Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Experimental Conversations 6 Online!

Articles include Don O Mahony on Mark Nugent, me on Rouzbeh Rashidi, Christopher Clarke on Guy Debord, Tony McKibbin on Eric Rohmer, Santiago Rubín De Celis on Dimtri Kirsanoff and coverage of the Different Directions and Kilruddery Film Festivals...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

More Youtube Works

I've uploaded two more videos made exclusively for Youtube viewing. Approach and Somewhere It Is Snowing can both be seen at:

Like the recent Presence 1-20, these are essentially conceptual works born of ruminating on the whole business of consuming images through the internet and broader concerns about the curious public/private interface of online communication of all sorts.

There are three main ideas at play in these works. To summarise them briefly and, no doubt, quite crudely:

First, 'presence', self-representation, the illusion of a virtual existence rendering oneself illusory. Of course, this is mainly dealt with in Presence.

Then the fate of the image, the online degradation of which is now universally accepted. The image as unit of information rather than aesthetic entity. Yet it is a decay not entirely without its own beauty. This is what Approach is about, which is only an image, a still image animated by the visual noise which compression and streaming bring to it. Of course, this way of seeing is still always referring back to the idea of the 'pristine' image of cinema history. Unlike, for example, in glitch art (which I appreciate), that umbilical cord remains firmly attached for me. The fact that so much cinema is dragged through the internet reinforces the connection. The latest in a technological chain of ghosts of cinema (TV, video, DVD...), the internet is replacing cinema with a strange memory of its history...

Finally, and perhaps most stimulatingly, there is the open-endedness of putting video on Youtube, its capacity for incompleteness, its provisional, disposable nature. And the correspondingly casual nature of its viewing. Hence the bloated running times and repetition of Approach and Somewhere It Is Snowing (and even the 10 Pieces of Video for Internet), which define a temporality for themselves that no viewer would probably care to sit through. The fleeting quality of the Presence episodes inverts this process, but to similar ends.

I'll be pursuing this strand of work with further online videos in the near future...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jean Rollin 1938-2010

A word of farewell to a sublime filmmaker whose influence is always with me. Fascination, The Naked Vampire, Night of the Hunted, Rape of the Vampire, Lips of Blood, Shiver of the Vampire, Grapes of Death...

The Mubi site has re-posted some nice obituary comments, including the following:

"Fangoria has learned of the passing of beloved French erotic-horror filmmaker Jean Rollin. The director died last night, after a long illness. He was 72. Fans of European genre films, especially those coming out of the free-thinking 1970s, are no doubt aware of the work of Rollin — a talented, gentle poet of sensual horror, a man who made personal, lush and haunting works that were often ghettoized alongside the efforts of some of his more crass contemporaries and yet almost always offered something more, something richer and more melancholy."

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Manoel de Oliveira turns 102.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Different Directions in Galway (A Plug!)

The third edition of Different Directions, Ireland's only festival entirely dedicated to experimental film, is coming up this weekend (December 10th - 12th) and the programme couldn't be more exciting:

Spread the word! I, for one, will be there watching every minute of it...

Monday, December 06, 2010

LIGHT / SOUND Online at Collectif Jeune Cinema Festival

Light / Sound, the film I made in collaboration with Vicky Langan, is viewable online from December 6th to 31st as part of Collectif Jeune Cinéma's Festival des Cinémas Differents. The web festival is selected by Daphné Hérétakis, Gloria Morano and Laurence Rebouillon.

Friday, December 03, 2010

December Black Sun

Another Black Sun on the horizon, this one coming up on Monday December 6th, 8 pm, in The Pavilion, Carey's Lane. Tickets €14. The live acts, curated as always by Vicky Langan, are Borbetomagus, Thomas Ankersmit and Usurper. This evening is also the culminating event in this year's Cork Art Trail.

Below are the notes for my film programme, which I've devoted entirely to the dazzling work of Stéphane Marti...

For the first time, Black Sun is devoting its entire film programme to the work of a single artist, veteran French filmmaker Stéphane Marti.

Although little known to Irish audiences, Marti has been active since the early ‘70s, creating a sumptuous yet intimate series of baroque, homoerotic cinematic gems on Super-8 that focus on the relationship between the camera and the body. His gracefully intoxicating sense of colour, rhythm, movement, composition and texture is of a force that far outstrips even the more widely recognized work of Derek Jarman.

Two of Marti’s films will be screened at the December Black Sun:

(14 mins, 1979) Dating from the first phase of Marti’s career, this “true concerto for body and camera [that] celebrates the worship of Eros” employs dance, elaborate make-up, water and body paint in its dynamically sensuous ‘ritual’.

Mira Corpora
(45 mins, 2004) This dazzling and hypnotic homage to Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) represents an indisputable peak in cinema’s exploration of the meeting, and melting, of light and the human body.

An exponent of the Super-8 format, Marti has been compared to a jeweller for the finesse with which he works his miniature medium. He has said:

“How cinema approaches the body is the most stimulating challenge that I know. I’ve given form and light to a filmed body / filming body repertoire which has developed thanks to the lightness of the cameras I use and to the instinctive exchanges I’ve established with my ‘actors’ in the infinite palette of relations of desire: attraction, repulsion, fear, hysteria, ecstasy, pleasure, sweetness, etc. Artifice, theatricality, lyricism always reinject energy into the game… I place the body like a jewel in its box, a precious object trapped in an enclosed space, and attack it from all sides with my camera…”

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Le Cain Films at Thessaloniki International Film Festival

This year, I have the huge honour of being part of the magnificent Experimental Forum of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, programmed by Vassily Bourikas. I've attended the two previous editions of this section of the Festival and, in both cases, come away with my sense of film history significantly altered and deepened thanks to Vassily's uncompromising devotion to bringing to light unjustly neglected cinemas.

Prior commitments prevent my attending this year, but the programme again promises viewers a once-in-a-lifetime cinematic experience: a retrospective of Australian experimental film, films by George Manupelli, Oleg Mavromatti, Wilhelm Hein... (To say nothing of a tribute to my hero Werner Schroeter happening outside the Experimental Forum as part of the Festival's maintsream!)

The Experimental Forum also includes a programme of recent experimental films called Last Year's Resolutions in which my Monologue and Hotel La Mirage (my 'Greek co-production'!) are screening alongside works by Peter Tscherkassky, Pip Chodorov, Ivan & Igor Buhraov and many others.