:: Essays

Ghost in the Machine: so what do you have to say about the found thong? published 12/04/2017

A question I always wondered popped into my head again, me at the center of the room, performing as instructor or dancer, cutting a circle around that pulpit; cutting a circle. Turning & turning in a circle in the night, consumed by the fire. When you speak to the dead, do you ever actually want a response?

By Chris Campanioni.

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uncontrollable nighttalkers published 10/04/2017

To my mind, this is how a text like FW asks to be read: not as one puzzle constructed by one steady hand to be solved and set aside, but rather as many puzzles as unfolding and shifting as language itself, constructed by the evolving and eroding hands of an active human animal over a decade plus of his existence. One might call this reading of the text a copout or failure, then, but it’s that impasse that draws its line between an appreciation of this mindbending work, or a return to dominant narrato-fictive modes that provide more readily available creature comforts.

Grant Maierhofer on Finnegans Wake.

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The Betrayals of the Avantgarde: Karel Teige’s Cine-Poetics and Beyond published 09/04/2017

Avantgardism has always been vested in ideological struggle, though in retrospect this struggle is frequently aestheticised or abstracted into a type of avantgarde metaphysics, in which “the new” circulates as a transcendental signifier of pure possibility detached from the real political character of its revolutionary rhetoric, its historical dimension circumscribed by isms: Cubism, Futurism, Cubo-Futurism, Constructivism, Suprematism, Dadaism, Surrealism, etc. Each of these isms, drinking at the well of an ancient antagonism, enacts a kind of Gnostic ritual in which the destiny of the world (no less) is bound up with an act of aesthetic completion, whether by enlightenment or by apocalypse. This is the revolutionary task the avantgarde has always, in one form or another, imagined for itself.

Louis Armand on Prague avantgardeist Karel Teige

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Excerpt: Butoh War Games published 05/04/2017

After passing the derelict wooden structure of the immense Koma cinema that Richie loved and would be demolished soon after, the cacophony of Shinjuku faded out and we entered the near-darkened, near-silent and dense alleyways of the Golden Gai area, almost untouched for 50 years, and arrived at the discretely signposted bar, ‘La Jetée’, owned by Richie’s friend, another obsessive agent of memory, the French film-maker Chris Marker, possessed by his own memories of the future, which Tokyo above all other cities disgorges, annulling or reversing linear time, oscillating between future-directed political contestations and now-lost corporeal gestures, transforming the megalopolis’s facades and the imprinted bodies they momentarily contain.

By Stephen Barber.

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Cinema At The End Of the World published 04/04/2017

It’s 1973, the Apollo programme’s been on ice since last December. After Cernan & Schmitt, no more whitey on the moon. Science fiction just turned retro. On Earth, meanwhile, Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars have glammed it up for their final encore at the Hammersmith Odeon. It’s a sign of the times. “See you round, sweetheart,” grins Robert Fuest’s hunchbacked mutant three months later, as he/she/it salutes the camera & lurches forth from Professor Cornelius’s secret Lapland laboratory & ex-Nazi U-boat pen into the icy tundra, fate as yet unreported.

Louis Armand on Fuest‘s The Final Programme as “psychedelic sci-fi” crossed with “proto-punk” as ironic Accelerationist Manifesto avant la lettre.

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Excerpt: Quadrophenia: A Way of Life published 31/03/2017

Outside of Toyah’s mum’s wardrobe, the film’s producers were taking the acquisition of clothes very seriously. One company approached to secure the necessary period pieces was called Contemporary Wardrobes. More than just a clothes-hire operation, they’d earned a reputation by supplying genuine items for films and other productions. Overseen by two former Mods, tailors Jack English and Roger Burton, they recalled their joy at being called in for duties on the film for a Who fanzine in 1979.

By Simon Wells.

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Cities in Cinema 3: Fargo published

From the start, the Coens root the film in the terroir of their home state. The characters’ names are Scandinavian and native American (Minnesota derives from a Sioux language name for the Mississippi river). They watch the Gophers play ice hockey, choose between meatballs and torsk for lunch, and express anger by scraping ice from their windscreens more forcefully than normal. Jean’s teenage son has a picture of Whitesnake of his bedroom wall, alongside a poster of “The Accordion King”.

John P. Houghton‘s latest column for 3:AM.

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Impossibility and the Limits of Art published

Is art as unbounded as to be able to create anything ? “Art has no limits”, one might think. Members of the society I am part of follow certain rules—and perhaps some of those rules are also followed by members of other societies—but I can easily sit in my chair and write about alternative societies where those rules are not followed at all. The objects in our environment usually fall when they are dropped. But I could shoot a movie in which objects just stay up in the air. The laws of nature, like social rules, do not put constraints in our creativity. We are pretty much free to avoid them in our imagination.

Luis Rosa on impossibility and art.

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Der Amerikanische Freund: Petit/Wenders/Jarmusch published 18/03/2017

It wouldn’t be bad to ban the American cinema for a while. Three-quarters of the planet considers cinema from the angle and according to the criteria of American cinema… People must become aware that there are other ways to make films than the American way. Moreover this would force filmmakers in the United States to revise their conceptions. It would be a good thing.
– Jean-Luc Godard

Louis Armand on avoiding American cinema.

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Sheena is a Trump Rocker published 17/03/2017

All of a sudden, however, everyone’s a fucking expert on fucking everything. Twenty year old kids coming across like they’ve been up against the political rockface all their lives, loving the sound of their own voices on YouTube, as they put the world to rights, eulogising away in their irritating, squeaky, upspeak manner, telling us what ‘the thing’ is, and letting us know how messed up the rest of us really are. This supposedly well meaning movement, peopled almost exclusively by the pampered middle classes of all ages, and their whiny offspring, are bound together in their utter hatred of Brexit and Donald Trump.

By Andy Blade.

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