Subcultures Subverted

BY ANDREW LIN On artistic subcultures versus a catchy T-Swift single. First come the bass tones, heavy and minimalistic, the not-quite-identifiable apex of a musical progression stretching back through to Bach and Gibbons and a whole host of other dead names. Then come the opening lyrics, a barrage of monotone words that rapidly morph into a steady portrait of crazy infatuation slipping deeper and deeper. The chorus then progresses forth, calling forth a mock-grandeur grounded by resounding bass chords and the rolling elegy of the vocals and lyrics. And then more lyrics, sung in the same tune but this time …






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Thanksgiving will be Televised

BY ANDREW LIN An exploration of the portrayal of Thanksgiving in popular culture and art. Within the confines of the great and storied calendar of holidays that make up the American recreational canon, Thanksgiving occupies a unique place. Though certainly not of the same obscure ilk of federally legislated and popularly neglected holidays such as President’s Day and Columbus Day, Thanksgiving nonetheless occupies a somewhat less rarefied place in the American consciousness. Certainly in feasting and consumerist consumption Thanksgiving is not bested; whilst the dueling Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham (or the reverse) may hold each other at bay, Thanksgiving’s …






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Rambling Ruins

BY ANDREW LIN An exploration of the architecture of Nazi Germany. Through moldering archways and crumbling columns wind grim and mossy paths, streaking their way past ancient Corinthian capitals and decayed statues and all the detritus of the ancient world. This is the ruin archetypical, the classic picture of the remnants of the classical world, assembled for future generations to stare at and journey through, overawed at the grandeur of the empires that once were. Aesthetic comment aside, however, the architects and engineers of both past and present do not design their buildings with this ideal directly in mind: indeed, …






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Rambling Ruins

An exploration of the architecture of Nazi Germany. Through moldering archways and crumbling columns wind grim and mossy paths, streaking their way past ancient Corinthian capitals and decayed statues and all the detritus of the ancient world. This is the ruin archetypical, the classic picture of the remnants of the classical world, assembled for future generations to stare at and journey through, overawed at the grandeur of the empires that once were. Aesthetic comment aside, however, the architects and engineers of both past and present do not design their buildings with this ideal directly in mind: indeed, ruins for them …






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A Decade of Downfall

BY ANDREW LIN A look at Western decline in the 1970s and its artistic portrayal. The usual artistic language of downfall and ruin is an almost archetypal form: fire and brimstone rain down upon the sinful and overindulgent people, their cities and economies and lives dashed to ruin by vengeful gods or plagues and whatnot. Examples of such an idea are as numerous as they are repetitive, from the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah to the historical Roman Empire to the science-fictional Galactic Empire of Star Wars fame. Outstanding among these many gathered exemplars of collapse, however, is a single decade …






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Campuses Past

BY ANDREW LIN A brief recitation of the history and development of the American college campus. With the conclusion of another summer, scores of fresh-faced new freshmen and grizzled veteran upperclassmen are now streaming through the variegated buildings, green spaces, and common areas of Harvard’s various educational domains. The basic portrait of these spaces, as conceived by students and the public alike, is one that seems almost archetypal: ivy-bedecked brick-and-marble Colonial and neo-Classical shrines to learning, with the occasional Richardsonian gem or concrete modernist edifice thrown into the mix. Amidst the hustle and bustle of choosing courses and extracurriculars (COMP …






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Scenes of Science

BY ANDREW LIN Perceptions of research and its societal impact in science fiction. Flasks bubble, mixtures trouble, and explosions tumble forth as the scientist strides into his lair, that most reclusive of worlds known only as the research laboratory. Its location — a secret cavernous lair, an abandoned ruin, the basement of a seedy Victorian brownstone — is as varied as it is unknown, for the scientist works alone, with perhaps only a hunchbacked assistant or one of his own creations as hired (or enslaved) help. And from here his inventions stream forth: machines for turning back the years, reanimating …






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The Sci-fi Mind Undone

BY ANDREW LIN A look into the world of mental wellness and science fiction. Into the padded cell the patient goes, probably wrapped in a straitjacket and gagged for good measure before being carted around to psychologists, wardens, and therapists inside a huge prison of an asylum, itself most likely done up in miserable and dour colonial red brick or grey concrete. The action soon moves from the stereotypical asylum to another prison — the victim’s hapless and malfunctioning mind, a jail cell in miniature populated by anthropomorphic representations of split personalities and devilish antagonists, cartoon representations of the havoc …






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Ecumenopoli 101

BY ANDREW LIN An exploration of sci-fi planet-spanning behemoth cities and their artistic relation to us. The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to a thriving population of 106,000[2] or so Cantabrigians and our own fair Harvard College, currently stands as a teeming suburb more or less integrated into the fabric of Boston proper. Cambridge, however, was not always a paradise resplendent in its indoor plumbing and Pinocchio’s and the bright neon signage of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Indeed, there once were men and women who, after months of sailing, arrived on the virgin shores of the Charles to build houses …






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