inspired by james joyce’s novel ulysses, in 1979 clemens klopfenstein began capturing the atmosphere of 150 european cities after midnight. locations and sounds amalgamate into a strange, lovely, gloomy, fictitious, simple, optical and acoustic sensation of night.
“To get through open doors successfully, it is necessary to respect the fact that they have solid frames. This principle, by which the old professor had always lived, is simply a requisite of the sense of reality. However, if there is a sense of reality – and no one doubts its justification for existing – then there must also be something we might call a sense of possibility. Whoever has it, does not say, for example, this or that has happened, will happen, or must happen here; instead, they invent: this or that might, could, or ought to happen in this case. If they are told that something is the way it is, they think: Well, it could just as well be otherwise. Thus, the sense of possibility can be defined as the ability to conceive of everything there might be just as well and to attach no more importance to what is than to what is not.”
this dance is called perreo and is a derivate of african-american grinding and booty dancing, jamaican reggaeton, hip hop and freak dancing and classical latin american dance moves from salsa and merengue. in many places, including cuba, perreo has been forbidden by the state, in atlanta they even closed a club and the club owners were sent to jail because the kids were dancing perreo. it´s mainly popular in latin america and the name alludes to "dog" (el perro) and all kinds of "immoral", "dirty" stuff. people also describe the dance as having sex in clothes. some prudish, puritan, eurocentric feminists or self-proclaimed post-colonialists consider it sexist and misogynic. but effectively it´s the woman´s but that rules the game. she defines the rythym and speed and the male just bounces behind her, mainly decorating her bum. it´s a dance that originates from the slums, from people who are mostly surrounded by poverty and crime. i guess you don´t give a dang about the promises of some kind of tomorrow you don´t know, when poeple are shot for some drugs just around the corner. maybe that´s also why perreo apostrophizes sex so much. because sex is life and that´s what they´ve still got, so they live it with every inch of their ecstatic bodies.
these voluptuous, long bodies of ingres´women. their delicate, whitty little heads and these big, soft fleshy bodies on beds of blue and yellow velvet or dark green silk. a dessert of a woman. a tiramisu of a woman. a luxurious muffin of a woman.
jean auguste dominique ingres (1780-1867)
"Novel by Andre Gide, published in French in 1926 as Les Faux-Monnayeurs. Constructed with a greater range and scope than his previous short fiction, The Counterfeiters is Gide's most complex and intricately plotted work. It is a novel within a novel, concerning the relatives and teachers of a group of schoolboys who are subjected to corrupting influences both in and out of the classroom. In a progression of unconnected scenes and events, the novel approximates the texture of daily life. Schoolboys of diverse ages and dispositions attend the Pension Azais. Some are suspected of having attempted to circulate counterfeit coins. Edouard, an author writing a novel entitled The Counterfeiters, observes that if a counterfeit coin is thought to be authentic, it is accepted as valuable; if it is found to be counterfeit, it is perceived as worthless. Therefore, he concludes, value is wholly a matter of perception and has nothing to do with reality. The counterfeiters are thus representative of those who disguise themselves with false personalities, either in unconscious self-deception or through conscious, hypocritical conformity to convention." (quoted from The Merriam-Webster Encylopedia of Literature)
the wandering people, drifters, tramps, rogues, hobos, vagabonds. thanks to my two wonderful friends, today i saw the best and most touching circus of my life. it was a small family with four great and so witty children, three boys and one little 2 year old girl who were running the circus all by themselves. usually i´m not too fond of circuses because this whole display of attraction and sensation is something i´m not so much after. but today in this particular circus consisting of one little circle of a few kids with their parents in the audience, what you could see were the tricks and banal little sensations of a family. a father playing with his little girl, a mother doing balancing acts with her little boy, a couple of fat, lazy animals running around in circles. it was precisely the anti-sensation, the anti-stunts and anti-stuntmen that made everything so holy. all the little mistakes and the long waiting for the punchline in the gags that sometimes never came, the pride in the kids´eyes, their costumes and excited dancing when they were waiting for their acts and watching their siblings perform, their mom rushing outside from her balancing act in the pause to sell candy and fairy floss. these are probably the last examples of true vagrant lives. all the children born in different cities. constantly on the road. noone but themselves and these strange, displaced animals. it kind of made me think of jonas mekas´film lost lost lost. forever disrooted, constantly on transit, always homeless and strangers. their lives seemed so tough and relentless and all the effort they put into their show so dramatically existential that you could sense the candid sincerity of the strong emotional way the audience was moved, laughed and celebrated this little family that had even set up the tents by themselves. their show was tinkered so strikingly human and mythical it almost made me sad. maybe the same way clowns are always the saddest people in the world. because they recognize the falsity and absurdity of almost all customs, costumes, identities and lives, playfully display their vanity and try to trigger your laugh when you could just as much cry about it all. what the family had achieved was so wonderful and romantic and archaic, but at the same time, so out of time, so unavailing and tough, you didn´t know if you´d wish for them to go on forever and ever or maybe just stop to offer the kids a little easier lives. it was really a tragically beautiful little show.
vilhelm hammershoi (1864-1916).
the stillness of the placement of the furniture silently displaying order, measure and cadence of the time. the way the human is subordinated by the architecture, the clock and beat of his time.
somehow i always hear a clock when i see these pictures.
the light traces on the wooden floors, the windows and doors and backs and necks. everything is subtle and at the same time powerful. that white neck of the girl in front of the oven.
the fading colors, the plainness, the blue and grey, the nordic melancholy of a felt ocean.
i don´t why i find it so difficult to talk about this film. i just saw it last weekend for the first time and was so tense and had such ungood feelings in me that i couldn´t even just go home after having seen it, and had to go around the block in this misty, cold night and go for a drink. first of all, almost needless to say, the photography is merely beautiful and the storytelling so radically minimal, ascetic and full of openness and secrets and mystery, that you simply have to call it a masterpiece. no doubt about that. the pictures often reminded me of the danish painter vilhelm hammershoi, who i very dearly love and who also focuses on backs, doors, empty rooms, silent and somber atmospheres, -but always in a very delicate and fragile way. -one thing i found really haunting about this film was the voices. the way these children spoke german and pronounced the words. the slowness and carefulness. as if dead children were speaking. i can´t call it anything else but haunting. a lot of dreyer and early bergman and bresson was also quite visible. i know very little about this time, the beginning of world war one. maybe the most through kafka or heinrich mann, but i don´t know if i can really agree with what the film suggests about it. i do agree about how authoritative relations and societies, repression and punishment will lead to a fetishization of the same and the things that are negotiated as sins, crimes or perversion. punishment evokes revenge, repression evokes eruption and prohibitions evoke transgressions. that´s pretty evident. i also like the way we, as an audience, are lead to believe in some kind of conspiracy behind all the strange and terrible incidents, although most probably one thing doesn´t have anything to do with the next. we start to raise suspicion and in the end it really seems to us as if the children were some kind of conspirative, evil force, standing behind all of it. probably also because we know, historically, that these children will be the nazis in 20 years from the time of the film. although there is really no evidence, except for the killing of a bird as an act of revenge and the throwing of the baron´s boy in a lake out of anger, that the children are in charge of any of it. but precisely this is what makes the film so intrigueing. we are always looking for someone in charge, for someone to be responsible and in guilt. there is a constant suspicion (dürrenmatt). that immediately reminded me of the persecution of the "witches", the jews, the communists, the gays, the gypsies, and all the other poor scapegoats of history. this is probably connected to the belief in "sin" and "evil" as entities in general. dürrenmatt writes in Problems of the Theatre, 1955: "The universal for me is chaos. The world (hence the stage which represents this world) is for me something monstrous, a riddle of misfortunes which must be accepted but before which one must not capitulate. The world is far bigger than any man, and perforce threatens him constantly. If one could but stand outside the world, it would no longer be threatening. But I have neither the right nor the ability to be an outsider to this world. To find solace in poetry can also be all too cheap; it is more honest to retain one's human point of view." In The Pledge, 1958 he writes: "The trouble is that in all these mystery stories an altogether different kind of fraud is perpetrated. I am not even referring to the fact that the criminal has his punishment meter out to him. Such pretty fairy-tales are morally necessary too, I suppose. They are in the same class with the other lies that help preserve the State, like that pious phrase that crime does not pay, whereas anyone has only to look at human society to find out how much truth there is in that... No, what really annoys me is the plot in your novels. Here the fraud becomes too raw and shameless. You built your plots up logically, like a chess game; here the criminal, here the victim, here the accomplice, here the master mind. The detective need only know the rules and play the game over, and he has the criminal trapped, has won a victory for justice. This fiction infuriates me. Reality can be only partially attacked by logic." haneke is really good at that, his film certainly isn´t logical. but what is really so strange is that except for two girls (the baron´s shy and darling nanny and later in the film a girl who has pity for a disabled boy who will be tortured and cries) noone is this entire film has any kind of passion or altruism in their faces. they act like controlled automats. and this makes things so unbelievable to me. because i know, that even though society was repressive and authoritative and compulsive, people did nonetheless laugh and were at times joyous and playful. and this of course makes the way history went even more mysterious and incomprehensible, because these people were precisely not controlled automats, but people that were not fundamentally different to us. it´s a very strange and sinister dynamic the way these terrible ideologies progress and lead to the most abysmal atrocities. and i don´t think the human is a wolf in hobbes sense. neither do i follow rousseau. but i really did miss the light of some kind of humanity in this film. maybe that´s my personal ideology, i don´t know. one of the most striking and phenomenal scenes to me, was when the little boy brings his father a new bird. haneke is indeed outstanding with his kid actors. but i still don´t know so sure about what this film really left me with. maybe that´s what´s so good about it.
my fingers are shaking while i´m writing this and excitement is rushing through my heart like the christmas crowds in macy´s. pierre perrault (1927-1999), another reason to love québec even more (there are so many prodigious filmmakers coming from québec, it won´t stop astounding me), is considered by many a "poetic documentarist", a cinéma vérité director or an ethnofiction filmmaker. i´ve only seen his film "pour la suite du monde" so far and was so affected and impressed by its beauty and humanity and the fantastic idiosyncratic speach of its protagonists, the sublime photography and narration. i loved this film from the very first minute on. the old faces, the communities, their communication, their thoughts and bodily expressions, silence and talking, the landscapes, the myths, the rhythm of their lives and their environment. it´s an extraordinary, simple, delicate, strong, humble and tender film with a timeless grace. perrault worked in poetry, prose, essay, cinema, theatre and radio. what a discovery! knowing about perrault feels like finding out those grey, radiant rocks in central park are from the dinosaur age. raising.
"Legendary cinéma vérité filmmakers Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault were attracted to Île-aux-Coudres for two reasons: the language of the people who lived on this small island in St. Lawrence and the whales. For centuries the fishermen of Île-aux-Coudres had caught belugas. The souls of the dead were invoked for a successful catch, and a unique technique was used: the men sank a trap of saplings into offshore mud at low tide to capture the white whale, a tradition that was abandoned in 1920. This feature-length film made in 1962 is the unrehearsed story of what happened when old-timers of the island were persuaded to revive the practice. And through the magic of words and the mystery of the catch, the film uncovers a spirituality rooted in the moon and the rhythm of the tides. Of Whales, the Moon and Men is more than adocumentary; it is a fresco of the myths and legends among the traditional fishing communities of Quebec. In French with English subtitles." via: http://www.onf-nfb.gc.ca
-when i looked at this nice picture for the second time, i thought to myself in german: oh blanchot has "segelohren" (german word for jug ears). i couldn´t remember the english word for "segelohren", and if you translate it literally, it means "sailing ears". and then i thought, well well... sailing ears! sailing on the oceans of the vibes, the words and sounds and winds. sailing away with the ears. i will coin this term now. sailing ears.
roland barthes: a lover´s discourse: fragments (the alphabet of a lover) gilles deleuze: abécedaire (the alphabet of a philosopher) georges bataille: l´abbé c (the alphabet of a heterologist and novelist) diderot & d´alembert: encyclopédie (the alphabet of universalist enlighteners) johann heinrich zedler: großes vollständiges universal-lexicon aller wissenschaften und künste ("Great Complete Encyclopaedia of all Sciences and Arts") (the alphabet of a mega universalist) krafft-ebing: pyschopathia sexualis (the alphabet of (alleged) sexual deviations and perversions)
synthesizes both a postmodern ethnography, in which the realist conventions and objective observer position of standard ethnography have been called into question, and a postmodern autobiography, in which the notion of the coherent, individual self has been similarly called into question. The term has a double sense - referring either to the ethnography of one's own group or to autobiographical writing that has ethnographic interest. Thus, either a self (auto) ethnography or an autobiographical (auto) ethnography can be signaled by "autoethnography". (Communication as Autoethnography, p. 110-122) Autoethnography, as described by Authur Bochner and Carolyn Ellis shows “…people in the process of figuring out what to do, how to live, and the meaning of their struggles” (Communication as Autoethnography, p. 111) (Bochner, Authur P. and Carolyn S. Ellis, Communication as Autoethnography. Communication as… Perspectives on Theory. Eds.Gregory J. Sheperd, Jeffrey St.John, Ted Striphas. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage, 2006.) As Carolyn Ellis describes it, autoethnography uses the conventions of literary writing: research, writing, story, and method that connect the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political.Autoethnographic forms feature concrete action, emotion, embodiment, self-consciousness, and introspection portrayed in dialogue, scenes, characterization, and plot. Thus, autoethnography claims the conventions of literary writing. Sondra Perl and Mimi Schwartz, authors of Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, state that research (family sources, notebooks and journals, interviews, surveys, printed media, the internet, and personal experience) has a central role in creative nonfiction (143 & 155-159).
"In departing from the traditional stance taken by anthropologists, who study 'others' ethnographically, this timely book (Auto/Ethnography: Rewriting the Self and the Social) explores forms of self-inscription on the part of both the ethnographer and those 'others' who are studied. Informed by developments in postmodernism, postcolonialism, and feminism, this is an original contribution to the growing dialogue across disciplinary boundaries. The chapters build upon recent reconsiderations of the uses and meaning of personal narrative to examine the ways in which selves and social forms are culturally constituted through biographical genres. Ethnic autobiography, self-reflexivity in ethnography, and native ethnography raise provocative questions about a range of issues for the contemporary scholar: authenticity of voice; ethnographic authority; and the degree to which autoethnography constitutes resistance to hegemonic bodies of discourse. Examined here in a variety of cultural and political contexts, writing about the self offers challenging insights into the construction and transformation of identities and cultural meanings." (text from amazon)
all of the orange words are words that really arouse me. i never figured that so many videos on youtube, blogs and literature i read are autoethnographic. but they are. autoethnography, i like you.
is a neologism which mainly refers to docufiction, a blend of documentary and fiction film. It’s used in visual anthropology as ethnography. Jean Rouch is considered to be the father of ethnofiction. Ethnologist, he soon discovers that, always interfering in the event which it registers (the ritual), the camera becomes participant. The exigency in research of a non-participating camera is a preconcept denied by practice. Going further in his attempts, Jean Rouch introduces the actor as a tool in research. A new genre was born. (Jean Rouch and the Genesis of Ethnofiction – thesis by Brian Quist (Long Island University). Robert Flaherty, «avant la lettre», may be seen as the grandfather of this genre. Being mainly used to refer to films in the domain of ethnology as a branch of science, the term ethnofiction is as well adequate to refer to documentary films in the field of arts with meaningful tradition, preceding and following Rouch’s oeuvre. It may also be useful to designate any fictional creation with an ethnographical background. (quoted from wikipedia)
one of my favourite films by the cat lover, bolshevist, second life lover, travel guide writer, science-fiction filmmaker, owl lover, animal video artist, hater of pictures of himself, two birth dates holder, subway passionate, wrapped in mystery chris.marker
a day job is the job you have to do to afford to do the work you want to do.
many good people worked in insurance companies as day jobs. franz kafka or wallace stevens for example. and also many interesting people were lawyers.
maybe if you do a job that is really EXTREMELY despicable it makes you more of a genius in your artistic work, because you start to despise yourself and this critical self-impeachment sharpens and alerts your senses and your consciousness even more and then you start to do what you feel you have to do with even more chutzpah and impudence and even more emphasis and vigor.
i don´t know why i love this name so much. fresno. maybe because fresno makes me think of a past i never had. a woman arriving at a train station in fresno. a man losing his memory in fresno. a hospital on a meadowy mountain in fresno. an airport in fresno. a time in fresno. that winter in fresno. when everything changed in fresno. when it all stayed the same in fresno. the day my dog died in fresno. walking through a street in fresno. getting lost in fresno. making love in fresno. a hotel in fresno. nowhere in fresno. i´ve never been to fresno.
to tell a story through the absence of the story looking at an unintentional, sense refusing center, like an animal for example, or just the change of weather. setting the story in a circle around that seemingly empty spot.
harutyun khachatryan´s film border focuses on an armenian cow, who accidently crosses a border.
robert bresson´s au hasard balthasar focuses on a donkey.
the story is strong, but happens on the side, in the details, coming in and out of the doors, passing like life, just like that, without any need of proving, demonstrating, peripeteias, great dramaturgic logics.
i have been a fan of abbas kiarostami for quite a while and quite a number of reasons. the day before yesterday,i saw his latest film "shirin" at a small film festival in berlin and had a really interesting talk after the film with my friends and some other people. abbas kiarostami himself says: "I had a very radical feeling and wanted to watch the audience in private. To me watching people is more interesting than anything else. This is a very old feeling. It has nothing to do with directing. It is a deep and bold gaze; similar to that of children in the cradle, quite straightforward. There are moments in this film which are just like a gift to me. It is a blessing to be able to look at someone so closely to detect feelings on their faces." "...not showing is a kind of objection, an objection to that amount of showing. Pornographic films are not the only representation of porn. When an open heart surgery is on your screen, it is pornography. Watching things which are not supposed to be watched amounts to the experience of pornography." the film consists of simple close-up shots of iranien women watching an old legendary iranien melodramatic fable. it is such a brilliant and postmodern idea to show a film by it´s absence and through it´s mere effects and of course evokes many fine moments of film history: anna karina in "vivvre sa vie", crying while watching a dreyer film, nicole kidman in a state of shock watching an opera in "birth", tornatore´s "cinema paradiso", nolot´s "porn theatre", erice´s "the spirit of the beehive", -so many shots of the effects of films on the human face. but what really disturbed me while watching kiarostami´s film is that all these faces are so false. first, i didn´t know what is was about these endless close-ups of partly melodramatically make-uped faces, until i figured pretty soon, that none of them were "real" people and all of them were actresses. and all of them playing. there is almost no genuine expression or emotion in their faces and the parable of this film to me is quite the opposite of kiarostami´s intention of showing a "pure", simple film, by "pure" simple facial, emotional reactions. the film demonstrates that even feelings and faces, the last suspected domains of "truth", are fictional and we cannot at all trust what we see in a face to be true. not even an emotion. it was kind of funny, how all of my friends noticed the extreme eyebrow plucking designs of all of the iranien actresses and only one young woman, who really stuck out, seemed to have a "natural" face with bushy eyebrows. you could see so much surgery in the faces, false noses, false lips, false tears and false feelings. kieslowski once said, one of the reasons he turned to fiction films coming from documentary films was because he couldn´t stand watching real tears on celluloid and thought it was barbarian and pornographic, but to me watching the actor´s false tears is just as unbearable. the film is really to a great extent pure kitsch. the faces are just as melodramatic and intentional as the old fable they are seemingly watching. -which is another delusion of this film, because you never see reflections in the actresses eyes. you only see a white little dot, like a lost little planet in the black universe of the globe of the eye. the women are not even watching a film, but pretending to watch. and they are so aware of being watched, you can´t even say they are watching at all, they are much more posing infront of us who are watching them like models in a foto shooting. one of the watching women is juliette binoche, which i really liked as a kind of ironic comment (at least i read it this way), that this film is about all the male, iconic, cinematic representations of weeping women. when i think of binoche, i always see her crying like dreyer´s jeanne d´arc in kieslowski´s "blue". it is always this crying, big, female face. -kieslowski in fact didn´t want this shot in the film and had so many discussions with binoche about not wanting to show her crying, but she really insisted and fought for the shot and in the end won. it is a beautiful shot for sure, but i think i would have stayed tough, if i had been kieslowski, because what is beautiful is certainly not necessarily good and often lacking a quality i´d describe as the rigor of genuineness and a little less of self-centered vanity. after the film, one girl said she simply didn´t like the way women were being portrayed and i was defending the film all the time, talking about it´s meta-reflections about us (as audience) watching women pretending to watch, alluding to our pretense (and the actual impossibility) of really watching them, like a great postmodern negotiation about the impossibility of unmediatedness. but when i read what kiarostami himself said about the film and his choice of filming only women, i changed my mind. "Because women are more beautiful, complicated and sensational. A combination of these three qualities makes them perfect candidates for movies and for being looked at. To develop an insight into such complexity, there is no other way than watching, which is the first step on the path to research. Besides, women are more passionate. Being in love is part of their definition." the girl was so dang right! kiarostami, i never thought i would say this, but you are such a reactionary macho. just imagine a girl making a film about weeping men watching a movie and then saying: Because men are more beautiful and sensational and being in love is part of their definition. what a stupid thing to say. marguerite duras once said, men who say "i love the women" are the worst and most full of shit, because they talk about women the same way they talk about cars. how could you define "women"? and isn´t it a little simplifying to speak of such a great, heterogenous group in this presumptuous way? some people said, kiarostami´s film would have been better as a video installation and i have to say, i kind of agree, although i like the concentration and duration you experience when sitting in a movie theatre. it´s a really intrigueing film definitely worth seeing, but as so many things, it is more than the will of its creator and it tells a different story than what it pretends to tell. go see it.
the red planet with two moons, phobos and deimos. the planet with a face. the mars face. the father of all romans and the son of juno and jupiter. first the etruscan god of agriculture, fertility and vegetation, later the greek god of war. the male gender. his bird is a vulture. his animal a dog.
in hamburg in the twenties of the past century lived a girl who was a dancer named lavinia schulz with her boyfriend, who was a dancer too, named walter holdt.
she made "costumes for artistic dances" and futuristic performances with walter. they were relatively well known in hamburg in the twenties in the expressionistic art scene and they were even more well known for persistently refusing to earn money with their art. they just said no to it.
when they were so broke they couldn´t afford to buy food any longer, lavinia pulled a gun and shot walter dead and after that herself. she was 27 then.
left behind were these fantastic ethno-ubu-future-collage-mashup-body masks.
way down in the sea, between 3000 to 4000 meters under the surface in the darkest, blackest night of the ocean there lives an animal called grimpotheutis who can flush his skin and who flies with his ears and eats all kinds of strange foods he sucks inside him when he dances through the dark.
like this for example: a copepod.
they really named a clueless octopus after walt disney´s comic figure.