We invite you to this original project from the graduate students, faculty, and friends of the Department of Culture and Communication at New York University- Counterblast: The e-Journal of Culture and Communication. This second issue brings together articles and reviews exploring a variety of cultural disciplines, including media analysis, history, art, architecture, music, and other significant channels of communication. Forthcoming issues will feature topic-specific themes as well as current events, and we plan to expand the website to include web art projects.

As I indicated in our flagship issue, our mission is to be a counterblast of sorts: we need a "counter-environment," as McLuhan proposes, "as a means of perceiving the dominant one." That is to say, we need to examine our media and information environments from the outside or from a critical distance, as it were, in order to come to some understanding of our times. Counterblast references the 1969 book Counterblast, a mosaic of probes, text, and visual puns written by Marshall McLuhan and designed by Harley Parker. McLuhan's book itself was a reference to a 1914 magazine of art and culture, BLAST, set up in heavy headline type, written and designed by Wyndham Lewis and his cohorts from the Rebel Art Centre in London.

"in the beginning" is an extension of Barbara Rose Haum's inquiry into the relationship between the mundane and the sacred, the public and the private rituals through which we form our intimate and social sense of place. Audience members are encouraged to actively take part in the forming of the piece throughout time. The interactive nature of this work has been captured on a dynamic web page that will allow the performances to continue through the use of digital and electronic media. Go To "in the beginning">>

Barbara Rose Haum's extraordinary work emphasizes the performative aspect of language by examining how values are constructed through text and, more specifically, through the ritualistic repetition of words. This piece transforms traditional readings of biblical texts, such as the Old Testament and the Torah, through the intertwining of contemporary narratives found in newspaper clippings and fairy tales. Integral to her research is the struggle to decentralize the authority of the text and express a desire to bring "nourishment" to language in order to open up the text to gendered and cross-cultural experiences.

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