art work of women in psychiatry

the work of supposedly insane women in the psychiatric institute of hans prinzhorn in heidelberg, germany, around 1900.


orly cogan (born in israel in 1971)

conspiracy theories

i have always been euphorically fascinated by conspiracy theories and paranoid sense-making of coincidence (what we do with every word we think or speak). we are animals gone mad in language, this strange virus from outer space (burroughs).
naturally we are all believers. children believe in santa claus (the absurd stories adults tell them) and adults are as superstitious to believe in presidents, the big bang, tax assessments, biology and the yak-yakking of newspapers.
i love superstition. i always tell myself, when i can´t make a decision: if the water drop that comes out of the faucet right now is rather warm, it means YES, if it´s cold, it means NO, and the likes.
suzanne treister is an excellent artist of the occult and conspiracy.
i met her once in cologne when she talked about her work, and she for sure is one hell of a worker with a gigantic arsenal of amazing work. the pictures above are transcriptions and rearrangements of newspaper titles into occult iconographies.
oh, -the occult! i think i kind of love the occult and it´s insanely picturesque imagery too.
and i for sure love suzanne treister.




the first few minutes of this film are really rather banal. you see many more or less mediocre, silent images of east germany and later poland, as the film advances further and further to the east, from late summer to deep winter, just filming, no commentary, no aim or end in mind.
i asked myself again and again while watching, why akerman would show these banal beginning images of random streets, neither particularly beautiful, nor with any striking features. but then i understood that the film needed these images to pave the way for what was yet to come and allow to become visible, what was yet to appear. like the fundament of a building or the first banal steps of a journey. the film´s rythm clearly doesn´t subordinate itself to cinematic dramaturgies but to the rhythm of an unprejudiced, lost drifter, who is hooked to voyeuristic, appropriating observations, without the desire to make any concrete sense of them.
the audience in the cinema was so nervous and uncomfortable, it almost felt delicious. everyone was caughing and moving around. the film was so quiet and insisting. indeed insisting on the mediocrity of these first images, which did eventually make them grand. almost like the water lilies of monet would be nothing, if they were just one picture, but because monet really insists, existentially insists, on these water lilies, through all the seasons and years and even while going blind, these water lilies do obtain an existential aura of some kind of truth of sentiment and perception.
the greatest pictures of d´est are clearly those in the very far east of waiting people at bus stations, in waiting halls and in their homes. filmed mostly in very gloomy and somber light, the camera sovereignly passes by these people in long tracking shots, that often go in circles and repeat themselves again and again, or in the case of the the home shots remain motionless, just blankly looking.
it´s sheerly mesmerizing how akerman appropriates the faces of the people she regards, who are obviously real people, really waiting in these places, and the way they look back, almost like statues, without giving in to the power of akerman´s regard and even commenting her action and making jokes, but without moving and completey allowing her to look and take their picture.
some look sceptical, one or two throughout the film hide their face behind their hands, but most of them just stand their like objets trouvés, almost as if they were staged but nonetheless ignorant of their pitoresque physiognomies which akerman elevates to bodies of art.
it is staggering how she moves through places and looks at people with such commanding and confident self-evidence and how none of the regarded subjects are intimidated by her colonizing and subjectifying recording machine, but remain careless like silent paintings in a museum.

i had to think about how most films in history have been fascinated by going south or west or north, but almost no journeys ever went to the eastern bloc. maybe because people thought there was simply nothing to film. no beaches, no exotic people, no nanooks, no great flora and fauna, no indians. but precisely this considered aesthetical nothing is so rich and telling. akerman´s aesthetical means are those of poverty and reflection. she observes from the perspective of someone without money, solely with the pure desire to look and captivate.
i had to think about how i used to walk through paris when i still lived there, with no money at all and couldn´t afford to go to cafés or bars or museums, so i´d just walk through the strangest, lost and somehow forgotten, "invisible" places that know no image of themselves and exist unphotographed, but real. i saw all kinds of awkward, maghrebian markets, crowds of people waiting for soup from a car by a cemetary, empty, gloomy streets in the suburbs, old people hanging around in nowheres in parking areas and church squares with nothing to do, just waiting and looking, like myself. none of these images belonged to the collective and ideological images of paris, its cinematic and romantic representations.
it was a completely parallel, aesthetical universe. lonely and bizarre and broken and ignored and beautiful.
it´s what you see, when you drift, walk, when you don´t know what to do and what to think and when you don´t have a dime, but time.

this is a grand, grand film and akerman is a light in the night of cinema.



horowitz playing scarlatti so beautifully and sad, i had to hold my breath.
horowitz is known for having said, there are only three types of pianist: the jew, the gay, and the bad one.

to be a noble character


persian composite elephant

persian paintings

the foreground, vertical, flat, patch-worked, dense, composite, material collage in ancient persian paintings.
writing as ornament and image. image as assemblage of iconic constituents.
the sentence of an image, its grammar and order.



i just saw the legend of the suram fortress (from 1984) by sergei parajanov, which, like all of parajanov´s films, left me in mere wonder and admiration, dazzled and dazed and touched and feeling blessed to have at least two eyes and ears to enjoy this universe of splendid beauty.
the story is based upon an ancient georgian tale. in a place somewhere in the most beautiful mountainous steppe, people are trying to save a broken fortress again and again, but the walls won´t stop from crumbling down. in order for the walls to stop falling apart, a young boy must eventually be immured alive into the walls.
in perfectly stylized and symmetrical tableau vivants reminiscent of byzantine or naive art, the actors perform ritualistic seeming aesthetical and metaphorical rites that illustrate the story. in a very literary technique, the story is told bit by bit, segmented into little chapters and the images almost seem like the come to life, miraculous images illustrating old and sacred books from forgotton and imaginary times like the bible.
i often had to think of matthew barney´s cremaster cycle and i´m so sure, barney took much of his inspiration from parajanov.
the costumes and colors and collages are of such crazy and visionary, hallucinating, surrealistic, ethnographic and fairy tale-like theurgy, i don´t think there´s anything you could compare parajanov´s style to. it´s a unique and closed cosmos of staggering, poetic, jumbled, mythical, iconic, performative images that are satisfying in a way a lunatic who is compulsive about order must feel deeply satisfied when everything is symmetrical and in it´s place.
maybe you could compare these beautiful little tableaus to aesthetical compulsive acts. i guess that´s what comes closest.
the way he arranges and sets up animals and foods and dresses and dancers and actions (such as two black dressed men slicing flying, blood-red pomegrenades with their silver swords infront of two symmetrically arranged great danes) is simply incomparable and insanely gorgeous. it is at times so absurdly beautiful and bizarre and strange that i had to laugh and hold my breath at the same time.
parajanov disassambles the body of the classical cinema narrative into complex yet simple seeming images and actions, like little narrative limbs, that are re-organised in a very intuitive, child-like, narrative construction. you could call it dream-like or absurdist or surrealistic, but there is indeed no name i could think of that would adequately describe his personal, poetic, collage technique.
i loved this film so dearly dearly dearly.


cinematic emotions

Perhaps the transformative nature of the performances in Cassavetes' work is related to a certain indiscernibility of narrative intention that arises from each character seeming to act out of their own internal logic. By this I mean as characters primarily, rather than as conduits in the service of plot.

I think what you're trying to describe here is the way that the films withhold access to an interiority that often functions to explain a character's behaviour. The performances certainly create a powerful sense of inner turmoil and psychology depth. But the impact is due to the fact that the films never psychologise the characters. Sylvie Pierre puts it best when she describes Faces as giving the impression of "being a thorough investigation which, however, reveals nothing at all". She goes on to note that Faces 'makes us aware of one of the weaknesses of the cinema: its right and proper inability to explain the inner world, since all it can literally grasp are external signs as being not unrelated to inner turmoil'. What Pierre points to is cinema's unsurpassed ability to record and capture the fluctuations of emotion as they pass across the surface of a face. Cassavetes' work is distinguished by a highly sophisticated understanding of how cinema engages with emotion via the image, an image that draws its meaning from the skin, the face and light, rather than some false interiority.
(George Kouvaros interviewed by Needeya Islam on sensesofcinema.com)


oliver laric

ali akbar sadeghi

the style of ali akbar sadeghi (born 1937)evokes a kind of persian surrealism, based on iranian ornaments and compositions from traditional paintings, popular iranian iconography, and the use of persian cultural motifs, signs and myths. his work is very personal and reminiscent of epic, decorative traditional persian paintings and illustrations.