Monthly Archives: June 2015

Notes on The Innocents (HUM425)

These are my notes on our screening of The Innocents. Nothing special. But I want to model this kind of activity for you.

The Innocents (d. Jack Clayton 1961)

black screen, child singing

bird song. title sequence.

hands, weeping.

as in prayer or supplication. clenched.

Kerr’s face. face tilted up. a breeze?

sub vocal: “All I want to do”

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Get Out

Showing at the Legion of Honor



At the de Young



And this Friday:

ART/FILM: Mr. Turner Up Close with Noah Cowan and Esther Bell

June 26, 2015 – 7:15pm
Koret Auditorium

Friday Nights at the de Young presents ART/FILM: Mr. Turner Up Close. A Fine Arts Museums and San Francisco Film Society Collaboration.

Join us for a lively discussion on how art is portrayed in film with San Francisco Film Society Director Noah Cowan and FAMSF Curator-in-Charge of European Paintings Esther Bell. The discussion will feature clips from Mr. Turner, (2014, 150 minutes) and J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free.



Composition (HUM425)

This photo of Joe McCarthy doppleganger Ted Cruz, among a series that were published then withdrawn by AP after complaints by several pundits, demonstrates emphatically that composition, the relationship between elements within the visual field, can signify powerfully. The photo was taken while Cruz, who wants to be your president, spoke at a “Celebrate the 2nd Amendment Shooting Range” in Johnston, Iowa on June 20.

credit: Charlie Niebergall

credit: Charlie Niebergall

OED: Atmosphere (HUM425)

atmosphere, n.

Pronunciation:  /ˈætməsfɪə(r)/

Forms:  Also 16 -sphære, -sphear.

Etymology:  < modern Latin atmosphæra, < Greek ἀτμός vapour + σϕαῖρα ball, sphere.


a. The spheroidal gaseous envelope surrounding any of the heavenly bodies.

1638   Bp. J. Wilkins Discov. World in Moone x. 138   There is an Atmo-sphæra, or an orbe of grosse vaporous aire, immediately encompassing the body of the Moone.

1693   R. Bentley Boyle Lect. vii. 13   The Sun and Planets and their Atmospheres.

1881   Stokes in Nature No. 625. 597   In the solar atmosphere there is a cooling from above.

b. esp. The mass of aeriform fluid surrounding the earth; the whole body of terrestrial air.The name was invented for the ring or orb of vapour or ‘vaporous air’ supposed to be exhaled from the body of a planet, and so to be part of it, which the air itself was not considered to be; it was extended to the portion of surrounding air occupied by this, or supposed to be in any way ‘within the sphere of the activity’ of the planet (Phillips 1696); and finally, with the progress of science, to the supposed limited aeriform environment of the earth or other planetary or stellar body. (It is curious that the first mention of an atmosphere is in connection with the Moon, now believed to have none.)

1677   R. Plot Nat. Hist. Oxford-shire 4   That subtile Body that immediately incompasses the Earth, and is filled with all manner of exhalations, and from thence commonly known by the name of the Atmosphere.

1728   E. Chambers Cycl. (at cited word),   Among the more accurate Writers, the Atmosphere is restrain’d to that Part of the Air next the Earth, which receives Vapours and Exhalations; and is terminated by the Refraction of the Sun’s Light.

1867   E. B. Denison Astron. without Math. 56   The earth’s atmosphere decreases so rapidly in density, that half its mass is within 3½ miles above the sea; and at 80 miles high there can be practically no atmosphere.

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Meaning (HUM425)

The social meaning of an event is produced— in part by the images created and selected in an effort to represent it.  One of the insights of semiotics is that meaning is never intrinsic– somehow inside the thing under consideration– but is always the outcome of signification, a process that depends upon “common sense” in the form of conventions and codes. Meaning is also political. What an event means usually conditions choices about how we should respond to that event. Whose meaning will prevail?



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