Final Paper: Analysis of Delhi Through Delhi Gang Rape Case

Introduction

The complying paper attempts to analyze representation of Delhi through Delhi Gang Rape Case (DGRC). Delhi is the “capital territory” of India. It is the second most populous city of India with 16.3 million population. The analysis of the city will be conducted through the documentary named India’s Daughter directed by a British filmmaker Leslee Udwin and a reality crime series called Crime Patrol Dastak. The latter covered the case into two episodes of 60 minutes each which was named as A Nation Awakens.

indias daughter
Image 1
l_519
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Scope of Research

I look at the city through its depiction in both the film and the TV show. I argue that Udwin being a British follows an orientalist perspective in the depiction of Delhi.

The questions I explore include: is the representation of Delhi in the film balanced? Does Udwin stereotype Indian society? Does she sensationalize DGRC in the film? I will discuss the issues covered in the documentary and look at it from a neutral perspective which is neither Indian nor British. It will be compared with the TV show to see which of them follows a neutral approach. The TV series is currently in its twelfth year of broadcast. It is largely watched for its crime prevention advices given in the end and famous for its authenticity that became the reason to opt it for the analysis. As per a regular viewer, “They create awareness, and it’s sort of like watching the news.”

Frameworks

The frameworks applied to look at the documentary include orientalism and subject/object binary. The latter explores who is portrayed as subject and object helping to identify whose perspective is emphasized in the film and TV show.

I use Edward Said’s definition of orientalism who argues that West “has always been interested in knowing the culture” (Qaseem, 2013) of the east which they consider as ‘other’ since it is different from their culture. Paraphrasing (Qaseem, 2013), it is always analyzed through the lens of occident culture which is assumed to be the right one while Eastern culture is deemed backward and problematic needing to be rescued. Although Said emphasizes on Arab-Muslim culture, however, I use orientalism as a tool to look at DGRC from an outsider, western or British perspective of Delhi.

Additionally, I also look at the ways in which Delhi is stereotyped in the film. “A stereotype is a generalized belief about the qualities and characteristics of a particular group of people”. [1] It can be positive or negative. “The stereotypes are formed in a social context through a combination of observing others, learning and mental processes”. [1] The continuous representation of a particular group in a certain way creates a preconception or prejudice about them.

Delhi Gang Rape Case (DGRC)

A 23 year old female medical student who media named as Nirbhaya, was brutally assaulted and gang raped by six men in a moving private bus on the night of 16th December 2012 after returning from cinema with a male friend Awindra Pratap Pandey. He was also violently beaten up by them. They were later thrown out of the bus, completely naked.

Consequently, there was a huge outcry in the city. Countrywide demonstrations were carried out the next day demanding immediate action against the gruesome act. Pandey survived while Nirbhaya died on 29th December 2012 due to serious internal injuries after which the outrage worsened. The protesters demanded all six perpetrators to be hanged. Resultantly, the case was taken under Fast Track Court and four of the accused (Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta) were convicted for death sentence in September 2013. The fifth accused rapist, Ram Singh, committed suicide in Tihar Jail in March 2013 while the last accused was a juvenile hence sent to a juvenile home for three years. It is pertinent to mention that the adult convicts have obtained stay in execution of their death penalty and the Delhi High Court is still to pass the final verdict on their death sentence.

Crime Patrol DastakA Nation Awakens

Crime Patrol Dastak is the third season of the docudrama series Crime Patrol (covering many newsworthy cases) hosted by Anoop Soni. With the motto of “Crime never pays”, they aim to create awareness for crime prevention. It is based on factual reconstruction of the story focusing how the case was solved by the police. It uses voiceover done by the host. The episode usually begins and ends with his appearance narrating the causes and prevention of that crime.

The dual episode coverage of DGRC relates the story of 16th December 2012 from both Nirbhaya’s and rapists’ perspective as what they were doing before and after crime. It also covers significant aspects of victims’ families, public’s opinion as well as role of doctors, politicians, media, police, judges and law commission set for DGRC.

The Documentary – India’s Daughter

India’s Daughter is a 59 minute documentary on DGRC directed by Leslee Udwin and co-produced by BBC and NDTV, a mainstream Indian news channel. It includes extensive interviews of parents of Jyoti Singh (real name of the victim used in the documentary), her friend Satendra, the rapist Mukesh Singh and his parents, families of Thakur and the juvenile, the defense lawyers and some other significant people relevant to DGRC.

Mukesh Singh’s comments were perceived humiliating and disturbing by the nation leading to a huge uproar in the country which caused a debate on whether to screen the documentary in India or not. People were enraged to seeing the culprit shameless and blaming the victim for being raped.  Consequently, “the Indian government banned the film over concerns that Singh’s comments would cause “apprehension of public disorder”” (Iyenger, 2015).

Subject & Object

The main subject in the film is Mukesh Singh instead of the rape victim in whose name the film was made. It is largely based on rapists’ background, life and Mukesh’s viewpoints. Although the film also depicts Jyoti’s life portraying her as the subject, however she is largely discussed as an object through the graphic details of maltreatment done to her. Her body is objectified in the discussion of her injuries and how they were caused. The language as well as gestures of defense lawyers, depicting what a girl is and how Jyoti was raped, also objectify her body. “She looked like a cow looks after giving birth to a calf” as the patrolman Raj Kumar said in the film. At times, the film appears as a platform for Mukesh to justify his acts (portrayed as a subject) when the final verdict of his penalty is due. As opposed to the film, the TV program depicts both the victims as the subjects however Jyoti remains the prime subject in both episodes. The facts of attack on and injuries of Jyoti are not explicitly described and no character was particularly objectified.

Analysis & Discussion

At the outset, the script of the documentary states that “a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes and most of them are unreported” presenting a problem prevailing in Indian society. The filmmaker chose to work on a significant social issue of rape but does rape only happen in eastern countries? Has the West been successful in eradicating the problem of rape from its societies? According to The Guardian, “between 2009/10 and 2011/12, there were an estimated 78,000 victims of rape per year in England and Wales – 69,000 females and 9,000 males” and on average 60,000 to 95,000 each year. While in India, “nearly 68,000 rape cases were registered across the country during 2009-11”, first post reported. This British perspective of rape highlighted in the film portrays Delhi as an ‘other’ portraying rape only happens in this city. Although Udwin has admitted in an interview, “rape is a pattern not only in India, but all over the world”, she has chosen a Third World country to work on this issue.

On the contrary, the script of the TV show is more inclined towards elaborating the facts of the case. However, the TV program also questions safety and security of the city as well as the role of its citizens, police and government. In the end, they have also critiqued nothing has changed yet and mentioned the rapes occurred after DGRC till its broadcast. The whole script of the host appears neutral attempting to create awareness.

Both media products have used original clippings of the protest inserted at different scenes. The very first footage added in the film shows women being mishandled, thrown and beaten up by policemen. This projection establishes the stereotypical treatment of women in Delhi, something Udwin also portray in the film. It is shown to the viewer in the beginning of the film, creating a bias about Delhi and its culture.

mishandled woman

protest first clippingConversely, the protest scenes in the TV program also show men, being beaten up and getting injured during the clash with police. It also follows an unbiased voice over portraying Delhi’s positive and negative simultaneously, stating such cases have been happening for a very long time but now the nation has awakened and supporting the victim by enforcing government to take action. While it also criticizes system’s loopholes and government’s apathy towards rape.

protest water tank

jhoti in jeansThe documentary depicts Jyoti as a modern girl wearing jeans while out, working in night shifts and studying in a modern college. Besides, Satendra, talks about the liberal background of Jyoti and her family. The comments of other interviewees create impression that this is what happens in Delhi to girls who defy traditional patriarchal social norms. Conversely, Jyoti was shown being donned in a shalwar qameez on the night of the incident in the TV show.

shalwar qameez

The film looks biased towards the projection of Delhi as it has very few glimpses of modern Delhi as compared to the footages of poor areas. The fewer moments of modern city includes the shot of Delhi High Court, Jyoti’s college and the call center. While the shot of Saket Mall, Hotel 37 and roads of Delhi are mostly shot in the dark with gloomy lights. According to Deccan Chronicle, Pandey (Jyoti’s friend) has also claimed the film unbalanced.

auto on road roadwaiting for bushotel 37

In contrast, Delhi is represented as more civilized and modern city in the TV show. The host is filmed on the roads of Delhi and the background is always of clean roads, cars, bridges and buildings. However, the room of the rapists shown is small, dark, and dirty with floor sitting, shabby painted walls and dumped broken furniture at the back. Poor areas are shown as their homes. Thus, the show appears to be more balanced.

delhi view

delhi high court

overview of room
Room of rapists
poor delho view
Raid at Ravida’s camp
Dwarka
Dwarka

Furthermore, it is evident that Udwin has chosen to depict India as a poverty-stricken country. The shots of Ramdas Slum – residence of four of the rapist, Dwarka – residence of Jyoti Singh, her old village, juvenile’s home are all shot in day light with zoomed, wide and focused camera angles used on minute details highlighting the poor conditions of them and establishing the difference of living standard between Jyoti (lower-middle class) and rapists (lower class).

ravidas slum
Ravidas Slum

As Amodh Kanth, Head of Prayas, NGO for Rape Victims and Juveniles, mentions in the film “50% of India’s population is living almost below poverty line” which supports the filmmakers orientalist’s approach of stereotyping India as a poor country.

1 man in a rowThere is a footage inserted in between SOTs of Delhi’s Additional Deputy Commissioner, Pramod Kushwa and Secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association, Kavita Krishanan, with a gloomy background score unfolding the miserable condition with visuals of donkey carts, Delhi’s station where people are shown carrying luggage on heads and shoulder, policemen travelling on horses, a veiled women travelling on a bicycle rickshaw and people sitting on the street in a row with flies on their faces. The latter is parallel to the stereotypical representation of Africa’s poverty as “the well known shots of flies on the faces of children and some adults alike” (Mahadeo & Mckinney, 2007).

adult bathing undressed babyThere are also shots of Ravidas camp where naked children are playing and bathing in open area. Half naked adults are also shown bathing at one place devoid of shed. These shots depict an archetypical image of poverty.

Amodh Kanth who runs Prayas NGO also talks about the miserable conditions in which the juvenile has been brought up supported by the visual glimpses of street children. Furthermore, Satendra narrates how Jyoti made a child, who stole her purse, promise to never steal again and the reconstruction of the entire tale is a portrayal of poverty. According to a BBC article of UK poverty statistics, “in 2011-12, 2.3 million UK children (17%) lived in homes with substantially lower than average income. This rises to 27% (3.5 million) if measured after housing costs are paid. Children’s campaigners say the true figure is higher and that 300,000 more children live in poor homes than in the previous year”. In the same year, as reported by Hindustan Times (an Indian newspaper), “poverty in India declined to a record 22% in 2011-12, the Planning Commission disclosed. The number of poor is now estimated at 269.3 million, of which 216.5 million reside in rural India”. It is clear from these facts that poverty rate is increasing in UK while it is consistently decreasing in India over the last decade “with the levels dropping from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 29.8% in 2009-10” (Rao, 2013).

juvenile's parents Moreover, the poor living conditions of the rapists are not only showed in the visuals but also discussed in detail in the interviews of their destitute families through the talk of their means of survival, not particularly relevant to the film.

Statement of Juvenile's mother
Statement of Juvenile’s mother
Mukesh's mother
Mukesh’s mother

The discussion with the interviewees strongly establishes that lower class men commit crimes like rape. It is told by Mukesh Singh that almost all of the six accused used to loiter on the streets. Chasing and harassing women in public spaces, arguing about who they can overpower was their normal routine. This account of the rapists is related to Shilpa Phadkey’s description of Tapori, “usually a youngish lower-class male who spends much of his time hanging out at a street corners with others like him”. The stereotyping of poor lower class men being involved in street crimes and dangerous to women in public spaces is discussed in Phadkey’s essay where “women described lower class man as a threat to their mobility in public spaces”. In the film, Dr. Sandeep Govil, The Jail Psychiatrist of the Rapists, asserts that “they have been doing such crimes and easily getting away with that. So whenever there is a chance they could trap a woman, they do it.” This stereotyping of lower class men depicts Delhi as a dangerous place for women.

Mukesh Singh in his interview said, “a decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 per cent of girls are good.” This means that the rapist decides who is a good woman and who is a public woman, the one out after 7:30 without family members is considered a bad – something that was also stated by both the defense lawyers. By this rationale, anything can happen to her and she doesn’t deserve any protection. It is elaborated that “the public women is not so much directly a threat to ‘good’ women as much as a warning to them of the consequences of violating the rules, namely, if they break the rules, they are no longer worthy of ‘protection’ from society” (Phadkey, 2009). As the defense lawyer ML Sharma stated in the film, “a girl is precious like a diamond and if you put it on the street, certainly the dog will take it out. You cannot stop it”. This projects Delhi as a place where women has no right to safety if she goes out without family members after evening.

Defense Lawyer ML Sharma's Statement
Image 3: Defense Lawyer ML Sharma’s Statement

India’s Daughter also talks about gender differences. The discourse correctly portrays gender inequality as a major cause of rapes however the way it is represented in the documentary sensationalizes the issue. For example, “we have the best culture and there is no place of women in our culture,” said by lawyer ML Sharma. The discourse on gender inequality also ‘others’ Delhi where the problem exists.

Gender inequality is a problem that is not limited to India. It is a global issue and feminists have been protesting against it. It might have diminished but not been completely eradicated from the West. Women to date face gender inequality at work places. According to UK Feminista compiled statistics, “approximately 70% of people in national minimum wage jobs are women with 10% of gender pay gap in full time jobs”. This difference is a result of “women’s shorter tenures at the top, their tendency to lead smaller companies or gender discrimination” (Murray, 2014). Women are also working below their potential as “they are more likely to be promoted into support positions such as communications or human resources instead of those with more influence” (Covert, 2014). Moreover, gender difference in UK also persists at higher levels. “In 2013, Bloomberg News analysis of the highest paid executives at S&P 500 companies found that the women on the list made 18 percent less than male counterparts” and as per New York Times analysis, “among the 200 best-paid chief executives in the country, just 11 are women” (Covert, 2014).

The documentary mainly focuses on what patriarchal mentality is while the voiceover in the TV show stressed that patriarchal mindset needs to be changed. According to Former Chief Justice, Leila Seth interviewed in the film, “the constitution provides for [sic] equality but it doesn’t happen because the men don’t allow it to happen and they feel thats [sic] their hold on women and also, its because of the historical tradition of patriarchy which has been, over the years, embedded into men and into [sic] women.”  Udwin does not show alternative viewpoints, thereby helping to construct a singular stereotypical portrayal of the situation.

Dr. Maria Misra, writer and historian at Oxford University also highlights in the film that women are not treated well in India and counts the crimes against women; rape, acid attacks, domestic violence, pre-birth sex selection and fetus killing. As per UK Feminsta, “up to 3 million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking, or other violence each year”. Her interview in the documentary is an example of orientalism where a westerner is reviewing problems of an eastern country. “On average two women a week are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner in UK” (UK Feminista). These facts and figures elucidate that the home country of Udwin is not devoid of the same issues she is highlighting in the film.

Apart from the above, the question arises, why the other three convicts were not interviewed and if they were, why their interviews are not included in the documentary? Why is it only Mukesh Singh’s interview? Udwin told Dawn Newspaper in an interview, “it has not been easy for me to sit with five rapists in Tihar (jail in Delhi). One of them named Gaurav had raped a five-year-old girl. When I asked him why, he said she belonged to a beggar’s family and therefore her life had no value.” Considering two of those five are Gaurav and Mukesh Singh, the rest of the three interviewed rapists are supposedly Pawan, Akshay and Vinay (other convicts of DGRC) who were also interviewed yet excluded from the documentary as they might not supported the image of Delhi that she was projecting. Further to this, Udwin’s states in an interview, “I shot over 26 hours of footage with Mukesh Singh over three days” (Sharma, 2015). Nevertheless, she still chose to add only controversial statements. The filmmaker’s bias becomes visible by the selection of material she chose to highlight.

The motive of the filmmaker “was to tell the world to follow India’s example of protesting against rape and forcing the government to amend the status quo” (Iyengar, 2015). While from the two selected media elements, this motive was evident in the TV show rather than in the documentary.

Besides, as it is a UK-India co production, the target audiences are both Indians and British. Udwin’s selection of the topic win her target audience. She achieved her audience in India even before the release as the DGRC is a sensitive subject for them. Despite being banned there, it is still discussed, whether negatively or positively, on social media platforms. West audience was achieved as they prefer watching issues of Third World Nations. A study conducted by Greg Philo revealed that British news channels always show “negative images” of the Third World and news reports containing disturbing images of developing countries, strongly effects and creates sympathy in the audience. To gain viewership in the West, she has highlighted issues like rape, gender inequality and poverty that are likely to watch by the British audience. According to the hypodermic needle theory, media directly effects its audiences and shapes their minds which Udwin has also done by creating a biased image of India. In a review of India’s Daughter written by Claire Cohen, he asserts that India has failed to become a modern nation and they are hiding the truth by banning the documentary. Thereby, India is till deemed as a backward country.

Conclusion

Excluding the bits and pieces of Jyoti Singh’s parents and the Former Chief Justice Leila Seth, Delhi is projected as a dangerous city for women where violence and sex crimes are a normal trend specifically for those who defy norms. Furthermore, her projection of Delhi stereotypes it as a poverty-stricken and backward city which follows traditional norms and customs of patriarchal society. Women are suppressed and considered inferior there.  It also stereotypes lower class men to be hooligans and sex offenders.

Besides above, the filmmaker also hints at other issues prevailing in Delhi including acid attacks, child labor and prostitution. On the contrary, A Nation Awakens focused only on DGRC.

It is also clear that Leslee Udwin purposefully chose to include sensationalized statements and throughout used orientalist perspective in the production as well as representation of the city.

Bibliography

Qaseem, Sara. Orientalism. Sara Qaseem’s Blog. 2013

Accessed on 7th March 2015.

https://saraqaseem.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/orientalism/

Iyengar, Rishi. Filmmaker Lesee Udwin Denies Paying Delhi Rapist for Documentary Interview. 2015.

Accessed on March 29th 2015.

http://time.com/3736996/indias-daughter-leslee-udwin-documentary-allegations-denial/

Murdoch, John. Rape: Crime and Punishment. The Guardian. 2013.

Accessed on 2nd April 2015.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/11/male-female-rape-statistics-graphic

India’s Daughter, a Fake Documentary, Says Nirbahaya’s Friend and Sole Witness of Delhi Gang Rape. Deccan Chronicle. 2015.

Accessed on 20th March 2015.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/150311/nation-current-affairs/article/indias-daughter-fake-documentary-says-nirbhayas-friend-and

Mahadeo, Micheal. & McKinney, Joe. Media Representations of Africa: Still the Same Old Story. Policy and Practice. A Development Education Review. Voices from the Global South. Spring 2007. Issue 4.

Accessed on 5th April 2015.

http://www.developmenteducationreview.com/issue4-focus2

Harrison, Angela. One in Six Children Lives in Poverty, UK Statistics Show. Education & Family. BBC News. 2013.

Accessed on 12th April 2015.

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-22887005

Murray, Sara. Women CEOs Make Strides, But Pay Gap Persists. The Wall Street Journal. 2014

Accessed on 15th April 2015.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/female-ceos-make-strides-but-pay-gap-persists-1401232881

Covert, Bryce. The Highest Paid Female CEOs Still Make Millions Less Than Their Male Counterparts. 2014.

Accessed on 15th April 2015.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/06/09/3446365/women-ceos-pay-gap/

Facts and Statistics of Gender Inequality. Women and Work. Pay Gap. UK Feminista. Take Action.

Accessed on 13th April 2015.

http://ukfeminista.org.uk/take-action/facts-and-statistics-on-gender-inequality/#link2

Geelani, Gowhar. By Banning India’s Daughter, India has Committed International Suicide, Leslee Udwin. Dawn News. 2015.

Accessed on 4th April 2015.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1173698/by-banning-indias-daughter-india-has-committed-international-suicide-leslee-udwin

Sharma, Milan. The Shame isn’t Mine, It is That of My Rapist: An Interview With India’s daughter Filmmaker Leslee Udwin. 2015.

Accessed on 6th April 2015.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/interview-the-shame-isn-t-mine-it-is-that-of-my-rapist-an-interview-with-india-s-daughter-filmmaker-leslee-udwin-2066070

Rathi, Priyanka. Nirbhaya’s Friend, Who Was With her on That Fateful Night, Calls India’s Daughter a Fake Film. 2015.

Accessed on 28th March 2015.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/nirbhayas-friend-who-was-with-her-on-the-fateful-night-calls-indias-daughter-a-fake-film/533097-3-244.html

Banan, A., Astha. Crime or Punishment. 2013

Accessed on 23rd April 2015.

http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/art-culture/crime-or-punishment

Rao, Kirthi. India’s Poverty Level Falls to Record 22%: Planning Comission. Hindustan Times. 2013.

Accessed on 22nd April 2015.

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/1QvbdGnGySHo7WRq1NBFNL/Poverty-rate-down-to-22-Plan-panel.html 

More than 68000 rapes cases from 2009-12, but 16,000 convicted. First Post. 2013.

Accessed on 23rd April 2015.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/more-than-68000-rape-cases-from-2009-11-but-only-16000-convicted-611676.html

Philo, Greg. An Unseen World: How the Media Portrays the Poor. UNESCO. 2001.

Accessed on 24th April 2015.

http://www.unesco.org/webworld/points_of_views/271101_philo.shtml

Phadke, Shilpa., Ranade, Shilpa. & Khan, Sameera. Why Loiter? Radical Possibilities for Gendered Dissent. Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia’s Cities. 2009. Routledge. Taylor & Francis Group. Lon. NY.

Ashcroft, Bill., Griffiths, Gareth. & Tiffin, Helen. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader. Representation and Resistance. Orientalism. 1995. Routledge. Taylor & Francis Group. Lon. NY.

References

  1. http://www.psychwiki.com/wiki/Stereotype
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delhi
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_Patrol_(TV_series)
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Delhi_gang_rape
  5. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120826/jsp/7days/story_15899161.jsp#.VTkKiyGqqkp
  6. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tv/news/hindi/Its-crime-time-for-small-screen/articleshow/13522761.cms
  7. http://www.bollywoodlife.com/news-gossip/crime-patrol-or-savdhan-india-11-crime-alert/
  8. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/greenpolitics/9948554/Third-World-poverty-is-on-the-run.html
  9. http://www.utwente.nl/cw/theorieenoverzicht/Theory%20Clusters/Mass%20Media/Hypodermic_Needle_Theory/
  10. http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2013/01/03/a-rape-map-of-india/

Videos

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BblydCk4eF0
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mKlPPIAoXs
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aixtZvXKyYE
  4. youtube.com/watch?v=bDnLz5jgx3s
  5. https://www.facebook.com/pakistaniivines/videos/vb.351516001647216/602835389848608/?type=2&theater

Images

  1. http://revisepad.com/indias-daughter-full-documentary-by-bbc-india/
  2. http://www.india-forums.com/forum_topics.asp?FID=519
  3. http://www.filmycurry.com/bbc-storyville-indias-daughter/

All the rest are screen shots taken from the videos.

 

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Hyperreal Virtual World

The narratives that we read or watch in cinema engage us into their virtual world. Such narratives have a power to get us engaged in the hyperreal virtual world they depict. The fantasy stories and sci-fi genre largely deal with this sort of narratives that represent a virtual world.

harry pottertwilightFor example, The Twilight series has a virtual city of vampires and Harry Potter has a virtual wizardy world. Another examples include Ghost in the Shell, The Blade Runner, The Matrix, Dark City, Tron Legacy etc.

dark city ghost in the shell The matrix tron legacy

Talking about virtual cities, there is a huge variety of video games based on similar theme of virtual world constructing your own virtual city. Needless to mention the popular trend of these games keeping the gamer involved in it, clash of clans, for example. People spend enormous amount of time playing these games to build their virtual city. One such example is of Duncan Parcells, a player of Minecraft and a student from Delaware who spent two years in building his virtual city which he has named Titan City. His virtual city is consisted of 96 buildings for which he has used “4.5 million Minecrfat building blocks” which he created using Xbox 360 version and later transferred it to PC. Parcell keeps his Titan City separate and believes this is his second life.

minecraft

minecraft 2

The only difference between the above two would be of agency that a player gets in video games because when we watch a movie, things are not in control of us. We can only see what is happening whether we like that way or not while a player has complete agency over his actions how to do, when to do, with whom to do etc.

Simulation_5d_6d_7d_mini_cabin_mobileWith the technological advancements, the experience of involving in the virtual world has improved big way. The 3D and 4D provide way better experience. For example, the 3D simulated rides take us into the virtual world with the strong visuals and effects that make you feel what you see while the 4D also provides sense of touch, feel and smell along with the visual effects.

If I were to think of my virtual city, since I am not a gaming person at all, I would rather pick skype whereby my virtual world exists when I connect to my distant relatives and friends across different parts of world. Not exactly the virtual city, but a virtual reality I live in 4 to 5 hours a day. Sitting at my home and roaming around somewhere in USA, Canada, London or UAE. My second life would be at skype!

GioChronoStudios, a CG animation studio that provides creative digital solution through motion graphics and digital illustrator, along with a web company Theory7 created a 3D virtual city for the promotion of Ford Fiesta. This project was a part of Ford’s marketing campaign called ‘This is Now’ targeting specific segment of society.  After conceptualizing the modern island city as shown in the images, they produced a video of a massive stylized contemporary virtual city in which the only car you see is off course the New Ford Fiesta.

1

Modeling
Modeling of the city

Please watch the video here:

http://giochronostudios.co.uk/this-is-now-campaign-virtual-city-for-new-ford-fiesta-launch/

References:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29660265

http://giochronostudios.co.uk/this-is-now-campaign-virtual-city-for-new-ford-fiesta-launch/

https://saraqaseem.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/games-and-rides/

https://saraqaseem.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/the-precession-of-simulacra/

Visual Dystopic Representation of Technological Urban Modernity

Movie Trailer

The following synopsis, taken from imdb and written by Bob Philpot, is of 2013 released movie Her .

Theodore is a lonely man in the final stages of his divorce. When he’s not working as a letter writer, his down time is spent playing video games and occasionally han.ging out with friends. He decides to purchase the new OS1, which is advertised as the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system, “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness,” the ad states. Theodore quickly finds himself drawn in with Samantha, the voice behind his OS1. As they start spending time together they grow closer and closer and eventually find themselves in love. Having fallen in love with his OS, Theodore finds himself dealing with feelings of both great joy and doubt. As an OS, Samantha has powerful intelligence that she uses to help Theodore in ways others hadn’t, but how does she help him deal with his inner conflict of being in love with an OS?

Movie Review

Watch Full Movie Here

Assignment No 3

Why Loiter? Radical Possibilities for Gender Dissent

The forenamed article revolves around the relation of public spaces with men and women. According to the authors, public spaces are largely used by men and spending so much time create a sense of belonging for them to those public spaces. On the other hand, women loitering on the streets are deemed  bad as the notion of good women is associated with the private women while women at a public space is assumed as a prostitute or someone asking to have her.

Besides, it is not only women who are kept deprived of seeking pleasure in a public space; it is for all other marginalized groups as well. She further talks about the dangers that a woman has to face if she travels alone or consume a public space. Taporis, and Muslim men are considered a threat or obstacle for women. Also, the lower class man become objects of surveillance for women protection which do not let them enjoy their leisure in a public space as the sense of being monitored not only stops them to commit a crime but make them conscious of their actions that can be misunderstood, staring for example. It is in the mindsets that will be discussed further later in the response.

Applying the notion to our country, another “patriarchal chauvinistic society”, one example is of chand raat. It’s a common trend to witness men loitering in the markets and malls – the places predominantly associated with women, on chand raat when women and families are there to enjoy the festive night by shopping, buy bangles and put on mehndi . The loiter or taporis as mentioned in the essay would stare, pass indecent comments, pass by very closely or even touch women to get satisfaction and resultantly make women feel uncomfortable in a public place.

It can be understood from the idea of gendered spaces as public spaces have now been completely owned by males hence it has become a loitering space for men. It is due to gender inequality that is so deeply inherent in chauvinistic societies that women are still left deprived of their basic needs.

Here, I see the marginalized women as sub-alterns who are well aware of the fact the public space itself means it is for public and it has no gender restriction yet it is occupied by men and they are hesitant to equally consume the pleasure of public spaces. They are not speaking up or fighting back for it. Besides, the danger or obstacles, the stereotyping of women as “public bad women” and “private good women” could be one of the reasons for them to stay silent and keep the morals of their chastity and honor of their family.

The authors of the book Why Loiter? Shilpa Randae and Shilpa Phadake along with Sameera Khan after three year research with Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research (PUKAR) lunched a game on “public space and women” called “gender strategies for loitering” in which the female protagonist while loitering on the public spaces face the obstacles and “enables people to understand how women from various age groups handle such obstacles.”

I personally think that loitering plays a vital role in increasing number of crimes against women be it sexual harassment, abduction, killing, rape or even acid attacks.

There is an Indian television program broadcasted on Sony TV called Crime Patrol that reports true crime stories and I can recall tens of them in a minute that were resulted due to loitering culture owned by men. A group of loiters on the nukkad possessing the ownership of the public space providing them agency over ‘others’ – marginalized groups specifically women.  Many theorists suggest that rape is more about the power and control rather than being sexually aroused. This statement elucidates further that how the relation of loiters with their public spaces empower them to disturb the trespassers and the realization of owning the space and power encourages men to involve in deviant behavior. On the other hand, it keeps the women deprived of their basic right of life and having pleasure in a public space which does not let them empower.

The following views of rapists are comprehensive enough to elaborate my point further.

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Watch Proud Rapist

A very recent example is of Mukesh Singh, one of the rapists involved in Delhi gang rape case recently in an interview with The Telegraph said, girls are the one to be blamed for their sexual assault.

“A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boy and girl are not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 per cent of girls are good.”

“When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy.”

“The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls,” he says. “Before, they would rape and say, ‘Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.’ Now when they rape,especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.”

These were his views and that is what we hear in all rape incidents. The danger for women in public spaces is created by such mindsets which we need to change and this issue is addressed in the following #vogueempower’s new campaign #goinghome.

There are many basic necessities of individuals that govern them fundamental rights as a citizen of a particular country including right to vote, right to equality, right to freedom, right to education, right to privacy and so on and forth. Loitering or spending time aimlessly in a public space is also a basic human need to seek pleasure and release all stress. Public spaces are not constructed for any particular class, race, ethnicity or gender. It is equally for all depending on their belonging to that particular space.

References:

http://humweb.ucsc.edu/feministstudies/faculty/arondekar/loitering.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_rights_in_India

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/game-on-public-space-and-women/article328941.ece

http://tribune.com.pk/story/846490/a-girl-is-far-more-responsible-for-rape-than-a-boy-says-delhi-bus-rapist/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/sahilrizwan/the-balls-on-this-guy

Class Activity 2 – My Utopian City

The enumerated things I would like to see in my city which I have named Cityean.

  1. Greenery and stunning islands
  2. Cleanliness and no dust at all
  3. Tropical-monsoon climate throughout year
  4. Disneyland
  5. Amusement parks
  6. All coffee and eatery brands
  7. No international clothing brand so that local designers could be promoted
  8. Better public transport
  9. Flourishing film industry
  10. Music academies, dancing and acting schools
  11. Strict media policies for journalism only
  12. Strict judiciary system and huge fines will be charged on its violation
  13. Beautifully architect skyscrapers
  14. All will be smart homes
  15. Each house is sold with a single robot (not necessarily human-like) who will perform all our tasks
  16. Each society must have a school, super market, gym, swimming pool, sports club, community hall and family garden. The union will ensure its utilization by each family of the society
  17. One-for-all education system
  18. No child labor
  19. No beggary
  20. No class difference
  21. No ethnic divides
  22. No defined or specified gender roles
  23. Female would be free from all religious, social and cultural restrictions
  24. Female driving is mandatory
  25. Female bikes and scooties o that they can drive alone
  26. Protection for females and senior citizens
  27. A division of all illegal (although not illegal in my city) activities where people can go for consuming alcohols and do whatever they want
  28. A proper area is dedicated to conduct religious activities where worship places are situated of all the dwelling religious groups
  29. Public spaces would predominantly belong to females
  30. No gali ka nukkar system for males