UNESCO Courier

Articles from July-August

Architects of Disorder
RECENTLY-BUILT public housing estates cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as examples of haphazard design. On the contrary, they suffer from an excessive enthusiasm for order on the part of their planners. The order that reigns in...
A World Steeped in Music
|MODERNITY', in the most usual sense of the word, encompasses the world of today. It conjures up a picture of a perpetually moving technological universe stemming from the Industrial Revolution, in which humanity is a slave to machinery and feels anxious...
Green Gendarmes
IN France the gendarmerie is going green. In October 1992, Captain Emmanuel Bartier was appointed chief of a new environmental section. He claims, however, that there is nothing new about his mission, pointing out that "The gendarmerie Policed nature...
Mahmoud Mokhtar (1891-1934)
AT the beginning of the Muslim era in Egypt, the art of statuary, which had flourished to an outstanding degree during Antiquity, went into a long decline as a result of Islam's rejection of representations of the human figure on the grounds that they...
Micro-Mega
PARADOXICAL though it may appear, in an age when the characteristic modem trend is towards the gigantic, there is also a trend towards the very small, from Japanese bonsai trees to computer chips. Are they unconnected, or are they two different facets...
Modern Times, New Approaches
WE are confronted nowadays with an endless stream of new products and ideas--new brands of detergent, new biscuit flavours, the latest issue of the newspaper, new economic and social policies, a new world order--and we might be tempted to think that...
Oliver Stone
One of America's leading film-makers, Oliver Stone has won several Oscars for best film and best director. He has made many big hits, including Scarface (1983), platoon (1986), wall Street (1987) and JFK (1992). He follows political and social developments...
Pieces of Music, Music of Pieces
ACCORDING to contemporary scientific theory, a "Big Bang" originating from an infinitesimally small and dense object projected countless atomic particles into space, and these fragments, regrouping into an abundance of elements and matter, make up...
Rimbaud's Quest
RIMBAUD'S quest, which he described as a fabulous opera', radicalized and transformed the great modernist anguish which originated with Baudelaire. In Rimbaud and Baudelaire modernity found its most illustrious representatives and perhaps its harshest...
Santisima Trinidad, Memories of Slavery and Sugar
THREE hundred and eighty kilometres south-east of Havanti on Cuba's southern coast, a jewel of colonial architecture lies far from the bustle of the modem world. Backing onto the El Escambray massif, whose foothills, the Guamuhaya, take their name...
S.O.S. Climate - but Don't Worry
JULY 2893. A fleet of boats carrying participants to a climate conference unloads its passengers directly onto the twenty-sixth floor of the United Nations building in New York. The meeting is being held too late. As a result of global warming the...
Sound Barriers
IN the Tunisian restaurant in Montreal, the proprietor and his wife share a carafe of wine fitted with a spout from which they pour the wine directly into their mouths by raising and tipping it, in exactly the way the old wineskin would have worked....
The Devalued Image
IN times gone by images were drawn, engraved or painted on a physical support, in an enclosed space which took on meaning from the projection onto it of the latent physical attributes of the subject depicted. The way in which this space was organized...
The More Generation
THE aims of industry and commerce in today's world are to create more wealth and a wealthier population. Improved means of production have brought about overproduction and fierce international competition. While the mechanization of agriculture, mass...
The Sky Horizon
IN the beginning was the bird and the bird was in the sky, and earthbound humans sought to imitate it. In the words of the French poet Saint-John Perse, "The bird. . . by encouraging humans to fly, alone emboldened them afresh."(1) Once people...
The Spare Parts Syndrome
One of the marvels of modern medicine is its ability to repair people's lost or impaired bodily functions with artificial devices such as the pacemaker, the hearing aid, powered limb prostheses and the dialysis machine. Organ transplantation represents...
The Third Bank of the River
To reflect on modernity is necessarily to deconstruct a myth. But what are myths? It took us a long time to see them as anything other than the irrational outgrowth of primitive minds, but we now realize that they provide a framework within which societies...
The World Solar Summit
ACCORDING to forecasts by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), if world energy consumption were to continue at its 1990 level, oil reserves would last 46 years, coal reserves 205 years and natural gas reserves 67 years. In addition, the...
'They Could Have Done So Much, but Dared to Do So Little.' (Speech by Federico Mayor, UNESCO Director-General) (Transcript)
I am convinced that in the years ahead it is going to be essential to be able to train fully-fledged citizens, who will feel that unless they are participating in the life of their community they do not exist. And in order to exist, in order to exercise...
Traditions for Tomorrow
TRADITIONS for Tomorrow is a non-governmental organization which is active in most parts of Central and South America, where it supports the struggle of the descendants of the pre-Columbian peoples to preserve their cultural identity. it was founded...
When Less Means More
WHEN people describe their experience of communications technology and rapid intercontinental travel, they often say that we live in a shrinking world. This is an image: the world is not really shrinking. In a more literal sense, however, many of the...