Sunday, 26 June 2016

A Bigger Splash, Mira Calix and Fallout 4

I’ve been very relaxed this week, slowly assimilating back into simply being; moving from my bed to the garden and back again. I think I need to carve out some sort of structure for the summer, if not I’ll begin to go crazy with the amount of free time I have. For now, though, it’s kind of nice…

Not a lot of actual work has occurred, with the odd idea being considered here and there but nothing substantial enough to be noteworthy in any way. I began to create an abstract piece of music inspired by the various Vaporwave sub-genres, but at the end of the first day the 41 second clip that I had created sounded very weird, with no real relevance or structure. I’m beginning to realise that the freedom that’s afforded by just making music by itself makes the whole process a lot more difficult, rather than simply putting together a soundscape for a video clip. I may continue on with this work, but will more than likely re-think the whole thing. The link to the sound piece is here:
It would be interesting to take well known music videos, take away the sound, and create my own soundscape for each piece; using vaporwave as the dominant genre due to its consumer capitalist roots. This could be a thing… A combination of my abandoned YouTube copyright piece with the creation of a Vaporwave EP. Maybe in the next week I’ll look into this and see if it can be done; creating vaporwave music to the most popular YouTube music videos.
That’s about it for actual art work occurring, as I say I’ve been mostly relaxing and taking things ‘easy’. I’ve been going through my blog and my notes a little bit, collecting all the ideas that I’ve had over the past few months and deciding which ones I want to pursue and which ones will be forgotten. The idea of creating a video game consisting of an interactive song that you can manipulate ‘in game’ is still incredibly intriguing to me, as well as the ‘no screen time’ contract. Both of these things require time and a little bit of thought. I know how to program the sounds within the game, I just need to choose a song still, and then all I have to do is to actually do it. All I need for the latter idea is to draw up a contract, making it look professional and legitimate as possible, and then allocate a certain number of days in which to actually do it (the ‘no screen’ time). Hopefully I’ll think more about this in the coming week.
Displaying a kindle with Infinite Jest loaded up on it is still interesting to me, one of those pieces that screams ‘look at me, look at how much I know etc’, which I’m never really a fan of, but maybe I can do this in a knowing way? Another idea, creating a website with no external links, making it unable to be found via search engines, is an interesting one but maybe impossible to achieve.

I think these 5 pieces will be worked on over the coming weeks when I can be bothered to actually do anything with them. I also need to start thinking about the show that I’m going to be in/help with putting on over the summer whilst being here in Suffolk. All the spaces are so small, so it may simply be a two-person show. I’m also thinking about what other things I can go about doing because of the low cost nature of all the venues that I’ve been finding, as well as asking myself why I want to put these things on; to gain awareness for my work? As a motivator to make work over the summer? A way of documenting new work in a white walled clean space? To put another exhibition on my CV? Who knows? I still need to set various dates for these things too, working around holidays and other peoples’ schedules.

I went to one vaguely art based thing this week at Snape Maltings called The Discovery Of Bomarzo. It was a collaborative performative work by an ‘early music’ collective (basically singing) and Mira Calix (an interesting sound artist). About two minutes of the hour long performance was actually ‘collaborative’ whilst the other 58 minutes was vaguely interesting abstract sounds interspersed with painful singing. They seemed to have missed the point about it being a ‘collaborative’ work, which was a real shame actually, as those two minutes were kind of interesting and worthwhile.
Other than this I’ve been watching a range of films whilst continuing onwards with Lost as well as a new tv show (for me) called Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s actually very funny and very enjoyable, focusing in on the day to day life of Larry David, the co-creator of the hit show Seinfeld. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re into a very ‘real’ type of comedy, whatever that means.
In terms of films, it’s been a very slow week, with the majority of my time being given over to Larry David (I’m already on season 6). I’ve wanted to see Richard Linklater’s most recent film about college life and a ‘spiritual successor’ to Dazed and Confused for a while, so I was very excited to finally watch Everybody Wants Some!! To my dismay however, rather than being a masterpiece it was like walking into a pit of misogyny. I’m very aware that the point was to simulate his own life experiences as well as how the early 80’s was… But, really? ‘In this day and age’ is it okay to make this kind of movie; where women are turned into inanimate objects to be pursued by the white male protagonists and are given the briefest of lines in order to pretend that they’re being somewhat respected? I really wanted to like it, and did enjoy some of the cleverer jokes, but that involved putting up with all the other shit that was occurring on the screen. In reality it was simply dull and sexist, just another film about being a white American in college, something nobody really wants anymore. I really expected more from Linklater.
Demolition was kind of interesting, a lot better than I thought it was going to be, with the ‘wanky’ trailer giving me a range of negative impressions. The main characters’ wife dies in the beginning, and whilst at the hospital Jake Gyllenhaal attempts to get some food from a vending machine. The sweet packet gets stuck, so he proceeds to pour the grief that he’s feeling into various letters that he sends to the vending machine company under the guise of complaining about losing a few cents to buy M&Ms. It’s heart-warming and quite lovely, if a little ‘wanky’ at times, but who doesn’t like a little bit of ‘wankieness’ sometimes?
I also watched Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a new film featuring Tina Fey, whom I loved in 30 Rock but since then haven’t really liked anything else that she’s been in. This was no real exception, with the film being too serious for a comedy, but too light for a drama. Obviously ‘comedy-drama’ is a thing, but I don’t think it suits Tina Fey very well. Maybe I just can’t get over her 30 Rock performance…
I mistakenly watched Postman Pat: The Movie, more for my younger self than anything else. It wasn’t that interesting, and as an adult I was picking apart the film as it was going on in front of me. Compared to the various cartoons that I watch on a daily basis, this was not at all interesting and only for the children in the audience, with nothing being given to the parents to enjoy.
A Bigger Splash however, was quite incredible. Some very interesting filming was occurring alongside a story that slowly unravels, with the tension slowly building as the movie continues on. I would highly recommend it, Ralph Fiennes’ acting alone makes the film worth watching; managing to create a completely new and convincing personality for himself. Highly recommended.
The last film of the week was Equals, a sci-fi film with a plot we all know; ‘in a future where emotions are suppressed by drugs two people rise up to fight against the system’, etc. Although the film basically took the concept of Equilibrium and mixed in the clean aesthetics of THX 1138, I kind of liked it. It was incredibly subtle, as you’d hope from a mainly emotionless cast of characters, with an ambiguous ending. One of the many glaring faults however was the casting of Kristen Stewart. Although I enjoy her acting in other films, she just didn’t suite the ‘emotionless’ role that this film was asking for. It is plainly obvious that she has emotions and would have been reported to the ‘higher ups’ ten minutes into the film. I’m aware she’s supposed to be hiding these emotions whilst slightly showing them on the occasion, but the majority of the time it was just too obvious. For the concept of this to work it needs to be perfect. Equilibrium combatted this by moving away from the citizens of the world, away from the people who were emotionless, a cowardly decision but a decision nonetheless, which is a lot better than attempting to act your way through the impossible decision that was made by Drake Doremus.
Other than the films, I’ve been playing a lot of Fallout 4 this week, slowly being engulfed by the virtual universe that it offers up on a plate. A lot of the missions aren’t that great, but the shooting mechanics are incredibly satisfying which facilitates the exploration of an incredibly intricate world that’s been created for the player to explore. I’m thoroughly enjoying my time with the game and will probably continue to do so for a little while at least.
Oh and this week’s artists on isthisit? are Abbie Cairns and Elliot Hewgill. Two different video works, one about social media being a game and the other dissecting an incredibly pixelated image of two figures splashing in the sea. Both looking at two very different aspects of life which work kind of well. You can browse it here:
I think that’s my incredibly calm and relaxed week. Hopefully next week some actual work will occur, or not, who knows? I think that’s the point of being on holiday…



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