Serena Gaia

Make love the ecology of your life

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SACRED ECOSEX: Teorema, Il Sessantotto and Pasolini’s Math/Map of Sexual Fluidity and Amorous Inclusiveness

Dear Fellow Earthlings–

Here’s one more event coming up for me.  Sacred Ecosex.  Wonder what it is?  Join us!  It will be fun.  And you’ll get a sense of what that famous year of 1968 really represented for Italy and Europe, from one of the most unconventional film directors of Italy, Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Where:  UPRM, Celis 116

When: Tuesday, March 28, 2017, Hora Universal-10:30-11:45 AM

Title:

SACRED ECOSEX: Teorema, Il Sessantotto and Pasolini’s Math/Map of Sexual Fluidity and Amorous Inclusiveness

Abstract:

This study applies the art of analytical observation to Teorema, by Pierpaolo Pasolini.  This classic of Italian cinema was released in 1968.  This year of paradigm shift, also known as il sessantotto in Italy, beheld a cultural revolution that attacked the malady of the Oedipal Syndrome.  The film captures the zeitgeist of the new era and connects the pervasive effects of this syndrome to the abuse of the partner we all share by the extractive industries.  The movie places a bisexual, polyamorous visitor at the center of the diegetic structure, where he initates members of a nuclear family who are victims of the Oedipal Syndrome into the practices of ecosexual love.  With this prophetic movie, education to sacred ecosex begins.  The film taps into the director’s familiarity with the Roman male sex-trade scene to sacralize sex as the magic encounter of two human ecosystems.  When Pasolini moved to Rome from his native Friuli, his sexual life became organized around this scene.  The film maps the way the sessantotto experience flipped both the filmmaker’s consciousness and the conventions of amorous expression of the era.  The desert represents the force of ecosexual love: the Earth appears naked in the segments that suture the different consciousness explored in the film.  Paolo, the father, connects with the Earth’s metabolism when his heart beats next to it.  Emilia, the housemaid, occupies the soil of the periferia to save its fertility from pervasive concrete.  As “desert,” the partner we all share enters the equation of Pasolini’s theorem.

The Presenter:

Dr. SerenaGaia, aka Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD, is a cultural theorist and founder of 3WayKiss.  Her prophetic books have inspired readers around the world, including Gaia (2009), Eros (2006), and Ecosexuality (2015), the first collection on this topic.  Dr. SerenaGaia is a professor of humanities and cinema at UPRM, a renown scholar and public speaker.  This presentation comes from Amorous Visions, her book-in-progress on ecosexuality and Italian cinema.  The research for this study has been externally funded by UCHI, and has been generously supported by Arts and Sciences at UPRM.

It will be a 40-minute presentation with film stills and clips.  Followed by an open active learning session with Questions and Answer.  Many students will be in attendance, including groups from courses in cinema, humanities, and literature.  Everyone is welcome to join from the campus, area, and communities.  To download a flier, go to this link.  We look forward to welcoming you!

Thank you!

drserenagaia

aka Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

header-per-serena
Professor of Humanities and Cinema
Convenor of Practices of Ecosexuality: A Symposium
Fellow at the Humanities Institute, University of Connecticut, Storrs (2012-13)
Project: “Amorous Visions: Ecosexual Perspectives on Italian Cinema”
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Playa Azul I Love You: Together in Ecosexual Love – Film/Documentary

The film

This 30-minute documentary is the story of a 16-year love affair with a beach that culminates in a Plural Wedding of Ecosexual Love.

What is an ecosystem? When we practice Ecosexual Love, an ecosystem is a companion, a partner, a lover: much more than an object of scientific study.  Falling in love with an ecosystem–recognizing the love and health it can bring to people’s lives–is what this film is about. Interpreting the Earth as a lover is the shift in metaphors that has galvanized the Ecosexual Movement. We need to love the Earth we make love on, so as to mark a common path for the sex-positive movement and the global ecology movement. For an adult, responsible behavior of humankind toward nature.

This movement manifests locally as well.  A liminal space for dwellers and lovers, Playa Azul is a beach located on the south side of the shore of Western Puerto Rico.  It is being stewarded with love by a team of dwellers who love to share it with nature lovers. It is now a very hospitable to diverse lovers and conducive of inclusive forms of amorous behavior.

We the co-directors made this film to celebrate the beauty of this ecosystem and the spontaneous behavior it inspires in people when living close to nature and the Caribbean shore.  We extended our invitation to a Plural Wedding of Ecosexual Love, and a community came together for this inclusive and fluid symbolic ceremony. When participants married the beach, a radical form of “marriage equality” was practiced. Everyone became a “spouse” to the ecosystem, which acquired much “spice” by effect of the sacred wedding to this particular piece of Lover Earth.

When we recognize the Earth as the partner we all share, we become “metamours” to one another, namely people who consciously share a beloved. This is one of the powers of practicing Ecosexual Love.

The film documents this coming together and its transformative effects for the community and the beach itself.

Playa Azul I Love You is a coproduction of 3WayKiss, Veritas Productions, and SecondTake Media.

The Directors

Dr. Serena Gaia

Writer, activist, scholar, filmmaker, cultural theorist, and professor of humanities at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio believes that “a world where it is safe to love is a world where it is safe to live.” Anderlini-D’Onofrio is the author, editor and co-editor of the books Women and Bisexuality: A Global Perspective (2003), Plural Loves: Designs for Bi and Poly Living (2005), Eros: A Journey of Multiple Loves (2006), a memoir and a 2007 Lambda finalist, Bisexuality and Queer Theory (2010), with Jonathan Alexander, and BiTopia (2011). She is also the author of The ‘Weak’ Subject: On Modernity, Eros, and Women’s Playwriting (1998), a study of modern drama and women’s authorship.

Anderlini-D’Onofrio has spoken about polyamory on Italian public television, and she gave the keynote address at the 2007 Loving More and World Polyamory Association conferences.

More recently, Anderlini-D’Onofrio has adopted the sacred name of Dr. Serena Gaia. She has been at the helm of the ecosexual movement, with various keynotes and the book Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love (2015), the first collection on this topic edited with Lindsay Hagamen. She has learned that “love is the ecology of life.” She is at work on new titles, including a study of Italian cinema from an ecosexual perspective, and a series of dialogs of the ecology of love. She is the convenor of Practices of Ecosexuality: A Symposium. News and project updates are available at www.serenagaia.org, also www.ecosexbook.com

Links:
Amazon.com Author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/Serena-Anderlini-DOnofrio/e/B001JS1VKA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1477282388&sr=8-2
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/serena.anderlini
Academia.edu Profile https://uprm.academia.edu/SerenaAnderlini
ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Serena_Anderlini
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/serena-anderlini-8962038?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Shaison P. Ouseph

Shaison P. Ouseph is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, editor, and cameraman, with credits ranging from director of photography to art director on many documentaries and independent feature projects.  His public service campaigns promoting literacy, the empowerment of women, and against child exploitation have won him many national and international accolades.  Esteemed organizations such as the United National, the International Labour Organization, the US Embassy, have bestowed him with awards and certificates for his work on social issues.  His work as a director has been well recognized and appreciated.

Jimmy Garcia

Jimmy Garcia is a video-maker and a student at UPRM.  He is working on several videos and is the founder of SecondTake Media.

Director Statement

Dr. Serena Gaia:  “We did Playa Azul I Love You to practice #EcosexualLove. We came together to marry the partner we all share, the Earth, and become “spice” for one of her beautiful ecosystems, Playa Azul. We learned to consider each other “metamours.” And we model the world where ‘it is safe to live because it is safe to love.’  I am especially grateful to all those who initiated, believed in, participated, and contributed to completing this project.”

Playa Azul I Love You will be screened at the Symposium Practices of Ecosexuality and Sex-Positive Education, February 3, 2017, at UPRM.

The film has been uploaded as a project in Film Freeway will be submitted to appropriate Film Festivals.  It will be distributed by CreateSpace and Amazon.com

Contact us if you’d like to screen the film or ask for more information.

Thank you!

drserenagaia

aka Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

header-per-serena
Professor of Humanities and Cinema
Convenor of Practices of Ecosexuality: A Symposium
Fellow at the Humanities Institute, University of Connecticut, Storrs (2012-13)
Project: “Amorous Visions: Ecosexual Perspectives on Italian Cinema”

 

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FRIDAY NOON COLLOQUIUM Presents “AMOROUS VISIONS” – Oct 28 – 12 Noon @ OF, UPRM

Dear fellow educators, colleagues, students, film buffs, lovers of cinema:

Friday Noon Colloquium is the new research-in-progress series hosted by Michael Huffmaster, in the German Studies program, Humanities at UPRM.

The series begins at noon on Friday, October 18 in the lobby area (Sala de Conferencias) of the OF-Edificio de Profesores building at UPRM.  It’s wonderful to have this space to share for those of us active in the humanistic and cultural studies research arena.  Check the series flier here.

What’s the topic of this inaugural event, you may ask?

The presentation of Amorous Visions, a book proposal for a study of Italian cinema from an ecosexual and Deleuzian perspective.  Look above or download the descriptive flier here.

Yes.

This is the project that took me to Connecticut some years ago, when I won the external fellowship of the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute and also received support from the College of Arts and Sciences at UPRM to use it.

This is ALSO, and very significantly, a project that has emanated from the course in Italian cinema that I have been teaching at UPRM over the years, beginning in and around the year 2000.  This course has been an inspiration to me and to many groups of students over  the years.   What does it mean to appreciate, participate, enjoy, observe, learn from, and think about the art of the 20th century that studies the relation of “time, space and movement,” as Gilles Deleuze put it?   Students have been my most valuable teachers.  From them I’ve learned to look at cinema anew.  My study of ecosexual perspectives on Italian cinema is a direct emanation from this experience.  It is time to share about it with our local and regional intellectual community.

What is an ecosexual perspective in the study, practice, creation, and appreciation of cinema?  How can this kind of perspective relate to Deleuze’s cinema theories?  Italian cinema is a particularly fertile terrain for this epistemic inquiry.  So many “sheets of the past” emerge from the mise-en-scene of art cinema from Italy.  So many personal, intimate scenes invite a reflection on how our amorous lives are impacted by the ecosystems that we live in.

My project has evolved alongside with my contributions to the vibrant ecosexuality movement.  In estedadele2015 i was privileged in c-editing the first collection of writings on this topic, an arena of emerging knowledges where nature inspires humans to practice the arts of love.  It encourages our amorous expressions to sustain the health and well being of our own and our surrounding ecosystems.  A change in metaphors is due.  When we treat the Earth as a lover, we become aware of how much we need the blessings of this partner we all share.

We have successfully hosted the first symposium on this topic in the Caribbean last year, and plan a new edition in 2017.

In this presentation, I will outline how my book project on Italian cinema evolved alongside my participation in the ecosexual movement while I also evolved as a a professor and scholar of cinema.

Join us in animating the event.  Participate and invite your own students.  Below please find more information about the event.

Thank you!

# # # # # # #

Title:

Amorous Visions: Ecosexual Perspectives on Italian Cinema

Presenting a Book Proposal

This presentation traces the evolution of the book proposal Amorous Visions from the idea of teaching a course in Italian cinema from a philosophical perspective while attending the desire of UPRM students to explore the direct connections between a film’s mise-en-scène and its erotic/amorous scenes.  The proposal is organized around the philosophy of Deleuze and his study of cinema, as well as the cultural discourses of sexual fluidity and amorous inclusiveness.  The proposal benefits from the in-depth study made possible by externally funded research also sponsored by Arts and Sciences at the RUM.

The presentation will be a 20-minute plus 10 minutes for a Q & A session.

It will be done on a laptop with stills and clips.

The format is suitable for a small audience.

About the Author

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD, is the author, editor and co-editor of Women and Bisexuality (2003), Plural Loves (2005), Eros (2006), Gaia (2009), Bisexuality and Queer Theory (2010), and BiTopia (2011).  Her articles have appeared in DisClosure, New Cinemas, Rhizomes, Nebula, WSIF, and VIA.  She is the author of The ‘Weak’ Subject (1998), and the co-translator of In Spite of Plato, by Adriana Cavarero (1995).  Anderlini-D’Onofrio has spoken about polyamory on Italian public television.

More recently, Anderlini-D’Onofrio has adopted the sacred name of Dr. SerenaGaia.  At the helm of the ecosexual movement, she has keynoted at various symposia, and is co-editor of  Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love (2015), the first collection on this topic.  Dr. SerenaGaia is the convenor of Practices of Ecosexuality: A Symposium at UPRM, and is at work Amorous Visions, a study of Italian cinema from an ecosexual perspective.

News and project updates at www.serenagaia.org

Thank you!

drserenagaia

header-per-serena

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CLASE ABIERTA: Italian Cinema Presents “ECOLOGIES of LOVE and TOXIC ECOSYSTEMS”

Dear fellow educators, colleagues, students, film buffs, lovers of cinema:

In the spirit of challenge and renewal at UPRM and in Puerto Rico, the current course in Italian Cinema opens its doors to invite you for a CLASE ABIERTA event.

Please join us on Tuesday, November 1st at 5:30-7:00 PM in Chardon 226, for a presentation from the research project Amorous Visions, followed by a bilingual Questions and Answers period.  Look above or download the descriptive flier here.

The course in Italian cinema has been an inspiration to me and to many groups of students over  pazzathe years.   What does it mean to appreciate, participate, enjoy, observe, learn from, and think about the art of the 20th century that studies the relation of “time, space and movement,” as Gilles Deleuze put it?   Students have been my most valuable teachers.  From them I’ve learned to look at cinema anew.  My study of ecosexual perspectives on Italian cinema is a direct emanation from this experience, and has evolved with multiple support from internal and external sources.  It is time to share about it with our local and regional intellectual community.

Italian cinema is a particularly fertile terrain for this epistemic inquiry.  So many “sheets of the past” emerge from the mise-en-scene of art cinema from Italy.  So many personal, intimate scenes invite a reflection on how our amorous lives are impacted by the ecosystems that we live in.

pinkdressIn this invitation, we will present a study of two classics of Italian cinema from the 1970s.  Remember The Conformist and The Night Porter?  Very ecosexual.  Very Deleuzian.  Right?  If you’re a cinephile, you cannot have missed them.  If not, this is a perfect time to meet these two majestic films.  Students in the current Italian Cinema group are quite advanced in Deleuzian and ecosexual approaches to cinema.  They are excited to welcome visitors and other participants for this special CLASE ABIERTA EVENING.   Many of them will surprise you with their participatory questions and observations.

Join us in animating the evening.  Participate and invite your own students.  Below please find more information about the event.

Thank you!

# # # # # # #

Title:

Ecologies of Love and Toxic Ecosystems:

Lessons from the Holocaust in Cavani and Bertolucci

Abstract

This study analyzes two classics of Italian cinema from an ecosexual perspective.  Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970) and Cavani’s The Night Porter (1974) share a theme:  the 20th century Holocaust in Europe where circumstances are extreme and the ecosystems that host people’s lives are replete with toxicity.  The study integrates elements of Deleuzian and film theory, political history, the history of cinema, and cultural discourses about fluid and inclusive practices of love like bisexuality and polyamory.  It focuses on the relationship between mise-en-scène, or representation of the physical, emotional, interpersonal, and political ecosystems where characters’ lives unfold, and the styles of sexual and amorous expression they deploy in their intimate scenes.  Its approach is unique.  It empowers a vision of how the energy of love behaves in toxic ecosystems, surviving as love for love or erotophilia.  When the auteurs explore the inner landscapes of the films’ protagonists via Deleuzian time-image sequences, the sexual fluidity and amorous inclusiveness present therein become visible as a way to save love for love in the midst of extreme ecological toxicity.  In Bertolucci the fear of love prevails:  Marcello kills the woman who inspired love in him.  In Cavani this expansive sense of love manifests the imagination of a world where “it is safe to live because it is safe to love.”  The author claims that Cavani succeeds because her diegetic structure is organized rhizomatically.   The inner landscapes of multiple interconnected consciousnesses are made visible in the interlocked time-image sequences of her dyad Max and Lucia.

Note:

The article that corresponds to this presentation will be published in Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledges, an open-source peer-reviewed journal.   It uses numerous series of stills from both films.  The conference presentation uses a series of clips.  The latter will be presented in a 60-minute format, followed by Q & A sessions.

rhizomes

Stay tuned:  In the Spring of 2017 we also plan a more formally organized event about Amorous Visions.  It will be widely announced and open to the wider Arts and Sciences community at UPRM, and beyond.

About the Author

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD, is the author, editor and co-editor of Women and Bisexuality (2003), Plural Loves (2005), Eros (2006), Gaia (2009), Bisexuality and Queer Theory (2010), and BiTopia (2011).  Her articles have appeared in DisClosure, New Cinemas, Rhizomes, Nebula, WSIF, and VIA.  She is the author of The ‘Weak’ Subject (1998), and the co-translator of In Spite of Plato, by Adriana Cavarero (1995).  Anderlini-D’Onofrio has spoken about polyamory on Italian public television.

More recently, Anderlini-D’Onofrio has adopted the sacred name of Dr. SerenaGaia.  At the helm of the ecosexual movement, she has keynoted at various symposia, and is co-editor of  Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love (2015), the first collection on this topic.  Dr. SerenaGaia is the convenor of Practices of Ecosexuality: A Symposium at UPRM, and is at work Amorous Visions, a study of Italian cinema from an ecosexual perspective.

News and project updates at www.serenagaia.org

drserenagaia

header-per-serena

Essential Filmography and Bibliography

Anapol, Deborah.  Polyamory in the 21st Century.  New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010.

Anapol, Deborah.  Polyamory: The New Love without Limits.  San Rafael, CA.: IntiNet Resource Center, 1997.

Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena.  Gaia and the New Politics of Love: Notes for a Poly Planet.  Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2009.

Anderlini-D’Onofrio, SerenaGaia and Lindsay Hagamen, eds.  Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love.  Puerto Rico: 3WayKiss, 2015.

Bertolucci, Bernardo.  Il conformista/The Conformist.  Rome: Green Film, 1970.

Cavani, Liliana.  The Night Porter.  Rome, Italy: Ital-Noleggio, 1974

Deleuze, Gilles.  Cinema I: The Movement Image.  (Original appeared in 1983.)  Hugh Tomlinson tr. University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

______  .  Cinema II: The Time-Image.  (Original appeared in 1985.)  Hugh Tomlinson tr.  University of Minnesota Press, 1989.

Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari.  A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.  Tr Brian Massumi.  University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

______.  Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.  New York: Penguin, 2009.

Anderlini/Ecologies of Love/Abstract, 3

Diamond, Lisa.  Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire.  Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2008.

Kline, Jefferson.  Bertolucci’s Dream Room: A Psychoanalytic Study of Cinema.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 1981

Marrone-Puglia, Gaetana.  The Gaze and the Labyrinth: The Cinema of Liliana Cavani.  Princeton University Press, 2000.

Moravia, Alberto.  The Conformist.  London: Steerforth, 1999.  (Originally published as Il conformista in 1951.)

Veaux, Franklin and Eve Rickert.  More than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory. Thorntree Press, 2014.

 

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Plural Wedding of Ecosexual Love Sets Hearts on Fire – An Amorous Visions Calendar: Feb 22-March 6, 2014 in California

Dear Planet Lovers,

It’s the night before the flight that starts a traveling period of about five months over several countries.  I only have a short time and I don’t want to take off without the promised follow up to my newsletter announcements back in December.


Oh well . . . . where do I start?

The wedding: we did it!  The first plural wedding of ecosexual love in the Caribbean.  It really happened!  iI’s done.  And it was a success. More: it was magic.  With everyone in the group listening to the invocation ministered by Heather Anne Trahan, and taking the vows to be Playa Azul‘s “spice.” Wooow!  We were so amazingly diverse, yet united by this declaration of love for an ecosystem that I sincerely call my nurse, doctor, and lover.  She is very compersive and not at all jealous.  And now that we all share this lover we are all “metamours.”  Lovers of a partner we share.  And since that day the shift in the energetic field all in and around the beach itself, ourselves, and those who come to enjoy nature, is just momentous.  We all share a lover, so we are all collaborative.  We were completely spontaneous and everyone was eager to be on camera. 
For me, and others I hear, emotions were high: to experience a “wedding” as freedom, peace, inclusion. When all feel part of it: more people, more “spice.”  What a turn around!  Marriage? It’s for everyone, ecosexual style.  Puralizing this institution: making it open, fluid, vibrant.  Acknowledging ecosystems as equals: as partners.  Thank you Playa Azul for choosing me 16 years ago and for keeping me safe, healthy, happy, at ease, and vibrant.  As an added bonus, when in the throes of this template production, an amazing team jelled up.  Our director, Shaison Ouseph, was on his first visit to Puerto Rico from Mumbai.  He learned all about us and got really enthralled, as you can see from the trailer he put out.  Many others pitched in, acknowledged with gratitude.  If you like what you see, let us know.  You can also join the conversation on the FB event page.  We are ready for the next episode in the series Hearts on Fire.  And we can bring the Hearts on Fire right where you are.  We we’re taking calls and getting booked up! 
 
If you can’t wait to hear more about Hearts on Fire, we have something coming up.  On Saturday, February 22, Hearts on Fire officially invites to a preview of Te Amo Playa Azul I Love You, at the International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-Monogamy.  we start at 4 PM, at the Clark Kerr Center, Building 14, UCB, 2601 Warring St, Berkeley, CA, 94720.  It’s a unique opportunity to preview and discuss the ecosexual art movie that will document the first plural wedding of ecosexual love in the Caribbean.  We’re happy to present the project, share more trailers and photographs, and take questions.  Including: “how do I bring this healthy, and safe, and happy, and easy practice of ecosexual love to my families, my ecosystems, my communities?”  We look forward to being with you there.  Share with friends and invite.  Thank you!

 

This big wave of ecosexual love also helped congeal the energy of “Amorous Visions,” the cinema studies project that brought me to Connecticut last year.  With her warm sunshine, caressing waves, clear waters, and blue horizon, it was easy for Playa Azul to attract, in one
day, some 15 “spice” (plural for the word “spouse,” poly style).  No wonder she’s an ecosystem conducive of such abundance.  We make movies about ecosexual love.  What if we interpret cinema as a study of ecosexual love?  Turns out the motion camera can really find out what happens to the energy of love in ecosystems toxic with fear.  The health and vitality of ecosystems does affect the quality of human relationships.  And yet, even when fear is rampant, love finds a way to survive.  Love for love: the code for this energy encapsulated in a virus, surviving for a better time.  This became the focus for UC Irvine and UC RiversideAmorous Visions: Sex, Genders, and Ecosystems of Love in Bertolucci and Cavani.  Talks are asfo.  Monday, March 3, at 2-3:15 PM at UCR.  Room HMNSS 2212 (English Department Conference Room), hosted by John Ganim for the auspices of the English Department and Queer Lab.  Wednesday, March 5, at 2:30-5:00 PM at UCI.  Room HG 101, hosted by Jonathan Alexander, with auspices from the Writign Center and the Gender and Sexuality Program.  These are al free univrsity event, and they are fun.  I promise.  All details and directions on the FB events page.  Join us.  We want to take your questions and practice inclusive democracy, ecosexuality style.

 

Speaking of which, UCSD choose a talk on Ecosexuality, and that’s happening on Thursday, March 6, at 4:3-6:00 PMEcosexuality: Notes for an Orgasmic Earth, is the title for the in-the-works collection about ecosexuality I’m co-editing with Lindsay Hagamen.  We will be announcing this amazing collection of writings, and introducing the
Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle’s Ecosexual Wedding
online platform for the book launch.  Teamwork here too. Go to www.orgasmicearth.org to find out who all is in the line up.  We will also introduce ecosexuality as the practice, theory, art, and activist that reveres the Earth as a lover and acknowledges her ecosystems as partners with significant and enduring rights.  We will focus on the practice of ecosexual weddings to ecosystems and forces of nature, as initiated by Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens in the seven-year project LoveArtLab.  We will explain the relatednes of ecosexuality and modern Tantra.  A don’t miss.  Room: LGBT Center at UC San Diego.  Hosted by Pasquale Verdicchio, with auspices by the Literature Department and the LGBT Center.  All details and directions on the FB event page.  From wherever you are, this is worth a trip to La Jolla, San Diego.  Join us!

 

Finally, after March 6th, time for a break comes.  Here it’s time for acknowledgements to all those who contribute to this calendar.  My hostess in Oakland, Spring Friedlander, with her

healthy, amorous, and inclusive community house.  My host in San Diego, Adam Paulman, whose inclusive amorous gifts are well recognized.  All the auspices and organizers, 

including my Deans, Manuel Valdez Pizzini and Felix Fernandez.  the administrative assistants at UPR Mayaguez who spent endless hours “comprobando” (=corroborating the evidence for) expenses and funds.  The teams of Te Amo Playa Azul, including film director Shaison Ouspeh, production coordinator Lloyd Sparks, emcee slash translator Maria Virginia Sanchez, liaisons with campus and organic farms Paola Pagan and Ricardo.  High priestess Heather Anne Trahan, who invoked the natural forces on the speaking of the vows.  All the “guests” and participants in the three workshops who were eager to be filmed as spontaneously as they came long.  And who embraced together the shared spouse.  All the inspiring minds in the 2012-13 Fellows group at UCHI, and its Director, Sharon Harris.  The students in Ecosexuality, including Adam Kocurek and Alexandra Mayer, and the WGSS Chair, Nancy Naples.  Please please please help spread word of upcoming events and invite your friends.  Thank you! 
If you want to catch up with me or invite me in and around the West Coast and the Bay Area, April is your chance.  My calendar is open.  Travel plans proceed with visits and rest in May, plus getting to team up more deeply in view of future plans.  Alessio, my oldest grandchild, turns 10 on May 15th.  He’s an amazing student.  Thanks Paola Coda for bringing him up.  And we plan to spend it together with family and friends in Rome.  Visits to Cap d’Agde, France, in late June, and guests from Portland, Oregon, at PostaHouse in early July.  For all these programs, there is a place set at our table, if you choose to join us.  We have extra rooms in the chalets and camping room in the garden.  space is limited so let us know in advance.


More announcements coming as projects evolve.  They have a life of their own, and I, the “inspiring force,” am only the conduit ever rushing to catch up with them.  So I hope you will forgive if this letter reads a bit rushed.  Oh well, I have a flight to catch.


Sending much love and all good wishes to all of you and your loved ones.  Thanks you for listening and opening up.  Stay tuned for more coming.  With all good wishes for a happy end of winter, spring, and summer.  Thank you!

Namaste,

SerenaGaia

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love 
Professor of Humanities, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

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UCHI, Feb 28, 4PM – Amorous Visions: The Gaze of Love for Love, or Erotophilia, in Cavani and Bertolucci

Dear Earthlings, 

The presentation of the year is coming up for me soon.   You’re invited.   I can’t wait to see you!
 

The Night Porter
What guides a director’s gaze into the web of memories shared by lovers whose circumstances were extreme?  Does the fear of love dissipate when an auteur looks whose sense of sexuality is fluid and style of love inclusive?  This presentation will discuss cinematic techniques of memory retrieval in two Holocaust-themed art films of the 1970s produced in Italy: Bernardo Bertolucci, in The Conformist (1970), and Liliana Cavani, in The Night Porter(1974).  Each presents a gendered perspective on what happens when a species acts against its own best interest–when it becomes self-destructive.  How can this behavior be exorcised?  Can love for love prevail over the pall of fear? These are, I claim, the main questions the films posit for 21st century viewers.


Amorous Visions:  The Gaze of Love for Love of Erotophilia.   
The Conformist
Presented by Serena Anderlini, PhD, and Research Fellow at U Conn’s Humanities Institute.
Where: UCHI, CLAS/Austin Building # 301.  215 Glenbrook Road, Unit 4234.  Storrs, CT 06269.
When: Thursday, February 28h, at 4:00-5:30 PM.
Free of charge and open to the public.
For more information call: 860 486 9057



Note: The presentation will be enhanced by numerous selected clips from the movies under discussion.

Bernardo Berolucci, director of The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, and many other films, including, recently, The Dreamers.  

Liliana Cavani, director of The Night Porter, Beyond Good and Evil, and The Berlin Affair, known collectively as The European Trilogy, and many other films. 

Note: The presentation will be followed by an open questions and answers period. 


About the Presenter:
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Ph.D, is a Professor of Humanities, Italian, and Cinema at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.  She is a current Research Fellow at UCHI.  A UCR graduate, she is the author and editor of numerous award-winning books, including Gaia (2009), Eros (2006), BiTopia(2011), Bisexuality and Queer Theory(2011), Plural Loves (2005), Women and Bisexuality (2003), and The ‘Weak’ Subject (1998).  She has charted new fields, including ecosexuality and the arts of loving sustainably and inclusively.  Her new work includes a study of sustainable practices of love and a collection of writings on ecosexuality.

Find out more about UCHI’s presentations, programs, and activities:  UCHI

As a comment: I feel an immense gratitude for this Fellowship research year.  My spirit feels rejuvenated and revitalized by the inspiration and creativity that it’s been immersed in.  It has been a wonderful gift to be in the company of fellow Fellows and their projects, and to have access to the abundant research resources of U Conn, Storrs.  Also, it’s lovely to be immersed in discourses across disciplines and a campus abundant with Centers and Institutes where these conversations flourish.  

This is the most important presentation in my Fellowship year.  It’s a public presentation designed to offer the pulse of where my project is at and where it’s headed to.  It’s been a pleasure to prepare it, with abundant technical assistance at the Institute.  And I hope it will be well received and inspire a generous amount of questions and genuine debate.

Thank you, U Conn.  Thank you, UCHI.
Photo by Mina Bast
Education is the heart of democracy, education to love.  
We offer a seminar this summer:  Ecosexuality: Becoming 
a Resource of Love. Join us in Portland, OR, July 17-21, 
for this amazing experience.  It’s still early-bird time for 
those interested.  Register now here!
Come back for more wonders. 


Namaste,
 

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire

Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

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“Amorous Visions”: Dreams Come True – Happy Earth-Day News for an Ecosexy 2012

Happy Earth Day!

 

Dear Earthlings:
It is with much joy that yours truly brings the good news.  
Ecosexuality is on the rise with tidings of sexual fluidity and amorous inclusiveness.  The noosphere massages Gaia with effervescence from the social media.  Will love prevail?  Violence  feeds on fear.  But schools of love do educate in courage and unity.  Our most compersive partner, planet earth, is moved and reciprocates with glee.
Research on how to practice love inclusively has received a major recognition.  The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute selected for funding a project by yours truly: “Amorous Visions: Fluid Sexual Moments in Italian Cinema.”  She will be one among several Fellows in residence at the Storrs campus for the 2012-13 academic year.  What a joy to be part of such effervescent, trailblazing group!  Not to speak of the gift of spinning the energies to the social fabric, the region, its diverse communities that practice love sustainably, fluidly, and inclusively.  Oh my!  A spell is broken.  It’s a dream come true.  Learn all about the project from the Press Release.
Anna and Giulia in The Conformist, 1970
Funding humanities research on “amorous inclusiveness” and “sexual fluidity” would have been unthinkable a few years ago.  The radiant aura these code words wrap around bi and poly styles of love offsets many taboos and prohibitions.  So academe finally realizes they’re not a sickness fit to study in medical school.  But rather, the mettle of what makes us human: imaginative, artistic, productive, generous, ingenious, beautiful.  What captured the imagination of major filmmakers in Italian cinema, and what yours truly promises to unravel in her Fellowship year.  It was persistence, team work, and faith in the vision.  Thanks to all who made it possible, and much, much love to you!
A special thanks to Imani Mamalution and her family who welcome yours truly in their raw food, tantric home for the period. We anticipate much joy, sharing, enthusiasm, and outreach to local communities.
BTQ, 2011
Also in line with fluidity is a literary recognition.  The volume Bisexuality and Queer Theory is a finalist with the Lambda Awards this year.  Bisexual nonfiction.  The first year the bi category existed yours truly was there with Eros, a book of personal history.  BTQ is a labor of love in a much wider sense: a collaborative effort of many contributors, including co-writer and editor Jonathan Alexander.  Yours truly is graced with the Ceremony and Gala on June 4 at CUNY, and a BiLines reading on June 3 Nuyorican Poets Cafe.  Join us in NYC as we celebrate the beauty of bisexuality.  Encourage loved ones and social circles to come!  Lammy tickets are for sale as we speak.  Bi Lines is $ 8 at the door.  All details in the Press Release.  Yours truly spends the whole month of June on a study residency in Brooklyn.
Oh yes, and as an added treat, a May 11th book reading for Lambda finalists in the New York area is planned for 7PM at the Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen St.  Good company and a favorite neighborhood full of old and new reminiscences.  How exciting for yours truly!  Come one, come all, and learn all about what’s new in LGBTQ literature.  Yours truly’s reading is at about 7:15-30.
Events, events are also coming up very quickly.  May 4-6 is the ISTA Conference in Sedona, named Phoenix Rising as a way to recognize the resurrection of Temple Arts from past incursions of Swat Teams.  Annie Sprinkle is keynoting and a panel will discuss the legal issues.  Why criminalize love?  What’s the gain of controlling people by fear?  Ecosexuality has answers, and yours truly will teach a class on the theme: “Ecosexuality: The New Orgasmic Revolution on Planet Earth.”  Yes!  Life can be orgasmic when we connect with the metabolism of our source, Gaia, the most compersive lover there is.  Death? A “smooth landing” that recycles us to another state of being, a pause in the grand scheme of things.  Join us in Sedona.  A gathering of inspiring artists of love and ecosexual beings.
Allen McPhee Teaching Tantra
May 13 is the “Tantra Goddess Empowerment Workshop” in Western Puerto Rico with Allen McPhee.  A pure joy of this season is bringing an expert tantra teacher and metaphysician to Playa Azul.  In this Introduction to Tantra, Women of all tongues and colors will be empowered to discover the goddess within.  We will translate, practice, and complete the evening with raw foods.  Se habla espanol y el en dia de las madres considera lleval tu mama tambien!  A unique opportunity Allen offers at no charge to activate our region.  Join us in Playa Azul!  All details in the Description.

“Saving the Earth is Sexy,” and the Ecosex Symposium III in Portland Oregon, has invited some fabulous speakers, including Deborah Anapol, Christopher Ryan, and yours truly.  It is planned for June 29-July 1st.  Let’s build the funding base for this event to come true.

What other ecosexual tidings does love bring?  The biosphere teems with life and radiates energy to the noosphere.  Cyberspace opens up to host the creative effervescence of our era.  Horizontal, participatory, collaborative: it occupies planetary consciousness with new styles of fame, interactive, intimate, inclusive.  On Facebook and other social media, attraction brings together cyber communities that land on Gaia and adopt a piece.  IT workers have laid the terrain in the past thirty years.  Now new life comes to the third planet from the mind-field created by this interactivity.  Yours truly feels blessed to share about Ecosex Sexecology and Sustainable Love, an inspiring group whose extensive, open-heart conversations are especially nurturing.  Join us!  It will be a pleasure to converse with you!
Posta: A Collage
Updates come in this wake too.  For those interested in the PostaHouse project, we have news.  John Overton is a thoughtful resident-in-charge with resilience and enthusiasm.  He is bringing his care to the place, exploring potentials and getting to know people and region.  We are focusing on the intentional community.  No events are planned for 2012.  PostaHouse is open for residencies.  All ecosexuals and others interested are encouraged to join John for the upcoming summer period.  Read the blog news and “like” the Facebook Community.  Email postahouseitalia@gmail.com with your timeline and ideas.  We will respond promptly.  We hope to be open as holistic vacation center in the summer of 2013.
Another update is about Playa Azul, the enchanted beach where yours truly is blessed to live.  It’s a Gateway to Gaia, a place of retreat where this compersive lover kisses you when the moon wake caresses the beach.  Completely furnished and equipped, a three and one half hour flight from NYC.  The apartment is available August through June.  You can rent it on AirBnb.  Pictures and info on the listing.  Make an offer soon. 
Dr Lynn Margulis in her Laboratory
As a way to complete, yours truly wishes to remember those who’ve accompanied us for a stretch of the journey and are back in Gaia’s womb.  The loss of a dear one is always a reminder of one’s own mortality, of the passage, the journey, the precarious gift from nature that life is.  Many are remembered this year: from Rome, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, Massachusetts. Lynn, scientist extraordinaire, is one of them.   We mourn the violence of this.  We miss the loved ones and invite their energies to reside within us as the cycle of life absorbs them into another form of being.  We vibrate with the loss and grief of others and salute the divine in them with a namaste.

 

Yours Truly wishes you a wonderful summer.  The best things in life are free.  You are loved.  Violence can poison, torture, maim, humiliate, divide, kill.  The challenge is to hold ourselves to a high inner discipline. Occupy the Eheart with courage.  Hold the space of love within.  Your most compersive partner Gaia is always with you.  Enjoy every moment and imagine a life enchanted with Earth as your lover.  
 
At 3WayKiss we love you! 
Your questions and comments are a gift to us.  Please do not hesitate to ask.

Namaste,  

Serena 

 
SerenaSF2011Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Pioneer of Ecosexuality
Founder of 3WayKiss and PostaHouse 
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Author of Gaia (2009), Eros (2006), and  

Award Winner with Nautilus and Finalist with Lambda

Editor of BiTopia (2011), Bisexualtity and Queer Theory (2012), Plural Loves (2005), Women and Bisexuality (2003) 


Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
 

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Press Release: Senior UPRM Faculty Awarded Humanities Fellowship at U Conn, 2012-13

Press Release: Senior UPRM Faculty Awarded Humanities Fellowship at U Conn, 2012-13
Contact: Serena Anderlini, 787 538 1680

Dear Office of the Press:

It is a pleasure to release the news that the University of Connecticut notified me this week of the offer of a research award of major significance in the humanities, a one-year Fellowship at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, UCHI.  The Institute is one of the few of its kind in the US system, with fellowship awards comparable to the National Humanities Center in North Carolina and the Guggenheim Foundation in New York City. 

Here is the project’s basic information: 

Title: Amorous Visions: Fluid Sexual Moments in Italian Cinema
Anna and Giulia in The Conformist, 1970
Summary: This study articulates a new interpretation of pivotal scenes in selected classics of Italian cinema based on the cultural constructs of “amorous inclusiveness” and “sexual fluidity” elaborated in recent cultural analyses of human sexual, erotic, and amorous behavior (Ryan and Jetha 2010, Diamond 2009). These classics include Pasolini’s Teorema (1968), where a mysterious guest awakens the erotic libido of all members in a nuclear family, and Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970), where a charming hostess similarly awakens both members of a newlywed couple. Based on these new interpretive paradigms, these scenes acquire a new meaning that discloses the bisexual and polyamorous content therein. This enables more positive and complete understandings of the films as projects that artistically express love for love, or erotophilia. As an experienced scholar who charted new research fields that study love as the art of crossing beyond sexual divides and exclusivity (BiTopia, 2011), I am uniquely prepared to articulate these interpretations.

I am a senior faculty in the Department of Humanities with many research achievements to my credit, including books that have received prizes and charted new fields of knowledge.  I recognize UPRM as an institution where the originality of my research has been honored and nurtured.  This external funding award is a deserved reward for the many years of internal funding from which my works have benefited. 


I imagine you’d like to publicize the happy news in a online piece.  That would be wonderful!  I’d be happy to send more information and am available to interview.  Please feel free to contact me.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Please let me know if I can answer any questions. 
Namaste,

Namaste,
 

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
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Connecting More Dots: Shutter Island and The Shock Doctrine

A while after the conversations of ‘What’s in a Name?’ G and I resume our calls.  We talk about movies.  ‘T is the season, after all.
“Teaching film helps,” G says as soon as we connect.
“Why is that?” I ask.
“Well, when you go to the movies, you activate a little mechanism in your brain and it helps you to connect the dots . . .”
“Dots? What dots?”
“Dots between movies and books you’ve read, for example.”
“As in?”
“As in, Shutter Island and The Shock Doctrine, for example.”
Shutter Island, Marin Scorsese’s latest, and Naomi Klein’s book about the Chicago School and it break-the-economy-and-control-the-people-politics?”
“Uhu.”
“Tell me more . . . “
“Let me tell you the whole story then.”
“Ok.”
“So yesterday we were bound to see Crazy Heart in San Juan, and the Fine Arts Theater, when we find out that the program has changed and we need to adjust our plans.”
“Who was your company?”
“Melvin, the leader of my Area Oeste LGBT friends group here, a sophisticated speaker, a discussant, a great facilitator.  I’m so happy to have his company, you know, it’s ok to go to the movies by oneself, but the company of a sensitive person makes puts the experience on a completely different level.”
“Sure.”
“So of course we watch the whole film then we try to figure out if Teddy/Lewaddis is really honest and sane or really insane and a criminal.”
“Yes . . . “
“It’s a story about an asylum on this island off of Massachusetts where apparently some human experiments were going on in the 1950s, on human brains: how to treat them with electroshock therapy and lobotomy, how to persuade sane people that they are not only insane, but also criminals with a shady history of murders whose memory they are trying to push away.  The idea is that these therapies will persuade the patients not only to adopt the life stories and identities that psychiatrists are fabricating for them, but also that they will go along and help those in charge to play the game.”

                                           (Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley in Shutter Island)

“OMG! And is this based on fact?  Is the film some kind of documentary?  Did anything like this really happen?”
“Well, the film is based on a novel, which of course is likely to be a fictionalization of some historical event or combination of events reconfigured in some recombined way.  The time when lobotomies were a common clinical practice is appropriate. Same goes for electroshock therapy.”
“How do you know?”
“Well, I read about Tennessee Williams, the famous American playwright of the mid Twentieth Century, who was also gay–closeted at the time of course.  His sister was lobotomized because as kids she and her brother were playing some innocent games that were at the time considered completely out of bounds.  The family became worried about her.  Lobotomy was recommended for women whose sexuality was unruly.”
“Oh, and how did she respond?”
“I don’t really know a lot of specifics, but she became a zombie like most people whose pre-frontal cortex has been removed.  That, as we know now, is not a superfluous part of the brain.  It’s the seat of creative intelligence, of the imagination, of desire, of ideas, of what makes you capable to think the world in a different way.”
“Of genius, you mean . . .”
“Yeah, that’s one way to put it.”
“And another way?”
“Another way is in what my bi and poly friends typically will say: That one’s biggest sexual organ is between one’s ears, not one’s legs.”
“If you lobotomize the imagination, then the desire for pleasure goes away,” I comment.
“Exactly!”
“Must have been terrible for her.”
“And for him as well, he always felt guilty that his creative intelligence was still alive while hers had been so cruelly excised.  Many of his nostalgic, tender female characters are based on her.”
“Like Blanche Dubois, in Streetcar Named Desire?”I ask.
“Like Blanche Dubois.”
“So then, going back to Shutter Island, what was the point of practicing lobotomy there?” I continue with my questions.
“The film presents this as part of a model asylum for the rehabilitation of criminals who are mental patients, and are treated humanely.  The place is actually a penitentiary, but it doesn’t look like one: It looks more like a manor in the midst of manicured gardens, until you look more closely and find out that food, smokes, water are all drugged with sedatives that make the patients practically incapable to think for themselves.  And then you also find out that the people there are not really criminals, but rather victims of this human experiment in which a team of psychiatrists is trying to figure out how to control human brains.”
“Inventing mental illnesses they don’t have, as causes of crimes they never committed?” I comment.
“Yes.”
“Sounds a bit like Nazi Germany, or Stalin’s USSR, for that matter.”
“Sure, and indeed the Leonardo di Caprio character is an American who fought in World War II, killed at Dachau, and is horrified at the idea that Nazi methods might have migrated to the US.  He is incensed by some uncertainty he has abut a fire that burned his home and killed his wife.  He is a US Marshall, and gets to be assigned to the job of investigating the disappearance of a patient to figure out what’s going on.”
“This happens of course when J. Edgar Hoover is head of the CIA, the famous McCarthyite who was a closet gay and instigated the activities of the House of Un-American Activities back then,” I add.
“Yes, and Hoover gets mentioned once in the movie,” G confirms.
“So what’s the connection with The Shock Doctrine?”
“Well, you know that Klein claims that the whole idea of engineering a crisis in order to break people’s resistance and then take control started in the medical profession.  In other words, it was psychiatrists who used electroshock and lobotomy that first experimented with these forms of shock therapy to reduce people to patients–and patients to blank slates whose personalities, minds, and memories were now empty and could be filled with whatever content the dominant ideology wanted to implant,” G explains, in her typical professorial tone.
“And how does she claim that the practice transfers from psychiatry to the economy?” I ask, a bit shyly.
“Well, the political powers make some shady allies and, say, create an atmosphere of panic where everyone is afraid that a terrorist cell is conspiring next door.  This makes every one feel fearful and out of control.  It crushes the economy because no one wants to invest any more.  Then a new political class takes over and establishes a regime of total control.”
“Like what happened in Chile with Pinochet?” I ask?
“Yeah, you got it.  And many other cases. Klein examines the wave of interventions by so-called ‘Chicago boys,’ economists from the school of Milton Friedman, who precisely promoted the ideology that public assets are a nuisance to be sold away, and privatization will resolve all financial problems. These interventions happened in South America, then the wave moved to East Asia, then to Russia and Eastern Europe, then eventually, with Bush II, to the United States.”
“But the character in Shutter Island thinks what happens in the asylum is part of a Nazi plot.”
“Well, not exactly: He is aware of how some ideas migrated, as the people who held them managed to smuggle themselves over to the US shores when the Nazi house of cards fell to the floor.”
“You mean that after World War II some Nazi ideology made it into the US?”
“Some ideologues made it, and their ideas came with them.”
“Did your friend Melvin know about lobotomies?” I asked, curious.
“Surprisingly, he didn’t know too much about them.  We talked about it, and I explained about the pre-frontal cortex, the fact that a lobotomized person initially seems to be ok, just a little more tranquil and sedated then before.  Then one realizes that this person has lost the capability to learn new things, ideas, actions, because s/he has lost the power of the imagination, s/he cannot put things together in any new way, s/he can only repeat mechanically things that s/he has done before.”
“OMG! And how come the pre-frontal cortex is so important?” I keep pressing on with my questions.
“That’s what I learn from Up From Dragons, Dorion Sagan’s co-authored study of human intelligence.  In the evolution of the brain, across species, the pre-frontal cortex is the last section that evolved.  Reptilian brains don’t have it.  They’re reactive brains.  They respond, but do not invent.  Also, in any human person, the pre-frontal cortex is the last one to become completely formed, with the process ending at about 25 years old.”
“Got it.  And, had your friend heard about other lobotomies?”
“I don’t think so.  I did tell him about Rose Kennedy, the sister of the three beautiful brothers who died for the ideals of American politics. She had been lobotomized as well.  The family was a bit shy and shameful about it.  Of course, when this happened, nobody really knew the consequences.  They were victims of human experiments, those patients.”
“How terrible!”
“I agree.  Do you see now the connection?”
“Yes, of course.  Scorsese is trying to send a message.  Perhaps he has read Naomi Klein.”
“Perhaps, yet Klein is a lot more adamant than Scorsese ever will be.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, at the end of the story, one finds out that the hero, Edward, really could be Lewaddis, the criminal he is trying to connect with, to ask questions from, the guy who set fire to his house and killed his wife after she had drowned the three children they had.”
“How is that?”
“Well, there are all these nightmares, these memories that parse the film, memories of Dachau, of fires, of family, of children crying for help.”
“Memories?”
“Yes, it’s the Leonardo di Caprio character, he has these nightmares. And in the end, when the new criminal/insane personality has been implanted into his brain by the psychiatrist team, it all jells up together that he is actually the criminal he is seeking–a bit like in Oedipus.”
“Oh, the Oedipal syndrome, uh?”
“Yes, of course, we live in an Oedipal world where parents own their children and the nuclear family is the norm.  We still don’t know very well how to expand family beyond kinship and biology, do we?” G asks, facetious.
“Some of us try.”
“Yes, queer families, poly families–but they’re the exception.”
“Sure.  Still the exception, unfortunately.  How was the acting, the direction, BTW.  Did you guys enjoy?”
“A Scorsese film is always enjoyable.  Those stylish frames, wide stroke backgrounds, mysterious settings, ominous clouds, ferocious storms, cliffs that require acrobatic performances.  Swagger male characters who walk the fine line between hero and outlaw, cops who turn out allies of criminal gangs.  It’s staple.  And all done with Italian bravado and elegance impervious to the situation.  It’s impressive.  Suspense that works: it’s not sensation per se, it’s the right measure of sensation to achieve the desired effect.”  
“And what exactly would that effect be?” I interrupt the rhapsodic tone: The Italian stuff always gets G carried away.
“Well, what about instilling the shadow of a doubt that conspiracy is really possible? That it’s not just a theory stored in minds of those with psychological problems.”
“You mean of those profiled that way.”
“Yes. With Scorsese you get the message that laboratories for human experiments to control our minds could be just next door.”
“That’s the film’s political effect, you mean?”
“Yes, the visual version of Naomi Klein’s theory.”
“Visual, uh?”
“Yes, I have become more and more impressed with cinema’s ability to convey ideas in images on a large scale.  As I taught cinema over the years, I have become aware of how, for the new generations, cinema  holds the promise of visual effects that mark the collective consciousness of a culture as objective correlatives of the emotions people have difficulty expressing in other ways.”
“A bit like Michael Moore’s documentaries?”
“Exactly.”
“What about the acting?  How was it?” I asked, to change the subject.
“I hadn’t seen Leonardo di Caprio since Titanic.  Had heard bad things about his subsequent movies–lack of environmental respect in the shooting process.  I liked him at the time, though.  He did embody that rugged instinct, that trust in one’s good luck I tend to admire in people.  He has matured a lot.  Makes me think of how fast time goes by for us all.”
“Yes, as Ronsard puts it,” I interject,
“‘le temps s’en va, le temps s’en va, madame.’ (time passes, away, time passes away, my lady)
le temps non, mais nous nous en allons, et bientot seront sous la lame.’ (time doesn’t, but we pass away and soon will be under the stone)
How about his looks?”

“Oh, those are much better.  He is not what I’d call a beauty.  Not enough sensual for that, to my taste.  A tad too intense.  But his looks have improved because now he knows what to do with what nature gave him much better than before.”
“So, it was a nice evening after all.”
“It was great.  We spent time discussing the movie, figuring out the plot, the various hypotheses for interpretation, put our brains together to figure out what we saw.”
“Did you miss Crazy Heart?”
“I did. A bit.  I explained my friend why I wanted to see it and we agreed to stay tuned.  Talked about our emotions, what’s happening in our lives and what feelings are dominating. I always find movies good for that. We made plans for more movie days next weekend.”
“Until that time then,” I said as we prepared to end the call.
Arrivederci.”
Arrivederci, my Italian friend, arrivederci.”

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Shutter Island and The Shock Doctrine: Connecting the Dots

I saw Shutter Island yesterday with a friend, and at the end we were sorting out the various parts of the plot to make sure that both versions were equally plausible, as in good Scorsese fashion, where by tradition fiction and reality, subconscious and performance inevitably blur.  The two stories being that Edward is either really the US Marshall with the mission to investigate the criminal asylum where Lewaddis, the man who set his house and wife on fire is held, or that he is a fool in denial of the fact that Lewaddis and himself are actually the same person.
As I saw the film I kept thinking of Naomi Klein’s political theory book, The Shock Doctrine, which claims that the project of wrecking an economy as motive to activate a politics of privatization and wholesale of public assets, is actually a practice that started in psychiatric hospitals, when electroshock and lobotomies were common medical practices in mental hospitals.  The famous ‘Chicago Boys,’ the Milton Freedman acolytes who engineered the various economic crises in question in the subsequent decades, learned their trade from psychiatry.  They succeeded, according to Klein, in generating the kind of panic and terror that broke people resistance and gave political advocates of privatization a blank slate.
It is interesting to me that a director like Scorsese would pick up Klein’s message in some roundabout way and create the concrete images that bring the message home for the next generation, which visually oriented and whose collective consciousness responds to cinema that way.
My friend and I enjoyed the movie even though we realize that the ambivalence of the plot might baffle some spectators.  To us, that ambivalence is a bonus not just because it is the hallmark of Scorsese, but rather because it reflects the confusion present in reality itself, the fact that if human experiments intended to control your brain are happening next door, it could very well be that will never, for sure, know. 
Leonardo di Caprio, whom I hadn’t seen since Titanic (I miss a lot of movies), was in the part, I felt, his rugged charm improved with maturity.
I am a writer and an activist and a professor, and I blog about movies and other topics at
http://polyplanet.blogspot.com
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