. The abstract of the building focuses on Holl’s most prominent architectural element: light. The building was designed to represent seven bottles of light emerging from a stone box, each corresponding to a different facet of Catholic worship. The volumes or bottles of light emerge from the roof, letting in light from all different angles during the day and projecting light all over Seattle University’s campus at night. Each volume or bottle has a different tint of stained glass, filling the chapel with a spectrum of soft colors. The exterior walls and design of the chapel are rectangular and flat, conveying the stone-box feel. However, the inside of the chapel is a full of apertures, curved and arched walls, walkways and windows, conveying the volumes/bottles of light feel. A maze for light to play in. Light is the buildings ever-changing soul. Chapel of St. Ignatius brings an essence of spirituality into existence and masterfully demonstrates how light affects perception.

     Chapel of St. Ignatius incorporates the two most defining elements of Holl’s career, light and texture. Light is so enlivening to Holl, partly because though a consistent element, its presence in a building is continually changing, altering how the building is perceived. Holl takes advantage of this change to add life and dynamic to his buildings.

     As Kenneth Frampton describes Holl’s use of light, “walls are consistently activated by indirect colored light, bouncing off concealed apertures, cut-out of the bounding walls” (Steven Holl, 7-10). Frampton describes Holl’s interest in texture/material as the study of how the intrinsic value of material imposes a discernible presence and rhythm on the volume or space it encloses.