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Reading list, January 2024

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Ai Weiwei, Kaws, and The Clash stand as cultural rebels challenging the status quo through art and music. Ai Weiwei's dissent against Chinese policies, Kaws' subversion of mainstream symbols, and The Clash's punk defiance weave a contemporary rebellion narrative. Beyond borders, hunger strikes echo the rebel archetype, resonating with Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent resistance spotlighted in "Veeram." Characters in "Hackers," "Fight Club," and "The Hunger Games" embody rebellion against societal norms, while Adbusters, Apple, and Benetton embrace the rebel archetype in their business narratives, challenging and reshaping societal dialogues on a global scale.


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Archetype → Rebel

Rasa → Veeram


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January 2024


Artistic expressions channelling archetype in rasa

  • Ai Weiwei's art serves as a powerful tool for dissent, challenging the Chinese government's policies on human rights, censorship, and political corruption. Particularly his art installations carry deep symbolism and political messages. They critique traditional Chinese culture and push the boundaries of what is acceptable within the societal framework. For example, his use of traditional Chinese materials subverts their conventional meanings to convey dissent; they become a form of language to communicate dissent and rebellion. Ai Weiwei has faced personal risks, including imprisonment, for his provocative art challenging the Chinese government. His willingness to endure such consequences underscores his commitment to the cause.

  • Artists like Kaws engage in subversive practices that challenge mainstream culture. While Kaws is not traditionally associated with political activism, his art disrupts and reinterprets popular symbols. It challenges the established narratives around iconic characters. By altering recognizable symbols, he prompts viewers to reconsider their preconceived notions about these figures. Kaws started his career as a street artist, creating unauthorized interventions in public spaces. This roots his work in a form of cultural disruption akin to the rebel archetype's challenge to authority. 

  • The Clash emerged during the punk rock movement of the 1970s and early 1980s, a genre known for its rebellious attitude and DIY ethos. They embodied the rebel archetype through their music, lyrics, and overall ethos. Their work resonated with a spirit of defiance, challenging societal norms and advocating for change. lyrics often delved into social and political issues of their time. Songs like "London Calling" critique the state of the world, addressing concerns such as nuclear threats, social unrest, and the impact of media. The band consistently took an anti-establishment stance, expressing scepticism toward authority and institutions. Their song "White Riot," for example, reflects a call for rebellion against racial tensions and the prevailing system. "Combat Rock," one of The Clash's most successful albums, features the rebellious anthem "Rock the Casbah." The song protests against cultural repression and celebrates the liberating power of music.


Published ideas of archetype in rasa

  • The 2021 article “Anatomy of a Hunger Strike” discusses hunger strikes as a form of protest. It outlines the risks and impacts on the human body during prolonged hunger strikes, emphasizing the potential physical and mental harm that hunger strikers face. The rebel archetype, as portrayed in "Veeram," and the individuals engaging in hunger strikes share some common themes related to defiance against authority, sacrifice for a cause, and a willingness to endure physical and psychological hardship.

  • The rebel archetype often involves defying oppressive forces. In Veeram, if the protagonist resists tyrannical rule or challenges societal injustices, it aligns with the archetype's spirit of rebellion against oppression. The 2019, National Geographic article titled: “How Mahatma Gandhi changed political protest” explores the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, focusing on key aspects of his journey as a leader and advocate for nonviolent resistance across the globe.

  • "No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies" by Naomi Klein explores the impact of globalization on corporate practices and the rise of powerful brand-driven culture. The book critiques the branding strategies that dominate the consumer culture, exposing the negative social and economic consequences of a world increasingly defined by logos and corporate power. Klein advocates for grassroots resistance and social activism to counter the influence of these "brand bullies" and promote a more just and ethical global economy.


Characters channelling archetype in rasa

  • The main plot of "Hackers" involves Dade Murphy and his group of friends uncovering and exposing a conspiracy involving a malicious hacker and a corrupt corporation. Dade, also known by his hacker alias "Zero Cool" and later "Crash Override," throughout the story continues to defy authority figures, including law enforcement, corporate entities, and schools. Dade's character embodies individualism and an anti-establishment sentiment. 

  • In "Fight Club," both Tyler Durden (a charismatic and anarchic figure who represents a rebellion against consumer culture and societal norms) and The Narrator, also referred to as Jack, (a cog in the consumerist machine, rebels against his dissatisfaction and disillusionment with modern life) can be seen as embodying aspects of the rebel archetype, although in different ways. His journey involves a psychological and existential rebellion against his own identity and societal expectations. While Tyler Durden is often considered the more overtly rebellious and anarchic character; his actions can be interpreted as a form of sacrifice for a perceived greater good or a radical reset of society.

  • Katniss Everdeen, in "The Hunger Games" trilogy, rebels against the oppressive Capitol in the dystopian world of Panem. Throughout the series, she makes personal sacrifices for the sake of the rebellion and ultimately becomes a symbol of resistance. Her willingness to sacrifice herself for others aligns with the heroic sacrifice within the rebel archetype.


Channelling the archetype in rasa for business

  • The Adbusters Collective is a media foundation known for its anti-consumerist campaigns and subversive artwork. They engage in culture jamming by creating satirical advertisements, encouraging people to question the influence of corporate branding and consumer culture. This parallels the rebel archetype in challenging established norms and resisting the influence of powerful entities.

  • Although Apple no longer channels the Rebel archetype, the company’s 1997 "Think Different" campaign celebrated iconic figures who challenged convention and changed the world. The campaign positioned Apple as a brand for rebels, free-thinkers, and innovators, aligning with the rebel archetype. By associating Apple with influential figures who had disrupted the norm, the campaign positioned the company which also thought beyond the ordinary. The campaign went beyond promoting Apple products; it emphasized the values and philosophy that the brand represented. It represented a departure from traditional marketing approaches. Instead of focusing on product features, Apple highlighted a broader brand narrative centred around the rebel archetype.

  • Benetton's advertising campaigns have often tackled social and political issues, challenging norms and sparking conversations. The "United Colors of Benetton" campaign, in particular, featured diverse models and addressed topics like race, gender, and social justice. Both the "United Colors of Benetton" campaign and the rebel archetype in "Veeram" challenge societal norms. By utilising controversy to make a statement, Benetton's ads could spark debate due to their provocative nature.




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