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tedg, a great film critic of space and "folding," on Scorsese's The Aviator:
Martin Scorsese: My regular readers know that I have been very critical of his films. Sure, they are crafted well enough, but the world he created was not one worth visiting. His films until recently were of the Italian storytelling school which focuses on characters. Those characters do not inhabit their worlds as much as create them. Scorsese's camera, therefore, was affixed to people, almost by a visible thread.An earlier post on tedg is here.
But those of us who watch film seriously know that there is nothing but empty darkness just outside the camera's eye. There's no world, so there can be no God, or fate, or luck or whatever material you imagine fills the river of life. He knows it is a cheat as well and has said so. Just like many other fabulously successful filmmakers who know their work is hollow, in his later years he's tried to mature... to master a greater notion of creation.
"Gangs" was a success in this regard though an unfinished film because the Weinsteins pulled the plug. It marked a completely different approach to space and context, and I applauded it. Now he actually finishes a movie in the new style. Though this is a story of a man, it is no longer anchored to the man. The camera is now Orson Welles' camera with shots of the space with people in it. So obvious is some of this that when Hughes first retreats, he stays out [of] a room that inexplicably (and unhistorically) has strings tied from hither and yon from objects. Take another look at that room and see all of Scorsese's old camera angles. I think we can welcome Scorsese now as the best new filmmaker of the year. This is as much his story as Hughes'.
Cate Blanchett: Cate is one of three actresses alive who can fold her acting, meaning that she can simultaneously deliver two characters in the same motions. She's at the top of her game here (while Julianne is devolving with an apparently thick husband). Hepburn was an amazing actress, deeply untalented in the conventional measures but capable of engineering her surroundings to suit. Her engineering of the "Philadelphia Story" persona is Hollywood legend. She engineered a character that worked, then stepped into it. The old Scorsese would have hired someone like Streep to play Hepburn and lumbered around after her.
The new Scorsese allows Cate to flower and willingly supports the folding: an actress (Cate) playing a character (Kate) who is playing a character. You can see all the conduits of control, all the taut strings at two levels. God, what a great time to be alive!
Howard Hughes: The movie gave the impression that Howard simply inherited his money. No so. He was a brilliant engineer who famously codesigned systems and the engineering organizations to support them. While most of us were barfing at frat parties, he designed a drill bit (often credited to his father) that is still the standard in the industry, together with a set of screw connections that has since become the international standard. That's where the money came from. And though he went loopy toward the end, he ensured that 100% of his wealth (yes, all assets were sold) went to endow the world's largest private research institute.
This was a passionate engineer in a world of monopolistic thugs (Gates take notice), truly what we like to think the "free market" is all about. The movie also ignores a key movie connection: He always intended the "Spruce Goose" to be made of wood, and because all US manufacturing assets were committed, he designed a production system that allowed small businesses, even backyard groups, to make pieces that would be floated down rivers and successively be glued into larger parts. This (what he called the "packet production system") was the first serious research into what we today call "virtual enterprises."
When the war ended, he sent his virtual enterprise experts into his film business where they used the system (freely giving away details) to destroy the vertically integrated studio system. Nearly all movies today use his virtual enterprise approach and the Weinsteins (producers of this very film) are the current masters of the system.
Music studio (a work in progress). I have almost everything depicted here and am gradually learning to work it all. I drew this to keep track of all the different cables but it's helping me conceptually. I find I'm not intimidated by Cubase (beginner set); it's just a fancier version of MusicWorks and the notation software I've been using--in fact all the big music and paint programs are just refinements of clunky interfaces from the 80s. I will have to spend some time learning to control the instruments with the sequencer, however. I got some good results with the Sid last night but the MIDI connections are imperfect. Still trying to find a balance between having basic studio competence and doing things "wrong," which can lead to good results. As for the lack of a musical keyboard in this setup: I actually prefer entering notes on an old-fashioned staff, that's a matter of choice. Making music player piano fashion perversely appeals to me and gives me a greater range than playing notes. This is not ambient or noise music I'm making, these songs have tunes, but I am more interested in composing and sound-sculpting than playing; it's posthuman in that sense.
"Exit Maurice" (Quicktime video) [10.5 MB .mp4]
"Dancin' (Please Register)" (Quicktime video) [9.5 MB .mp4]
The first one plays as it loads, and the second one loads first, then plays, at least on my browser. Because of different software companies? (You could also right-click or option-click and save.)
"Blues for DG" [5.7 MB .mp3]. This is me tickling the synth ivories and slappin the skins roadhouse blues style. Not really, but it was done in real time bending notes and then edited down. I originally called it Blues for Donald because I was imagining variations on a few notes like his iterations of aluminum cubes out in Marfa, only bluesy, but I changed the title because I hate overt homages to past art and don't want it to be "about" the Judds. "DG" is a complete red herring.
UPDATE: Trimmed about a minute out of this.
My music studio setup from a few months ago. I got the idea of using this particular Photoshop filter for a studio photo from a prog rock musician I admire, whose site is no longer online apparently. A line out from the Mac SE (the screen on the right) goes to the mixing board on the left (note improvised gear rack). Another line out from the PC (floor) also feeds into the mixer, and the audio is then routed back into the PC through the LP recorder box on the floor. The audio out from the PC was the voice of Microsoft Sam reciting numbers in German, gradually slowing down and changing pitch because there wasn't enough memory in the text reader. Beats came off a DIY drum program streaming off the internet. The SE, running MusicWorks, supplied a background jingle. I've recently started using off-the-shelf software and felt I needed to post this to establish my street (Povera) cred. I consider all this visual art, for any curator who thinks I've stopped working. This is why I probably won't apply for a Creative Capital grant: they'd never understand. I'm not sure I do.
Speaking of poor quality jpegs, Michael Bell-Smith steers us towards this page at a site called "fake is the new real." I've been enjoying the random collection of fey, twee, transmedial-type things on that site but one point of clarification should be that the jpegs assembled there (and sampled here) are good (as in beautiful) bad jpegs as opposed to good-bad (as in pathetic/funny) bad jpegs.
Bill saw a girl in Jersey City wearing a T-shirt that says "Von Bitch." More on the Von guy here.
Surfing around electronic music links yesterday. Throb.com has vanished. That was the site for a great record store where I bought a lot of vinyl from '99 - '03. Somewhere owner Load Rezenhand has a shop's worth of amazing inventory in storage--if I was rich I'd track him down and buy it all. One of the most helpful people at the store that I found early on was DJ Prozac. Incredibly knowledgeable, with discriminating taste and a strong point of view (until I found this Discogs link I didn't know his name or that he'd made these tracks). His taste was consistently harder, harsher, and more experimental than what I liked but he took pity on me and recommended more of the "beautiful" or seductive electro and tech-house I was looking for. He is friends with artist Meredith Danluck and through her he briefly became electronic music maven of the art stars. (Well, I'm told one relatively famous artist who used a Wolfgang Voigt composition in his work learned about him through Zach.)
Some survivors (more on all this later):