11 influential bits from Tate Liverpool

一 Sylvia Sleigh I only spotted these beautiful, hairy nudes in gift shop on my way out.  The luxuriant masses of hair in Sleigh’s paintings speak of a decadence too often rejected in the modern, flesh-gazing world.

Paul Rosana Reclining 1974.

Felicty Rainne Reclining, 1972 Oil on Canvas 42.5” x 60” (107.3 x 152.4 cm) Private Collection, New York

二 Eikoh Hosoe’s Man and Woman This too was spotted in the gift shop – it punched me in the eye as I leafed through one of Hosoe’s photography books.

三 Richard Hawkins’ Hajikata Twist

Featuring exciting turns of phrase from the translated notes of Eikoh Hosoe, such as ‘flowering epileptic pus’, and glimmers of magnificently strange painted artworks, including (四) Jean Dubuffet’s The Tree of Fluids:

五 Louise Bourgeois’ Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature – beautiful parallels drawn in this series between over-pruning/artificial enhancement and the destruction of the health of the whole organism in both plants and humans (particularly women):

六 The word ‘Gesamtkunstwerk‘, meaning ‘translated as total work of art, ideal work of art, universal artwork, synthesis of the arts, comprehensive artwork, all-embracing art form or total artwork… is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so’

七 (Very important now) Len Lye’s Free Radicals.  Stumbling on this piece in the way that I did had a profound effect on me.  My preconceptions were shattered, I felt so full of potential, so new and fresh and filled with enthusiasm.  Looking at it now, on the computer screen – on YouTube, no less – I can’t reclaim that feeling.  The small, dark enclosure for the screening was essential to the power of the piece.  The sudden, independent, and personal realisation of the perfect synchronicity between the audio and the visual while being fully immersed by both was a moving experience.  Gaze upon it now anyway, it has made me certain my FMP needs to be a projected piece:

The attendant in the room also let me in on Lye’s motivation.  He says Lye was on a mission to find out what makes us happy.

八 Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, a French sculptor and draughtsman.  I quickly became a fan, caught by one of his more colourful pieces:

‘Sophie Brzeska’, 1913

九 Valie Export’s Action Pants: Genital Panic, just look:

(single image) Action Pants, 1969

十 Robert Longo’s Sword of the Pig:

十一 Hélio Oiticica’s Tropicália, Penetrables PN 2 ‘Purity is a myth’ and PN 3 ‘Imagetical’ 1966-1967

This is something I would push anyone to go see, and don’t much fancy going into much detail on what this actually is, for the physical interaction with the piece is key to ‘Oiticica’s hope that this sense of engagement would spread to all areas of [the viewers’] lives’.  One of the most entertaining and interesting pieces of art I have seen in a gallery – though I benefitted massively from the guidance of a fascinating gallery assistant.  I thank her from the centre of my enriched soul.

Film Society Poster Design: ‘La Planète Sauvage’

The third screening in my month of grown-up animation for the Leeds College of Art Students Union Film Society (LCASUFS) was René Laloux’s La Planète Sauvage.  Another fancy trip through strange and unknown plains that (I hoped) would prompt more introspective speculation as well as a little look at the significance of all forms of life, or an opening of sticky cognitive doors.  This screening was much more of a success – 10 audience members!  I think the funky French soundtrack playing loud may have enticed them all the more down to the basement – the poster was more straightforward too.  Just graphite drawings scanned in and coloured in Photoshop:Posto

Posto 1

 

Then my awful type on top of that:

Postyo

Dance again featured as an important (maybe even the ultimate) activity for the Draags – though it is interesting that this ‘strange courtship ritual’ is acted out in other giant beasts on another planet – the Draags, using their transcendental meditation to become the ‘heads’ of the alien headless nudes, control the bodies in an elegant ballroom-style dance.  These hyper intelligent beings, doing their courtship through an outside and non-Draag medium – akin to some of those fancy post- and trans-human ideas.

 

Leeds International Film Festival – Volunteering

LIFF

I love you, Leeds International Film Festival.

This year I had the pleasure of joining the red army of volunteers for the 27th installment of LIFF – this time round it was a two-week-and-one-day-long party celebrating a wide range of fine films.  As well as the obvious joy at the promise of viewing many, many films for free, the experience of meeting some of the many unknown, beautiful and kind faces of Leeds was too much of a draw for me.  If they’ll have me back next year, I have every intention of rejoining the ranks for another few weeks of intensive consuming – my ass won’t thank me for the hours of sedentation, but it’s a small price to pay for free deep-brain stimulation therapy.

I wanted to do a quick run-through of the films I did manage to catch, but will do a separate post for those that seem more relevant to my Context of Practice module (keepin’ tags right, keeps my schoolin’ right).

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

[link to its own post]

Carol Reed’s 1949 thriller, The Third Man

The premise was enough to send me goofy: a film noir mystery set in post-war Vienna, haunted by Orson Welles’ elusive on-screen alias, Harry Lime.  It was a gorgeous film, with enough skewed camera angles to leave even the least engaged viewer feeling unbalanced.  I gave it five, for five was well deserved.

Ask Hasselbalch’s Antboy

This was a pleasantly goofy Danish kid-superhero-kinda film.  The Danish pronunciation of ‘Antboy’ was my favourite thing.  The costumes were great too, in particular, the placing of a Dark Knight rip-off, imitation-Kevlar Ant suit on a round-faced little pre-teen – that made me larf.

Jindrich Polák’s Ikarie XB1

[its own post]

Sci-Fi Fanomenon Shorts Special (list these)

Hiner Saleem’s My Sweet Pepper Land

Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (+ Q&A with director and ‘making of’ documentary)

Unfortunately, I was quite drunk and fell asleep soon after the film started.  The Q&A with Ruggero Deodato was great fun though – he seemed a lively, chatty man, with no qualms about defending the gore in this film.  He said he’d never repeat it again though – the live animal slaughtering and whatnot.  A video of the event.

Fanomenon Anime Day:

Shinkai Makoto’s The Garden of Worlds

Gushy, slushy Shinkai Makoto!  He really loves his melodrama.  The animation was very, very beautiful, but I feel as though this short can be judged only by a moisture detector.  The first short I saw of his was She and Her Cat, and still remains my favourite by a long way.  While the animation was as detailed and the plot as heavily melancholic as the others, it was from the viewpoint of a gorgeously-drawn, plump little cat who is completely in love with his owner.  This slight subversion in what would otherwise have been just another tale of unrequited love gave it so much more self-awareness, and a little humility, which has made it stand out as one of my favourite anime shorts ever, not just those created by Shinkai-san.

Ryōtarō Makihara’s Hal

This was another fairly wet piece of romance.  It did have some fun, subtle future-visions of slightly more developed technology (aside from the humanoid replicants), such as beads that work as memory banks which can be placed onto a projector and replayed instantaneously, but it does stay fairly sober in regards to any other major developments.  The robot(s) concept wasn’t very convincing here – with no real insight into how they are made, powered, or any kind of technical difficulties with the actual machine.  This is difficult to discuss without revealing pivotal plot points and being a big fat spoiler, so I will leave it at that.  Eyes too big, protagonists too gooey, but the secondary characters were more fun, and again, the animation was very impressive.

Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s Patema Inverted

I got a burrito instead of watching Steins;Gate.  I do not regret this choice.

Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

[this gets its own post]

Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira

This marked the climax of the anime day: the 25th anniversary release of Akira was (as expected) superb.

Sean Noonan: A Gambler’s Hand

Some sketches from this ‘live collision of music, film and storytelling‘.  Drawing in the half-light of the Hyde Park Picture House was a challenge, but the dramatic, frantic playing from the string quartet (even the cellist with his sunglasses) was something I wanted to remember.

Gambler

Gambler4

(I’ll be making some form of forced meatballs later in the week)

Gambler3

Gambler5

Gambler2

Short Film City: World Animation Award 2

Cargo Cult by Bastien Dubois: Unfortunately I missed this one due to door duties, which – now I’ve seen the trailer – I am displeased about, as the animation looks great!

Guilt by Reda Bertkute: Again, I missed the first snippet of this, and so I thought maybe I had missed out on a pivotal plot point, but I wasn’t too keen on the heavy use of sketchy animation as it felt a little too much like an attempt to distract from the lack of content in the story.  The character was saggingly melancholic, and the scenes of disturbing surrealism worked well to create a sense of growing paranoia, but I wasn’t fully won over.

Punctuwool by Jacob Streilein: I really wasn’t expecting to be so enamoured with this animation at its opening – I felt a growing sense of dread at the premise of another animated short about clouds – but this was a really lovely piece of work from a very talented student at Calarts.  The textures and tonal work that could only really have come from use of traditional drawing techniques gave a warm dimension to the beautiful bounce in Streilein’s character animation.  The concept for the piece felt fresh too – the different emotions played out by the cloud herd were well thought through, and though their shepherd was a bit of an over-actor, the fact that his madness was softened in the end gave him a pleasant human depth.

A City on Fire by Michelle Tsen: The crumpled paper cut out technique was alright – not the best of the set.

Electric Soul by Joni Männistö: This was a gorgeous short.  Very impressive gait on those little LED lights – one of my favourite animated walks ever seen.

Winter Has Come by Zima Prishla: This was my favourite of this set.  The central fox character felt novel and fresh, the lace patterning was tastefully selected, and I loved the fact that their actions were somewhat sinister, but absolutely unopposed.  The oncoming winter cannot be stopped.

The Visitor by George Dechev: This was pretty cool, all full of beautiful young people as it was, and based on a piece of old literature.

The Nether Regions from Wonky: I found this one fairly annoying.  Not even the beloved voice of Brian Blessed was going to save this for me – the jokes were poor and actually surprisingly old.

The Missing Scarf by Eoin Duffy: Very impressive, but I couldn’t get past the infographics aesthetic.  I just felt like someone was selling me something – something old and tired, reimagined for a very contemporary world.

In the Air is Christopher Gray by Felix Massie: I think I had a similar problem with this one, but I thought the title (and opening line of the story) was a beautiful bit of worduse.

Rabbit and Deer by Péter Vácz: This was pretty.

Short Film City: World Animation Award 3

Futon by Yoriko Mizushiri

Ham Story by Ela Liska Chytkova

The Maggot Feeder by Priit Tender

Tap To Retry by Neta Cohen

Whaled Women by Ewa Eihorn and Jeuno JE Kim

Rhino Full Throttle from Kamerapferd

Devil in the Room by Carla Mackinnon

I Love Hooligans by Jan-Dirk Bouw

Subconscious Password by Chris Landreth

Then there was Yuichi Fukuda’s HK: Forbidden Superhero

Finally, Masterpiece: Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns from Alexander Gray and Jeff Maynard