Year: 2012

kite fighting

Kite fighting is a sport, which traditionally uses unstable, single-line kites. Tension is used for control, while an abrasive line defends against other kites. The skins of fighter kites are often made from thin papers, the spars of light, flexible wood. When flown with a taut line, the wind pressure, paradoxically giving the kite stability, deforms it. With the line of tension reduced, the kite becomes unstable, rocking from side-to-side. Sometimes it begins to spin. By reapplying tension at the right moment, the kite increases in stability, shifts in direction, moving towards where the flyer desires. Kite fighting is perhaps an apt analogy to describe the structure and mobility of Indian families. The males of the extended family create an interwoven kite tapestry, becoming both a shield and a sail. The women form the spars holding the shape of the kite and keeping it together under pressure, while the children trail behind in the tails. The older generations hold the line taut, steering the family against external pressure in an advantageous direction for all. In …

privacy paradox

At no point in history have we been more vulnerable to surveillance, whether by government, companies or curious individuals— driven by the fear of terrorism, the profit motive and simply the fun and convenience of being online. The eroding opacity of our privacy, becoming more translucent with time, is something many continue to struggle with. Whether for utility or security, privacy has become a trade-off— sometimes conscious, sometimes not (OTM, 2013). It appears to only retain its importance until we are forced to forfeit our privacy for other, more important freedoms. We confront a basic paradox whenever we discuss personal freedom in literate and oral cultures. Literate society separated the individual from the group in space; engendering privacy, point of view in work and specialization – forging the values associated with individualism, privacy and a public role of absolute conformity. Yet, we already exist in a global theatre where the entire world is happening. Our whole cultural habitat has been, and is being, transformed by media and satellites into a living organism contained within a …