Saturday, November 15, 2008

NW Film Festival - Selfless

I attended the film showing for Selfless at the Portland Art Museum. I would recommend it to others and I thought it was very well made. There were even periods of humor, which was refreshing for a film about identity theft. The film was shot and cast in Portland and it had a very local flavor with characters that look like people I see walking outside my window in Portland. I would be open to seeing other independent films at the art museum after seeing this one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shorts I

I attended the 9pm viewing of Shorts I last night at the Portland Art Museum. You would have thought from the parking situation that there were a lot of people there. Much to my surprise it was for the film, Selfless, before Shorts I. In all there may have been about 20 people for the shorts. They were hit and miss for me, I found myself only enjoying about three of the shorts.
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.

Spring Atkinson

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Power of You Tube---True Norwegian Black Metal

While watching this five part documentary it's impossible to shake the feeling that it was made almost completely for YouTube. The ten minute long segments fit perfectly into the framework of the site itself, and the divisions alone are not something that would usually be done in a standard documentary.

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!

-Bryce VanHoosen-

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

YouTube contest challenges users to make a good video

The Power of Youtube

This is a video I found a while ago and I thought that since we're focusing on video art that I would provide a different example of the art...Lego people performing Rammstein's Feuer Frei.

Derek Klayum

The Power of YouTube

Can everybody be an artist? I am not so sure but I have to say that I love this short film that is a response to Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal.
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?

Spring Atkinson

The Power of YouTube

I used to work near the Seattle Public Library and I was always a little nervous about the art installation as you come down the escalator. I found a short clip on youtube that gives you an idea of what it looks like. Basically, there are mirrors with faces and eyes on them that speak too in sort of "sim"-like language which doesn't really make sense. I like art installations, but I never really understood this one!

Power of Youtube : Balancing Point

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.

The Power of YouTube

This is a video shows time lapse art. The slow motion shows the art of what occurs in a simple event.

The Power of YouTube

We have touched base on cinematography throughout the later half of the class, so I decided to show you a video of the cinematography team for the show Lost. It would be awesome to work for a cinematography group like that!

-Sanjana Pahalad

NW Film and Video Fest. "MANIA"

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!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Sanjana Pahalad

Extra Credit Opp....DTC artist in residence

Another extra credit opp., you may already be aware of. It will be worth 2.5 points. You'll need to turn in the review by Wednesday November 19th, beginning of class. Attach proof that you attended....either a piece of paper that Dr. Grigar signs her name on or a photo of the event. I assume cell phone images are pretty easy to come by these days.

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.

The Power of Youtube

This is a video of an interactive bar top that allows the patrons to create their own ephemeral art. As a bartender, I thought that this was an awesome idea.

-Racheal Johnson-


Koyaanisqatsi was ok. It definitely made me come close to falling asleep a couple of times. Not that it's boring, because its not. It was the music that was making me sleepy. The music went on forever in some of the scenes and it felt like it could induce sleep, which, in my case, it almost did.

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.

Andrew Rajigah

The Power of Youtube

I think "sand art" is amazing.

-Laura LaVergne

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NW Film and Video Festival

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. 

Mayra Najera

The Power of Youtube

Video Credits

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.

Mayra Najera

Food Fight

Here's an artistic and historical video I found on youtube that I feel is relevant to this class.

Monday, November 10, 2008


When I first started watching the film I thought it was kind of boring and it took me a bit to get into it. The movie was vary different from any other I had seen. Once it got to the cloud sequence though I was hooked by the imagery and everything sort of came together. I wound up really liking the film and when they were showing the deserted low income housing it made me think of the first Candyman movie. Which I then had to go watch. Surprisingly I think it was same buildings, which I thought was rather cool. So overall I did actually enjoy the movie and I thought the cinematography was wonderful.


NW Film Festival

Last night I attended the "Shorts III" event. It was a series of short films, and since it was the opening of the festival this weekend the film makers were in the audience and they had a Q and A after the event. The shorts were hit and miss, but the best part was sitting behind one of the film makers and his girlfriend and listening to them complain about other people's work and that the fact that people were not laughing at the right times.

Erin Wilkinson


I thought this film was amazing. Whereas many classmates commented that they thought the sections were too long and also very drawn out I felt the opposite. I didn't want the video to end! I especially liked the time lapse video of the clouds. I was shocked by how much the clouds took on the form of flowing water. The effect of time lapse on something like cloud movement imbues it with a surreal quality.

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.

-Danny Mulvihill


This movie might be relaxing to some and interesting to others, and in their cases, it's wonderful! However, I am not one to sit still for more than five minutes, let alone watch a feature-length film whose primary formula is "show long, drawn out scenes mixed in with annoyingly relaxing music."

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.

-Bryce VanHoosen-


This film is definitely one that you cannot be tired when watching.  Keeping focus was pretty difficult, especially in the beginning. The music is deep and dark which goes very appropriately with the film I thought.  I really enjoyed the aerial landscape shots. It just started getting very repetitive. I felt that the nature scenes were metaphorically used as comparison to humans and the way we naturally go about things/life. Once the film started getting into the industrial shots and the nuclear bomb, I realized I was still paying attention and wanted to know what else was going to be shown. Once people and "life" started presenting itself I found myself more intrigued. Although the film had a definite depression over it with the music and the scenes each dragging on and on,  I enjoyed the film, but wouldn't be able to watch it again I think. Maybe on a really big t.v.. 

Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance

I rather enjoyed this film but not for the reason that it made me feel all warm in fuzzy inside. Granted, due to the changes since the film was made I did have a little chuckle from time to time. However, I liked that the final film made me feel extremely uncomfortable. (And I am not just talking about how the variance in high speed and slow speed made my motion sickness act up. Thank you Mr. Fricke!) It made me uncomfortable because it forced me to think about things that I tend to not think about in my everyday life.
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.
Koyaanisqatsi 2 Pictures, Images and Photos

Spring Atkinson

Koyaanisqatsi : Life out of Balance

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.


OK so i went over this in class so it may sound familiar. At first it was interesting the American landscape, the music, but then is kind of got a little long. So my mind kind of drifted and my eye lids got heavy. It was dark and i really hadn't been getting a lot of sleep since i started school. So it was hard to stay awake. But once I got what they were trying to do it kept my attention. What I got from it was a story of the evolution of the western civilization. It starts out in the wild untamed nature, progresses through the technological advances into society into the future and beyond. What I did find interesting is in the middle when it show the people, it started slow moved to normal speed and then into super speed and then made the progression back down. Also how it compared the surface of the earth to the surface of the microchip/circuit board. All in all it was a good film a little lite on the dialog(had to make a joke), but other than that very memorable experience.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I thought that the film was an interesting and captivating experience that I am glad to have been exposed to. However, I believe that this film is one that I would not be able to, nor would I have any desire of seeing it again. It's delivery and impact are both good and placed me in an almost dreamlike state as I watched, this is what saved it from being boring although multiple viewings would no doubt lose this effect. The most interesting thing about the film for me is that it allowed me to make a realization about the way that I view mankind. I am in a constant state of flux, constantly wavering between being disgusted by humanity, and being in love with it. During the scenes that showed the environmental impact that our species has had on the planet is sickening, and yet seeing the awe inspiring mass production of products and the monumental structures that we have built makes me proud of our accomplishments. This conflict makes me wonder, what would happen if we turned our ability for industry and massive projects towards the restoration of the earth?


With the viewing of Koyaanisqatsi last week I am reminded why it is one of my favorite films. In relation to the articles we have been reading in class, space as a quality of film has been lost. Gone are the days of art in mainstream cinema as I find myself unable to watch 98% of films released in the corporate theater chains. The work of Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman are difficult for my peers to watch and near impossible for them to enjoy. Space, metaphor, and the human condition are qualities that have been removed in place of cheap laughs, one-liners, computer generated graphics, sex, explosions, and money.

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?

~Matthew Wright

(PS: Don't let the label that says "organic" fool you. You are not eating straight from a garden.)


The Koyannisquatsi video was very interesting, it provoked thought and discussion. Although a lot of that discussion was negative, the video still inspired people to look at things differently. The beginning of the video was a little slow, but in any film you have to build a background and story line. As they started to add more objects to the screen, the storyline became fleshed out.

The part that I liked the most were the city scenes with all of the cars flashing by. The first thing that I thought of was it looks like a blood stream and all the little cars are blood vessels. The city was being shown as a living thing; the lines that the traffic make through the dark screen were pulsating and always moving. I believe that this movie was not only about showing people the destruction that they have caused, but also the beauty that they are missing as they put their heads down and follow their daily routine.
-Racheal Johnson-

Life out of Balance

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.
Is this movie art? Absolutely. Remember, art is an idea. This is a powerful idea that speaks to all of us. Everyone looks at art different, and unfortunately many failed to see the beauty and power of this film.
Shawn Kepfer


Koyannisqasti was very long and sometimes boring movie, but the point of the movie was true for me. In the beginning nature was everywhere and the scenes were very relaxing and calming, but as the movie moved on people came in and things started to speed up. I would have to agree that our world today movies so fast that sometimes its hard to see the things that are around us. As for the art side of the movie, I really enjoyed how the music went along with the movements. Watching the clouds moving and the lights going on and off with the pitches of the music was very interesting. My question is does the class think that this film is what Glass had in mind when he composed this music or do you think the music would have gone better with a different visual?

Wanda Francis


The film in all honesty was a little boring at first, but as the film went on it got more interesting. I can really understand why the music industry uses this type of filming in some of there music videos. I think that that way of filming can be used for so many different uses to reach out to people. The first part of this film shows some awesome scenery. They were absolutely beautiful to see.


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?

Chad Miltenberger


Well, I didn't hate it...but it was painful. The movie had the worst start to a film, yes nature is beautiful, unfortunately watching nature scenes for long periods of time is boring. Like many other people in the class I believe that the film got better as it introduced people. But even that change wore off as the film continued for way too long. The film seemed to portray the human race as a disease of the earth and was slightly depressing. The whole time watching the film I was waiting for the movie to start, because the whole film was like the introduction to another movie, the part where it shows random shots of city-scapes and is narrated before the title is shown. To me Koyaanisqatsi was the worst film I have seen in this class so far. Why was this film important to the art world?

Derek Klayum


I can see how this film could be considered important to the art world and I can appreciate as a piece of art, however it is not something that I will ever watch or have the desire to watch again. Not only were some of the sequences deathly boring, but others gave me a headache or made me nauseous. I understand that it is an important and influential piece that has impacted the art world, and I can appreciate how it was made, but I think its one of the worst films I've ever had to sit through. Thankfully it was broken up into two sittings, I don't think I could have survived watching it all at once. 

-Jessica Stockton