Wednesday, March 12, 2008

May 2005 - March 2008

Thanks, folks. It's been invaluable.
But over the last year I've grown more and more tired of the sound of my own voice.
And besides, the garden is beckoning. It's springtime isn't it?

I'm going to go outside for a bit.

For the regulars.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My pal Jennifer McMackon is showing her new eight channel video project "Mansions" at Harbour Front Centre in Toronto this friday evening. I can't make it because I live 9,452 kilometers away, but if you live in Toronto you have no excuse.
Hello garden, so long produce section.
Two Hurt in View Towers Fire...

Fighting fires in View Towers, the 325-suite building on the corner of Quadra and View streets, presents unique challenges, said Matthews.

"There's been a couple of incidents over the years," he said. "It's a large building and it's laid out a little differently than we are used to. There's a high occupancy rate and the population tends to be a bit transient. Access is a bit of a problem."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

Great moment from Tom Dicillo's criminally underrated ode to the frustrations of independent filmmaking, Living in Oblivion.
The film is supposedly based on Dicillo's experiences making his first feature, Johnny Suede, which starred a very young and very difficult Brad Pitt (Oblivion's obnoxious lead Chad Palomino (James Legros) gives us a good hint of what that must have been like.)
See that look of shock and disbelief on Buscemi's face in the top link around 1:02, the one that gradually fades into a grimace of despair by 1:20? That look, I think, encapsulates Dicillo's reaction to feature-length filmmaking.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rackstraw Downes, Circumambulation Clockwise Of The Six Sided Bull Barn, Marfa, TX, (Six Part Painting) 2007.

"When you look at old art to learn about its language, you imbibe a taste for its imagery too, albeit unconsciously. You end up not painting the world you actually live in. People forget that in Constable’s paintings, the canals, the locks, the workman’s cottages are the equivalents for their time of our super-highways, clover-leafs, and public housing. The great nationwide system of canals was being built while Constable was painting—it was the latest thing in transportation. Now it’s about the end of the line in sentimentality."

"...I can’t paint a landscape without some notion of man being in there. Anyway, it’s impossible. When Ansel Adams went into Yosemite to find a place where there was no manmade structure at all, he was there with his camera! So the idea doesn’t work. Say you get up in the morning and you want to go on a hike in the mountains, when you are in the mountains, you say, "Oh look at that power line, it’s ruining the view." That doesn’t work for me, because when you get up in the morning, you take your electric shaver and shave with the electric power from that power line. Come on! Acknowledge it. That’s all I’m saying— acknowledge what we are doing, the kind of lives we really lead. That’s why I have these sub-stations. I’m very interested in the appearance of these sub-stations; they’re fascinating. But I’m also interested in the fact that this is the source of energy for most people; this is the way energy is being supplied to your house. The lights, the refrigerator, so much of your life, the tape recorder you’re recording on. So to deny it, to paint a landscape without electricity, is a little strange in a way. And I say I like to make friends with these things and find out what they’re about and how dirty really are they, and the fact that right next to the huge power plant there’s a bunch of egrets feeding in the water. There’s a kind of accommodation constantly being made between man and nature: nature, to me, is anything we didn’t make. But in another sense, nature includes those things we did make too—they’re all subject to the laws of nature."

Two great interviews with Downes here and here. The audio one is a treat. Downes is loud, boisterous and completely irrepressible - dorky even. He also talks about a mile a minute, exactly the opposite of what you would imagine from looking at the work.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Neil Young - For the Turnstiles, Roll Another Number, Live 1980-something.
courtesy Tom Tomorrow.

Tom says:

"That line at the very start, “Don’t relax too much, time’s going by, you know,” reminds me of a show I saw around this same time. I was visiting Boston at some point in the late eighties or very early nineties and managed to snag the very last ticket to an acoustic show he did in some little rundown theatre (a spring sticking up out of my chair ripped a hole in the ass of my jeans that night). But it was a great seat in the front row of the balcony, practically hanging right over the stage. Neil was trying out some new work and was getting a little impatient, as he tends to, with the audience calling out requests for old songs. At some point I remember him looking out and saying something like, “All right, all right, but when you walk out those doors it’s still going to be 1990,” or whatever year it was. Might have even been this same show, who knows."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Apart From That
Randy Walker & Jennifer Shainin

"It begins at a party, where the five principals are introduced in turn. They appear only vaguely familiar with each other, loosely linked by the neighborhood they inhabit. Some are of different ethnic types-a Native American road-striper, a Vietnamese banker and his adopted son-and in fact, one of the film's more satisfying qualities is its matter-of-fact portrait of a multicultural America. Yet far from unifying the narrative, this incident proves a departure point, with each of the plotlines subsequently unravelling like a ball of twine. We follow each character over the course of the subsequent 24 hours, and in the process, gain a sense of the complexity and contradictions of their everyday lives. At which point the film doesn't end, so much as merely stop. As befits something so apparently anti-narrative, the film displays a cumulative rather than linear power: a depth of feeling that comes from close observation and patient attention. "Evesdroppings," as the filmmakers put it."

-Shane Danielsen, Edinburgh International Film Festival.

To that I would add the following:

A cinematographic style that successfully balances formal, measured shots like this one (which bears a strong resemblance to a panoramic photograph by Scott Mcfarland or a video projection by Mark Lewis) with more kinetic, off-kilter scenes that reminded me of moving William Eggleston pictures, complete with saturated colour and subjective focus pulling.

An attention to the specific vernacular of Cascadia, that vague region encompassing everything from southern British Columbia to Northern California (the film is set somewhere in the vicinity of Munro, WA. by my guess.) The photographs of Shawn Records, similar in tone and content to the film, document this same region.

An assortment of wonderfully present actors, especially Alice Ellingson and Tony K. (Ties Me Up) Cladoosby (above), that manage to inhabit their difficult roles with grace and spontaneity. Cladoosby, in particular, is a sight for sore eyes; managing to make Leo (who could have been yet another Native American cipher, all message, no substance) funny, direct and utterly individual. Have a look at his 'actor's resume.' Nothing up the sleeve, as they say.

A consistently alienating, disconnected emotional tone to the proceedings, that gives way in the last fifteen minutes to a series of extremely subtle moments of spontaneous warmth and connection. Not a happy ending so much as a refusal to give in to despair.
100 Views - Addendum 01

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chris Engman, The Empty House, 2006

Courtesy, via, by way of...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Taping a Window


Reception: 6:00pm

Dinner & Program: 6:30pm

$500 Individual
$750 per Couple
$5000 Table of 10

An idea:

Leave the pots, pans, drums, didgeridoos, effigies, masks, costumes, crystal balls, fire-sticks, Free-Mumia posters, and 1920's union chants at home and come as you are.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The little known film adaptation of Ken Kesey's "Sometimes A Great Notion" - shown to me by my father when I was about 13 and lodged painfully in my memory ever since because of a single scene, played to devastating effect by Richard Jaeckel and Paul Newman.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

So long Roy Scheider, regular guest on ATLLT.

One for the road.
"Dead Man is a strange, slow, unrewarding movie that provides us with more time to think about its meaning than with meaning. The black-and-white photography by Robby Muller is a series of monochromes in which the brave new land of the West already betrays a certain loneliness. Farmer brings to the Indian a sweetness and a curious contemporary air (he talks like a New Age guru), and Johnny Depp is sad and lost as the opposite of Nobody - which is, I fear, Everyman. A mood might have developed here, had it not been for the unfortunate score by Neil Young, which for the film's final 30 minutes sounds like nothing so much as a man repeatedly dropping his guitar"

-the normally level-headed Roger Ebert weighs in on one of my favorite soundtracks of all time.

Monday, February 04, 2008

for James Affinito esquire, on the occasion of his olfactory renaissance.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Alison Yip, Two Bathers, 2007
collage on paper, 13 x 13 inches
Mr. Jamie Tolagson,

After a quick review of Jaws last night I was inspired to take to the internet. As I know you are a man who enjoys leaping Great Whites as much as myself I would like to offer up the attached pictures for your comment, found through this fascinating article.

I particularly enjoy the file 'shark08.jpg' as it brilliantly synthesizes one's fear of flying and one's fear of sharks into a remarkable Fear of Flying Sharks.

Sweet dreams,

Courtney Moore

Friday, February 01, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kelly Wood
Monica Grzymala

Curated by Jessie Caryl
18 January – 16 February, 2008

Catriona Jeffries Gallery
274 East 1st Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia
V5T 1A6 Canada

*Entrance at back lane*

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rodney Graham, “The Gifted Amateur, Nov. 10th, 1962” (2007)

Rodney, who is the gifted amateur?

He’s a fictional character: a professional in the midst of a midlife crisis who has just discovered art. He saw a 1962 Morris Louis exhibition at the Andre Emmerich Gallery and decided, “I’m going to give this a shot. Any idiot could do it.” At first, I was going to call him "the aficionado."

Tell me about the gifted amateur’s living room.

It’s a bit of a fantasy of males my age: The guy has a kind of Playboy Mansion bachelor pad. I looked at a lot of interiors in Architectural Digest. I wanted it to look like an upper-middle-class, West Vancouver adaptation of Richard Neutra-like architecture—a house built into the mountainside. And I wanted it to look like a decorator did it all. There’s no trace in the decor of any prior interest in art. The interest is a sudden explosion; there are art books piled up all over the place.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fischli & Weiss's The Way Things Go shambles it's way onto youtube, here and here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hundreds of stunning large-format photographs of the american war effort in WWII, at the Library of Congress Flickr site. Click to enlarge.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sunday, January 06, 2008

More Radically Still

"Art video still has a funny reputation, left over from the 1960s, of being a serious medium, made for function rather than pleasure, as opposed to film. Yet "I-Be Area" was pleasure all the way. It was non-stop visual razzle dazzle. It drew on every cheap-thrill trick in the digital graphics playbook.

More radically, it was the length of a feature film. More radically still, it told a story, one with dozens of characters and multiple subplots, which is what entertainment, not art, is supposed to do, if you assume there's a hard and fast difference between the two."

-Holland Cotter, "Video Art Thinks Big: That's Showbiz," New York Times.

I-Be-Area doesn't hit any of my 'pleasure' buttons (not from the excerpt available on the Times website anyway.) Stimulation, sure. Pleasure, no. Nothing wrong with that, but there is a difference.
Also not too sure about the idea of 'function' and 'pleasure' being mutually exclusive (Fischli & Weiss, Kevin Schmidt and Rodney Graham would definitely call foul.)
But the contention that there is something 'radical' in the making and showing of feature-length films with 'characters and sub-plots' is just plain loopy, and a sure sign that the art market is heading for a hyper-implosion of biblical proportions. The last time this brand of pseudo-naive, ahistorical thinking descended on the art world, things didn't end well.
Curators and artists have been screening films in art galleries for a long time without deluding themselves into thinking that the context of the screening had altered the medium itself. You don't have to be a confirmed 'Greenburgian' to grasp the common sense of this. I suspect the appeal of the current feature-length-film format lies in it's usefulness as an escape hatch from the discipline required to work in either 'art' or 'film.' If it doesn't work as art one can always claim film, and if doesn't work as film, well then, art. Either way the artist wins, the critique is deflected, and the work remains safely 'off-limits.' That's not radical, it's cowardly.

Roy Arden's Supernatural and Juggernaut are both included in his current retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I'd recommend them to anyone wondering about the difference between art and entertainment.

"I am not that interested in making narrative, or stories; I prefer short scenes or vignettes. I like to think of the videos as "appearances." I am very wary of video and film because I think art today is in danger of becoming entertainment. Art, under capitalism, is always being drawn toward the entertainment industry. I try to use video as a counter to entertainment, an anti-entertainment."

-Roy Arden

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Adam Harrison, An Artist Painting With The Aid Of An Overhead Projector, 2006.