The fascination of Dragon ball Z

Goku, Violence, Fascination

The fascination of Dragon Ball Z is in between a strong inner pictures and a heightened readiness to resort to aggression.

Since decades one of the most popular trends in children’s culture is Dragon Ball Z. Boys are fascinated by the characters, by their strength and invulnerability. They integrate the series into their fantasies in order to feel more secure or to be able to control themselves better, but also for reasons of self-defence.

The series made its triumph especially through German children’s culture: In long-drawn-out scenes brutal attacks between ludicrous heroes are presented, with a minimum of any other action. There is no lack of hacked-off body parts, pain, and death resulting from the fights. As in other countries, the programmes were an absolute hit in terms of ratings in Germany as well – especially with boys.

But what is it that fascinates children and pre-teens about this series?

In all the responses of the Dragon Ball Z fans seems that the fighting and the fighters are clearly dominant. That is what they like about the series, what they talk about, what they copy in their games and what they dream about.

Dragon Ball Z, Violence, Fascination

For those who watch the series regularly Dragon Ball Z becomes part of their fantasies. It is extremely difficult to examine the extent to which this is expressed in real-life behaviour. Not only are changes in behaviour in everyday life difficult to observe and interpret; an unidirectional link to television cannot be reliably established, as the connections are far too complex. Nor can we give a reply to this matter in this study.

Dragon Ball Z may contribute to an inner willingness to act aggressively. There is no simple connection of effects between a violent series and aggressive behaviour. The connection is more complex – but it does exist. In our sample there is only the idea of being able to fight in some of the children.

It is known from research into boys that boys (in Germany) feel threatened (by other boys). With the inner pictures which they gain from Dragon Ball Z they feel better prepared for these threats. In this case their strength is based on the willingness to resort to violence, and the means of solving the conflict is physical fighting. What they fail to realise is that, on the other hand, their heightened willingness to resort to violence turns them into a potential threat to others. A cycle of aggression is the result, which is certainly problematic from an educational point of view.

However these inner pictures of strength encourage self-control, without directly endangering others or setting off a cycle of aggression. From an educational viewpoint these are certainly positive inner pictures, which help individuals to deal firmly with themselves and with their feelings.

It again emerges that the connection between television and what children make of it is very complex. Even from a series like Dragon Ball Z the children and pre-teens make something positive for themselves.

Dragon Ball Z, Fascination, Violence


Aesthetic Violence


The aesthetic violence is “cathartic,” “good for the soul.”

Aristotle suggested that certain fictions are indeed capable of arousing audience emotions to such high intensities that the emotions exhaust themselves. Consequently, the audience feels becalmed, relieved, refreshed: purged. Watching Oedipus Rex, we fear the hero’s transgressions (killing his father, marrying his mother) but pity his suffering (he gouges out his eyes). By story’s end, we have spent our fear and pity, and leave the theater lightened.


Quentin Tarantino was one of the first to portrait the aesthetic of violence in his movies: Tarantino has been careful to distinguish between the artificial violence of his films and actual carnage. In an interview on NPR, he claimed that viewers are tired of movies on slavery or the Holocaust that depict only pain. They welcome fiction in which the victims rise up to be “the victors and the avengers,” “paying back blood for blood.”

 Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained depicts a freed American slave taking bloody revenge on cruel slaveholders.

Tarantino with this movie doesn’t want to fashion himself as a tragedian when, in a recent CNN interview, he aligned his cinematic violence with Shakespeare’s bloodier strains. Regardless, an abyss divides Django Unchained from Hamlet, a typical tragedy in which the hero and other innocents meaninglessly suffer and die, and the ending is grim.

Tarantino’s bloodshed in Django Unchained is instead perfectly comical, and far beyond his famous black humor. The comedy is structural: the hero slays the evildoers, avenges the innocent who suffered, and enjoys an upbeat conclusion. Perhaps this solacing aesthetic is the reason Django Unchained is Tarantino’s highest grossing film to date.

Most Hollywood violence is too meaningful to be disturbing. Actual brutality often escapes meaning, and this is one reason it unsettles.

Is there an artistic middle ground between commercial and actual violence? Can a film director meaningfully represent violence without making it cartoonish? Can he capture atrocity without traumatizing audiences?

The late David Foster Wallace believed that Tarantino, even in his chilling ear-severing scene, is not this director. David Lynch is. For Wallace, Tarantino is addicted to style for style’s sake: he just wants “to see somebody’s ear getting cut off.” In contrast, David Lynch “is interested in the ear.” Lynch “knows that an act of violence in an American film has, through repetition and desensitization, lost the ability to refer to anything but itself. This is why violence in Lynch’s films, grotesque and coldly stylized and symbolically heavy as it may be, is qualitatively different from Hollywood’s or even anti-Hollywood’s hip cartoon-violence. Lynch’s violence always tries to mean something.”

Take Lynch’s own famous severed ear, in Blue Velvet, from 1986. The film’s protagonist, Jeffrey, discovers a detached human ear in a field behind his house. From the moment he picks it up, he falls into a sinister mystery that ultimately forces him to face the evil hidden in his own interior.

Such revelations, common in Lynch’s cinema, make us “acutely uncomfortable,” because they drive down into our own dark regions—spaces Hollywood usually helps us escape. But intimacy with this inner ghastliness can generate meanings far more complex and productive than those cozy significations of the multiplex. To examine our inmost evils is to learn about complicated morality outside the clichés: the challenges of personal responsibility, empathy, rectitude, generosity.

ear, violence, aesthetic


In a number of contemporary artists whose works deal with the digital — the so-called post-internet artists — a marked, almost frightening feature is their tendency towards violence.

Post-internet art reflects a certain undercurrent of violence without being didactic about its source.

The figure, which had been largely absent from contemporary art for the past few decades, has returned, but only to be pulled apart, dissected or made to disappear — not with any visible bloodshed or abjection, but clinically, echoing in style the unreality associated with the digital. This return to the body as a subject of hostility suggests that the proximity on the Internet to representations of extreme violence is a kind of imbrication — an unresolved culpability from those watching toward what’s seen.

Ed Atkins, Ribbons, 2014

The main characters of Ed Atkins’s digital videos, for example, are cadavers or hard-drinking, tattoo-laced men who clutch glasses of whiskey and cigarettes in desperate need of being ashed. In Ribbons (2014), a head deflates as if perforated by some invisible hand. In Us Dead Talk Love (2012) and Those Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths (2013), the figures ruminate poetically on being dead. The disembodied head of Us Dead Talk Love mourns, specifically, an eyelash stuck in foreskin, while images of statues, hair and eyes go by — a digital dismemberment of the body.

The viral marketing campaigns of ISIS are only the most recent example of how the Internet links us to situations of extreme violence, offering us a unique means to become aware of them.

This is something that Hito Steyerl, in both her videos and her writings, has repeatedly pressed: the connection between the experience of digital media and the physical violence of the world. Suggesting the culpability between the passive Internet user, consumer or spectator and the violence wrought by political and economic inequities, she refuses to bracket off artistic production from the economy and political situations that support it.

Hito Steyerl
Hito Steyerl

Her video In Free Fall (2010) in particular demonstrates how sites of apparent digital illusion are tied to the real world. She traces a specific Boeing passenger plane that had been sold to the Israeli air force in the 1970s, where it took part in hostage rescue missions against the PLO, to a junkyard where it was bought by a special effects team. It is, in fact, the plane in Speed that Keanu Reeves blows up. What was left of the plane after the movie’s filming was then sold to China to make DVDs. The spectacular violence of Speed, which viewers can revel in as consequence-free entertainment, proves to be part of a wider material network of real violence and the precarization of labor.

We do not actually lose our bodies, even if we watch immaterial representations of them.

The on-site experience of watching the videos — in a line of inquiry derived from the 1970s — focuses attention not only on the immaterial projections but on the seated and viewing bums as well. Atkins deliberately makes the experience of watching his videos physically charged, with their aural and visual impact pegged up to full blast.

In many ways, the abstraction of the affronts to the body perhaps accounts for the widespread popularity and resonance of post-internet works: They reflect a certain undercurrent of violence without being didactic about its source. It also speaks to the generalized existence of trauma online, of viewing actual deaths and stories about massacres and war in the context collapse of the internet. Violence is general over the world, and navigating the Internet as avatars makes it impossible to deny that we are within it.

Post Internet, violence,body

Wolfgang Tillmans: the politics of a violent world

violence, politic, Wolfgang, tillmans

During his new his new solo show at the Tate Modern, the famous photographer, Wolfgang Tillmans approaches themes referred to political negativity in the contemporary society and its violent system of constrictions.

The exhibition was a wide retrospective of his last 14 years of work: portraiture, still life, magazine work, video, abstract photography, audio and collage. Subject-wise, he deals in intimacy, modernity, post-truth politics, globalisation and even the gentrification of London.

Wolfgang Tillmans Press View, Tate Modern Boiler House, Level 3, 14/02/2017

These political points are achieved by subtle interactions between images, repeated motifs and themes – Tillmans even does away with the usual labels next to each image, to better encourage the flow of associations between them. Most images, additionally, are unframed, fixed to the wall by tape or bulldog clip. The result is a stream of large and small photographs that is artfully managed and meticulously planned by Tillmans, who curates his own exhibitions, obsessively playing with picture arrangements first in an architectural maquette of the space and then in the exhibition rooms themselves to achieve the right balance.

Last year he became the art-world poster boy for the Brexit Remain Campaign, designing T-shirts with stay slogans, and speaking publicly about his grief over the result.

“I think it was definitely the biggest thing that I have experienced in my life, as a moment in history,” he reflects. “Of course the fall of the Berlin Wall was a total historic sea change, but if you think about the Western world, post-war, what is going on now is the biggest upheaval. Our free, liberal way of life is under full on attack at the moment, and I feel extremely worried. There are forces all working together, even if they seem opposed; Islamists hate gays and are anti-women, Putin wants the woman back at home and hates gays, far-right Americans hate gays and they hate Hillary because she’s a woman. It’s a vengeful tide,” he says solemnly.

Tillman’s Truth Study Centre – part of the new Tate exhibition – reflects on how he’s feeling about politics right now, which is that there’s a desperate need to cut through the noise.

The project started in 2005 with a show in London at Maureen Paley and it consists on an overview mixed media, laid on simple wood tables. The idea of laying out elements on a flat horizontal came from the obvious realisation that a table provides a space for a loose arrangement, where things are laid out in a certain way, but can be easily rearranged. On a wall you have to pin or tape the stuff, but a table is more fluid. There is clarity and complete contingency at the same time.

He had worked with found newspapers since years and actually he confessed to collect them since childhood.


“I was enraged and concerned and spending a lot of time reading media and thinking about all these different claims to the truth, ‘the big truth’ which was the ultimate justification behind all that violence and those wars. I realised that all the problems that the world faces right now arise from men claiming to possess absolute truths.”

Europe [Anti]Heroes

EU, blue, anti [hero]

In a period in which nationalist sentiments are overtaking against a potential cosmopolitan future, a minority of [Anti]Heroes are voiced the desire to support Europe.

The flag trend was sparked by a European Union in crisis, not unlike the way Americana swept the New York Fall 2017 runways in response to the U.S.’s own political backdrop. The fallout from Brexit shed light on the growing nationalist sentiment in countries like France, where current presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is running on the platform to abandon the EU.

It doesn’t stop there: Politicians in Finland are reportedly pushing their own Brexit, known as “Fixit,” while earlier this year, Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders (who draws comparisons to President Donald Trump in both looks and agenda) also voiced a desire to leave the Union. Of late, the call to exit has dominated the narrative, but there is also strong opposition. Back in March, pro-EU demonstrations took place in more than 40 cities. And what were some of those participants wearing? Nothing less than the EU flag.

Chances are, you’ve seen apparel featuring the EU flag popping up on your social media feeds as of late. The brand responsible for this swell of continental pride is Eurotic, the self -proclaimed ‘official unofficial EU souvenir store’. Founded by duo Valter Torsleff and Lea Colombo, the brand aims to subvert the classic model of the gift shop. Whereas souvenir shops tend to carry ephemeral paraphernalia – either cheap approximations of popular attractions or garish apparel manufactured an ocean away – Eurotic is offering souvenirs with a message. This post-modern take on an underutilized fashion niche is really getting people’s attention.

EU, Blue, Anti [hero]

According to Törsleff, Eurotic is a direct reaction to Brexit, the United Kingdom’s controversial decision to leave the EU.

“For us, the European Union has always stood for openness and togetherness across our borders—the feeling of being united and open is something that our imagery tries to portray,” he says. “Growing up in the European Union and the freedom of movement that it has given me, I found it strange that people were repelling something that has been a guarantee for peace and stability for the last couple of generations.”

Eurotic has an ironic approach to nationalism beyond borders and with their souvenirs they are trying to make a statement to keep for future generations: fashion is addressing politics and they stands as the [Anti]heroes of this contemporary scenario



Color is how visually we perceive our reality and it is an essential component in storytelling: red for instance seems to be the color in which we have the strongest reaction to, which can be both used as a depiction of hate and cruelty, or showing passion and love.

There are principles of aesthetic and symbolism behind colors that create psychological reaction into the viewer.

There are not written rules that explain how we have to use colors, however, using certain colors in a certain way, can create evocative atmosphere and associations. Indeed the repetition of specific colors throughout the film can let the viewer associate that color to certain subjects or ideas.


An example of movie

We need to talk about Kevin’ is a 2011 British-American psychological thriller drama film directed by Lynne Ramsay, and adapted from Lionel Shriver’s novel of the same name. Tilda Swinton stars as the mother of Kevin (represented by Ezra Miller), struggling to come to the term with her son and the horrors he has committed.

The entire movie is about very violent themes that features almost zero violence. However the constant presence of the color red reminds to the audience that since the beginning of the movie, violence is a key element.

The use of the colour red makes sure that the idea of blood constantly remains in the audience’s mind. One of the most dramatic images comes at the start of the film where Eva (Tilda Swinton) is submerged in a sea of red while taking part in the Spanish tomato festival, La Tomatina.


The red suggests both the birth of her son Kevin and Kevin’s violence as a teenager. Covered in tomatoes, Eva is stained by Kevin’s actions, just as her house has been aggressively sprayed with red paint. The opening tomato festival scene also establishes Eva’s love for travel, freedom and adventure, all of which were taken away from her when Kevin was born – ndr.this plants the suggestion that Eva is wrestling with the possibility that Kevin became who he is because of her resentment towards him -.