Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
The highlight of the shorts may have been what the guy behind me said after the conclusion of one, "Are you kidding me?" My sentiments exactly.
Highlight of my evening was crashing the Selfless After-party to see Storm Large. The snacks were nummy and even though it was a no-host bar, I did manage to get some pretentious film student to buy me a couple of vodka martini's.
Hurray for heels in Portland!
But having been a fan of Storm's for a couple of years, I was willing to smile and nod at the jerk of a film student.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Also, and perhaps the most 'special' element of YouTube, is its ability to make available that which would otherwise wallow in obscurity. I'm sure many of you have never heard of the Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth, or of the man being interviewed, Gaahl; but here it is---I'm showing it to you.
Gaahl is very peculiar man. If you watch the entire documentary you learn some rather insightful things about the life of this Satanic hermit. "You don't perform black metal if you're not a warrior. Black metal is a war against... what everyone knows." Hahaha, great stuff!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I do view it as art because video editing can be very artistic. In addition, Fred Astaire was an artist himself. So how is that for a double whammy?
If you want, make sure to watch the entire video.
This young man set up the balancing stones and shot all the footage in such a way that , when played in reverse, it appears that the stones are balancing themselves. I thought it was pretty awesome.
Mania was interesting but I think I could of done a better job. (or maybe I'm just a hard critic) Lighting was poor in an interview with Clyde Drexler who was placed in front of a ugly white wall which made him appear really dark. The music in the background was too dramatic for my taste, but the film got more interesting when the writer gets you excited about the future of the team. Go Blazers!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
ONE NOTE.....I did say that you will only be allowed a total of 5 extra credit points, this applies to visual events you attend. If you chose to turn in your final paper before Thanksgiving break (Nov 19), you will be eligible for an additional 2.5 points extra credit, which means you essentially can rack up 7.5 points toward your final grade.
Info on where, when and what: The 2008 Digital Technology and Culture Artists in Resident, Julie Andreyev and Simon Mills Overstall, will talk about "VJ Fleet," their upcoming collaboration with DTC students in FA 435 Interactive Media. The talk takes place on Thursday, November 13, at Northbank Artists Gallery, 6:30 pm. 1005 Main St., Vancouver, WA. The event is free and open to the public.
“VJ Fleet” is an interactive sound and video performance-installation that “explores the city as mobile tableaux in order to link up and investigate public space. . . . Serving as hybrid forms, a fleet of customized cars equipped with interactive, audio-video technologies cruise the city seeking engagement as urban performance. During a performance, video of the host city and audio aspects of the engine and passenger areas are manipulated by interactions between the car and driver to create a new, live cinematic display.” This project has been performed in Basel, Switzerland; Boston, MA; and Vancouver, BC.
My favorite part of the film was when it showed all those people getting off the train and onto the escalators. Its crazy to see that many people get on an escalator and leave a train station all at once. I've been in a few of those crowds before, but to see it is a whole different story.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I attended the showing of A Sentence For Two on Monday November 10th, 2008. The film was about pregnant women who enter the jail system, focusing on the women at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Oregon. I thought it was pretty sad how these women, will full mental capabilities, were able to push aside the feelings and well being of their families in order to satisfy their own selfish wants and needs. I was happy to see how one of the women's story ended, she found a great couple who was able to adopt her newborn. It's good to know that the future of that baby boy was going to be a good one. The film was directed by Randi Jacobs from Eugene, Oregon. The cinematographer shared with the audience that the crew involved in making the film were all women except for him. He also shared that it was difficult for them to shoot everything they wanted because the jail staff was very restrictive.
I found this video titled, Glide. It kind of reminded me of the Koyaanisqatsi film, especially day one of the film since everything seemed to move slowly through the landscapes and the music that accompanied had such a deep tone. I think this video is relevant to what we have seen in the course as it displays the use of technology, specifically video to exhibit the artist's work. I also thought it was interesting how the artist used smoke to really make the viewer sense a gliding movement throughout.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I also found Philip Glass's work in the composition to be very powerful. The whole concept of composing the music first and then making the video match the score is great! Taking a backwards approach to traditional methods has the rare potential to create something new and of unmatched quality, in my opinion Koyannisqatsi is one of those rare moments.
Now, before I go on, I would like to say that Philip Glass is one of my personal favorite composers, and I'd love to see more movies with his music as a soundtrack. That being said, I'd love to see more movies that strive to entertain, while simultaneously making a point, which is what, I am assuming, was the purpose of Koyaanisqatsi. It's nice to make a point, but the ability of a filmmaker to summarize their point and mix in a bit of old-fashioned entertainment is what makes a lot of movies great.
Basically, the same point could have been made, and to a larger audience, in much less time than it took. Today's society is impatient, and only the people who already suspect the world is imbalanced would be privy to sit through and re-realize the point of the film. But who am I to say what purpose the film has? It is, after all, up to the filmmaker, and he may have succeeded at whatever it is he was trying to do. So good for him. :)
Just because I didn't enjoy it doesn't mean it's not a good movie.
I had mixed feelings about this film. I have some friends who are quite into this series of films, but I'm not sure if it really does anything for me. For one, I don't really like Philip Glass. His minimalist composing sounds a bit cheesy and not-so-atmospheric to me. I'd rather listen to Burzum or Ildjarn, or other minimalist ambient sans the cheesy effects....
Second, the video itself sort of put me to sleep. During the first viewing session I didn't get it---meaning there seemed to be no point to this collection of video for me. What helped cast light on the story being told was the viewing of chapters on the second day. That little bit of word-based narration helped me to grasp the story much better. Either that, or the images shown during the second day were much more compelling---meaning much more disturbing.
To conclude, I recognize the significance of these series of movies; in fact, I can see their influence in video art all around me. The basic ideas expressed herein are quite interesting---a story told completely in images.
I really enjoyed the music that was composed by Philip Glass. I found the chanting a soothing respite from the images that I was forced to watch on the screen. Particularly what I thought was the Challenger exploding. (Come to find out it was the Atlas from the 1960s.)
There were moments in the film that reminded me of Madonna's "Ray of Light" video. The variation of speed was very important to me since I believe that life goes by too fast and we need to pay more attention to what goes on around us. My favorite part of the film was the images of hot dogs on conveyor belt and then the people on the escalators. To me it signified that people, like hot dogs, seem to be the leftovers of the earth.
I really don't care if anyone else likes it or not, but I for one really enjoy Koyaanisqatsi. When I manage to scrape together a few extra bucks, I'm buying the entire series.
Something about the way the movie was put together, and blended with Philip Glass's score, just makes it a very peaceful, relaxing (and great to fall asleep to at home), movie to watch.
Given the era in which he made it, I'd say the movie was ahead of it's time. Only in the past year or so have other companies started doing really big things with slow motion / high speed cinematography. Godfrey Reggio was really thinking when he did this.
Whenever I watch the movie (about 6 times so far), I always find something else that I didn't think of before. But I like to think that he was showing us how we've taken a once beautiful & calm environment, and transformed it into a massive chaotic ant-farm.
We're going in so many directions at once, that like the rocket at the end, we're just going to self destruct.
But at the same time, this crazy life has inspired artists and architects to think of new directions in their work.. and the result is stunning, like the new Dubai towers design in the works. (( see photo above ))
So where will our the mad-mad rush of our existence take us next? Will we colonize the surface of the moon, and cover it's dusty surface with gleaming monoliths that sparkle like diamonds when the sun dances merrily across it's surface?
In reading most of the blog entries, I guess I'm a little different than some in that I thouroughly enjoyed this film. So much so that I went home the night after we watched the first half in class and watched the rest online with my roommate who showed me some clips from Baraka, another Ron Fricke film that is very similar to Koyaanisqatsi. With some help from IMDb and Wikipedia (yeah thats right) I learned that the imploding building sequence (which was one of my favorite scenes) was done near St. Louis. It was a housing project called Pruitt-Igoe built in 1951. The filming was done during it's demolition only 25 years later, which occured due to high crime rates, poverty, and issues with segregation (the projects were racially divided).
"The high-profile failure of Pruitt-Igoe has become an emblematic icon often evoked by by all sides in public housing policy debate..."
That's a quote from Wikipedia (again, yeah...i know...). But regardless of my sources, I think the immense scale of the failure of this project - its demolition only 25 years after being built, the negative effects it had those who lived there, the fact that it did little to help anyone - and the fact that humans were (and ARE) able to build/cause such things says a lot. So this is certainly an important part of this film. And to play off of what Matthew talked about below, this scene has strong visual correlations to other scenes in the movie aside from what I just mentioned. To me, the buildings somewhat resembled the huge rock walls and canyons seen early on the film. Obviously the common theme here is that no matter what it is or how natural or man-made it may be, we have the ability to destroy it.
Of course this opens up an entirely new debate: are we destroying or creating? Well I'm sure no one is reading this by now, so I won't get in to it. This is just a part of the film I thought to be very interesting and meaningful. But then again, the whole thing was great.
This film was seriously amazing and inspiring to me. it portrayed exactly the issues that we need to be looking at today and in a way that plainly and directly illustrates the effects we have on our planet and ourselves as a species. Pretty crazy stuff. And far, far more exciting than Al Gore standing in front of a giant Powerpoint presentation.
Look for Samsara, due out in 2009. Another one from Fricke, filmed in the Middle East this time, supposedly will have a lot of time-lapse and be based on the same concept as the previous films.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
As expected, and yet to my disappointment, many of my classmates disliked the film because it was "too slow" and/or "boring." This is understandable as the majority of viewers have been subjected to the 30 minute to 60 minute phrasing of marketing trash that plagues our big brother televisions and modern movie assembly lines. Others find this film makes the audience uncomfortable as they find their uniqueness as a person is removed from seeing thousands of faceless people crossing their eyes going about their lives in lines, eating, and coming and going nowhere.
Personally, in the upwards of 700 films i have seen, Koyaanisqatsi ranks among the top rivaling narratives like Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. When people are speed up to the degree that is portrayed in Koyaanisqatsi, they move the way ants do. It gives me a feeling of insignificance. This time around, I thought about time lapse as being a window into witnessing human geology.
Some of Koyaanisqatsi's ideas ask very difficult and moving questions. For example, the movement of traffic always reminds me of blood cells moving through the veins of all of us. This poetically begs the question, "are we all just specks working together for something bigger?"
The moonrise into frame and vertical moonset behind the building within 30 seconds asks "as humans, how much of nature do we wish block from our lives?"
One of the classic views upon Koyaanisqatsi which I share with others, is that through viewing human traffic we are able to see how our lazy, sedimentary distopia has spawned the cities we have constructed. There are still many mysteries to the film which still elude me. For instance, the collapsing of the buildings has a significance that I have yet to discover.
My favorite moment in the film is the metaphor drawn between the hot dogs on the conveyor belt followed by a shot of people ascending on the escalators (which resemble the hot dog conveyor belt.) To me it says, "consumers are mass produced, artificial products, just like processed foods." Let's face it, you are what you eat, right?
(PS: Don't let the label that says "organic" fool you. You are not eating straight from a garden.)
After reading the last couple of blog entries it seems that a general consesus would be that of boredome and dislike to the movie. I guess I'll come right out and say it, I loved this movie. Although the beginning was a little slow, it was not boring and was infact crucial to the movie. Right away the viewer is forced to make a decision. Either that you realize something is happening and you want to find out, or you give up and say it's boring and stupid. The key here is that you have to want to see, enjoy, and understand this film. For those who don't like it, it's their loss. This movie is speaking to all of us. We are the masses that build, consume, alter, and destroy. For those who say that they "feel sorry and confused" for those of us who like it, I challenge you to step out of your self involved world and look at what's around you and what your a part of. This movie was brilliantly executed with a score that made a huge impact. I also realized how people can look at things so differently. Where I see art others see crap. While watching I was disgusted with what we've done to the Earth, but the truth hurts. We can't just turn a blind eye, and ignore it. I'm really surprised that everything just hasn't collapsed or imploded. To me, the light at the end of the tunnel is that even though things are ten times worse then what we saw in the movie, society has become aware of it and we are attempting to do something. It's all about making a major change in our way of living. Ironically everybody is inundated every day with thousands of sounds, and images that are bland. People however don't form an opinion until they are faced with these images in the film. I loved this movie so much that I am doing my final paper on it, and have already received a copy of it via Netflix, and yes I've watched it again. In a way, this is a moving painting that shows the beauty and horror of mankind and Earth.
by Sarah Richards
I thought this movie was absolutely horrible and was I bored to death while watching it. Nature is beautiful in its own way and doesn't need to have every millisecond analyzed. Many parts of the film made my very nauseated and annoyed. While watching this video, it made me really question art. This video did a great job of degrading our world by showing every little detail. I made the shocking discovery that at the end of the film, the name Koyaanisqatsi was being sung throughout the movie. Thankfully, I didn't realize this tell the end or hearing this over and over again would have been too much to handle. Its true that some people really enjoyed this film. I feel sorry yet confused for these people. This isn't art and provided a huge waste of time in my opinion.My question for the class is: Where do we draw the line of what actual art is?