'identity'

Alan Sondheim – Last Wine

31st October 2013 by michael
arts | experimental | identity | memoir | memorial | memory | narrative | performance | portraiture | sondheim | video



Last Wine (2013, 96MB, 2:50 min)

Anyone who has followed DVblog for any time at all will know how much we
admire & value the work of Alan Sondheim.
He commands a huge range of technique and tone in both his writing and moving
image work. At one point of his compass there is the fiercely cerebral; at
another a rich humour & at yet another a sense of fellow feeling with, a
striving to understand some of our most puzzling and yet everyday feelings
and states of mind.
Things we’ve all encountered in relationships with family, friends and strangers.
This is a particularly moving piece, the more so because of its uncertainty of tone
- its enactment of the sad awkwardnesses of human interaction.


Lucy Mills – Simply British

30th March 2013 by michael
activism | arts | event | experimental | historical | identity | observational | place | politics | sports | video



Simply British (2013, 77MB, 4:03 min)

Hi Lucy
I think it’s really good. Who did the Hard Day’s Night remix?
I really like the way it is clearly a powerful comment on lots of things to do with the contrast between Britishness & flag waving and national hubris &c. and the actual situation for many people, but it’s never simply a piece of agit-prop.
At first I thought its slowness in unfolding might be a problem but I like the way it makes us take the time to think, with the various repeated images (like the bus with the slogan on it) but also with different material developing against the background you establish, especially the ever present and heartbreaking Big Issue guy – it turns out to be slow burning as opposed to slow. I also like the 90 degree rotation of some of the stuff and the way that then fits rather nicely into empty-ish spaces in the other “channel”. Great work – congratulations!
michael


Betty Martins – I Wasn’t always Dressed Like This

29th March 2013 by michael
activism | arts | collaboration | community | documentary | education | identity | music | politics | portraiture | trailer | video



I Wasn’t always Dressed Like This [Trailer] (2013, 120MB, 1:42 min)

If the substantive piece (which I gather is about 33 minutes in length) is
anything like as good as this trailer promises it will be stunning.

This has all the hallmarks of the previous piece by Betty Martins – When the Souls Arrive – we posted here : beautifully made, scrupulously attentive to those being observed/interviewed but with its own quite particular gentle and steely authorial stamp.
(I usually hate anthropomorphising art – you know the thing, ‘this piece investigates’ &c. – except here
I am sorely tempted to say that Martin’s work ‘knows how to listen’. Of course what I mean is Martins knows how to listen, carefully and empathetically, and then to re-configure parts of that listening and looking and understanding too as moving image soaked with detail and feeling.)
In addition the subject matter could not be more timely: a broadside of delicate
beauty in the face of bigotry.


Morrisa Maltz – Character 3/3 – Iris

12th October 2012 by michael
arts | audio | conceptual | dance | experimental | identity | new media art | performance | poetry | portraiture | video


character_1_1
Character 3/3 – Iris (2012, 67MB, 1:20 min)

Last one of three and all a pleasure to post and to view.
Here’s to lots more work from Morrisa.


Lucy Mills – Sunday Afternoon Narcissism

1st October 2012 by michael
arts | conceptual | experimental | identity | new media art | observational | performance | technology | video


sunday afternoon narcissism
Sunday Afternoon Narcissism (2012, 190MB, 2:46 min)

Hypnotic and disorientating chunk of enchantment from London artist
Lucy Mills.
Only one cavil and that’s the title – the self-deprecation involved might
serve to camouflage the actual richness of this piece, at least from the
casual viewer*.

Let’s be optimistic and assume careful viewing, which work of
this quality certainly merits.

* Although, on reflection, the ‘Sunday Afternoon’ also suggests a certain
dreamy languor quite in keeping with just how gently ravishing it all is.


Subversion at Cornerhouse

24th April 2012 by michael
arts | exhibition | historical | humor | identity | landscape | music video | narrative | performance | place | poetry | politics | portraiture | satire | trailer | video


Larissa Sansour: A Space Exodus
Larissa Sansour: A Space Exodus ( Clip) (2009, 7MB, 1:15 min)

Tarzan and Arab: Colourful Journey (Trailer)
Tarzan and Arab: Colourful Journey (Trailer) (2010, 11MB, 1:38 min)

Here are two clips from videos featured in the excellent Subversion show,
featuring artists from the Arabic speaking world, currently on (to 5th June) at
Manchester’s Cornerhouse.
It is carefully, elegantly and thoughtfully curated by Omar Kholeif, who writes:

“Like many of the artists I was looking at, I felt that collectively
curators and writers associated with the politically unstable Arab world were
being asked to step up and perform to an identity that the world wanted us to play.
With Subversion my aim was to do just the opposite. I worked with artists who
referenced this very language but who wanted to dissent, poke fun, critique
and re-define themselves as artists of the imagination, and not of any specific
social or political condition.”

It has to be said that this bending of the stick is eminently successful – none
of the works included has any taint of tokenism, they are rich with a poetry,
humour and humanity that cuts entirely across any notional cultural divide.
Where they do focus upon political subject matter (and one should not form the
impression that this is a show with, in any sense whatsoever, its political teeth pulled)
what delights is the richness and the playfulness with which this is done.
Larrisa Sansour’s “A Space Exodus” is both gentle and devastating.
Gentle, the Sansour persona (and we’ll have another piece of hers next week)
presented in the work, with the rather stylish space suit, the wistful smile and wave
towards the far away earth, having planted the Palestinian flag on the moon:
“That’s one small step for Palestinians, one giant leap for mankind”.

Devastating when one sets this gentleness by the side of what we know of the Apartheid
wall, the illegal settlements, punishment demolition of Palestinian homes &c.
(Anyone who doubts the piece’s political impact should take a look at the vile racism
of some of the comments on the YouTube posting of this clip
- “Send all the Palestinians to the moon” &c.)

The other piece featured here is from the Gazan twins Ahmed and Mohamed Abu Nasser,
known professionally as “Tarzan and Arab”.
Although (in a disarming interview in which they come across a bit like a smiley
and un-terminally-corroded-by-snotty-cynicism younger version of the Chapmans)
they assert the piece is in some sense about internecine Palestinian conflict,
to me it reads more like a balletic paean of love to the cinema, to the
moving image (including perhaps the video game too – what do you think?).
Until last year Tarzan and Arab had never been to a cinema and have largely
been unable to attend screenings of their own works abroad.
In fact their first works, also shown at Cornerhouse, were old style film posters
for non-existent movies
, all given titles from the names of Israeli military
operations: Defensive Shield, Cast Lead &c.(as, indeed, their film has too).

There is a great deal more to this show, which covers diverse geographical slices
of the Arabic speaking world and where therefore the interaction between life
and art has a different tempo and character to the works by the Palestinian
artists discussed here.

And it’s all great – I don’t have space here to properly do the whole thing justice.
In particular, though, I do want to mention Akram Zaatari’s two luminously beautiful
films set in the milieu of gay life in Beirut – though again to outline them thus,
in one line, in terms of “topic”, is to oversimplify – we must distinguish between
ostensible topics and the dense, lyric and dazzling poetry which they engender.
Also Khaled Hafez’s wonderful short “On Presidents and Superheroes”
(yet another political context, that of a staggeringly prescient augury of a victorious
but still contested Egyptian revolution) but I simply am going to just mention it as I
hope to write something a little bit more extended about it when I post a clip here (soon!).

If you possibly can, do yourself a big favour and go and see this show; give
yourself plenty of time, there’s a lot to see and some of the moving image work
is quite lengthy (and hats off to Omar Kholeif for achieving installations of
works that are appropriate, thought provoking and, somewhat banally but importantly at my age, comfortable.)
If you’re travelling from out of town (and I urge you so to do, dear reader, I urge you)
you can also catch the tremendous Roger Ballen show at the Manchester Art gallery,
which is a whole other story.

I’ll be returning to Subversion both here and in a somewhat more extended piece
of writing for MIRAJ next year.


Irina Birger Thinks Drawing is Important

25th November 2011 by doron
arts | identity | memoir | participatory | photography | portraiture


ibtdii
Irina Birger Thinks Drawing is Important (2010, 93 MB, 3:20 min. excerpt)

“What is the essence of a photograph, or more precisely, of an ID photo, portrait or viagra usa self- portrait ?
You could almost ask, what is the essence of art. Or, what is the essence of life? That time always passes.
As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it in the 5th century BC, Panta Rhei, ‘Everything changes,
nothing remains still’. In the short video film ‘Irina Birger Thinks Drawing is Important’, Irina Birger
provides her answer to such questions.
A waterfall of self-portraits taken from photo albums belonging to her, her family and circle of
acquaintances, creates an ingenious, dizzying autobiography of the artist through the years.

We see the stereotypical development of the artist influenced by the history of art, from classic to
contemporary, and by the places where she has lived in her nomadic existence, from communist
Russia, the former Yugoslavia at the beginning of the civil war there, Israel during the Second Intifada and Germany after its reunification, to her present but certainly not final destination: the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

There’s a pinch to these moving images, where the essences of film and photography converge and clash. In a similar manner Birger’s life collides with the wrenching history of conflict zones and the sometimes difficult existence as an artist. ‘Drawing is Important,’ she posits at the end, her answer in this photo-turns-film project to the question of how she holds her own in life” (Text by Vera Stiphout)

by Irina Birger.


Will Goss – Sonnet by William Shakespeare

22nd November 2011 by doron
animation | arts | collaboration | humor | identity | participatory | poetry


sonnet
Sonnet by William Shakespeare (2011, 64 MB, 2:31 min)

“Here is a video I made a few months ago.
It’s a recitation of Shakespeare’s #135th sonnet.
In the background are Dexter Dalwood’s paintings,
which are collaged from other famous paintings.
The piece engages ideas of appropriation and identity.”
A beauty by Will Goss.


Ruth Catlow – As I Looked Up…

9th November 2011 by michael
arts | conceptual | experimental | identity | landscape | music | new media art | performance | place | poetry | video


as i looked up
As I Looked Up (2011, 32MB, 2:23 min)
A co-director of the formidable Furtherfield, Ruth Catlow charms
and something more – something to do with the urgency and vulnerability
of performance and the importance of memory, of a sense of place – in this
fragile & lovely elaboration of an Ivor Cutler song.
Things its difficult to put your finger on but which go right to our core;
pointing to - literally singing – those things being in the ‘artist’ job description…

First of three. Two more pieces, just as delicate, just as necessary, to come.


Two from Marcin Rychlicki

10th June 2011 by michael
animation | arts | identity | music video | performance | video


C Point Video
C Point (2011, 32MB, 1:15 min)

cyberhero
Cyber Hero (2011, 43MB, 1:25 min)

My name is Marcin Rychlicki, , I’m 29 years old and
I live in Warsaw. For nearly three years I’ve been
creating videos for the Internet under the names
DJ Gacmaster and GacPax. An important element
of my movies is music. For some of them ,
for example, ‘Cyber Hero’, I composed it myself.
I’m trying to combine traditional music video with
the unconventionality of video art. From 2001
to 2006 I was a drummer in hardcore band C. Point.
I made this video for one of our songs: ‘Today’

*****************************************************

Both pieces great but C Point is a particular delight.
(My prejudice showing through of course, but I don’t
generally associate this musical genre with the kind
of gentle wit on display here.)
Not sure I completely understand Cyber Hero which is
apparently some sort of rejoinder to this (Huh?), but I
love the music.