I watched Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind yesterday. I’m always struck by how carefully he set up his shots (well-deserved Oscar by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond), and tells the story with just enough info to go forward with, forcing you to create the missing information in your own mind.
Katie Paterson is a Scot who works in Berlin, and the above film is mostly about the creation of a light bulb meant to emulate moonlight.
Her web site mentions her work is often about time and change, but I’d say it’s time and what remains constant. It’s charming and thoughtful, and her morse code message sending Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata bouncing to our satellite and back is an exploration of both how we make the moon a kind of person, anthropomorphizing it in so many ways, and also of our certainty of its permanence in our strange, short lives.
If you only have a dream, or a vision, or an idea, it’s still worth exploring to its fullest extent. That is all.
I’ve always admiredTom Wilson’s bravura performance in the Back to the Future trilogy, he made a lot with his part and created a very real Biff out of a basic cartoonish part.
But here Tom—opposite Christopher Lloyd—seems to feed off the presence of the crowd, generously giving his seemingly boundless energy to an appreciative audience.
This sort of presence is something of a mystery to me as a confirmed introvert. I have to fake being calm and into the thing discussed. If I could be this guy when doing art-related speaking or activities, I’d try to do it more often.
Paul McCartney’s slightly vertigo-inducing video for “I Don’t Know” is one of my favorite tracks on his new album, Egypt Station. It’s not a great album, and could have used some trimming, I think, but there are gems, and this is one. Paul often gets dismissed for, well, silly love songs—specifically by John Lennon, there—but mostly by those who consider he’s forever cranking out sunny fluff. But he’s got a darker side, his share of gloom, and those songs are found throughout his oeuvre.
It seems a piece with some of his later work where he addresses being older, having a sense of his own mortality. Self-examination is important for all of us, especially those of us making things. We put our hearts into the work, and without knowing the dark side as well as the light, we aren’t approaching it with our complete selves.
It’s kind of a video version of comfort food. ST:TNG and Back to the Future have been mainstays. It’s strangely soothing to hear people talk about their respective franchises from both inside and outside.
I am exhausted, and this stuff is helping me cope while I settle into a new city attempting to tie up loose ends in the old.
Case in point, so many internet things that are amazing and have criminally few eyeballs and earholes attached to them. I understand the magic of discovering treasures that are meaningful to you. I’m sad that it’s such a widespread impulse to resist sharing those things with everyone else. It’s the Daffy Duck mentality, a throwback to post-infancy, when we desired everything for ourselves, before we learned empathy.
One of the reasons I’m continuing to work on this blog is to share those things, to resist the hoarding impulse. Because it’s in the sharing that we grow, it’s in the mutual delight of discovery that we support and enhance each other. This is a better way to live.
All that to say, watch the latest BJ Rubin show. It’s full of music that’s so far out on the fringe it’s fuzz floating away on the breeze. It’s weird, it’s unique, and the world needs so much more of that right now.
She continually makes amazing, affecting, and beautiful work in multiple mediums. Her pieces mostly examine women’s issues and feminism. Take a break from the consternation all around us and revel in it.
Apologies for this one coming so late, sometimes my ‘net connection is patchy.
NOTE: This post was originally crafted for Jun 13, but I found out later that some electronic mishap or other wiped out most of the text and links leaving only the partial draft unpublished, so I’ve tried as best I can to remake it.
If you haven’t seen The Carters’ (Beyoncé & Jay-Z, after the latter’s surname) new video, “Apeshit,” it’s a wonderful and powerful repurposing of The Louvre for the video. I’ve seen some shade thrown and trash talked about their lack of formal education, but Jay and Bey’ are avid art collectors and clearly know what they’re doing.
There are plenty of breakdowns online about the art and symbolism, but I wanted to point out a couple things I saw that I haven’t seen noted. The video takes place almost entirely within The Louvre, as staid and haughty an institution as exists in the art world. Its unmoving structure, for the most part consisting of neutral and white surfaces, is subverted by movement and color, mostly women of color, at that. Dancing in front of the Coronation of Napoleon by David is defiant, for sure, but also resonates with Beyoncé’s oft-labeled nickname, Queen Bey. She and Jay-Z lay claim to all the cultural heritage of the West, while simultaneously calling out the white-centric focus of canon past. Movement and music are not parts of the art world often celebrated by museums, and here we see a beautiful correction.
There’s lots to notice, particularly the works they chose to highlight, and probably more than can be absorbed in one viewing.
The final scene, too, is stirring, as the two artists join hands in front of the Mona Lisa, in effect declaring themselves “in,” members of the art world as much as any other. It’s a measure of their success and confidence in their considerable abilities that The Carters could rent out The Louvre to make this video. It’s a greater measure that they take pride in showcasing, critically examining, and paralleling the art inside, too.
I can’t help but think of this Kids in the Hall sketch every time my day gets weird. I’d say it was just life, but that isn’t anything you don’t already know.
PS I recommend having drinks with your cow-orkers when possible. It makes the ordinary burdens of a day job a little lighter.