Monday, 4 June 2018

Thursday, 31 May 2018

HEAVY AND LIGHT METAL


























Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) was an Italian / American painter, sculptor, musician and furniture designer. I'm perhaps most interested in his sonic sculptures, fascinating sets of differently sized metal rods, bowls and sheets that chime and resonate and create overlapping waves of deep, shimmering sound when touched, bowed or banged with a mallet, but I'm most familiar with his wire backed chairs, one of which sat in the corner of my room at university for two years. It was really uncomfortable, but I wish I'd pinched it when I left.    

Monday, 28 May 2018

WILD GUNMAN



























As a child, I spent a fair amount of time at three local seaside resorts, the conservative / Conservative Frinton, the flashy, stabby Clacton On Sea and the quietly wonderful Walton On The Naze. In 1974, I was on Walton pier when I saw a crowd gathered around a new arcade machine: Wild Gunman

I'd never seen anything like it. The game graphics weren't graphics at all, instead they were like a real film (16mm, anyway). I was mesmerised and wasn't satisfied until I had a go. Unbelievably, I seem to remember it cost 50p, which, at the time, was pretty much the cost of a row of terraced houses. The game I played was not long, but it was memorable. In a thought that I didn't have the language to fully articulate at the time, I realised that artificial reality was the way to go.

Screenshots from Craig Baldwin's Wild Gunman, which uses footage from the game (amongst other things) to make points about consumerism, violence and imperialism.

Friday, 25 May 2018

DOOMSDAY AGENDA



























A selection of apocalyptic captions from Craig Baldwin's superlative pseudo-documentary conspiracy theory collage film Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America. I've been watching a lot of Baldwin's work recently, and it's changed the settings in my head a bit. Good. 

Monday, 21 May 2018

BLOOD AND FIRE



















A meticulously made and unflinchingly grisly film from writer / director Coralie Fargeat, Revenge is a tense, nihilistic ride that only lapses into hysteria in the last few minutes - but by then you are already on the gore smeared hook. 

I probably don't have to say much about the set up: Jen is a beautiful young woman who is appallingly used by powerful men who assume she was put on the earth just for them. They're right to a certain extent, but not in the way they think. Despite their best efforts, she refuses to be disposed of, and will eventually bring a brutal and bloody reckoning to them all. 

It's usual for male critics to now say something facile about how this is a feminist rape / revenge movie and, as such, is not just an exploitation flick. I'm not going to do that, instead I'll just say that it is well balanced and you don't feel dirty watching it, i.e. there's no voyeuristic pleasure, just dread and unease.   

The bottom image is the last shot in the film and serves as both a defiant full stop and an ellipsis: Jen isn't a bit sorry, and now she knows how to settle the score with those who think they can mistreat her, the world had better watch the fuck out.