Saturday, September 24, 2005

Meeting the UNITE Student Acommodation Students

This night we had a flat party with some of the students in my acommodation.
There were crazy reefers, strong drinks, and fine music.
One of the Norwegian students recommended watching the movie called "Kitchen Stories" by director Bent Hamer.

Synopsis of the film Kitchen Stories:

The film, which takes place during the 1950s, introduces a Swedish scientist, Folke (Tomas Norström), who travels to Norway to observe how a volunteer, Isak (Joachim Calmeyer), functions in his kitchen. It is Folke's job to map Isak's every movement in the kitchen so the results can be used to determine how to engineer a kitchen to best meet a single man's needs. (Similar studies really took place in Sweden and the United States during the 1950s, albeit with married women.)

Before beginning his work, Folke is given strict instructions not to interact with Isak. He is to sit in a high chair (one that looks a little like a lifeguard's perch) in a corner of the kitchen and watch. The theory is that Isak will go about his business as usual, oblivious to Folke's presence. The reality is that the presence of an observer - even a silent one - influences Isak's every action. This raises questions about how legitimate any study can be that relies upon supposedly impartial observation. Not only is it impossible for a human observer to be objective about a subject, but the subject will almost always act differently.

As one might readily anticipate from a movie of this sort, Folke and Isak, both of whom are loners, develop a friendship. It begins with a few innocuous questions and ends with Folke buying Isak a birthday cake and Isak letting Folke listen to the chatter of radio station broadcasts that can be heard coming through the silver fillings in his mouth.

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