Lizzie Borden’s “Born in Flames” is a 1983 film about feminist activists who form a womens army 10 years after the United States has undergone a socialist revolution. The film was made piece by piece over a period of five years, which allowed for a real evolution of the content over time. Various cast members lived in her house at different times, allowing for spontaneous shooting when the time and the ideas were right. Asked if she would do it again, she says “”if I had only made four films in my life and they were films that really changed me, I would”. A fascinating departure from the ordinary process of filmmaking, which does open up the possibility for a filmmaker’s subject to feed into her life, and feedback into the film again, transforming the film and the self at the same time.
NATO DUCK (35 sec, 2001) is a promo for the Northern Arts Tactical Offensive (NATO). From NATO’s website: ” NATO is a Manchester-based grassroots art collective. Our work as a collective, or through collaborative projects, aims to bring grassroots and underground art dealing with current social and environmental issues out of the confines of its more typical contexts, exposing it to a more diverse and mainstream audience.”
Daniel is an artist in residence at the VCA, who spoke to us about his work recently for our Centre for Ideas class. He had lots of interesting things to show, in particular I loved the photographs of a cat he had taken while hiking with friends (which are available on the artist’s website, along with documentation of his other work).
“On December 31 I walked with three friends up a hill in Tuhringen, near Ilmenau. We found a dead cat lying on its back. Her position seemed as if death caught her by surprise in a moment of joy and play. In the night, we lightened firecrackers. It started snowing. Next day, January 1, we decided to walk up the hill again.”
I found these pictures to be very moving, if somewhat confronting. I showed these photos to M, who found them to be offensive in an exploitative Damien Hirst-esque way, which I understand. It’s a strange thing for an artist to encounter something sad and beautiful, a small observation in the context of the wider world, but the momentous and final events in the existence of this particular cat, and then exhibit this in a way that doesn’t necessarily show full respect to this being. But how do we show this respect, and why? The cat is dead, after all.
Walter Benjamin’s mystical vision of history piqued my fancy this morning while browsing Wikipedia:
The following is Benjamin’s ninth thesis from the essay “Theses on the Philosophy of History”:
A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
We just got the photos back from our shoot with Hunter. They turned out! Here is Hunter studiously reading Ned in his impromptu bush schoolroom.
Now we just need to work out which shots to use, and place the text around it. Jennie will be making and hand-binding the books with Marta in the next couple of months.
This is a work in progress, a photo-shoot cum handmade-book project for my godson, Hunter. It’s a collaboration between Killer, Jennie and myself, with Ross and Hunter as the unwitting father and son who are come upon in the middle of the bush one day while out on a fishing expedition. Killer and I are the lady bushrangers who kidnap Hunter while his father isn’t looking, and take him into the woods for a few lessons in the art of bushrangery and some schooling in the gospel according to Ned Kelly.
We’re hoping to have the book finished and exhibited some time in 2008.
Sister Mary Clancy Of The Overflow Does Vagina Dentata (6mins 37sec, 2007) is a performance by Gaylourdes, evoking the film-theory spectre of the Vagina Dentata, at the Camp Betty Cinema in Melbourne, 2007. This clip formed the first footage for a new collaborative film project exploring the themes of the double, the film within the film, the contamination of reality by dreams and the voyage in time.
Snap! (1 min, 2004). Two ladies playing cards find their cards come to life, leading to a diva-off between the two pairs of femme Queens. Features the marvellous marker-pen portraits of unique women un-dressed-up in their own private environs by Arlene Textaqueen. Snap was commissioned for ARTV, an ACMI/SBS co-production.