An astonishing rendition by William Burroughs of his
‘Thanksgiving Prayer’ in a short video directed by
Gus Van Sant.
An astonishing rendition by William Burroughs of his
‘Thanksgiving Prayer’ in a short video directed by
Gus Van Sant.
2005 work from Lewis LaCook.
He seems to have dropped out of sight.
A shame, he made startling and splendid work in a number of media.
Three from 2008. As always, utterly watchable and quite unparallelled.
PS I’m going to post beneath a text piece by Sondheim from around the
time the movies were made, not because it has any direct
relevance to them (though of course it has relevance)
but because it’s great & a further demonstration, if such were required,
of his range of technique and vision…
she can MOVE FRUIT FROM ONE KIND OF TREE TO ANOTHER
she can MAKE OTHERS FALL ASLEEP OR WAKE AT WILL
she can MAKE FIRE BLAZE FROM WEAPONS
she can FLY THROUGH AIR
she can SEE THROUGH WALLS
she can TRANSFORM A CAVE INTO A PALACE AND SEAL THE EXITS
she can REMOVE THE TUSKS AND TRUNK FROM AN ELEPHANT AND RESTORE THEM
she can MAKE A KING SPEECHLESS AND RESTORE HIS SPEECH
she can GENERATE DEMONS AND COMPLETE DEMONS
she can END DROUGHT AND HEAL ILLNESS
she can SUBDUE LIONS AND TIGERS AND BRING THEM TO FAITH
she can REMOVE ARMS AND LEGS FROM SOLDIERS AND RESTORE THEM
she knows ALL LANGUAGES AND ALL DOCTRINES
she can EAT ENDLESSLY AND DRY UP WELL SPRINGS AND RESTORE THEM
she can CUT OFF HER HEAD AND FLY THROUGH THE AIR AND RESTORE IT
she can MOVE A BUFFALO AND HER CALF BACK TO THEIR HOME
she is SAFE FROM ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND BLOWS WITH CUDGEL AND ARROW
she can TURN AROUND ARROWS IN FULL FLIGHT
she can TURN INTO AN OLD WOMAN AND BACK AGAIN
she can SEE THINGS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
she knows ALL FUTURE AND ALL PAST EVENTS
she meditates FOR DAYS ON END WITHOUT SLEEP OR DRINK OR FOOD
she can HOLD SEVEN HUNDRED UMBRELLAS ABOVE HER WITHOUT TOUCHING THEM
she can RAISE THE DEAD AND RESTORE THEM TO DEATH
she can BE IN SEVERAL PLACES AT ONCE
she can TRAVEL INSTANTANEOUSLY FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER
she can MAKE SMALL THINGS ENORMOUS AND ENORMOUS THINGS SMALL
she can MAKE DEVOTIONAL IMAGES CRUMBLE AND RESTORE THEM
she can CARRY A TEMPLE ON HER BACK
she can CLIMB ENDLESS STAIRS AND OTHERS CANNOT FOLLOW HER
she fits THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE INTO A TINY CORNER OF A CAVE OR HOUSE
she disappears AND APPEARS AT WILL
she conquers DEATH
she eats CORPSES URINE EXCREMENT SEMEN MENSTRUAL BLOOD
her slightest MOVEMENT TRANSFORMS WORLDS
her dance CREATES AND ANNIHILATES WORLD
she loosens BOUND ANIMALS AND RELEASES THEM
she can WALK ON WATER AND WALK THROUGH FLAMES
she can CAUSE THE EARTH TO QUAKE AND FLOWERS TO FALL LIKE RAIN
she can DISCOVER HIDDEN TREASURES
she can WALK THROUGH WALLS AND CLIFFS
she can SEAL CAVES AND CREATE GREAT HALLS WITHIN THEM
she can MAKE HERSELF INVISIBLE AND MAKE HERSELF VISIBLE AGAIN
she can CREATE OVERWHELMING TEMPESTS
she can SUBDUE SNAKES AND OTHER WILD ANIMALS
she can SING PERFECT SONGS OF HER OWN DEVISING
she can ALLEVIATE THE SUFFERINGS OF THE ELDERLY
she can ALLEVIATE THE SUFFERINGS OF THE POOR
she can SCORCH CLOTHES AND RESTORE THEM
she can READ MINDS CLOSE BY AND AT A DISTANCE
she can EAT ANY SORT OF IMPURITIES
she can LAUGH AN EIGHT FOLD LAUGHTER
she can DRAW STELES AND JEWELS FROM THE GROUND
she can ERECT VAST PALACES AT AN INSTANT
she extracts POISON FROM WATER AND WALKS THROUGH BLAZING FLAMES
she can CHOOSE THE DATE AND TIME OF HER DEATH
she can MAKE DRUMS AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS TO SOUND BY THEMSELVES
her steps MEASURE GREAT OR TINY DISTANCES AT HER WILL
her gaze CAN SHATTER AND RESTORE ANYTHING
she can TRANSFORM HERSELF INTO A SKELETON AND A RAINBOW BODY
her gaze CAN OPEN CAVES IN SOLID ROCK AND SEAL THEM AGAIN
she remembers HER PAST AND FUTURE BIRTHS
she can TARRY WITH CONSORTS WITH OR WITHOUT ELABORATION
she can SELF ILLUMINATE
she can WALK AIMLESSLY DAY AND NIGHT
she can SPREAD THE SCENT OF PERFUMES IN EVERY DIRECTION
she can SIT LIE OR WALK IN MID AIR
she can WEAR APRONS OF BONES
she is FLEET FOOTED
she changes THE COLOR OF HER BODY AT WILL
It’s very nicely made – here is someone who takes to (and to some extent, reforges)
film grammar like a fish in water.
I’m not entirely convinced that the narrative is clear enough ( it all
looks so great and having not read the original I was intially prepared
to accept any lack of understanding was mine) – it was only a one sentence precis on
Sommer’s site that really clued me into what was happening.
Clearly, though, someone to be watched…
See the whole thing here…
Tao Lin’s MUMBLECORE is his new video collaboration with his wife that he has deemed a film. MUMBLECORE isn’t a film, though. It’s a video. It’s captured entirely from a built in laptop camera. It has a time stamp of eighty two minutes, but it’s not a feature length film. It’s video art. One of his other latest projects SMALL CROWD GATHERS is a collaborative video with two Internet artists produced entirely in Second Life, using his writing as a script. Like MUMBLECORE, SMALL CROWD GATHERS is written in all caps and is a piece of video art. Many great experimental filmmakers have worked in video like Harmony Korine and Lars von Trier, but their finished products were good enough to transfer to film and project onto the big screen. No theater would screen MUMBLECORE because it wouldn’t sell enough tickets to make it worth their while.
I e-mailed him after reading a tweet he wrote about sending DVDs out to people who wanted to write a review. After he heard about a DVD freeze issue he offered that I watch it on Vimeo under password protection, which I did. Watching the work online was fitting for an artist whose career is based around the Internet. The DVD is unnecessary. It was more convenient to be at my computer. I couldn’t watch the whole thing in one sitting for a number of reasons. Much of the conversation is self involved or just uninteresting. There are too often inside jokes or references to things offscreen that make the time pass by slowly and the effort required to watch taxing. But watching it on my laptop, I could stop and research the books referenced, visit Twitter (including Lin’s feed), listen to music, eat a snack. I felt like I was in the movie because I was doing many of the same things I was watching on screen.
One problem with Lin making MUMBLECORE is the lack of command he has over the medium of video. The low quality of the images feels unintentional. While his use of the Macbook camera is experimental, it doesn’t arrive at any interesting effect or create any lasting impression. The memory of MUMBLECORE is like an ugly blur of mediocre digital camera images that I would wouldn’t bother sharing. He and his girlfriend rarely address the images they’re creating beyond one conversation in which they present a half idea about the images in the video being fleeting. Yes, the images are fleeting. So are words on a page and notes played by an instrument. So what? It’s a generalized surface truth and evidence that Lin doesn’t have the same command as a director that he does as a writer. For example, in one scene Lin walks down the street talking about his writing and he cites his influences with confidence. He talks to an audience about his work at a reading and it is transparent, relatable to anyone, not just writers. This is a mark of a great artist familiar with his craft.
More than any directorial vision, or lack thereof, what shines through in MUMBLECORE is Lin’s developed literary voice. The whole movie is subtitled and Lin talks the way that he writes. His girlfriend talks like him and uses the same expressions. She is a walking testament to his influential style. The two main characters are writers and they frequently talk about their work. They reference other authors like David Foster Wallace and Lorrie Moore. The nonlinear narrative, stream of consciousness, and free spirited travel recall Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar. The themes from Lin’s writing are all here: extremely dry humor, absurdity, aimlessness, and food. MUMBLECORE feels more literary than filmic.
In MUMBLECORE Lin continues to navigate life in the public eye. He turns the camera on himself in his most intimate moments, the start of his romantic relationship with his girlfriend. The couple’s conversations, one implied sex scene, and their marriage are all put on display. Lin constantly invites attention to his personal life while simultaneously resenting the responsibility of managing his audience’s perception of him. He seems to struggle to reconcile his desires to gain approval and an audience who will buy his books with his urge implied by the tone of his Twitter feed to tell us all to fuck off.
‘the work is about exploring the veracity of history and of time,
and its constructs (in this case especially the notion of
“bodice-ripping” romance genres).
Playing with text and in-authenticity, the intention was to engage
an audience with notions of historical construction of women;
their facts and fictions, and the possibility of re-visioning histories.
– Delpha Hudson
Engaging hybrid of site specific performance and movie making,
the somewhat improvisatory quality lending it all a pleasantly
languid & unhurried air.
At the very end the sun joins in to striking effect & I love the rogue
arm at our right as the spectators leave.
Hudson is a charismatic & commanding performer -
we’ll have another of her performance pieces here in the Autumn.
I can’t be objective about Robert Roth -he’s a dear friend and his
tremendous & utterly singular book Health Proxy ( Buy it here)
would most definitely be my choice for that desert island.
In this little movie, odd and charming both, by fellow writer
George Spencer, he reads an extract from it, twice.
Enthralling first ever screen version of Alice in Wonderland
from 1903, lovingly restored by the folks at the BFI.
There’s no-one -no-one – who could not learn
something about film-making from this gem.
Nine minutes of sheer, grinning-with-joy delight.
The Song of the Happy Shepherd
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
The woods of Arcady are dead,
And over is their antique joy;
Of old the world on dreaming fed;
Grey Truth is now her painted toy;
Yet still she turns her restless head:
But O, sick children of the world,
Of all the many changing things
In dreary dancing past us whirled,
To the cracked tune that Chronos sings,
Words alone are certain good.
Where are now the warring kings,
Word be-mockers? — By the Rood,
Where are now the warring kings?
An idle word is now their glory,
By the stammering schoolboy said,
Reading some entangled story:
The kings of the old time are dead;
The wandering earth herself may be
Only a sudden flaming word,
In clanging space a moment heard,
Troubling the endless reverie.
Then nowise worship dusty deeds,
Nor seek, for this is also sooth,
To hunger fiercely after truth,
Lest all thy toiling only breeds
New dreams, new dreams; there is no truth
Saving in thine own heart. Seek, then,
No learning from the starry men,
Who follow with the optic glass
The whirling ways of stars that pass–
Seek, then, for this is also sooth,
No word of theirs–the cold star-bane
Has cloven and rent their hearts in twain,
And dead is all their human truth.
Go gather by the humming sea
Some twisted, echo-harbouring shell,
And to its lips thy story tell,
And they thy comforters will be,
Rewording in melodious guile
Thy fretful words a little while,
Till they shall singing fade in ruth
And die a pearly brotherhood;
For words alone are certain good:
Sing, then, for this is also sooth.
I must be gone: there is a grave
Where daffodil and lily wave,
And I would please the hapless faun,
Buried under the sleepy ground,
With mirthful songs before the dawn.
His shouting days with mirth were crowned;
And still I dream he treads the lawn,
Walking ghostly in the dew,
Pierced by my glad singing through,
My songs of old earth’s dreamy youth:
But ah! she dreams not now; dream thou!
For fair are poppies on the brow:
Dream, dream, for this is also sooth.
Extraordinary piece from Jon Rafman
(and William Butler Yeats).
It’s stumbling across things like this
that makes it all more than worthwhile.