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October, 2014

Daily Inspiration

Richard Hamilton Tate Britain Re-launch 2000

Richard Hamilton, Tate Britain Re-launch, 2000

Pieter Bruegel, a low level obsession continues

I’ve long used Bruegel in my work and been fascinated by the uses others make of his imagery. Tarkovsky as a way to search for a memory of humanity (Solaris, 1972), Von Trier as a (albeit pessimistic) nod to Tarkovsky (Melancholia, 2011) and Roeg more simply to connect Rip Torn to Our David while their characters have yet to meet (The Man Who Fell to Earth, 1976). I’ve used Bruegel’s The Peasant Wedding (1567) to stand for the possibility of collective memory or a yearning for human contact in shows such as Coco (2004) and They Are the We of Me (2005), and I’m now half-inching Tarkovsky’s examination of The Hunters in the Snow (1565) for Vicki and Alex, Like the Clouds (2014). But can anything beat Auden or Carlos Williams on this subject?

The Peasant Wedding

The Peasant Wedding

The Hunters in the Snow

The Hunters in the Snow

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

Detail from In Spain there was Guernica, They Are the We of Me, GoMA, 2005

Detail from In Spain there was Guernica, They Are the We of Me, GoMA, 2005

After the Wedding, Coco, 2004

After the Wedding, Coco, 2004

 

Musee des Beaux Arts

W. H. Auden

 

About suffering they were never wrong,

The old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position: how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;

How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting

For the miraculous birth, there always must be

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating

On a pond at the edge of the wood:

They never forgot

That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course

Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot

Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse

Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

 

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away

Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may

Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,

But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone

As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green

Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen

Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,

Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

 

Copyright © 1976 by Edward Mendelson, William Meredith and Monroe K. Spears, 
Executors of the Estate of W. H. Auden.

 

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

William Carlos Williams

 

According to Brueghel

when Icarus fell

it was spring

 

a farmer was ploughing

his field

the whole pageantry

 

of the year was

awake tingling

near

 

the edge of the sea

concerned

with itself

 

sweating in the sun

that melted

the wings’ wax

 

unsignificantly

off the coast

there was

 

a splash quite unnoticed

this was

Icarus drowning

 

From Collected Poems: 1939-1962, Volume II by William Carlos Williams, published by New Directions Publishing Corp.

BR gets everywhere

Sean Young and her memory issues.

Sean Young and her memory issues.

Vicki and Alex, Like the Clouds.

Here are a few screen shots from a film I’ve just finished, Vicki and Alex, Like the Clouds. Ostensibly it’s about a photograph.

Vicki and Alex, Like the Clouds, Screen shot, 2014

Vicki and Alex, Like the Clouds, Screen shot, 2014

Vicki and Alex, Like the Clouds, Screen shot, 2014

“You’re studying that reality…We’ll act again”

It was a beautiful day for hanging out at Queens Park Railway Club with Patrick Jameson. Michael White’s hilarious show was augmented by a fluro-Michael drawing horses for children. And then Douglas Morland went by, hosting a drawing workshop on the train. Festive!

Michael White

Michael White at Queens Park Railway Club

I am reading too you know

For instance, Laura Mulvey’s Death 24 x A Second (2006) has got me hooked at the moment.

Death 24 x A Second, Laura Mulvey

Death 24 x A Second, Laura Mulvey, 2006

Buy it here.

Read an interview with Mulvey here: Mulvey Interview 2007

Mirage Men

In the mood for a good ol’ conspiricy? Then you can’t beat Mirage Men by John Lundberg, Mark Pilkington, Roland Denning & Kypros Kyprianou. The truth isn’t out there.

Watch the trailer here.

Mirage Men

Richard Doty

Centered on Richard Doty, a former USA government agent tasked with deceiving UFO conspiracy theorists, the documentary Mirage Men examines the mythology surrounding the alien phenomenon; revealing that the subculture that it has spawned might all be the result of a well-organized and efficient fabrication.

The film explores a world where information and disinformation have converged and blended to such a degree that it is close to impossible to figure out who is telling the truth and who is not. The film posits that the USA government has misled, manipulated and corrupted those who believe in alien life for decades in an attempt to distract them from real, classified operations and to cover up evidence.

 

Death Watch

Another Scottish dystopian journey for me this weekend. Seek out Bertrand Tavernier’s 1980 Death Watch, filmed mostly in Glasgow, and reach for a steadying Cinzano. 

Death Watch Poster, 1980

Death Watch Poster, 1980

Watch the trailer for the recent re-release here.

Read about the film here.

Hamlet at the Citz

A more twitchy, jumpy or paranoid Hamlet I’ve yet to see. Dominic Hill directed an almost unlovable Brian Ferguson as Hamlet, sometimes overwhelmed by the cast’s soundscapes. But there was lots to like about this production. That a horse-headed Goth band made sense at one point was a testament to the actors’ commitment. And the grave scene was spot on. Hamlet as black comedy. 

Brian Ferguson as Hamlet

Brian Ferguson as the main man

 

 

Artists’ Moving Image at the BBC

I managed to miss both the Glasgow and the London screenings of these new films. All made with exclusive access to the BBC archives, in what must be a dream residency. Watch all 6 films by Kate Davis, Kathryn Elkin, Luke Fowler, Torsten Lauschmann, Stephen Sutcliffe and Alia Syed here.

Crazy Paving, Torsten Lauschmann, 2014

Crazy Paving, Torsten Lauschmann, 2014

Weight, Kate Davis, 2014

Weight, Kate Davis, 2014

The Hidden God, Stephen Sutcliffe, 2014

The Hidden God, Stephen Sutcliffe, 2014