Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Full of Fire

This new video from The Knife, the first from their forthcoming album, caught my attention, as it's directed by Marit Östberg, a Berlin filmmaker about whom I have written. On first viewing, one can only say, "My, my!" It's super gender-queer and bears further viewing.

Full Of Fire from The Knife on Vimeo.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Twenty Three Percent*

Following my visit to the Sanja Ivekovic exhibits (I didn't blog the Calvert 22 visit, owing to non-art developments that day), I was intrigued to see how this conference would pan out. Rather confusingly, the title is a reference to the pay gap in London, with women's earning falling behind men's by that percentage. But, pay was not the concern of this gathering of the great and good of the art world concerned with feminism.

Instead, it was a range of issues raised by Ivekovic's body of work that caught the attention of the assembled speakers, and the day evolved into a set of wide-ranging papers and panel discussions that ended with a call for revolution! We'll see how that works out.

Incidentally, I had the briefest of chats with Ivekovic and found her to be quite charming and humble. A top comradess.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Tanks

Open now for some six months and subject to intense navel-gazing from those in the know about just what they are meant to accomplish and whom they are meant to represent, The Tanks of Tate Modern have become a must-see destination for the devotee. I am already a fan after a scant two visits. Part of it is the appeal to me of reclaimed industrial architecture. I especially like the odd circular structure which does not appear to contain art but is a draw for those who enjoy atmospheric spaces. When I first ventured there in November, someone was shooting a film there, soaking up the red light. The only drawback is the slightly dusty air, presumably a remnant of the refurbishment.
Light Reading by Lis Rhodes; photo by Val Phoenix

My second visit, this week, was to catch a glimpse of Lis Rhodes' Light Music, set to close tomorrow after a run of several months. The installation was closed for "refurbishment" when I visited in November, and despite the helicopter crash, cold weather and a burgeoning cold, I was determined to see it before it departs, presumably to sit in some store cupboard until someone sees fit to show it again. But will projectors still exist in this dimly glimpsed digital future? Rhodes's two projectors, crossing beams, display film that I believe has been optically printed onto the facing wall. [Here is an explanation of how it is made.] The beams of the two projectors carry out their dance or duel in the centre of the room, daring any spectators to cross their path. When I visited, I realised I was alone in the room and kept a respectful distance until my eyes adjusted and I realised there were seats on the opposite side of the room. Just as I walked through the beam, a flood of visitors entered behind me, and they had no such inhibitions. A group of teens, they danced into the centre of the room and started throwing shapes, filming themselves enacting moves more akin to horror than expanded cinema. It was mildly amusing, if a total mood-killer for Rhodes' more cerebral concerns, her whining optically-produced sound lost in the giggles and high-pitched squeals of the yoof. After awhile, I got annoyed and departed, my shadow spoiling at least one photo.

I am not me... by William Kentridge; photo by Val Phoenix
But my mood brightened appreciably with a return visit to William Kentridge's I Am Not Me, the Horse Is Not Mine, a multi-screen installation sited in what appears to be a kind of roundhouse. My first visit was curtailed because my companion complained of being afraid of the dark, and this one really needs to be seen im dunkel. One feels one is in a kind of nightmarish circus, with jaunty music blaring out, strange animations dancing on various screens, and then out of the corner of one's eye, one sees text from a meeting of the Soviet Central Committee in the 1930s and one knows something more serious is going on. This text comes from the show trial of Bukharin, whose name I dimly recalled from my political science studies of long ago. I rather recalled that things didn't end too well for him, and checking up on it later, I found that, yes, he was executed, his life as with the promise of the revolution and utopia snuffed out by brutality and power struggles. 

Both works close tomorrow, so catch them if you can!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This weekend

After the new year lull, it's time to get out and about and enjoy the cultural delights that await. To that end....

If you are in London on Friday the 11th, Club des Femmes presents its Pussy Riot fundraiser, featuring films by Hito Steyerl, Carol Morley and Cordelia Swann.

Saturday the 12th is Delia Derbyshire Day, being marked in Manchester with a mini-symposium. The Delia Darlings tour then moves on to Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle.

And finally, the Women's Music and Liberation exhibit concludes its London run this Sunday the 13th, with some guests and film screenings.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Mekas Interview

 Happy New Year!

My interview with Jonas Mekas at the Serpentine Gallery is up now on The Quietus.