Author: pattin1

MEC screens minimalist experimental music film

On Thursday April 6, Music Entertainment Committee (MEC) presented a whole new indie music experience through its screening of the well-renowned 1982 indie film “Koyaanisqatsi.” An American experimental film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music composed by Philip Glass, “Koyaanisqatsi” eventually became the first of the Qatsi Trilogy movie series. The second movie, “Powaqqatsi (Life in Transformation)” was released in 1988, while the third and last movie, “Naqoyqatsi (Life in War)” came out in 2002.

The word “Koyaanisqatsi” itself comes from the Hopi language, which is spoken by the Hopi tribe that mainly resides in northeastern Arizona. In the language, “Koyaanisqatsi” translates to “life out of balance.” As with the other movies in the Qatsi Trilogy, the movie depicted the various factors that sustained or developed the relationship between humans, technology and nature. Now considered as a cult film, “Koyaanisqatsi” focuses on the collision between urban life and the natural environment.

The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse footage of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. It contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration; tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and music. Reggio explained the lack of dialogue in the movie, stating that, “It’s not for lack of love of the language that these films have no words. It’s because, from my point of view, our language is in a state of vast humiliation. It no longer describes the world in which we live.”

However, it is the soundtrack and use of music that inspired the film’s cult following. Glass’ work in the movie eventually became a highly renowned example of minimalist music, which is characterized by protracted repetition of figures, obsessive structural rigor and often a pulsing, hypnotic effect.

Glass became one of the first composers to employ minimalism in film scoring, thus paving the way for future minimalist composers. MEC hoped that through this showing, Oles get to experience music in a completely new way.

pattin1@stolaf.edu

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Messenger article demonstrates deep campus divides

A few weeks ago the Manitou Messenger published a front page article on how the 2016 presidential election has caused St. Olaf’s campus to become a hostile environment for many conservative students, particularly for those who voted for Trump. In the following weeks national news outlets picked up the story, and over spring break, vice president of the St. Olaf College Republicans Kathryn Hinderaker ’19 went on Fox News to elaborate on her experiences at St. Olaf as a conservative.

The campus’ political atmosphere wasdivided between those who criticized Hinderaker’s actions as reflective of the privilege and entitlement of some students, and those who praised her for speaking out on behalf of those whose opinions have been underrepresented at this college. I can’t deny the hostility that has been directed towards conservative students, nor can I say that this should be overlooked. Nevertheless, two points must be taken into consideration.

The first is that President David Anderson ’74 sent out a message emphasizing tolerance to the student body directly after Hinderaker’s appearance on Fox News. This action on administration’s behalf reveals an inconsistency with respect to the college’s choices regarding what campus controversies they choose to address. In light of the fact that there have been multiple anonymous hate crimes directed toward students of color and other orientations on this campus, it seems strange that the administration hasn’t faced these events head on as they did with Hinderaker’s statement.

This is distinct from my aforementioned criticism of privilege and entitlement, since the administration’s response demonstrates that there is an existing shortcoming in the way that the divided student body is being addressed.

What is more important, however, is the way that Hinderaker’s action will only serve to further divide the student body’s beliefs, which had already been cemented with the debate following the article written by Griffin Edwards ’17 regarding Angela Davis as the Political Awareness Committee spring speaker. As soon as the article was published, there were two different responses. Some students chose to write articles for the Messenger in response, engaging in civilized and logical debate on the issue. Other students chose to focus on Edwards as a person, and suggested that his article reflected a Neo-Nazi ideology. This second type of response seems to be based on a quote that was taken out of context or entirely misunderstood.

I cannot say with absolute certainty whether it was a coincidence that “Under the Radar” was picked up by national news outlets, or whether it reflects an ongoing “culture war” that has been bubbling on campus since the election. The fact that Hinderaker decided to go on Fox News and elaborate on the article further makes me concerned that the ideological gap on campus will continue to grow. The divisions that we may hope to mend will eventually be made final.

I do admit that these events have become a catalyst for discourse and debate on campus on a variety of topics, from free speech on campus to what privilege and entitlement mean. However, I am not certain that this is the most important issue we could be focusing on when there are other issues outside of the St. Olaf microcosm that demand both our attention and our immediate action. To talk is easy, but to act is difficult. This statement has become a cliché in our daily lives. But up until now, all I have been seeing is no more than mere shouting matches that have born few fruits. All they have done is dismantle the flimsy notion of community that many students advocate for, and instead they reinforced the idea that our campus is a microcosm. Each of us decided to live in a particular environment where we surround ourselves with peers and activities of our own liking, which in turn reinforces our own particular notions and beliefs.

As someone who will graduate this semester, I deeply hope that this will not remain the norm in the months following my departure. I hope the new student leadership will bring about the change they have campaigned for. Until then, the best that I, and the rest of us can do, is to stop arguing, roll up our sleeves and do our part in the days ahead.

Sam Pattinasarane ’17 (pattin1@stolaf.edu) is from Jakarta, Indonesia. He majors in Asian studies and political science.

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President Anderson features food on Instagram account

For those of you who are well-acquainted with the St. Olaf website, you know that there is a section dedicated to our college president David Anderson ’74 and things he wants to share with the community, such as book and restaurant recommendations. What you might not know, however, is that Anderson has also been engaging in social media, most prominently with his Instagram account, davids_plate, which documents his culinary adventures.

An afficionado of fine cuisine, Anderson’s constant encounter with food – either at home or when traveling – turned into a habit of taking pictures of meals that he ate or cooked and sending them to his family members.

The habit culminated two years ago during a family vacation in Maine when his son said to him, “If you’re going to take all these pictures of food, you should start an Instagram account.”

Anderson remarked that because he is a college president, he must take extra care not to post potentially problematic content on social media.

“Food’s never a problem. And so that’s the rule, it all has to be pictures of food. Hence the name davids_plate as well,” Anderson said.

Aside from food pictures, Anderson also posts pictures of his mise en place during his cooking. Mise en place is a French culinary term that describes the setting of ingredients that a cook usually lays out before their cooking process begins.

However, Anderson does not post every morsel of food that he encounters to Instagram, noting that he only does so whenever he makes or sees food that is worthy of a post.

This measurement also connects itself to his standard of what a good dining experience ought to be.

“It doesn’t count as a meal unless you eat it sitting down, on a plate, with cutlery and a napkin. Aside from that, it’s just snacking,” Anderson said.

In addition, three main items must be encountered on one’s plate to consider your meal a fine dine: meat, starch and vegetables.

Overall, however, Anderson’s goal with davids_plate is for people to really notice their food, take pleasure in it and be happy with its variety.

“You shouldn’t just simply sit down and gobble your food up,” Anderson said.

For those with further interest, davids_plate is frequently updated and may become your new culinary inspiration.

pattin1@stolaf.edu

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Oles win nine straight, claim first round bye

St. Olaf Sentiments: March 3, 2017

As graduation comes closer and closer, the one question that I have been constantly asking myself is whether this Hill serves to represent what living in a community actually looks like. For someone like me, who has experienced life on this Hill either through the eyes of a foreigner, or as a melancholy and, at times, depressed person, it has not been easy to provide my own life as a claim that could support the argument of St. Olaf as an actual community, or even a working one for that matter.

Almost three years have gone by, and yet, as I constantly scanned the multitudes of faces that passed me – or in some cases, greeted me – in the P.O. boxes of the Crossroads, or at the tables of the Caf, or through the treadmills of Skoglund, I still could not find the sort of “community” that Oles have been talking about constantly to prospies whenever they have the opportunity. Instead, I see Oles living within their own respective worlds that they have created and structured in minute detail, so that few can come in – and those who do come in might find it difficult, if not painful, to get out. I am sure this sort of babbling is something that people in this college have heard from time to time. And yet, it seems that the feelings that make one welcomed in this community do not grow as the years go by for me. On the contrary, they dwindle as people begin to fully realize how this “community” actually works, and what rules one has to adhere to in order to make the four years of college worthwhile.

Of course there are those who beg to differ. Having felt so much love and support all around, these people might argue to me that I should have put in a bit more effort to seek out the people around me and shape the community as I see fit, so that I wouldn’t have placed myself in a melancholy, or even depressed position over the past years. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I admit that there is a sense of truth within that argument, and that I could have done more on my part. Nevertheless, if this school is as inclusive and welcoming as the brochures and tour guides have told me, then why should I be looking for people to love and support in the first place?

Alas, as an Indonesian proverb puts it, “the rice has become the porridge.” What has happened has happened. I have neither the privilege nor the luxury to turn back to my first day on the Hill and let my former self know what constitutes a “community” at St. Olaf. Despite everything, however, I began to make peace with the reality that the community that Oles are advertising is not the sort of community that I, and perhaps many others on this Hill, are seeking. If I could have that luxury of speaking to my former self as he first stepped his foot in Buntrock Commons, however, I would tell him that this place is not a community, but a microcosm, and paraphrasing Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, I would leave him with this last saying:

“This college: it is like the world in miniature. It is like the … microcosm. Just as in the outside world. Hopes, dreams, fears, secrets. This place: so full of the promise of youth. And yet, how lonely and silent are its corridors at night. Lonely and silent as the chambers of the heart. The daily struggle of human life, as fascinating as the bloodstain or the fingerprint.”

pattin1@stolaf.edu

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