Saturday, March 4, 2017

Learning Dispatch - March 3rd, 2017 - Watching Arrival and Collateral Beauty

Why the dispatch? - I want to understand how we can make our learning more social. I love having conversations with friends and colleagues about new things we have learned. So these dispatches are part of an effort to get those conversations started.



In the movie, ‘Collateral Beauty’ (watch the trailer here), the protagonist, Howard Inlet (Will Smith) is a successful advertising executive. The movie starts with this statement by Howard,

‘What is your why? Why did you get out of bed this morning? Why did you eat what you ate? Why did you wear what you wore? Why did you come here?….The big why. We are certainly not here to just sell chit. We are here to connect. Life is about people. Advertising is about illuminating how our products and services will illuminate people’s lives. Now how do we do that? Love, Time, Death. Now these three abstractions connect every single human being on earth. Every thing that we covet. Every thing that we fear not having. Everything that we ultimately end up buying. Because at the end of the day, we long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death.’

The scene then shifts to a time period three years in the future. Howard is now divorced and his 6 year old daughter has passed away. He is not able to focus on his work and this leads to lots of problems at his workplace. During this time he writes letters to the abstract ideas of Love, Time and Death. His partners at the agency are worried. They hire three actors and a private investigator to prove his instability with regards to his mental health. These actors meet him as Human Representations of Love, Time and Death. The private investigator plans to record his interactions with these actors to document instances of his mental instability.


In the movie, ‘Arrival’ (watch the trailer here), 12 alien spaceships decide to pay planet earth a visit. They park themselves at 12 different points around the planet. Each country where the spaceship has landed launches an independent investigation into tackling these visitors. 
Thursday, February 9, 2017

Learning Dispatch - February 10th, 2017 - The Adele Bloch Bauer Painting

Why the dispatch? - I want to understand how we can make our learning more social. I love having conversations with friends and colleagues about new things we have learned. So these dispatches are part of an effort to get those conversations started.


Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907. Oil, silver, and gold on canvas. © 2015. Neue Galerie New York/Art Resource/Scala, Florence

The Story of a Painting

The 'Portrait of Adele Block Bauer I' is a 1907 painting by Gustav Klimt. I recently got an opportunity to visit the Neue Gallery in New York where this painting is on public display. On the way to the gallery, my sister told me about the story behind this painting. I was intrigued. I did not know paintings had stories to tell too.

The Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I, is like the Mona Lisa for the people of Austria. It belonged to a prominent Jewish Sugar Merchant who lived with his family in Vienna, Austria in the 1900's. His name was Ferdinand Bloch Bauer. In the summer of 1903, he commissioned the painter Gustav Klint to paint his wife's portrait whose name was Adele Bloch Bauer. 

This painting was forcefully taken away from the family, following the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany. Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer had to flee the country and settle down in Zurich. The painting was never returned back to him during his lifetime. The name of the painting was also changed to 'Woman in Gold' because of Klimt's heavy use of gold to depict Adele's outfit. The Neue Gallery website describes how in the painting, 'her hands are folded in such a way as to conceal a deformed finger, yet the gesture only adds to her mysterious grace.'
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Learning Dispatch - December 15th, 2016 - New York Diary

Why the dispatch? - I want to understand how I can make my learning more social. I love having interesting conversations with friends and colleagues about new things I learned. So these dispatches are part of an effort to get those conversations started.

I'm writing this post from New York City. I have been here for the past two weeks. This is a city I have always wanted to visit. It has such great energy. The city is part of the New York State and has five boroughs which are:
- Manhattan
- Brooklyn
- Bronx
- Queens
- Staten Island

New York City View from the Empire State Building
Sunday, April 10, 2016

Learning Dispatch - April 11th, 2016 - Learning from Kung Fu Panda

It was an animated films weekend for me. I saw The Jungle Book and Kung Fu Panda 3 at a cinema hall close to my home this week. There is so much you can learn from the characters in an animated film.

Learning how to Learn from Kung Fu Panda 3 and Po


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Learning Dispatch - April 3rd, 2016 - Learning in Mumbai

Films and Learning
I had attended an artist interaction session organized by the community arts initiative Junoon at the MCubed library on April 2nd, 2016. Amole Gupte was the speaker and he spoke about Cinema as a Child's Playground. He wrote the screenplay for Taare Zameen Par and also directed Stanley Ka Dhabba. He has been conducting a Cinema Studies Course for middle school children at a municipal school in Mumbai for the last nine years. He stressed the need for the incorporation of Cinema Studies into the regular school curriculum.


He showed us some of the short films made by his student film makers. What stood out for me in the discussion was a statement he made about Learning through films. He spoke about how children can learn by merely absorbing a lot of great cinema and cinema can really teach them so much about life and themselves. He brought one of his young students along who decided to produce films of her own after watching the several classics that Amole Gupte exposed them to in the cinema studies class. You can watch some of the other Junoon Artist Interaction sessions here. They have archived over 20 of them and they are good fun to watch.
Friday, March 25, 2016

Learning Dispatch - March 25th, 2016 - Reading and Viewing

Why the dispatch? - I want to understand how I can make my learning more social. I love having interesting conversations with friends and colleagues about new things I learned. So these dispatches are part of an effort to get those conversations started. I am also very curious to know more about what you have been learning this past week in return for sharing some of the learning highlights of my week.

I started exploring some Russian fiction this week. I also bought a new book about New York city and saw a lot of old and new Indian movies this week. Here is some raw thought and reflection on what I was fortunate to learn this past week:

 
Friday, December 18, 2015

Why Travel?

I had planned to stay with a friend in Kolkata. I met him in Jaipur. I was in the city for the literature festival. Between one of the sessions, I decide to go to the festival bookstore. I see another boy, about my size, round spectacles, short hair, standing in front of the poetry bookshelf at the store. He was looking at a collection of poems I had recently read. I commented,

'That is a great book'

'Yeah, it sure looks like one.'

Your first time at the festival?

Yeah.

Mine too. Where are you from?

Guwahati. You?