'politics'

Robb Bradely/Randy Newman – I’m Dreaming of a White President

10th October 2012 by michael
activism | arts | audio | collaboration | community | controversy | humor | music video | performance | politics | remix/mashup | satire | video | YouTube


 I
I’m Dreaming of a White President (2012, 15MB, 3:16 min)

Great bit of film-making to match a genius song.
But…but…
Of course you want Obama to win just
to wrongfoot the racists et. al. but you
can’t help wishing he’d actually done something
to merit the mad hostility of the rich, the bigots
and the terminally gullible.


The Framing of Luaty Beirão

20th July 2012 by michael
activism | documentary | documentary arts | music video | narrative | politics | video


History of the Demonstrations
History of the Demonstrations (2012, 211MB, 15:53 min)

Cuka
Cuka (2011, 35MB, 4:11 min)

Cuka
A Statement by Luaty Beirão (2012, 34MB, 7:05 min)

Three connected movies, which connect in a very direct way with the world about us.
For the last couple of years, simultaneously with the ‘Arab spring’ there have been
a number of similar movements around the world where ordinary folk have stood up for
the right to free speech and the right to a decent life, mostly both.
This happened on a small scale in the Southern African country of Angola where the inheritors
of the magnificent struggle against imperialism in the 70s seem to have forgotten their roots,
perhaps lulled by power and the good life it can bring to a few. A small but dogged and effective
campaign for democracy and against corruption, poverty and police state begaviour sprang up amongst
young people there.
The first video is a documentary relating the beginning, growth of this movement and subsequent
attempted government repression.
( You can find some more info , from Human Rights Watch, here)
Our second video is a track by the Angolan rapper Luaty Beirão, better known as Ikonoklasta
which is a tremendously entertaining bit of agit-prop against the regime.
It clearly struck home because the Angolan security forces have attempted to frame Beirão by
secreting a substantial amount of cocaine in a bicycle wheel in his possession on a flight
from Angola to Portugal.
The third video is Luaty Beirão’s statement upon and account of these events.
Watch the videos and draw you own conclusions – I do not for a moment believe Beirão is guilty
of anything except bravery and standing up to oppression.

We’ll leave you with these videos for the summer a reminder there’s art and there’s life and there’s
not a lot of space between.

We’re going to take a break until mid September-ish when we’ll be back with mostly
art videos but anything else that amuses, inspires or outrages us.
If you have stuff you think we’d like, send us links – we look at everything we’re sent.
It remains only to wish you all a nice and relaxing summer if you can manage it.


Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen

4th June 2012 by michael
activism | event | historical | music video | politics | video | YouTube


 Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen
Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen (1977, 80MB, 3:16 min)

Grabbed from YouTube.
If you’re in the UK, this is to tide you over until it’s safe
to emerge without a vomit bag quickly to hand…


Khaled Hafez – <em>On Presidents and Superheroes</em>

7th May 2012 by michael
activism | animation | arts | audio | exhibition | historical | music video | new media art | painting | politics | video


On Presidents and Superheroes
On Presidents and Superheroes (2009, 7MB, 1:15 min)

Another piece from Manchester Cornerhouse’s excellent Subversion show.
This post is a collaboration with Furtherfield – they’re hosting ….


More Larissa Sansour – Happy Days

2nd May 2012 by michael
activism | arts | controversy | exhibition | music video | observational | performance | place | politics | satire | video


Larissa Sansour: Happy Days
Larissa Sansour: A Happy Days (2006, 13MB, 2:57 min)

Following on from the work we showed last week from the
excellent Subversions show, here’s another piece by
Larissa Sansour.
This is featured in the other UK show featuring work
from the Arabic speaking world, this time specifically
from artists with roots in Palestine, Navigations at
the Barbican in London.

There’s some tremendous work on show there, not least this
one – all the work Sansour I’ve so far seen has delighted me
by being much better than a verbal description might lead one
to expect. So with this one you might hear:

“To the tune of the theme from Happy Days Larissa Sansour
edits together stills of herself, a Palestinian woman,
in various locations in the occupied territories.”

And you might think:

“Ho-hum, seen it all, virtuous agit-prop, with the usual sledgehammer irony”

and you would be totally wrong.

Of course the irony is there, and anger, of course, but
there’s a lightness of treatment – the Sansour “character”,
the everyday found surrealism of some of the shots, the
little jokes (the titles: “The Palestinian”
– “The Israeli Army as…Itself” &c.)
which, without negating any political content, makes the
whole thing richly human and a pleasure to watch and watch again.

Navigations is definitely worth a visit – there is a great variety
of very engaging work.
Apart from the two Sansour pieces there’s a tremendous semi-documentary
work
shot in a Miami auto paint and body shop by Shadi Habib Allah
Two complaints though – unlike the lovingly assembled and spacious show
in Manchester, Navigations feels like a somewhat cramped and token
footnote to the “proper business” of the Palestine Film Festival -
publicity for it only appears on the Barbicam website in this context.
(Better than a couple of weeks back when a search for “Navigations” on the Barbican
website yielded precisely – nothing.)
This is disrespectful to artist moving image work in general and
also, I think, to the artists concerned.
Secondly the fact that it sits, looking a tad temporary, on the
busy walk-through mezzanine on four small identical screens, with long
compilation times, gives it an anthropological rather than an art
exhibition character, whilst the (yawn!) Bauhaus blockbuster takes place
upstairs in the galleries proper. This is again disrespectful to
the artists and specifically to them as Palestinian artists:
footnotes, curiosities, on the margins.
Work of this strength and diversity would have made a great large scale
show – Cornerhouse show that it can be done and how to do it very well.
What a shame that the Barbican, with all its resources, doesn’t
seem to understand both why and how it should have attempted something
similar.
Nonetheless, if in London, you should go!


The Yes Men – Vivoleum

25th April 2012 by doron
activism | arts | community | politics | satire | trailer | tribute


yesmen tribute
Tribute to Reggie (excerpt) (2007, 52MB, 2:51 min.)

Vintage Yes Men from 2007, posing as representatives of Exxon-Mobil
and the National Petroleum Council in Calgary, Alberta, to deliver a keynote
speech presenting a new product – Vivoleum, a new fuel made from the
deceased bodies of human climate-change casualties.
‘Tribute to Reggie” was a promo video for the event.


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.


The World's Largest TV Studio

23rd February 2012 by michael
activism | community | documentary | happening | historical | interview | politics | tv | video


shamberg
The World’s Largest TV Studio (1972, 17.2MB, 7:10 min.)

A historic piece of political video from
the 1972 Miami Democratic Convention, this excerpt featuring an interview
with Michael Shamberg, author of Guerilla Television & founder member of Top Value
Television
. (Also founder of Raindance & subsequently big shot Hollywood Producer).

online mexico pharmacy

Found in the broadcasting section of the Southwest Museum of Engineering Communications
and Computation
, which is actually stuffed with goodies.


Merry

23rd December 2011 by michael
arts | documentary arts | landscape | observational | place | politics | seasonal | travelogue | video


a christmas medley from barnsley town centre
A Christmas Medley From Barnsley Town Centre (2011, 87MB, 1:29 min)

Normally we don’t post our own work here but I couldn’t resist this.
Also – it was a gift; no editing, just the take. (OK. I turned down the brightness
& jacked up the contrast a little.)
Barnsley is actually the friendliest of places, with a grumpy, wry, cheerfulness born of
generations of working-class solidarity, especially in the pits, though it’s now
ravaged by the cuts and closures of the past years.
From me & Doron, Happy Holidays and looking forward to a better world next year.
We’re taking a small holiday break & we’ll be back with something rather splendid
from Morrisa Maltz on January 2nd.


Back By Popular Demand – The Lesbian Rangers

7th December 2011 by doron
activism | arts | community | conceptual | education | humor | politics


Lesbian_Rangers1
The Lesbian Rangers (2005, 18 MB, 1:41 min.)

welcome
Welcome to Reorientation 2005 (2005, 34.8 MB, 2:17 min.)

rock
Victory at The Rock (2005, 72.4 MB, 4:45 min.)

Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan are Winnipeg-based collaborators whose
internationally acclaimed work addresses feminist, lesbian, and social concerns
with tremendous wit. “The Lesbian Rangers” were founded in 1997, to help people
learn about fascinating and fragile lesbian ecosystem. Rangers Dempsey and Millan
led the first expedition to Banff National Park, and continue to offer lesbian leadership today.
(thanks jillian)