Sunday, October 25, 2009

Recent acquisitions

The above two photos represent the start of some new thinking for me, I believe. At the top we have a painting that I was lucky enough to find in a Goodwill store in Culver City. There is an art district in the area which I have started to scrape the surface of, but on this day I enjoyed second hand shopping more. I actually stood in the store holding this object for several minutes, transfixed by so many elements within the image. I find that it sits in quite a productively awkward position between portrait and abstracted narrative. On the one hand, we are given an intimate perspective that would not be accessible without some prior relationship between subject and artist - one usually does not stand below young topless boys climbing in trees without knowing them first. On the other hand, there is a sense of frozen action in the pose, suggesting that the boy is escaping from something, whether a real or imagined threat. Or maybe he's just wasting time. The Casio wrist watch is truly puzzling. On first impression, it provides such a certain sense a place and yet it really could come from anywhere. Perhaps what I am responding to is a feeling of heavily directed abstraction. And this is not to mention the expression in his face that looks like hope and fear at one and the same time. I should also say, that there is no artist name on the back of the painting, just the words 'Varnished' and 'November 95'. It was $10.

Some of you will know that the other image is of Buster Keaton. I don't have a lot of experience with Keaton films but was introduced to them in Film History the other week.
I must say, he is a superb artist. There is such an exquisite grace to his acrobatics which he demonstrates in his stunts throughout a film... walls fall down, motorbikes loose their rider, houses spin around violently, water turns into snow in the blink of an eye... as the space he occupies becomes unbalanced, he repeatedly attempts to restore order. Yet Keaton's continual ambivalent not-knowing (everything happens behind his back) combined with his spontaneous ingenuity and physical competency in the face of a world that defies our predetermined understanding puts him in the position of being simultaneously clown and hero.

This is my first ever roll of film...

In one of my classes we are making a one minute film, the making of which we will be guided through, from concept to shoot to development of the actual film. I am very excited about learning how to physically cut the film during the edit process.

My first sighting of the Hollywood sign...

This was taken at the top of a rise on Reservoir St, Echo Park, where Fiona, Amy and Mike live. Echo Park is often described as being similar to Grey Lynn - vaguely bohemian with strong capitalist undercurrents. I agree to an extent, though the area is shot through with a strand of Los Angeles culture that I am, for the moment, going to call 'hyperbolic hipsterism'.

This is some rubble in Culver City...

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