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Shaping Edits, Creating Fractals

A Cinematic Case Study

James E. Cutting and Karen Pearlman

We investigated physical changes over three versions in the production of the short historical drama, Woman with an Editing Bench (2016, The Physical TV Company). Pearlman, the film’s director and editor, had also written about the work that editors do to create rhythms in film (Pearlman 2016), and, through the use of computational techniques employed previously (Cutting et al. 2018), we found that those descriptions of the editing process had parallels in the physical changes of the film as it progressed from its first assembled form, through a fine cut, to the released film. Basically, the rhythms of the released film are not unlike the rhythms of heartbeats, breathing, and footfalls—they share the property of “fractality.” That is, as Pearlman shaped a story and its emotional dynamics over successive revisions, she also (without consciously intending to do so) fashioned several dimensions of the film— shot duration, motion, luminance, chroma, and clutter—so as to make them more fractal.

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The Fractal Process of European Integration

A Formal Theory of Recursivity in the Field of European Security

Grégoire Mallard and Martial Foucault

This article proposes a simple formal model that can explain why and how European states engaged in the negotiation of federalist treaties in the fields of European defense and security. Using the non-cooperative model of multilateral bargaining derived from the Stahl-Rubinstein game, we show that the specific sequencing of treaty negotiations adopted by federalists explains why, against all odds, states preferred federalist-inspired treaties to intergovernmental treaties. We argue that federalists succeeded in convincing states to sign their treaties, rather than alternative treaties, by spreading the risk of rejection attached to various components of European security treaties into successive periods of negotiations, a process that they repeated in each new round of negotiation. In doing so, we show that Jean Monnet and his transnational network of European federalists had an influence on the process of EU integration because they segmented treaties into components with different probabilities of acceptance, and structured the different rounds of negotiations of these components by starting with the less risky ones, rather than because they convinced states to change their preferences and adopt federalist treaties instead of intergovernmental treaties.

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Ted Nannicelli

Welcome to the first issue of our first three-issue volume of Projections. We begin this issue with a truly exciting collaboration between a filmmaker (and scholar), Karen Pearlman, and a psychologist, James E. Cutting. Cutting and Pearlman analyze a number of formal features, including shot duration, across successive cuts of Pearlman’s 2016 short film, Woman with an Editing Bench. They find that the intuitive revisions that Pearlman made actually track a progression toward fractal structures – complex patterns that also happen to mark three central pulses of human existence (heartbeat, breathing, walking).

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Tsvetana Boncheva

The article deals with the institution of ‘village nuns’, a form of religious celibacy among Bulgarian Catholics in the Plovdiv region during the first half of the twentieth century. The primary concern of this article is the structuring and functioning of the institution of village nuns, viewed from the perspective of the fractal dichotomy strategy–tactics, belonging to the paradigm of fractal dichotomies including religious culture–traditional culture, clergy/male celibacy-–nuns/female celibacy, masculinity–femininity. The sources used in the research are of different types: census registers, parochial books, civil registers of births and deaths, household registers, property tax registers, various publications of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria, and ethnographic field material collected by the author. The methodology employed combines various qualitative methods: the gatekeeper and snowball methods, structured and semi-structured interviews, the biographical method and the comparative method. The analysis shows that the nuns’ institution can be treated as a turning point at which female tactics turn into strategies and bring about certain power shifts affecting gender relations.

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Learning to See in Western Amazonia

How Does Form Reveal Relation?

Els Lagrou

Through the study of form, we explore how relations constitute persons for the Huni Kuin of Western Amazonia. Shamanistic song, and the role in it of patterned design, reveals a specific aesthetics that emphasizes processes of becoming, transformation, and figure/ground reversal. Since bodily substances and actions of others affect the ‘thinking body’, well-being depends on making visible the relational network that exists inside and outside one’s embodied self. An aesthetic battlefield unfolds where the doubles of ingested substances invert the predatory relation and come to envelop the ‘eye soul’ of the one who ingested them with their design and ornaments. This setting allows us to address the fractal quality of personhood and the permanent disequilibrium between symmetrical and asymmetrical relations in Amazonia.

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Tiina Ann Kirss

reciprocity would allow hope to enter, hope which cynicism always deems excessive, thus erroneous. Nevertheless the same hope, albeit fractal and tentative, is too precious to relinquish altogether; as such hope is likelier to stimulate gestures of compassion

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‘No More Let Life Divide…’

Victorian Metropolitan Confluence in Penny Dreadful

Sinan Akilli and Seda Öz

stating that ‘[m]uch as each level of a fourteenth-century Old Goth cathedral replicates itself geometrically from the one beneath it in an infinitely divisible fractal sequence, the Gothick has kept on reproducing its overarching form’. 56 Similarly, by

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The Possibilities of Failure

Personhood and Cognitive Disability in Urban Uganda

Tyler Zoanni

dividual’, and Roy Wagner (1991) the ‘fractal person’. Across differences of terminology and emphasis, what discussions of personhood in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Melanesia share is a focus on contexts where social relations are seen as prior to

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Cyrus Shahan

use of time to instead release sounds subversively fractal in their complexity. Listening to “Home Taping is Killing Music” is not, however, as esoteric as the Brontologic would hint. The tracks are rhythmic in more or less consumable ways, they do not

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New Horizons for Sustainable Architecture

Hydro-Logical Design for the Ecologically Responsive City

Brook Muller

increasing surface area, create a “fractal” cooling effect that enables dramatic downsizing of mechanical equipment. For Rana Creek Living Architecture, it means creating green roofs that operate as seed banks for native wildflowers and grasses that