'place'

Anastasya Koshkin – Reliving and All Falling

21st October 2013 by michael
arts | audio | conceptual | experimental | landscape | light | observational | place | poetry | video



Reliving and All Falling (2012, 206 MB, 4:42 min)

Lyric moving image poetry that keeps on giving, in proportion to time
spent with. I particularly admire the carefully structured and evocative
soundtrack – there’s a moment towards the end where a deep rumble starts
to suggest the rhythm of the waves we have been watching but never quite
completely coheres and this specific ambiguity typifies the richness of
the use of sound in general.
Visually, the angled image makes us more carefully examine and really see,
drink in, the casual beauties – in delicious high contrast B&W – placed before us.
Lovely.

Anastasya Koshkin on Vimeo


Osvaldo Cibils – 2 Humans, 1 Paper

31st March 2013 by michael
arts | audio | bliss | collaboration | conceptual | dance | event | experimental | happening | live art | new media art | performance | place | poetry | strange | theatre | video | webcam | YouTube



2 Humans, 1 Paper (2013, 10MB, 3:38 min)

I first stumbled across Osvaldo Cibils and his marvellously eclectic and well..simply marvellous work
on Flickr but he seems to have all sorts of things going.
So simple but so, so telling. Kind of Buster Keaton meets Bruce Nauman meets something hard to pin down but lyrical, grotesque and smart all at once.
My kind of artist.
+++
2 humans 1 paper
video art/soundart.
performance with plotter paper 200 x 107 centimeters.
performers: fiorella alberti architect and osvaldo cibils artist.
place: artist’s studio. Via della Cervara, 55 – 38121 – Trento (TN) Italia
22 march 2013, 20 hours


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


Play Local

28th March 2013 by michael
arts | collaboration | community | documentary arts | education | event | music | participatory | place | video



Play Local (2013, 69MB, 3:58 min)

Enchanting video by Tom White of a sound/music outreach project he ran in Peckham, South London on behalf, appropriately, of the South London Gallery.
There are so many piss-poor arts outreach projects. So nice to observe that this one was clearly brilliant.


Nicki Rolls – Dream Home & Don’t Know Y

25th March 2013 by michael
architecture | arts | conceptual | exhibition | experimental | landscape | light | memory | observational | place | poetry | video



Dream Home (2012, 61MB, 1:00 min)


Don’t Know Y (2010, 116MB, 2:23 min)

I first encountered Nikki Rolls’ work through Kerry Baldry’s splendid One Minutes series.( In fact we featured another piece by her in our very first post about that series)

As with so many of the artists included in that series she’s an amply justified curatorial choice;
her work is subtle, thought provoking and very beautiful.
She makes tiny ( or sometimes none, except to select) interventions into found (sometimes “found from herself”) images or footage which have a transformative effect and an expressive force much greater than one might have any right to predict. Beautiful.


Bonnie Prince Billy/Ben Berman -I See a Darkness

29th May 2012 by michael
collaboration | experimental | humor | music video | performance | place | strange


I See a Darkness
I See a Darkness (2012, 32MB, 2:40 min)

Bonnie Prince Billy/Will Oldham has a way of generating interesting things
around his core business of making extraordinary music.
In a similar way to that of Ornette Coleman, his album artwork always
contains many little explosions of visual pleasure and neither is it devoid of
food for thought.
This is also true of the videos he commissions to accompany his music.
We’ve posted some of these before , including a deliciously bizarre
one from Harmony Korine.
This is one of my favourites to date. Made by Ben Berman, it involves
Oldham lolloping around the streets of Glasgow in a way that in real
life would have me crossing the road toot sweet.
I’m an Oldham fan. If I had to put my finger on one of the things
that lifts him so far from the ordinary it would be a confidence in his
work so great (or maybe better, simply an integrity to it and to his art),
that he can encompass within it and place around it things of utter
ridiculousness without undermining it, indeed, whilst rendering it the more potent.
This is not to downplay the role of Berman in this. He is clearly a significant
talent and a fine co-conspirator for Oldham.


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!


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.


Tony Arnold – Foundation

16th January 2012 by michael
arts | experimental | landscape | light | observational | place | video


foundation
Foundation(2011, 153MB, 14:01 min)

Here’s a striking and very beautiful piece of work from
Mississippi based artist Tony Arnold.
There is clear evidence of his discovery and love affair
with the greats of the American experimental film tradition but
he’s obviously gifted and visionary and very much his own
person. (I love his choice of music, sounds a bit like Ornette
Coleman but I think it’s not…wonderful, anyway)
This is evidenced by his website* too –
with exhilaratingly edgy and engaging work, full of ideas –
I particularly like his altered fashion ads series.
Interesting, very interesting, to see how this work develops.

*I am uncomfortable, however, with the dangerously
naive & abstentionist defence of hate-speech there – well,
more than uncomfortable:- it’s stupid & wrong headed -
tell the family of the next racist murder victim that the
language that convicted and sentenced them was just a “series of grunts”.
I’m assuming though it comes from young artist hunger &
restlessness & in-your-faceness and nothing worse.


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.