Friday, July 28, 2006

Christian Marclay - Video Quartet

I had the chance to sit and view this piece in person when I was in New York. To say it had a profound effect on me would be a laughable understatement.
So what is it? Basically: 4 massive video screens juggling a multitude of scenes from hollywood movies, old and new, in which music (or sound) is somehow being made. So- Jack Nicholson playing piano in "Five Easy Pieces," Jack Nicholson banging on his typewriter in "The Shining," Jane Fonda humming softly to herself in "Barbarella," Michael J. Fox jamming on his guitar in "Back to the Future," Janet Leigh pulling her shower curtain off of it's hinges in "Psycho."
600 individual film samples make up the 13 minute long piece, each one painstakingly positioned in relation to it's neighbours in time and key. That's right, it's a piece of music, not just a cynical mishmash of discordant elements. At times boisterous and jubiliant, the piece also runs through movements of delicate solemnity and ephemeral beauty. At one point all four screens come to rest on four piano players (four different music styles from four different films from four different time periods, all tentatively playing off of each other to create something utterly unworldly.)
The effect the piece had on the small group of people who I shared the floor with was inspiring to behold. Genuine smiles all around, the kind of smiles that people seem to beam out whenever they are witness to something that reminds them that art-the potential for art, is all around them.

A sneak peek at the new Frederick t-shirts MOMA will be unveiling come January, courtesy Chris Metze.
Kyath Battie goes wandering in Toronto's subway/ravine system in search of locations for her next film, and accidentally stumbles upon a portal that leads to the inside of Andrei Tarkovsky's brain.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"More gruesome film clips. And more puzzled intellectuals expressing their dismay over the systematic murder of millions. The reason they can never answer the question 'why did it happen?' is because it's the wrong question. Given what people are, the real question is 'why doesn't it happen more often?' - because it does, in subtler forms..."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

100 Views - 57

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The most astoundingly ill-informed conversation about sharks that I've ever been witness to, performed by a couple in their late twenties sitting directly in front of me on the ferry to the mainland:

Man: ...but if you were adrift at sea for a long time you would eventually just get eaten by sharks.

Woman: Honey, sharks don't eat people. That's a myth.

Man: Of course they do. What about that girl in Hawaii, the surfer?

Woman: That shark only took her arm. It didn't eat her.

Man: But it was going to. It would have if it could.

Woman: No, it wouldn't have. Human beings don't have enough protein in their bodies to satisfy sharks. That's why they always bite once and then let go.

Man: What do you mean people don't have enough protein? Of course we do!

Woman: (exasperated sigh) No, we don't. It's not enough to keep the shark alive. Sharks only eat certain animals that have enough, like sea turtles. The shark that attacked that girl in Hawaii was probably weak or sick, it's only the weak and sick ones that come close enough to shore to attack people anyway. It probably just took enough to survive.

Man: But don't sharks have to eat like a ton of food everyday just to survive?

Woman: No, that's another myth. They actually have to eat very little.

Man: Then why are there so many shark attacks on people?

Woman: Well, most of those attacks happen at night, when surfers are surfing at night, which you shouldn't do.

Man: Why not?

Woman: Because sharks sleep in the day and hunt at night. Sharks sleep on the bottom of the ocean in the daytime. But at night they come out, and in the darkness a surfer on a surfboard looks exactly like a giant sea turtle, which is a shark's favorite food.

Man: Yeah, I think I remember reading that somewhere.

Woman: So the shark bites once, realizes there isn't enough protein, and goes away. That's why most shark attack victims survive, the shark only takes a little.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

100 Views - 56

As of tomorrow morning I'm off to New York to help my old pal Jon J teach a 4 day painting workshop at a buddhist monastery up in the catskills. Seriously!
No posts till I get back on the 24th, so see you then.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

100 Views - 55

Friday, July 07, 2006

Jim Affinito writes to remind me that the CERN Particle Accelerator is actually underground, and that the image I posted is only a diagram of it's position laid on top of a photograph.
So the land art I was so excited about is still there, just hidden beneath the earth's surface. Is it just me, or does that make it even better?
Let me preface this by saying that I think Donald Shebib's Goin' Down the Road is a truly great film. It's particular brand of half scripted/half improvised social realism (actors interacting with non-actors on the street/scenes filmed in crowded, open bars) predates similar efforts by Larry Clark and Harmony Korine by about a quarter of a century. There is no judgement in Shebib's unsentimental treatment of his characters lives, and the film is largely devoid of directorial cues telling the viewer how to "feel." The ending (a darkened mirror image of the film's beginning) is quietly devastating. If you've ever wondered what those old timers living in the Vancouver downtown eastside were like as young men, it's all here.
BUT... for most of my life the only thing I knew about Goin' Down The Road was that it was the inspiration for SCTV's Garth and Gord and Fiona and Alice, one of the funniest spoofs on canadian culture I'd ever seen. So if you've never seen that, pull up a chair.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The CERN Particle Accelerator Complex, 27 kilometers in circumference, located on the border of France and Switzerland, and my new favorite piece of unintentional land art.
(Made famous in 1989 when a group of it's scientists, fed up with having to communicate via written letters and faxes, invented a weird new system of instant data transfer called the internet.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Stephen Gill - Trolley Portrait (purchased directly from the artist yesterday for 60 GBP. Thanks Stephen!)

"This serial spirit -- rampantly curious; egalitarian; largely made by wandering around - is something genuinely new in photography. Lots of recent projects seem animated by a similar impulse: Sylvia Grace Borda's Every Bus Stop in Surrey, B.C.; Adam Harrison's 365 Sketches; Jamie Tolagson's 100 Views; Robert Linsley's 100 Views of Mount Baker; my ghosts. These pictures are all encyclopedic descriptions of a particular culture or place, and they all cast as wide a net as possible, in the hope of snaring representations of things that haven't made it into more idea-driven picture-making. Gill's series "Invisible," and "Billboards" are my favorites of those profiled on his site, with"Lost" bringing up third place. Also note Gill's generous offers of free limited edition pictures; this too is an impulse derived from conceptualism. Gill might as well have stamped his free bank machine photographs COLLECTION PUBLIC FREEHOLD."

-Christopher Brayshaw, Anodyne.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

100 Views - 54
Check out the mind blowing title track of my pal Luke Gustafson's alt/psyche/folk/prog/roots magnum opus Let the Record Show, up now on myspace.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

100 Views - 53

Nothing like fielding penetrating theoretical questions from total strangers while trying to make photographs in sweltering mid-day heat:

Dude, what are you doing?

Just taking a picture.



There's nothing there. I mean, there's nothing there.

Sure there is. Lots of stuff.

(laughing) Cmon, there's nothing there. You're taking a picture of like...nothing.

Nah. I couldn't do that even if I wanted to.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

No, this is not my signed copy of Neil Young's classic vinyl only album Time Fades Away, it's simply the biggest jpg of the cover that I could find on the internet.

I've owned this album for a while, and I've always assumed that the photograph on the cover was taken in the middle of the concert. This morning I noticed that the crowd is actually leaving. That the house lights are on and the show is over. A few die-hards have stuck around at the front of the stage to throw flowers, flash the peace sign, and in the case of the young man directly above the stem of the rose, balance their noses precariously on the edge of the stage itself (check him out, he's funny.) But soon they'll be gone and the place will be empty. "Time Fades Away." Brilliant.
Well "duh" you say.
Hey, it takes me a while sometimes.