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The blog Asymptote comments here and here about Astra Taylor's film on flamboyant theorist and "public intellectual" Slavoj Žižek (in quotes because we don't have those in America--only think tank bloviators who go on TV a lot).
Taylor's film makes heavy use of extreme closeups to capture the animated, restless, nervously gesticulating philosopher-as-third-base-coach engaging in his characteristic stream of logical reversals and psychoanalytic reflections on political ideology and current affairs, peppered with suggestive illustrations drawn from popular culture -- high, low, and everything in between.Haven't seen the film, it sounds interesting, but wanted to give a shout to Astra, who briefly worked at a gallery where I showed some art. I've been wondering what she's up to and now I know. As the kid said about Paul McCartney, go Astra go!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A friend of mine says no way will he see Chronicles of Narnia, because he is an avowed secularist and doesn't want a heavy Christian message shoved at him by Disney. I read C.S. Lewis's books as a kid and never figured out what the Christian symbolism was supposed to be, even though I knew it was in there. But boy, was this guy right about the movie, it's Christian as hell, I mean...well, you know. (Caution, spoilers ahead.) Consider the heavy Bible allusion in this bit of soothsaying, first mentioned in the film by talking beavers:
It has been prophesied that when four human children appear in Narnia, a giant lion will return to power, and will raise a mighty army of centaurs, fauns, dryads, and hundreds of talking animals of all species, and will train them and equip them with swords, bows, and spears, lead them into an elaborate pitched battle against the White Witch and her army of trolls, dwarves, talking wolves, and chariot-pulling polar bears.This greatly resembles Old Testament scrying about the coming of the Messiah, and indeed recalls Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Another painfully uncomfortable Biblical parallel is this bit of Narnian law, spoken aloud by several characters in the movie:
According to the rules of Deep Magic, a traitor belongs to the White Witch to execute, by stabbing him to death on the Stone Tables. However, someone else can offer himself up for execution in the traitor's stead. Yet, as is written on the sides of the Tables themselves in runes the Witch cannot read, or will stupidly misinterpret, if the substitute executee has done no wrong, he will rise from the dead several hours later!This is very much like the story of Jesus. That's exactly the way he was killed and resurrected! Anyway, hopefully you're getting the idea--the movie isn't preachy, it's just wack, and I liked it a lot. As an icy cold, dreadlocked, sword-wielding she-bitch from hell with dilated pupils and dresses with enormous padded collars, Tilda Swindon will give small children nightmares for decades to come. Seriously, she's great. When she rides up in that chariot pulled by polar bears, adults all over the theatre were saying "All right!"
I think it was degenerate gambler Bill Bennett that came up with the idea that conservative types should flash the "purple finger" on the eve of the latest "no really this is the turning point" electoral whatever in Iraq. I redid the picture in Photoshop, and it may seem cynical, but it's not one-tenth as cynical as the racially prejudiced Republicans pretending they give a shit what happens to people in that part of the world. We've spent close to a half trillion dollars that could have gone to help Katrina victims, fund decent health care, improve public schools... All for an "experiment in democracy" that Bush gave us as the reason we invaded Iraq only after weapons of mass destruction failed to turn up. It's about controlling the Middle East, you chumps.
Another great gift item from the best named band in the world, Neg-Fi. On sale this weekend at La Superette, the annual sale of useful items and artistic geegaws organized by Tali Hinkis and Susan Agliata. This year the sale's at Exit Art, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17 and 18. More details and pics to follow. The piece above is described as follows:
"Bad connection" sound generator. Turns any sound into static and hiss!
Thanks to Artkrush for including this blog in their current profile on the art blogosphere. I'm told the magazine is being sent to its email subscribers December 14. Introductory paragraph:
The rapid rise of the blog phenomenon has dramatically influenced politics over the past few years, and now blogs are changing how the art world communicates. Interactive sites, which are devoted to contemporary art and offer news, reviews, gossip, and links, have made art openings as easy to follow as the stock market. The freedom of the blog format also allows "citizen critics" to weave social commentary and personal anecdotes with spontaneous photographs, videos, and relevant links."Citizen critics" is good. The first sentence reminds me a bit of something posted here a few years ago, except I said gloomily that I'd "watched in amazement as blogging has transformed the political world (e.g., the demise of Trent Lott), while at the same time having nil effect on the art world." Even as recently as 8 months ago, this page was complaining that art worlders don't google to see what's written about them online, or at least they pretend not to. See "Report from the Slo-o-o-o--o-ow Dimension." Of course one shouldn't pick nits on the occasion of getting some magazine coverage, but I think saying cyberspace is changing the gallery art world is still optimistic. New media art, that's another story, that's the water they swim in.
OK, kidding aside, the sale of delicio.us to Yahoo and the sale of Myspace to Rupert Murdoch both really suck. Selling delicio.us (a system for pooling intriguing links that fosters communities and subcommunities of interest) seems especially painful since that's a very tech-savvy, web-savvy group--focused in their lack of focus, or multiple foci. I know next to nothing about Joshua Schachter, the founder, but is it right that he should personally profit from the sweat and passion of hundreds of folks who thought they were part of a community, as opposed to being part of some venture capitalist's or cool hunter's wet dream? I trust he will be sending checks to all the geeks who put him in clover--yeah, right. Yes, I know bandwidth and storage cost money and no one should be forced to be a benefactor, but seriously--that's a group effort. Maybe Schachter's going to give all the money to Katrina victims. If there's any altruism involved with the sale, please let me know.
With the recent news of Rupert Murdoch's purchase of Myspace and Yahoo's acquisition of del.icio.us (no kidding) still wafting noisomely through the air, I feel I should come clean about some recent corporate machinations regarding my own site. A friend on the "inside" recently sent me an interesting email:
Yes, we're looking at Moody's blog, too, but the numbers aren't up there where I'd like. The guy keeps changing the subject, and thwarts every reasonable attempt at branding, or self-branding. One day he's an artist, the next he's posting his damn plinky techno "compositions." He'll create a perfectly good, catchy animation and then put up some stupid thing from a kid's web page. Then he rails about politics and the system. God knows we'd like to shut him up by buying him, the way we're going to put a cork in those little bastards at Myspace and del.icio.us, but it has to make economic sense. This Moody weirdo just doesn't command a big enough slice of the wild and crazy youth demographic. So fuck him.Sorry for all the bad language, but that's how they talk in big media and advertising corporations! It's nice to know they're thinking about me, I guess. (OK, except for the part about Murdoch and Yahoo, this is all BS. It's how I process disappointing news.)