Alien Outpost.

Alien Outpost.

Found footage this film is not, a sigh of relief was breathed when aliens turned up on camera as the Blair Witch Project has left a terrible template which was stamped most expensively upon the un-pleasantry that was Cloverfield. Within this cinematic universe, a pseudo-historical perspective grounds the movie, similar to Edge of Tomorrow (EoT) but through a team of war reporters eyes as opposed to an intangible watcher in EoT. The pivot of pseudo-history in EoT however, are rather more critical to the progress of history than those ‘documented’ in Alien Outpost. Some writer or similar, put real thought into what a war-reporter documenting a failed alien invasion would get earn a Pullitzer Prize for, held back the delusions of grandeur which co-permeate EoT with the ever-present inferiority complex, and crafted an enjoyable 90 minutes.

Characters within the film are somewhat tacky as the director is intent on delivering an imaginary, army camaraderie to citizens to cowardly to enlist, but did  well enough to make me chuckle. Although the film seeks to deliver a package similar to Apocalypse Now or perhaps Jarhead, the tension does not escalate as it does in the former, nor does it deliver the hunger for combat found in the latter. Violence & madness are intricately linked, as in Apocalypse Now so to here, is the ultimate objective enabled by a soldier who mentally embraces the ‘alien’ perspective. Not that all the combat comes from the aliens, but the authenticity of the local militia is null as well as the grenade throwing strategy of those stationed at Outpost  37. What moronic local villain raids a heavily fortified military outpost the day after it is reinforced?

It is tempting to chase a consistent metaphor throughout the film, one about the War on Terror. A disgusting waste of money, which does not deliver any value system (other than an angry Zeus-type fear), and is still less horrific than most historic wars. So one asks oneself, when the USDF (United Space Defence Force, haha ah ha ha ahhh) soldiers are made to kill themself, by the same method by which a goat-herder’s child becomes explosive, is it not delivering  a powerful sermon about the War on Terror? That we are all human, our minds unreachable directly can house ideas of violent madness? That the biggest victim of suicide bombers is their parents? No, no it isn’t, it is quite clear, once someone has a bad idea there can be no forgiveness. Local militia make up a lot of fodder through out the film, but captured USDF (ha ha, ahh #sigh) soldiers become traitors and are exterminated like rats on board the Hindenburg. If it is a sermon, it is an old-time sermon full of rage and a void of tolerance. No tolerance for torture in the film, captured aliens (despite having plot-furthering potential) are killed swiftly.For the finale, the resupplying of alien weaponry reduces the idiocy of EoT where a single man on a single day saves the entire planet. It is instead a critical moment in a long struggle, which carries on after the credits.

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On Objective Beauty.

Art is a game where forms & functions, trends & travesties are methods of competition. Perhaps an aspiring artist will implicitly pay obeisance to fractal patterns in their work, or could instead choose to incorporate some Islamic feature and by so doing stir the coals of a fiery debate. The contemporary state of the art of the art game is in flux, although constants, such as fine motor skill, emerge if one pursues one’s own investigation. Historically certain artistic objectives have been favoured, such as expression of religious sentiment, but in modern times the glut of ‘art’ has saturated the domain in question. New art tends to take two forms, refining of tradition or rejection of established traditions. The latter, although nominally seeking the objective parameters of art & beauty,  has reached it’s penultimate conclusion in various modern art, which is vulgar expressionism without an inherent message.

As for the possibility of objective art, of a beauty beyond personal tastes, it should be found in threads common between artworks. However the validation that such ‘threads’ are indeed objective, could only be found by a broad survey, which is beyond the scope of this blog post. Nevertheless I believe children hold the key to identifying objective aspects of art. This is because value can be instilled by speech, and so what is valued prior to any speech is closer to an inherent trait of the object. If one accepts a certain art aficionado as an authority on art & beauty, one will heed the words and embrace an old urinal as art. Now a youth, without prior exposure to such an aficionado, will be judge the value of the art object more clearly than one who has criteria. An objective beauty is beautiful independent of personality or agenda, the latter of which the aficionado supplies.

If you read this far, please tell me of the most universal beauty you have experienced, I would really like to know.

Fixed vs. Flux.

Our modern environment is a mixture of nature and artifice. Nature is in a state of flux, there has never been a fixed Garden of Eden, which is pertinent to discussions on the health of our shared, global environment. Only our artifice is mostly stable, but chaos would overwhelm our society if not for the constant maintenance of our various edifices. It is worth mentioning how a growing proportion of our societal energy is spent to maintain, which creates a certain tension as late capitalist society focuses much more on innovation. This is the same dynamic as the environment, simply reversed, as some members of the Green movement seek to maintain nature (due to an assumed responsibility) and prevent it from its chaotic natural progression.

To clarify the above statement, consider how concrete construction, let it be a massive retaining wall, that requires some precise calculations as would be performed by an engineer. This concrete engineer, to become qualified, must perform original research, a thesis. Now know that ancient Romans created and used excellent concrete 2,000 years ago. So there is a professional criteria of creativity, in a domain where consistency is far more important and novel concrete mixtures would consistently perform poorly relative to tried & tested methods. This pattern, of a project requiring a qualification which requires original research, repeats itself globally & often. As though each new concrete engineer is to break new ground, where great value could be found in maintaining the old turf. A similar patter, although with an additional category, is found in the medical industry where a doctor must develop the field of knowledge in some small way or else be unable to run a clinic, regardless of whether the clinic ever sees strange or new disease.

This friction, between a static and a changing state of affairs, whether maintaining our health or our buildings, diminishes society. There has got to be a better way. Within the international domain this dynamic pits community against community. Any newly discovered method of concreting or medicine, as a fundamentally required for professional qualification, will be within the ‘1st World’. If it is profitable, than the wealth created will be within the specific community of the developed world (although less tangible wealth, such as a longer life, will of course be shared.). So under-developed regions, which may be so due to historical contingency, such as the DRC, or perhaps due to a failed national project, such as if micro-processors in Taiwan & Korea became obsolete due to something new, these regions are consistently disadvantaged by the structure of the system. Beginning at a lower level of competition, they cannot afford high quality education & research, and so only buy the new shit from superior competitors, which in turn enriches competition and somewhat impoverishes the nation.

This same stumbling block, the dynamic of static against dynamic, impedes development of some environmental agendas. Sustaining the current balance of species; their approximate number, range of habit, geographic dispersion, diet, and so on, requires greater costs; pollution control & other waste management, restrictions on human activity such as new townships in virgin jungle, and, ultimately, demands civilisation devote not-insignificant resources to reversing the effects of civilisation.