When I grow up, I’m going to write just like the Defamer.
Meant to post this earlier, but Christmas chaos has diminished my efficiency. The Inspiration Room has featured the arresting work of Seven Meters in Copenhagen, including some commentary by founder Jens Galschiot. Their grim and dramatic statues were installed around the city for the COP 15 Summit on Climate Change. Much of the work deals with the issue of climate-driven displacement.
Hurrah, I have finally seen Elephant, Gus Van Sant’s award-winning 2003 film based on the Columbine school shootup. If I’d written this post last night, it would have been passionate, maybe all caps. I was a little stoned. Today, I am still inclined to post on it, but with the knowledge gained overnight that it hasn’t had the impact on me that I originally thought it had.
Strangely, I think both the immediate impact and its rapid dissipation come from the same feature of the film’s design: shallowness. Watching the slaughter of characters you’ve been getting to know for an hour or so is called Everynight TV, right? The reason you can yawn around between that and decorating and dancing shows, at the same time as you’re in IM on your laptop, is the artifice. You can recognize a Benz from the grill, and you can recognize a cop show from the music, cinematography and script cliches. You can only be so drawn into those stories, when you are constantly aware it’s Season 4 Episode 9. With Elephant, however, Van Sant presents you an unrecognizable scenario, in part by working improv with non-actors. But also by withholding dramatic devices which could be recognized as tropes: character arc, plot progression. The parts of your mind that normally turn off once they recognize the tropes, don’t turn off. You are observing more keenly. When the shit hits, you feel it more. Thing is, you developed no relationships, and you contemplated few or no concepts, so it doesn’t stay with you, like, in your heart. It stays in your brain as a masterful cinematic exercise, certainly. But you are untouched, ultimately, once the shock wears off.
And here is Gus Van Sant cutting the bugger on a FLATBED EDITOR. Divine.
Today, Motionographer sagely, generously directs us to revisit Tadonori Yokoo’s strange Kachi Kachi Yama. We take this direction, and we are grateful. And now we must spend some googletime trying to learn more about this guy so that we can more vividly imagine spending time with him in 1965. AND, we must begin hanging paper currency out the corner of our mouth like a dart all the time.
Why such an unreasonable demand? Only the premiere of a four hour screening of performances of women “repeatedly submerging and scrubbing the fabric they wear…effusive liquid emerging between their legs…” Never mind, you are free to come and go throughout. Still not persuaded?
Well. Surely you can spare a click or two to at least contemplate Amanda Coogan’s impressive body of work. How We Live Now tells me Coogan is a national treasure on the isle, and the website makes it easy to believe. Here, the Madonna performances, with the blunt offering of unglamorous breast. There, We Shall Glorify, Coogan lip synching while white powder is manually poured over her, eventually forming a conical pile on her head. Everywhere, shiny, colourful formalwear.
Coogan’s main thing is durational performance, brought nearly mainstream recently by Marina Abramovic. But she seems to believe that these performances can communicate after the fact, through pixels, as she’s invested her site with plentiful documentation: pictures, videos, writings.
I concur. We haven’t seen any of this live yet, and have juuuust missed the Yellow premiere. But I will be thinking about explaining the sea to an uneaten potatoe for a while (above, thanks kDamo).
I enjoyed this comparison of the aesthetics of bike stands around the globe. Montreal is experiencing the predictable Bixi backlash (“they take up so much room”, “eyesore”, etc.), and the images in this piece lend some perspective, I thought.
Great images and commentary from TED Fellow Puneet Rakheja on this Blindboys street exhibit.
I have not seen anything like this, and I would like to see more. I expect a lot of viewers would find the second half too long and slow, but I would like to be able to invent a potion that would enable anyone to quiet down to the place where you can just dream along with that second half, enjoying the alien voice of the shaman tiger ghost and the shimmering of the tree over the transfiguring cow in the jungle night.
Addendum: the first half is completely different aside from featuring the same two actors in roles that may or may not be related to their roles in the second half. It feels more conventional, in that a lot more is going on, and yet it is also unlike most things I’ve seen. It feels at once naive and worldly – not just in the innocent, near-chaste relationship between two gay guys, but in all of its facets: the dialogue, the production values – it could be amateur documentary, except for the regular sense of the poetic voice and crafty hand of the author here and there. Wow, check out that sentence. Anyway. The first half is wonderful in its own way, and I neglected to mention it earlier because the second half is kind of a show stealer.