A MESSAGE FROM THE MANAGEMENT: An intense end to a year that has plummeted the depths in so many ways. The raw visceral emotion of The Birthday Party will probably be the last entry on this blog for 2016. Best to everyone for 2017, let's hope it is a year that lifts us all HIIIIGHER!!!
Saturday, December 31, 2016
A MESSAGE FROM THE MANAGEMENT: An intense end to a year that has plummeted the depths in so many ways. The raw visceral emotion of The Birthday Party will probably be the last entry on this blog for 2016. Best to everyone for 2017, let's hope it is a year that lifts us all HIIIIGHER!!!
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Julien Temple presents a unique insight into the tradition and transgression of Christmas. Featuring interviews and 70s archive, framing the Sex Pistols' last UK concert with Sid Vicious, for the children of striking firemen in Huddersfield on Christmas Day 1977.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
In conversation with University of Washington Professor of Sociology and relationship expert Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Emily Witt discusses her experience researching and writing the book Future Sex: A New Kind of Free Love, about the complexities of romance, sex, and intimacy in the digital age.
Future Sex is an important work not as a futurist project, but as evidence of the contemporary changing roles of sexuality and (sub)socially sanctioned relationships. Witt connects these roles to the ubiquity of digital media and access to communities, representations and spaces of individual freedom, even if these are often pursued and participated in under paradigms of marketing, consumption, Information Technology, Power and more general definitions of emerging bourgeois self-identity.
Monday, December 19, 2016
Testament of Orpheus (French: Le testament d'Orphée) is a 1960 film directed by and starring Jean Cocteau. It is considered the final part of the Orphic Trilogy, following The Blood of a Poet (1930) and Orphée (1950). In the cast are Charles Aznavour, Lucia Bosé, María Casares, Nicole Courcel, Luis Miguel Dominguín, Daniel Gélin, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Serge Lifar, Jean Marais, François Périer and Françoise Sagan.
It also includes cameo appearances by Pablo Picasso and Yul Brynner. The film is in black-and-white, with just a few seconds of color film spliced in.
Tuesday, December 06, 2016
A BBC documentary film produced in conjunction with the British Film Institute. The 90-minute film was broadcast on BBC Two in November 2006. The film is presented by Dan Cruickshank and features footage shot in Tibet prior to the 1950s with commentary from Tenzin Gyatso, the present 14th Dalai Lama, and other people featured. This is one of a number of BFI television series featuring footage from the BFI National Archive and produced in partnership with the BBC.
Sunday, December 04, 2016
Wong Kar-wai is a genius. The scenes flow and it feels like one is breathing in and then breathing out as they change. He seems to sweep us up in a moving painting that is framed by the music. Characters melt into walls and then appear again. All the while they swim in sensuality and passion. Incredible film. Just incredible.
Hong Kong, 1962. The city is tranquil and courteous, but divided between indigenous Cantonese Chinese and immigrants from mainland China. Through coincidence, Chow Mo-wan, a journalist, moves into an apartment building occupied mainly by Shanghainese at the same time as Su Li-zhen, a secretary, while their spouses are away. When Chow finds out their respective spouses are having an affair, the two of them grow closer as they commiserate, finding more and more excuses to spend time with each other.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
This is a animation film by Harry Everett Smith (May 29, 1923 in Portland, Oregon – November 27, 1991 in New York City). Originally released in 1957, it was re-edited several times and the final version was released in 1962. The first part depicts the heroine's toothache consequent to the loss of a very valuable watermelon, her dentistry and transportation to heaven. Next follows an elaborate exposition of the heavenly land, in terms of Israel and Montreal. The second part depicts the return to Earth from being eaten by Max Müller on the day Edward VII dedicated the Great Sewer of London.Re-edited several times between 1957 and 1962. Sixteen millimeter, black & white, mono, initially six hours, later versions of two hours and 67 min. Extended version of Smith's No. 8. Cutout animation culled from 19th-century catalogs meant to be shown using custom-made projectors fit out with color filters (gels, wheels, etc.) and masking hand-painted glass slides to alter the projected image. Jonas Mekas gave the film—which is often regarded as Smith's major work—its title in 1964–65.
Monday, November 28, 2016
An action/adventure film directed by Dickie Jobson. It tells the story of a Jamaican fisherman whose solitude is shattered when he rescues two Americans from the wreckage of a plane crash. The fisherman, called Countryman, is hurled into a political plot by the dangerous Colonel Sinclair. Countryman uses his knowledge of the terrain and his innate combat skills to survive.
The film was shot in Jamaica and featured a reggae soundtrack performed by Lee "Scratch" Perry, Bob Marley & the Wailers, Steel Pulse, Dennis Brown, Aswad, Toots & The Maytals & Rico Rodriguez. It was written by Jobson and produced by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and has become a cult classic.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Sounds carry intelligence. If you are too narrow in your awareness of sounds, you are likely to be disconnected from your environment. Ears do not listen to sounds; the brain does. Listening is a lifetime practice that depends on accumulated experiences with sound; it can be focused to detail or open to the entire field of sound. Octogenarian composer and sound art pioneer Pauline Oliveros describes the sound experiment that led her to found an institute related to Deep Listening, and develop it as a theory relevant to music, psychology, and our collective quality of life.
Pauline Oliveros died yesterday, aged 84.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
A dire warning from the past for the people of today. Images of war are not all that we have today from the Germany of the 1930s and 40s. It was a functioning state under the Nationalist Socialist German Workers Party. People did see change when they gave power to Hitler and his gang. He gave them a feeling of confidence and of hope. On the surface the submission to a one party system and a supreme dictator was given in exchange for economic prosperity and the shoring up of the lifestyle of the middle class. But the workers were exploited, unions were banned and real wages fell. Militarisation and the expulsion and destruction of anyone who did not fit or submit to the Nazi template were also parts of the deal and few people did not live in fear of what they did and said. From the account of an American living in Germany from 1934-1938 named Nora Waln (1895–1964), this documentary builds an image of a sinister society where nobody trusted anybody, other than by putting all trust and belief into the fascist state apparatus as symbolised by Adolf Hitler.
What is most shocking about this film is the way people submitted and believed, in exchange for the feelings of security and hope for the future. Like the street conman, Hitler saw a need, approached the unsuspecting dupe, made the offer that could fulfil the need, and then took the victim for all they had (including their life in many many cases). Those that complied were ultimately plunged into an abyss of amoral violence and power. Narcissistic sociopaths should not be given highest office. This is what is happening again now in the world. If anyone tells you they have all the answers, remove yourself from their presence or them from yours.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
A very American account of what grunge life was like for many in the 1990s. This is a quirky, at times savage and well paced account of a micro-community and the loves and struggles of some of its more attractive looking members (No pun intended). Also featured is a young Jack Black, as the feral weed grower freak folk musician Devlin (singing Jesus's Ranch).
Despite the fact that this film has Andy Dick in it, who I find extremely irritating both as a character and as himself in no matter what role he plays, it has considerable merit in its portrayal of a time that paved the way for the millennial cultures of today. Queer life mixes with hippies, freaks, punks, environmental activism, artists and the confused and self-abusers. It comes off as a moment in time when anything felt possible, except everyone was too stoned or self-absorbed to make it happen. It was a beautiful moment in cultural history.
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Adam Curtis tries to revive the Grand Narrative as a way for understanding history. Using conspiracy as a structure for truth, Curtis pieces together a large number of events in attempt to explain 'the fake world' we live in. However, he avoids many elements that do not fit in with the premise, such as the anti-globalisation movement of the 1990s and 2000s and the power of money. This is despite establishing early in the film that the power of corporations now extends to dominating politics. This idea is abandoned when the film focuses mostly on the deceptions and violence of international politics. The other major failing of this film is the reliance on the images from news and popular media, from the Internet and mobile cameras, in other words the visual regime that creates what Curtis calls 'the fake world'.
The 90s concept of 'cyberspace' is confused by Curtis with Artificial Intelligence, algorithmic capitalism and digital cultures. Surveillance and data mining are largely ignored. There is no 'fake world' - the symbolic visual and spatial system we are creating through technology is the world we live in and also the means by which we understand this world. Whether that is a positive thing is of course very debatable. As recently as last week I read an essay by Hossein Derakhshan on how the visual dependency upon video for news is feeding the extreme ideas of the far right;
"The emerging illiterate class, hooked onto their old television sets or to their Facebook-centred mobile personal televisions (i.e. smart phones), is good news for demagogues. Look at how Donald Trump has mastered the formula of television to turn it into his free-of-charge public relations machine. His capture of the spirit of television has helped him transform all threats into opportunities, garbage into gold, and waste into energy – like a perfect incineration plant."
Curtis is part of this same visual regime and contributes to the creating of non-critical thought. He adds to this lack of critique by always introducing a sense of panic into his narrative by using such phrases as:
We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion.That one can simply turn off the computer, not take out credit cards, and instead read books and attend events seems to have alluded Curtis. At one point in the film, (around the 2 hour mark - the film is unnecessarily long), when talking about the Occupy movement, Curtis announces that it was an attempt to 'organise people without the exercise of power' - like 150 years of Anarchist philosophy does not exist. Trying to make sense of chaos is difficult when the argument is that "We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion". Either the uncertainty and confusion are real, and therefore there is a real world, or the world is fake and therefore so is the uncertainty and confusion. Which is it? Furthermore, Curtis's obsession with the idea that Hafez al-Assad invented suicide bombing as a tactic against a more powerful enemy is not correct. Suicide bombing goes at least back to the kamikaze ('Divine Wind') pilots of Imperial Japan in World War Two, and possibly further back to the 1880s
the endless migrant crisis
those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed - they have no idea what to do.
chaotic events are happening
all of us in the West have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world.
Forces that politicians tried to forget are now turning on us with a vengeful fury.
Piercing though the wall of our fake world.
The idea that 'the Internet had played a key role in organising the groups' is far from established. As one research site states "It is important to understand that new platforms of social media didn’t cause Arab Spring but played a role of communication that aids the revolutions in the long run." The use of the Internet for organising social change is important. But it also seems to contradict the premise that we live in a 'fake world' mediated by technology, if it can in fact bring about real change. It is amazing that the full film of 2 hours and 40 minutes never uses the word 'propaganda'. If there are journalists who seriously believe, as Curtis says, their job is to 'expose lies and assert the truth' they are not working on 90% of the newspapers that have been in circulation since Watergate. Journalism and Public Relations are taught together at universities, they are practiced and produced on a daily bases everywhere.
The film ends on xenophobic fear, and this connects the long, at times rambling, and fear-filled history from Adam Curtis up to the point we are at now, with Trump about to assume office in the White House. What lies at the heart of this drama is not a failure of politics, as it has been the politics of the last 40 years that has been driving a globalized, neo-liberal agenda, and that seems to be perfectly on track. If the values of those neo-liberal globalists are threatened by the socialist and nationalist tendencies of Islam, or the loss of cultural identity through a decline in white middle class christian values, we can expect to see more hate, more violence and more suffering. The desire to 'change the system' and believe the contradictory and contrived rhetoric of Donald J. Trump supplies the conservative elements of the Republican Party with a new opportunity to keep the global capitalist project on track, no matter what the cost.
Monday, November 07, 2016
A 1968 television broadcast written by John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Marty Feldman and Tim Brooke-Taylor. Cleese, Chapman, and Brooke-Taylor also feature in it, along with future Monty Python collaborators Michael Palin and Connie Booth.
In various sketches, Cleese demonstrates exactly what the title suggests—how to irritate people, although this is done in a much more conventional way than the absurdity of similar Monty Python sketches.
Thursday, November 03, 2016
Shamans (mudang 무당) in South Korea dance, sing, heal, and divine the future through the mediation of various artifacts. Colorful flags assist in predicting good or bad fortune, food offerings appease gods and spirits, and various costumes and paintings depict supernatural entities and are manipulated to summon those powers into the shaman's body during a ritual called Kut (굿). The material culture of musok is now increasingly being sold in shaman good stores, allowing store owners and art traders to become active participants in the production process of ritual events. By Shai and Liora Sarfati. email@example.com
Monday, October 31, 2016
Before the Flood, directed by Fisher Stevens, captures a three-year personal journey alongside Academy Award-winning actor and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio as he interviews individuals from every facet of society in both developing and developed nations who provide unique, impassioned and pragmatic views on what must be done today and in the future to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016
This film is about the life and work of Steven Jay "Jesse" Bernstein (December 4, 1950 – October 22, 1991), who was a vagabond performer, writer and poet. His intense lyrical writings are a searing personal account of the trivialisation of the emotions and the creative life in the commercial and commodity culture of post-industrial and post-Cold War American, amid unemployment, violence, urban ruin, regimented intoxication and mental illness.
Jesse wrote about the about sensitive souls, drifters and drug addicts; the people alienated by a society that refuses to understand them. Bernstein peels back the ugliness and the darkness of life on the fringe to expose tender and not so tender human feeling. His unique rhythms, filled with humor and pain, were especially exciting when read in his own gravely voice. Bernstein was an integral part of the legendary Seattle rock scene of the late 80's and early 90s, and in 1991 was dubbed the "Godfather of Grunge" by the British magazine THE INDEPENDENT.
He often performed as an opening act for the so-called grunge bands of the Washington state and Seattle scene (including Nirvana) in the late 1980s. Bernstein committed suicide at the age of 41 on a Washington State Indian reservation by carefully cutting his own throat after years of struggling with abandonment, bipolarity, epilepsy, incarceration, various addictions, depression and the aftermath of polio. He will not be forgotten and he deserves to be recognized as the important writer and poet he is.
More background to the work of Jesse Bernstein can be gained from this podcast by Alison 'Slow' Loris called Do the Job from 2015.
The Man Upstairs.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Iara Lee, a Brazilian of Korean descent, is an activist, filmmaker, and founder of the Caipirinha Foundation, an organization that promotes global solidarity and supports peace with justice projects. Iara is currently working on a variety of initiatives, grouped under the umbrella of CulturesOfResistance.org, an activist network that brings together artists and changemakers from around the world. At the center of these initiatives is a feature-length documentary film entitled "Cultures of Resistance", which explores how creative action contributes to conflict prevention and resolution.
As an activist, Iara has collaborated with numerous grassroots efforts, including the International Campaign to Ban Cluster Munitions, the Conflict Zone Film Fund, the New York Philharmonic's groundbreaking 2008 music for diplomacy concert in North Korea. More recently in May 2010, Iara was a passenger on the MV Mavi Marmara, a passenger vessel in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was attacked in international waters by the Israeli navy, leading to the murder of nine humanitarian aid workers. Among the many people who recorded the events on that ship, her crew was one of the only to successfully hide and retain most of the raid footage, which she later released to the world after a screening at the UN. Iara is very dedicated to the support of Gazan civilians who have been victims of war crimes committed by the Israeli military during "Operation Cast Lead" and who suffer from the Israeli government's ongoing acts of collective punishment.
At the onset of the Iraq war in 2003, Iara, eager to understand the conflict better, decided to travel and live in the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa). While residing in Lebanon in 2006, Iara experienced firsthand the 34-day Israeli bombardment of that country. Since then, moved by that experience, she has dedicated herself to the pursuit of a just peace in the region, and is an enthusiastic supporter of those initiatives which strengthen adherence to international law in enforcing human rights. In 2008 Iara lived in Iran and supported a number of cultural exchange projects between that country and the West with the goal of promoting arts & culture for global solidarity.
From 1984 to 1989 Iara was the producer of the Sao Paulo International Film Festival. From1989-2003 she was based in New York City, where she ran the mixed-media company Caipirinha Productions to explore the synergy of different art forms (such as film, music, architecture, and poetry). Under that banner, Iara has directed short and feature-length documentaries including Synthetic Pleasures, Modulations, Architettura, and Beneath the Borqa.
Iara Lee is a Council of Advisors member of The International Crisis Group (ICG) and the National Geographic Society, as well as a trustee to the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), North Korea's first and only university whose faculty will be entirely composed of international professors.
A documentary film about British volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, focusing on the re-discovery of a memorial to English-speaking soldiers killed at the Battle of the Ebro in summer 1938. The memorial was re-discovered in 2005 in the Sierra Pandols with the names of 35 officers of the Brigade inscribed in the concrete. Most of the memorials to those that fought against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War were destroyed following the victory of the Nationalist forces in 1939. The documentary explores the civil war and the lives of five British republican volunteers who were killed at the Battle of the Ebro.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Rarely do I place just music on this blog. I do so here and now because this is an incredible work of art from the depths of human expression that stretches back to the sources of our belief and perception. In short, a trance masterpiece.
Sunday, October 09, 2016
Narrated by Peter Ackroyd, this documentary examines the short radical lives of Byron, Keats and Shelley and how they would change the world. At 19, Shelley wrote The Necessity of Atheism - it was banned and burned, but it freed the Romantics from religion. Through their search for meaning in a world without God, they pioneered the notions of free love, celebrity and secular idolatry that are at the centre of modern Western culture. For them poetry became the new religion, a way of reaching Eternity. Their words are brought to life in this documentary by Nicholas Shaw, Blake Ritson and Joseph Millson.
A film by Ed van der Elsken. Features Vali in her "savage paradise", Il Porto, the canyon near Positano where she created her artwork. (Duration: 36 minutes).
Vali Myers (2 August 1930 – 12 February 2003) was an Australian visionary artist, dancer, bohemian and muse whose coverage by the media was mostly in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s in Europe and the United States.
Saturday, October 08, 2016
Friday, October 07, 2016
1 Burroughs. The.Movie. 1983. by butlincat
Burroughs: The Movie is the first and only documentary to be made about and with the full participation of writer William S. Burroughs. In a collaboration between Burroughs and director Howard Brookner the film explores Burroughs’ life story along with many of his contemporaries including Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, Francis Bacon, Herbert Huncke, Patti Smith, Terry Southern, and Lauren Hutton.
Brookner managed to obtain 5 years of unparalleled access and enthusiastic participation from William S Burroughs. As a result, Burroughs: The Movie documents Burroughs’ long, controversial and productive life in great detail. The film travels from the American Midwest to North Africa, through defining moments of his wildly unconventional life, including several personal tragedies, ultimately charting the development of Burroughs’ unique literary style.
A 2010 independent American documentary film directed by Yony Leyser about William S. Burroughs, featuring previously unreleased footage and interviews with his friends and colleagues.
The film uses archival footage and interviews with John Waters, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Sonic Youth, Laurie Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, and David Cronenberg. The film is narrated by Peter Weller, with a soundtrack by Patti Smith and Sonic Youth.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
A 2007 documentary short film directed by Alfonso Cuarón included as an extra in the Special Edition DVD of Cuarón's 2006 film Children of Men.
The film looks at different matters of the world such as immigration, global warming and capitalism through the eyes of scientists and philosophers.
Welcome to hell.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
The Kogi people are warning society of destruction we face if we fail to embrace nature.
The Kogi (/ˈkoʊɡi/ koh-gee) or Cogui or Kágaba, meaning "jaguar" in the Kogi language, are an indigenous ethnic group that lives in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. Their civilization has continued since the Pre-Columbian era.
The Kogi are descendants of the Tairona culture, which flourished before the times of the Spanish conquest. The Tairona were an advanced civilization which built many stone structures and pathways in the jungles. They made many gold objects which they would hang from trees and around their necks. They lived not much differently from modern day Kogi. Before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, the Tairona were forced to move into the highlands when the Caribs invaded around 1000 CE. The decision to flee to the mountains proved beneficial and strategic by the time the Spanish entered modern-day Colombia in the 15th century. In 1498, the Spanish arrived in Northern Colombia where they began to enslave indigenous groups. Threatened by dogs and soldiers alike, the Tairona remained in isolation. Regardless, many priests were hanged, women were stolen and raped, and children were forced to accept Spanish education. Later, missionaries came and also began to influence their way of life, building chapels and churches amidst their villages to train and convert the locals. In the years since, the Kogi have remained in their home in the mountains, which allows them to escape the worst effects of colonization and aids them in preserving their traditional way of life.
The Kogi base their lifestyles on their belief in "Aluna" or "The Great Mother," their creator figure, whom they believe is the force behind nature. The Kogi understand the Earth to be a living being, and see humanity as its "children." They say that our actions of exploitation, devastation, and plundering for resources is weakening "The Great Mother" and leading to our destruction.
Like many other indigenous tribes, the Kogi people honor a holy mountain which they call "Gonawindua," otherwise known as Pico Cristóbal Colón. They believe that this mountain is "The Heart of the World" and they are the "Elder Brothers" who care for it. They also say that the outside civilization is the "Younger Brothers" who were sent away from The Heart of the World long ago.
From birth the Kogi attune their priests, called Mamas (which means sun in Kogi), for guidance, healing, and leadership. The Mamas are not to be confused with shamans or curers but to be regarded as tribal priests who hold highly respected roles in Kogi society. Mamas undergo strict training to assume this role. Selected male children are taken from birth and put in a dark cave for the first nine years of their lives to begin this training. In the cave, elder Mamas and the child's mother care for, feed, train, and teach the child to attune to "Aluna" before the boy enters the outside world. Through deep concentration, symbolic offerings, and divination, the Mamas believe they support the balance of harmony and creativity in the world. It is also in this realm that the essence of agriculture is nurtured: seeds are blessed in Aluna before being planted, to ensure they grow successfully; marriage is blessed to ensure fertility; and ceremonies are offered to the different spirits of the natural world before performing tasks such as harvest and building of new huts.
The Kogi Mamas have remained isolated from the rest of the world since the Spanish Conquistadors came to plunder South America for gold. In order to preserve their traditional way of life, they rarely interact with the modern world or with outside civilization. Outsiders are not allowed inside their ancestral lands. The Kogi Mamas say that the balance of the earth's ecology has been suffering due to the modern-day devastation of resources by Younger Brother. The Kogi Mamas in turn believe that their work as Elder Brother is instrumental in helping to prolong and protect life on earth. In a desperate attempt to prevent further ecological catastrophe and destruction, the Kogi Mamas broke their silence and allowed a small BBC film crew into their isolated mountaintop civilization to hear their message and warning to Younger Brother.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
AVATARA, a documentary about Traveler and its inhabitants (made in 2003) by 536 Productions of Vancouver, BC, Canada. Note that in the introductory audio dialogue, the speaker mentions the date of 1993, more likely this was 1996, the year Onlive Traveler was released to the public.
This footage was supplied to the Preserving Virtual Worlds project by Bruce Damer from his collection of videos documenting the history of virtual worlds.
Producer 536 Productions
Production Company Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color
Contact Information http://www.flickharrison.com/avatara
Martin Alan "Marty" Feldman (8 July 1934 – 2 December 1982) was a British comedy writer, comedian, and actor, easily identified by his bulbous and crooked eyes. He starred in several British television comedy series, including At Last the 1948 Show and Marty, the latter of which won two BAFTA awards. He was the first Saturn Award winner for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Young Frankenstein. Feldman died from a heart attack in a hotel room in Mexico City on 2 December 1982 at age 48, during the making of the film Yellowbeard.
"He smoked sometimes half-a-carton (5 packs) of cigarettes daily, drank copious amounts of black coffee, and ate a diet rich in eggs and dairy products". - Mel Brookes
Feldman was part of what could be called the 'cream of British comedy' (no pun intended...much), many of the members of which are in this amazing photograph:
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Yayoi Kusama's film Self-Obliteration documents a distinct period in the Japanese artist's work. The 1960s represent a period for Kusama where she is working and living in New York surrounded by the popular avant-garde of the time. Happenings, performance art, improvised and experimental music and the developing psychedelic consciousness are what define the film Self-Obliteration. These elements are added to Kusama's own philosophy of overcoming the boundaries and burdens of self-identity.
The film Self-Obliteration joins Kenneth Anger's Invocation of the My Demon Brother and Ira Cohen's Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda as a classic psychedelic visual document from the 1960s.
“‘Obliterate you personality with polka dots,’ exhorts Kasuma at her strip-and-paint exhibition, which she calls ‘naked happenings.’ ‘Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment. Take off your clothes. Forget yourself. Make love. Self-destruction is the only way to peace…’Kusama is prepared to obliterate any country that indulges in war games, particularly Australia."
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
For 200 years we have said to the Indian people who are fighting for their land, their life, their families and their right to be free: ''Lay down your arms, my friends, and then we will remain together. Only if you lay down your arms, my friends, can we then talk of peace and come to an agreement which will be good for you.''
When they laid down their arms, we murdered them. We lied to them. We cheated them out of their lands. We starved them into signing fraudulent agreements that we called treaties which we never kept. We turned them into beggars on a continent that gave life for as long as life can remember. And by any interpretation of history, however twisted, we did not do right. We were not lawful nor were we just in what we did. For them, we do not have to restore these people, we do not have to live up to some agreements, because it is given to us by virtue of our power to attack the rights of others, to take their property, to take their lives when they are trying to defend their land and liberty, and to make their virtues a crime and our own vices virtues.
But there is one thing which is beyond the reach of this perversity and that is the tremendous verdict of history. And history will surely judge us. But do we care? What kind of moral schizophrenia is it that allows us to shout at the top of our national voice for all the world to hear that we live up to our commitment when every page of history and when all the thirsty, starving, humiliating days and nights of the last 100 years in the lives of the American Indian contradict that voice?
It would seem that the respect for principle and the love of one's neighbor have become dysfunctional in this country of ours, and that all we have done, all that we have succeeded in accomplishing with our power is simply annihilating the hopes of the newborn countries in this world, as well as friends and enemies alike, that we're not humane, and that we do not live up to our agreements.
Perhaps at this moment you are saying to yourself what the hell has all this got to do with the Academy Awards? Why is this woman standing up here, ruining our evening, invading our lives with things that don't concern us, and that we don't care about? Wasting our time and money and intruding in our homes.
I think the answer to those unspoken questions is that the motion picture community has been as responsible as any for degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing his as savage, hostile and evil. It's hard enough for children to grow up in this world. When Indian children watch television, and they watch films, and when they see their race depicted as they are in films, their minds become injured in ways we can never know.
Recently there have been a few faltering steps to correct this situation, but too faltering and too few, so I, as a member in this profession, do not feel that I can as a citizen of the United States accept an award here tonight. I think awards in this country at this time are inappropriate to be received or given until the condition of the American Indian is drastically altered. If we are not our brother's keeper, at least let us not be his executioner.
I would have been here tonight to speak to you directly, but I felt that perhaps I could be of better use if I went to Wounded Knee to help forestall in whatever way I can the establishment of a peace which would be dishonorable as long as the rivers shall run and the grass shall grow.
I would hope that those who are listening would not look upon this as a rude intrusion, but as an earnest effort to focus attention on an issue that might very well determine whether or not this country has the right to say from this point forward we believe in the inalienable rights of all people to remain free and independent on lands that have supported their life beyond living memory.
Thank you for your kindness and your courtesy to Miss Littlefeather. Thank you and good night.
This statement was written by Marlon Brando for delivery at the Academy Awards ceremony where Mr. Brando refused an Oscar. The speaker, who read only a part of it, was Shasheen Littlefeather.
Saturday, September 03, 2016
A group of Beatnik artists and poets convene for a weekend of debauchery, destructive behavior, and clever conversation at the house of naïve young wannabe Desmond while his parents are out of town.
Series One, Episode Three.
Original Air Date: 17th January 1983.
Written by Peter Richardson and Pete Richens. Directed by Bob Spiers.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
A 2006 Russian science fiction film directed by Konstantin Lopushansky, based on the novel of the same name by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The film is often compared to Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, also adapted from a Strugatsky book.
The film's plot is loosely based on the novel, with some superficial differences. The story has been adjusted slightly to contextualize it in the "near future," with the main character Victor Banev recast as a UN envoy to the town of Tashlinsk, where a mysterious group has taken the town's children to an isolated boarding school. Here in the school the children are taught the enlightened philosophy of the group. The major departure from the novel's plot is in the ending.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Peter O'Toole leads the cast in this musical, imaginative allegory of class and empire in decay. A member of the House of Lords dies in a shockingly silly way, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son is insane: he thinks he is Jesus Christ. The other somewhat-more respectable members of their family plot to steal the estate from him. Murder and mayhem ensues. Peter O'Toole, Alastair Sim & Arthur Lowe star.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Sunday, August 21, 2016
My attitude to women is accepted today in a way that it wasn't when I started out as director. But today woman overreact - they pretend to be free on an intellectual and sexual level but because of our Christian traditions sex is always associated with guilt. Now however it's possible for a woman to have the same relationship with sex as a man - a man who is a lover can be a Don Juan whereas women like that were always considered whores or femmes faciles. But I think a woman can be free without being a whore. A female Don Juan can exist nowadays without a sense of guilt.
He later elaborated:
Don Juan is the end of a period - problems about love and sex, cruelty and romanticism on an aesthetic level - and I wanted to finish that period with Brigitte because I started with her as a director (And God Created Woman). Underneath what people call "the Bardot myth" was something interesting, even though she was never considered the most professional actress in the world. For years, since she has been growing older, and the Bardot myth has become just a souvenir, I wanted to work with Brigitte. I was curious in her as a woman and I had to get to the end of something with her, to get out of her and express many things I felt were in her. Brigitte always gave the impression of sexual freedom - she is a completely open and free person, without any aggression. So I gave her the part of a man - that amused me.
Friday, August 19, 2016
The film is set in Seattle's mid-90s grunge scene where a female rock group, 'No Exits', is on the verge of signing a record deal. However, the relationship between the band's singer Suzy (Ryan) and guitarist Shelly (Gross) is under threat when Shelly's ex-boyfriend Jimmy (Bortz) reappears on the scene. Shelly had left Jimmy because his friend had raped her. But he doesn't know that - up to now. Shelly has fallen in love with the band singer Suzy in the meantime. But she still loves Jimmy, too. So she moves to him again, but Suzy doesn't like that all. Especially because she is becoming a feminist. The conflict is about to threaten the band...
The film deals with issues of love, sexuality, feminism, rape, lesbianism, subcultures, and alienation.
History is increasingly denied in the popular politics of today. Here is an account of the final days of World War Two and how the Cold War erupted. It is a terrifying account of Power, Fear and Greed. It is an account we should all remember.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
The story of an early 20th century expedition to find the 'missing link' with the Indigenous people of Australia.
In 1910, a scientist called Erik Mjöberg led the first Swedish expedition to Australia. An entomologist by trade, Mjöberg’s brief was to document the native wildlife, but his underlying motivation was to explore the idea that Aborigines were the missing link between ape and man. Landing in Derby, Western Australia, he bought supplies, hired a bullock team and set off into the Kimberley with his increasingly fractious team, battling heat and flies until they got their first glimpse of “one of the oldest races in the world - the Australian negroes”.
Describing the Aborigines as “ugly”, “Neanderthal-like” and possessed of an “animalistic cunning”, Mjöberg set about plundering and desecrating their grave sites and smuggling the remains back home—actions that were to have lasting consequences for all concerned.
Shot in remote regions of the Kimberley in Australia and in Stockholm and Varberg Sweden, Dark Science uses diary sources, stunning black and white footage from the expedition and excerpts from Mjöberg’s novel Wings of Poison to provide a shocking glimpse into the mind of early 20th century Western man.
The remains Mjöberg took from the Kimberley were returned to Australia in 2004 by the Swedish Government, the first repatriation of human remains by a major European Museum.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
The story of the far right government of Queensland, Australia from 1968-1989. Nineteen years of conservative rule, made possible by a electoral gerrymander, corrupt police, corrupt politicians and a system of intimidation and violence that permeated all dimensions of society. My parents were politically active against the government in Queensland in the 1970s, as a result our phone was tapped and we were harassed by police and government officials.
This video presentation is a documentary-based analysis of the role of the media in the political strategy of former Queensland Premier, Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen.
The video documentary was submitted as part of a thesis for a Master of Arts degree at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in July 1997.
The documentary was compiled by Debra Beattie, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
The Sunshine System (1986) Quentin Dempster and Ross Wilson (50 minutes)
The Moonlight State (May 1987) ABC Four Corners, Chris Masters (reporter), Andrew Olle (presenter) and Peter Manning (executive producer) (59' 59")
The Battle For Bowen Hills (1975) Peter Gray and Garry Lane (Crowsfoot Films) (21 minutes)
Earth First (1987) Gaia Films Jeni Kendall (director/producer) and John Seed (producer) (54 minutes)
If You Don't Fight, You Lose (1978) Leslie Mannison, Joseph Monsour and Ian Curr (24 minutes)
The Whole World Is Watching (1982) Amanda King and Peter Gray (25 minutes)
Friends And Enemies(1987) Tom Zubrycki, Jotz Productions (88 minutes)
Portrait Of A Premier (1978) Brian Benson
State Of Shock (1989) David Bradbury
Joh's Jury (1993) ABC Television, Ken Cameron (98 minutes)
Bruce Dickson footage (1977)
Laurie Anderson's "The Dream Before" is sung by Christine Johnson, recorded at one of the early performances of Women In Voice at the Sitting Duck (cafe and performance venue) in Brisbane in the early 1980s.
Lyrics: History is an angel being blown backwards into the future
He said: History is a pile of debris
And the angel wants to go back and fix things
To repair the things that have been broken
But there is a storm blowing from Paradise
And the storm keeps blowing the angel backwards into the future
And this storm, this storm is called Progress.
Inspired by Walter Benjamin
Lyrics by Laurie Anderson
Performed by Christine Johnson
Monday, August 15, 2016
On April 28, 2016 a reading by Viggo Mortensen of a speech by Albert Camus, and roundtable discussion with Viggo Mortensen, Alice Kaplan and Souleymane Bachir Diagne.
00:20 Introduction by Shanny Peer, Director of the Maison Française
05:35 Introduction by Alice Kaplan, Professor of Yale University
11:50 Reading of 'The Human Crisis' by Viggo Mortensen
56:50 Discussion with Viggo Mortensen, Alice Kaplan and Souleymane Bachir Diagne
Albert Camus originally delivered this lecture on “La Crise de l’homme” on March 28, 1946, to a very full house at the McMillin Academic Theatre at Columbia University, on his first and only trip to the United States. 70 years later, to celebrate Camus’s visit to New York and Columbia, his lecture will be delivered in a dramatic reading by the actor Viggo Mortensen, in a version newly translated into English by Alice Kaplan.
The event will be introduced by Shanny Peer and by Alice Kaplan, who will share new research from her forthcoming book, Looking for the Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic, to bring alive Camus’ U.S. visit and provide a context for his lecture. After the reading, Bachir Diagne and Alice Kaplan will be joined by Viggo Mortensen for a panel discussion about Albert Camus’ influence, his impressions of the U.S., and his reception in this country as a leading voice of the postwar generation of French intellectuals.
Participants: Viggo Mortensen has consistently earned acclaim for his work in a wide range of films. Some of these include Jauja, Loin des hommes, The Two Faces of January, A Dangerous Method, The Road, Eastern Promises, Appaloosa, A History of Violence, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He has received various nominations and awards from groups including the Screen Actors Guild, the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Apart from acting in movies and plays, Mortensen is a poet, photographer, and painter. He founded and is the editor of Perceval Press, an independent publishing house specializing in poetry, photography, painting, and critical writing.
Souleymane Bachir Diagne is Professor of Philosophy and French and Chair, Department of French, Columbia University.
Alice Kaplan is the John M. Musser Professor of French and chair of the Department of French at Yale University.
This event is organized in partnership with The Albert Camus Estate and is part of a series of events taking place in New York on the theme of "Camus : A Stranger in the City" (March 26 – April 19 / @camusnyc2016) commemorating the 70th year anniversary of Camus’ visit to the United States.
If you want to see the Q&A with Viggo Mortensen about the movie Far from Men, a video is available here:https://youtu.be/GE3Ux2on5B0?t=2m20s
Columbia Maison Française website: http://maisonfrancaise.org/
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Saturday, August 13, 2016
It looks at the arguments for capitalism and technology, such as greater efficiency, more time and less work, and argues that these are not being fulfilled, and they never will be.
The film is about our world, the modern civilisation that eats more than needed. It's not very much information that is physically showed, it is the pictures in symbiosis with music that is the real strength in this flick. The film leans towards anarcho-primitivist ideology and argues for a simple and fulfilling life.
To add comment to the film, I believe we cannot return to a pre-industrial, agrarian or hunter gather society that is referenced in the film via John Zerzan. . Millions will die if we do. Of course millions are already dying if we don't. It is for this reason that the psychosis of consumption based capitalism depicted in this film is just that much more insane. It is a system where profit and the accumulation of capital are the goals of life and the entire global state and social apparatuses are structured toward those ends.
At the same time these apparatuses are depleting the life support system for the entire planet at an alarming rate when we consider that life has existed on earth for billions of years. It really is crazy if we understand that the estimated number of the Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.
The current extinction rate is approximately 100 extinctions per million species per year, or 1,000 times higher than natural background rates. We have barely scratched the surface for understanding how this planet works. The system that brings about this destruction is also the system that drives everything from our homes to how we eat. Accordingly we are trapped, nourished by the disease so to speak.
We are constantly congratulating ourselves on the extent of human knowledge, as promises of development are consistently tied to the present economic system. We are trapped unless we can peacefully alter the system to such a degree that sustainability is assured. This is the challenge of the next century.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Against a backdrop of post election violence follow the journey of self-discovery of Timothy Mwaura, a ghetto poet from Kangemi Kenya. Screened at the London International Documentary Film Festival 2011
A phone call from the frontline of post election riots in Kenya opens the story of Timothy Mwaura a ghetto poet and rapper who gives an eyewitness account of his experience of the aftermath of the recent tribal tension. Through the eyes of a ghetto poet, from the red dirt streets of Kamgemi, a ghetto in Nairobi, this documentary follows a journey of rediscovery of the roots, culture, and politics of Tim's people; his search for peace and understanding amidst war torn Africa.
Ghetto Motto follows Timothy's efforts to redefine his identity in Kenya in 2008 as he tries to find balance between his concept of nationalism and tribal roots, as pressures from the current political situation force people to takes sides in this government and opposition party endorsed retribution.
The movie looks at the aftermath and the stories of some survivors of Kenya's recent tribal unrest and how music and poetry can begin to heal the divide and damage from this conflict and evolve social consciousness.
Monday, August 08, 2016
What does the energy harnessed through orgasm have to do with the state of communist Yugoslavia circa 1971? Only counterculture filmmaker extraordinaire Dušan Makavejev has the answers (or the questions). His surreal documentary-fiction collision WR: Mysteries of the Organism begins as an investigation into the life and work of controversial psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich and then explodes into a free-form narrative of a beautiful young Slavic girl’s sexual liberation. Banned upon its release in the director’s homeland, the art-house smash WR is both whimsical and bold in its blending of politics and sexuality.
A black-and white 1964 British World War II film written, produced and directed by Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo, who began work on the film as teenagers. The film's largely amateur production took some eight years, using volunteer actors with some support from professional filmmakers. "It Happened Here" is set in an alternate history where the United Kingdom has been invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany. The plot follows the experiences of an Irish nurse working in England, who encounters people who believe collaboration with the invaders is for the best whilst others are involved in the resistance movement against the occupiers and their local collaborators.
Monday, August 01, 2016
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Friday, July 29, 2016
The full horror of terminal addiction. In life, whatever you feed, will survive. Be careful what you feed.
Ben had already edited his footage while alive into a rather incoherent 45-minute film. There was a story in a local newspaper that was later picked up by the BBC about this film, and Gecko Productions, a small independent production company, got in touch with Anne and asked her if they could make a proper documentary out of it.
She was ready by then – and Gecko employed Lambert to do the job. Lambert’s previous documentaries had been set predominantly in war zones – Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza – but he instantly saw the compelling nature of the very different material he’d been handed here.
Though he flinched at some of the footage – over 30 hours, it repeatedly shows Ben injecting heroin into his groin, since his veins were too damaged. “I thought it was too dark at first,” says Lambert. “But by the next morning, I thought the fact that I’d had such an emotional response to it is probably exactly why I had to do it.” Lambert ended up making a film that was very different from the one Ben had hoped to make.
“He wanted to film his recovery from drugs,” Lambert explains. “He wanted to be a romantic hero.” Lambert’s film instead presents the sad story of a man fighting a losing battle. It has won Ben’s mother’s approval. “I think the documentary is absolutely amazing,” she says. “I think they’ve really honoured us as a family. They’ve not dumbed it down. But they’ve not sensationalised it either.”
If Anne Rogers now hopes this film about her son’s suffering will achieve some social good, her son’s relationship to the footage he left will remain a more tortured one. Lambert believes that Ben became almost as dependent on his camera as he had been on heroin. “At the end, the camera was the one person he could talk to in the middle of the night,” he says. “That camera was in and out of Cash Converters all the time. He had to pay up to £200 every time he got it back. That’s a lot of money when you’re really desperate. But he always went back to get it. It was the one thing he hung on to.”
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
The genius of Bowie. A documentary, which takes you on a journey of Bowie's revolutionary career, struggle with his personal life and his achievements and successes. Features interviews with Bowie, Iman his wife, his musical contemporaries including Iggy Pop, Moby and Trent Reznor. Exclusive footage of live performances of the showman's best and music and film to showcase 30 years of his career. Highlights Bowie's interests, passions and involvement with the arts.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
"Our understanding (of the meaning of Being) is an understanding that we share understanding between us and, at the same time, because we share understanding between us: between us all, simultaneously — all the dead and the living, and all beings." JEAN-LUC NANCY, BEING SINGULAR PLURAL (2000) p99The film is unusual in that it is not a ethnological report by an outsider as is usually the case, but the story of one man’s entry into religious experience.
The film was made as part of his seven part series The Light at the Edge of the World, which was about remote communities around the world.
The film is shot mainly in Nepal, and follows Davis’ journey to Thubten Choling to meet Trulshik Rinpoche, who was one of the main teachers of the Dalai Lama.
He also meets up with Matthieu Ricard, who comes apparently to help with the translations, and ends up as one of Davis’ best guides to the tradition.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
The documentary looks at the modern advances in mathematics and how they affect our understanding of physics, economics, environmental issues and human psychology. In the 20th Century mathematics has affected our view of the world, and particularly how the financial economy and earth’s environment are now seen as inherently unpredictable.
The film examines the work of Henri Poincare and Alexander Lyapunov and its influence on later developments in mathematics. It includes interviews with David Ruelle, about chaos theory and turbulence, the economist Paul Ormerod about the unpredictability of economic systems, and James Lovelock the founder of Gaia theory about climate change and tipping points in the environment.
As we approach tipping points in both the economy and the climate, the film examines the mathematics we have been reluctant to face up to and asks if, even now, we would rather bury our heads in the sand rather than face harsh truths.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Hetty had a much greater story to tell. She was literally at the centre of the American avant gárde in the late 1960s and early 1970s as an artist, musician, poet and muse. She inscribed a brief memoir of the time on a blog that was updated in 2008 and 2009; http://www.phantomlyoracula.com/ - from living with The Grateful Dead, performing in the underground art music scene of the time, early work with tape recorders, as a staff artist on The San Francisco Oracle (as Hetty McGee), traveling to India, Nepal, London and all over the USA and Canada, to the communes, city collective, working with the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol and as a mother to a recognized incarnate tulku lama. You can download a PDF of the full 73 pages of writing by Hetty about her life. There is music featuring Hetty here (along with her husband Angus (1938-1979). Hetty died in London on the 10th June 2011, aged 80.
Invasion Of Thunderbolt Pagoda
Film by Ira Cohen. (1935-2011)
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 masterpiece, with a soundtrack done by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe from Pet Shop Boys in 2005.
Monday, July 04, 2016
Saturday, July 02, 2016
This documentary shows the full insane carnage that was the First World War. Made at a time (1964) when many veterans were still alive to tell their stories, this series strips away the mythology that has come to dominate much of the contemporary discourse around the war. Pointless battles, failed strategies and massive slaughter were the consistent factors in this truly horrific episode in human history. We owe it to the poor unfortunates that were swept up by this unimaginable conflict to remember their sacrifice and to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again, even thought the present day conflict in Syria resembles conditions on the Western Front in many ways.
Friday, July 01, 2016
Thursday, June 30, 2016
The Girl Who Talked To Dolphins by limukohou
"If there is a cartographer of altered states of consciousness—of the highways and byways of the inner trip—it is John Lilly, a rare combination of scientist and mystic." —Psychology Today
This documentary examines the work of Dr. John Lilly and his team in the 1960s when he was working on interspecies communication between humans and dolphins. The film contains extensive audio and film recordings from John Lilly's early work. The documentary tells the story of the most extraordinary experiment in the history of animal science. In the 1960s John Lilly flooded a house. He then invited a young woman to live there full-time with a dolphin. Their intention was to teach the dolphin to speak English. What happened next would change all their lives. For the first time those involved in the experiment reveal the secrets of the Dolphin House.
Between 1959 and 1968 Lilly wagered and lost his mainstream scientific career largely over this audacious, ultimately inconclusive bid to establish and document for scientific validation “communication with a nonhuman mind.” In that effort, however, he mobilized the best available tools, a cutting-edge array of cybernetic concepts. He leaned heavily on the information theory bound up with first-order cybernetics and operated with heuristic computational metaphors alongside the actual computers of his era. As I will elicit through some close readings of his texts, in that process Lilly also homed in on crucial epistemological renovations with a constructivist redescription of cognition that may have influenced and motivated his colleague Heinz von Foerster’s more renowned formulations, arriving in the early 1970s, of a second-order cybernetics- (Clarke).