The Turin Horse (2011)
The Lincoln Center Film Society in New York starts today a retrospective of the films created and directed by Béla Tarr (see previous article about Werckmeister Harmonies) several months after the Hungarian filmmaker announced that he will now stop making movies. The Turin Horse is his last movie and introduces the life of the horse that drove Nietzsche to his madness after he saw it being beaten to death by its owner.
Jacques Rancière recently published a book about his work: Béla Tarr, le temps d’après (Capricci editions) and gave the following lecture at the Pompidou Center in December:
SIWARD: What wood is this before us?
MENTEITH: The wood of Birnam.
MALCOLM: Let every soldier hew him down a bough
And bear’t before him: thereby shall we shadow
The numbers of our host and make discovery
Err in report of us.
SOLDIERS: It shall be done.
Shakespeare William, The Tragedy of MacBeth, 1611
This very short text which opens the scene IV of the Act V of The Tragedy of MacBeth by William Shakespeare profoundly inspired Akira Kurosawa when he directed his cinematographic adaptation in 1957, Throne of Blood (蜘蛛巣城). This film takes place in a medieval Japan in which the generalized warfare matches well with Shakespeare’s narrative of Great Britain. In Throne of Blood, Kurosawa re-interprets MacBeth’s three witches’ prophecy by announcing via a spirit to Washizu/MacBeth that he shall not be defeated until the trees attack his castle. Washizu’s arrogance is soon to end as he sees – in an incredibly beautiful cinematographic shot – indeed the forest marching towards his castle. Of course, the walking forest is nothing else than his enemies’ soldiers camouflaged under the trees in order to hide their number and their weapons, but for a moment, the spectator – who first looks at it with Washizu’s point of view – effectively sees an autonomous forest moving forward, and nothing seems to be able to resists to this materialization of an awaken entity of Shintoism.
The magnificent movie Der Himmel Uber Berlin (strangely translated into Wings of Desire) released by Wim Wenders in 1987 is an ode to our humanity via the testimony of the weight of the bodies, but also the weight of life and history (in the individual and collective sense) that facilitates the enclosing of the self and the defiance of the other. As a taxi driver thinks in the film:
Are there still borders? More than ever! Every street has its borderline. Between each plot, there’s a strip of no-man’s-land disguised as a hedge or a ditch. Whoever dares, will fall into booby traps or be hit by laser rays. The trout are really torpedoes. Every home owner, or even every tenant nails his name plate on the door, like a coat of arms and studies the morning paper as if he were a world leader. Germany has crumbled into as many small states as there are individuals. And these small states are mobile. Everyone carries his own state with him, and demands a toll when another wants to enter. A fly caught in amber, or a leather bottle. So much for the border. But one can only enter each state with a password. The German soul of today can only be conquered and governed by one who arrives at each small state with the password. Fortunately, no one is currently in a position to do this. So… everyone migrates, and waves his one-man-state flag in all earthly directions. Their children already shake their rattles and drag their filth around them in circles.
It has been said many times that the most beautiful ballets are the ones that makes us forget the weight of the dancers’ bodies. With Pina Bausch, on the contrary, dance becomes a vehicle of celebration of this weight in its interaction with itself, the others’ and the environment. The film Pina by Wim Wenders (2011) is remarkable in this regard. It offers to the spectator another point of view on four of the German choreographer’s main pieces (The Rite of Spring, Cafe Muller, Kontakthoh and Vollmond) as well as introducing her dancers in various open landscapes thus perpetuating the emphasis on the relationship dance creates with a terrain.
This new point of view is highly interesting as it focuses on details that are almost imperceptible from the audience’s traditional situation. However, all those details are what composes the atmosphere of P.Bausch’s ballet and are beautifully emphasized by W.Wenders. The sound of the bodies, in particular is fascinating whether they inhale, breathe, run, fall on the floor or hit itself. Bodies are celebrated both in their superb as well as in their fragility. There is a violence in Pina Bauch’s work that is fascinating and frightening in its crudeness. One more time, the film recounts well this dimension of dance, whether it is by those two female bodies which repeatedly encounter the power of a wall in Cafe Muller, or the group of women ritually hitting their bodies in Le Sacre du Printemps, or else the rope that retains this young girl from escaping of the room, or again, this couple, in Cafe Muller, who can’t stop repeating the same action over and over between embrace and fall. Each time, the sound produced by those bodies reminds us of their weight i.e. their factor of attraction for gravity and shocks us in its coldness.
Depending of the matter it is composed of, the environment reacts more or less visually to those encounters. Earth, sand and water are found regularly in the movie as good examples of such visible interactions. Indeed, these materials embody expressively the effect that the environment has on the body and vice versa.
This article registers itself in a series of short posts questioning this notion of weight of the body:
- 01/ The Weight of the Body Falling (Sept 11)
- 02/ Spinozist Collision (Sept 11)
- 03/ Gravity Dances (Dec 11)
Still from Jarhead by Sam Mendes (2005)
Oil is a fascinating geological product that contains in itself thousands of years old fossils and sediments and which drives explicitly or implicitly the majority of the world geopolitical behaviors. In his book Cyclonopedia (see the numerous previous articles about it), Reza Negarestani claims that the Middle East is a sentient entity whose shit is oil. Building-up on Deleuze and Guattari’s Thousand Plateaus and their War Machines, he indicates that such a machine requires fuel and grease that cannot be possible without oil. The film Jarhead recounts the encounter of the American army with this geological sentient entity during the first Gulf War. The film almost never introduce any Middle Eastern human being but the sand, dust and oil praised by Negarestani are the true vernacular elements that surround the heavy army.
In Najaf and Ninevah, contacts speak of a notorious female oil smuggler named Jay who has assembled a militant religious cult named Naphtanese in the mountains of Kurdistan in Iran. They believe that the Unlife of War feeds on oil or (as they put it) the ‘black corpse of the Sun’. Negarestani Reza, Cyclonopedia. Melbourne: Re-Press, 2010. P130
I re-watched Gaspard Noé’s Enter the Void yesterday and thought that I should try to write about it as this film has been intriguing and fascinating many people including myself. The subjective point of view of the camera is forcing the viewer to become the main character and thus creating a continuous single shot from the beginning of the movie to the end. However, this unique cinematographic aesthetics should not make us forget the essence of the movie which is a wander in a certain interpretation of death.
Few minutes before dying, the main character, Oscar, hear indeed from his friend the way Buddists conceive death as a soul wandering as well as a look at this previous life, preceding reincarnation itself. The film constitutes Oscar’s death following such a process without any possibility for the viewer to perceive if this “soul wandering” is real or dreamed by him at the very moment of his death. As Marchel Duchamp put it, “it is always other people who die” (thanks Hiroko) i.e. time might exponentially decreases its speed when one is dying without ever reaching the limit for which life would have ceased completely. Of course, for external viewers, one actually dies and time continues but the perception of an infinite time does not presuppose the cessation of time in another scale of its perception – the one we experience “normally” when we are fully alive.
A while ago, I claimed that Kafka/Welles’ Trial was following the exact same wandering than the one introduced in Enter the Void. In fact, Franz Kafka’s friend Max Brod was the person who reassembled the disseminated and incomplete chapters of The Trial before its publication. He rationally thought that K.’s death was the final episode of the narrative when I claim that it was in fact the first one. In this interpretation, the endless wandering of K. in the administrative labyrinth that we know was actually his infinite “dream” experienced while dying during his exponential decrease of speed of his time curve. This wander of thoughts leaves us with one questions that Enter the Void asks: Does death really exists ?
This article is the second sequel of the one called “The Weight of the Body Falling” that was followed by another entitled Spinozist collision. When those two articles were insisting on the weight of bodies, in particular when they fall and hit a surface, this one is dedicated, on the contrary, to work that celebrate the lightness of those who manage to play with gravity to a certain extent of transgression. Three beautiful examples come to mind in this regard:
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Ang Lee (2000) is a film in which some warriors have learned secret fighting skills among which they are able to defy gravity by becoming lighter:
The Criterion Collection‘s website recently release a beautiful series of stills extracted from four movies by Michelangelo Antonioni: Red Desert (1964), L’Eclisse (1962), Identification of a Woman (1982) and L’Avventura (1960). Those stolen cinematic moments reveals Antonioni’s construction of a very dexterous mix between material and atmospheric environments all along his films. Red Desert, as I had the occasion to write before, can probably be said to embody the paroxysm of such dialogue. Nevertheless, his materialism finds its essence in the presence of the human female body who, by its posture contrasts and challenges this environment. One of the introductory scenes of Red Desert in which Monica Vitti’s elegant character walk through a toxic mud field in an industrial context is exemplary in this regard.
I recently “ran into” (via Manifest Decay) the very short film Magnetic Void (see below) by James Miller which shows a reconstruction of the British United Shoe Machinery Company building in Leicester by running its actual destruction backwards. The result is very aesthetic and we could stop the description here and let the images talk for themselves (like they often do!).
However, watching this short film forcing myself to forget that this is just the result of a “trick” which consisted in going backwards rather than forwards, and rather accepting (somehow naively) what I was looking at for what it was. It got me to think of this film as a representation of an architecture that is constructed in a counter-hylomorphism. Hylomorphism (in ancient Greek, Matter + Form) is an Aristotle’s concept that was re-defined centuries later by Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari (see the quote below) in a materialist and political reading. To keep it simple, hylomorphism is the process for which a body/object has a form that is constraint by the means of its production. The example of the brick is helpful, especially here as the concerned building is built in bricks: a brick is a body of matter whose shape has been transcendentally determined by its mold.
A whole building is almost always submitted to this same process of hylomorphism, its form reveals the constraints it was submitted to during its production, both physically during its actual construction and conceptually during its phase of design.
I already wrote a more developed article about the 29 minute masterpiece, La Jetée, less than a year ago; nevertheless, I wanted to point out the existence of a very beautiful book that proposes an alternate (or complementary) mean of exploring the powerful universe created by Chris Marker. This book is designed by Bruce Mau, edited by the very valuable Zone Books (see previous articles about The Power of Inclusive Exclusion and Rituals of War) and distributed by the MIT Press.
Since La Jetée is a film composed exclusively (almost !) of photographs and an off voice reading the narrative, not only it fits perfectly with this format of a book that Chris Marker decided to call a Ciné-Roman (roman in French means novel), but the pages allows to associate several photographs together (see above) that compose another way to read images that constitute the movie.
The following link is Zone Book’s page about this book.
Stills from 36 Quai des Orfèvres by Olivier Marchal
I recently wrote an article (Sept 14th) entitled The Weight of the Body Falling which consisted in a first approach of a study of the effect of gravity on the human body and its potential architectural interpretation. The latter can be explored by writing about the notion of Landing Sites created by Arakawa and Gins (see all previous articles), I don’t feel ready to elaborate about it yet but it should come very soon.
For now, I would like to approach this notion of bodies falling in a Spinozist way, focusing on the notion of collision. The introductory image of this article is not innocent here; I noticed that however bad a movie can be as far as the scenario or the acting are concerned, I have a strong respect for films that are attached to the weights of bodies – body, here, has to be understood as a coherent cluster of microscopic particles forming a macroscopic ensemble. Off the top of my head, I am thinking in particular of the movies directed by Akira Kurosawa -in particular The Hidden Fortress- and of a very recent one directly registered in this genealogy: 13 Assassins by Takeshi Miike. I recommend -in addition of watching the movies themselves, of course- to watch entirely both movies’ trailer by clicking on the two previous links which in few minutes manage somehow to transmit this importance of the weight. Horses galloping in the mud, never far from sliding and falling, human bodies falling in the water or on the earth, and of course the instrumental steel of the swords that resonates when clashing, are as many indicators of the reality of two bodies colliding with each other.
After writing an article about Björk, the transition is easy in order to speak about the her husband, Matthew Barney‘s work, and more specifically the short-film he released in 2004 under the name Hoist for the collection Destricted.
This idea to write about Hoist came for the reading of a similar article written by Todd Satter on his very interesting Any Space Whatever. Although my own (short) post will not reach the intellectual level reached by T. Satter, I felt that it was important that I wrote about this 12 min film which manages to bring the sexual relationship between human and technology to a new level. This new level is purely visual here and does not reach the power of Crash by James Graham Ballard -about which, I was incidentally writing yesterday- yet its literalness succeeds to increase our imaginaries.
Hoist shows a man hoisted under a deforestation caterpillar truck, itself suspended in the void. This man is methodically ejaculating against the rotating axis of the truck in such way that this operation appears as being part of the machinist process itself.
I am not really interested here, to dissect M.Barney’s own constructive interpretation involving the fact that his character seems to be related to the forest that the truck has been built to destroyed, or any other obscure narrative that would leads us into the usual “what he is trying to say” etc. On the contrary, I am much more eager to insist on the pure literalness of those images that mix a pure mechanic process with an organic one. The Deleuzian concept of the body as a desiring machine here seems so obvious and so literal that we might want to be cautious with it. In fact, the production of desire here does not appear to be its own end but rather a mean registered within the global function of the machine. The machine itself should barely be differentiated from the body who complete it and is somehow prisoner of it. Nevertheless the poetic aspect of those two entities hybridizing themselves together (it goes to the point that the body’s skin color is very similar as the bulldozer) manages to maintain the literalness of the film when symbolism is screaming to exist.
Watch the movie after the break
Red Desert is the first color movie by Michelangelo Antonioni. First released in 1964, this film is indeed an extraordinary dialogue between bright chemical colors and industrial variety of greys. I don’t want to give too many indications about the plot here, and will only signal to the New Yorkers who did not see it yet or, like me who would like to re-see it, that the Brooklyn Academy of Music is currently releasing the film for another week.
What I am interesting to point out here is what I call the dark materialism that Antonioni develops all along the film to provide the perfect environment to maintain the generalized paranoia of the main character played by the superb Monica Vitti. In fact, Antonioni “fills” his image with a quasi-infinity of micro-particules that have all been influenced by human activity. The built environment is an obvious component of it, factories, antennas, modernist housing buildings, off shore rigs etc. but even what remains of the so-called nature has been corrupted and is now part of a sort of humanly produced mono-matter that seems to engulf Giulana’s body. Sounds themselves, created by the continuous processes of transformation of this matter act as an oppressive and persistent background.
However, I believe that it would be a mistake to understand the darkness of this materialism as being despised by Antonioni who would then give a moralizing vision of the successive industrial revolutions. On the contrary, he develops a creative approach that is close from one started in a contemporary period of time, the one by Bernd & Hilla Becher and their industrial photographic inventories. Few decades later, a photograph like Edward Burtynsky seems to have been greatly influenced by Antonioni and the Bechers. This approach is characterized by the expression of an ambiguity between disgust and fascination for those landscapes.
picture: Still image from Jacques Tati’s Playtime, a similar shot to the opening sequence of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (see rest of the essay).
This week’s guest writer is Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, who blogs at South/South and who is also a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature and Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University. In her essay, Becoming Fugitive: Carceral Space and Rancierean Politics, she gives a vision of the political aesthetics and the aesthetic of politics based on the reading of French philosopher Jacques Rancière.
As an introduction, I would like to quote Walter Benjamin who stated that “all efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war.” Benjamin was in fact, defining fascism as the introduction of aesthetics in politics. Fascism, in this essay, is not quoted but the police state is targeted in a contemporaneous world that can be said – as Eric Hazan puts it- to be engaged in a global civil war.
Becoming Fugitive: Carceral Space and Rancierean Politics
by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi
The police regime is endowed with the power of ordering space. This text meets at the crossroads of space, policing, and visual perception, in terms of how I articulate a Rancierean aesthetic dimension of the political and political dimension of the aesthetic. Jacques Rancière is a useful and rich source for this tripartite investigation because in the course of his writings, aesthetics is not only about art, and politics is not only about the state. Politics, as laid out in Disagreement, is that which always takes a stage and takes a theatrical formation, putting ‘two worlds in one world.’ This staging often overturns sense-making at the level of language alone, relying also on microlevels of sensation and sense-making (we inherited the word ‘aesthetic’ from the Greek aisthēta ‘perceptible things’). In Dissensus, Rancière gives mention to artistic works that focus on matters of space, territories, borders, wastelands, and other transient spaces, matters ‘that are crucial to today’s issues of power and community.’ To provide a framework to the concern with visibility and emancipatory politics, my bifocal reading takes into account (1) the work of the police, seen in near vision, and (2) the work of politics, seen in distant vision.
I got the chance last week, to curate a small cine-club session organized by Danielle Willems (see her essay for the Funambulist) who was kind enough to ask me so. I chose two movies that I was not necessarily associating but whose connection will have to be made in an upcoming article about what Deleuze calls the Power of the False (La puissance du Faux). Those two films were Punishment Park (1971) by Peter Watkins (see the previous articles about it) and A Walk Through H. (1978) by Peter Greenaway about which I already wrote but I would like to reiterate in order to open a new category in the archives that I will elaborate about in the coming weeks. This category concerns Maps, their subjectivity and their power. I already archived in it previous articles that are related to this topic and more will come.
I still need to research more information in order to write something about the subjectivity of maps as a mean of representation of space, but of course that is the main topic of A Walk Through H. whose narrator is so obsessed with maps that he ends up seeing them on every piece of paper that gets in his way and the film is registered in a slow process of abstractization of those maps that create new spaces rather than representing them.
The following text is what Peter Greenaway says about this film, immediately followed by thirteen of the ninety two maps painted by P.Greenaway himself that constitutes the movie. I don’t know if there has ever been an exhibition about them but I would be amazed to see one being organized :
Like most people, I suspect, I am interested in maps, cartography, plans and diagrams. The map is an extraordinary palimpsest to tell you where you have been, where you are at this present moment, and where you could be, and even in subjective tenses, where you might have been, where you could have been. It’s a total consideration in the sense of temporality as well as spatiality. I have this fascination that I often utilize for making many paintings which had maps and cartography as their basis.
The fourth chapter of the Guest Writers Essays series is written by Fredrik Hellberg whose amazing projects at the Architectural Association have been published twice here (and one more soon to come). His Manhattan Oneirocritica was bringing to life all the glorious monuments (Gaudi, Rudolph, Superstudio etc.) that have been designed for New York yet have never been built, while his project for a Japanese Embassy in London was drawn directly on the kimono wore by its guardian.
His essay, in a bit of personal way, has to do with Solipsism, this idea (if not syndrome) that only the thinker of this thoughts can be sure to exist (one could probably call that the Cogito Syndrome !). He therefore brings us in a small vertigo that question the notions of reality and dream.
Thoughts on Meta-Virtual Solipsism
by Fredrik Hellberg
INT. LIFE EXTENSION OFFICE – DAY
David Aames and McCabe sit and wait in a warm wood-paneled
office, proposals in hand. A glimpse shows words like Re-
Evolve and Re-Experience, peppered with colorful photos of
simple, life-affirming portraits of everyday life. It’s
well-appointed and well-marketed organization.
McCabe regards David as the victim of a lunatic’s scam.
Injustice fuels McCabe.
First of all, I would like to say that this article is not an indictment against the three “new” episodes (I, II & III) of Star Wars; on the contrary of a lot of people, I think that those films brings something extremely interesting to the saga, which is the retroactive construction of a myth (I still remember my shiver in theater at the end of the Episode III, when we observe the birth of Dark Vador) which managed intelligently to introduce how the Jedi went from faithful servants of a democratic Republic to rebels to the same regime when it turned into a permanent autocratic State of Emergency.
However, one thing that I find incredibly superb in the three first episodes (IV, V & VI) and that makes all the difference between the episode from the 70-80′s and those from the 2000′s: the ground.
In fact, the original Star Wars was shot in several places in the world which gives a very various and rich landscapes to express several planet’s specificity. On the contrary, the new series of films principally used semi or full computer generated landscapes (except for some scenes in Naboo where we can recognize Seville or Como). It is important to precise here that my argument is nothing in favor of “realism” or credibility of the movie. It is almost the opposite actually, George Lucas in the 70′s was not necessarily disposing of the same techniques than he has now, and some shots of the original films are charming by their clumsy attempt to set characters and aircraft in a landscape that is clearly dissociated from them…
What really makes this difference is what I would call gravity but that could maybe be named in another way. What I mean by that is the fact that bodies are attracted to the center of the earth (and presumably in Star Wars to the center of any planet) and therefore have a weight that provoke their contact with the ground. This contact always have a material repercussion, some dust is lifted, some snow is squashed, some branches on the ground crack (in the Episode VI, Han Solo is even betrayed by one of them) etc. The three new episodes also have those noises, of course, but for some reason, the viewer don’t buy it, gravity is not transcribed in the right way. When in the old movies, one can hear the infinitely small noise of a worm or of snow melting in contact with human heat, what one can hear in the new movies, is the simple, precise and cold sound of a noise reproduced in studio.
picture: The Void by R&Sie(n) 2005
In 2009, the South African film District 9 popularized a type of cinema that is interesting to question and put in relation with architecture: the docu-fiction. In order to please a broader audience, District 9 unfortunately gave up the technique in the middle of the narrative to come back to a more Hollywood-like type of movie, but the effect remains interesting in what it manages to communicate.
The two masters of this practice are French director Chris Marker (see previous article) and English director Peter Watkins (see two previous articles 1 & 2) who, in the 1960-70′s developed several movies entirely built up as docu-fictions. The War Game (1965) and Punishment Park (1971) by Peter Watkins are particularly illustrative of such a process. When the first one depicts the United Kingdom being under nuclear attack in an uprising of antagonism in the Cold War (three years after the Cuban missiles crisis), the second one introduced a police program that allows illegal dissidents to choose to participate to a Police force exercise in the middle of the desert in exchange of a lighter sentence. Once a policeman get killed, the documentary team films the vengeance of his colleagues who transform this exercise into a murderous human hunt. Both of those films are shot to appear as documentaries; in L’Ambassade (1973), Chris Marker pushes this process even further by pretending that his film has been found in an embassy which is understood to be in Santiago (Chile) after Pinochet’s coup d’etat.
More recently this style has been explored in a pretty well built-up pseudo-documentary by Gabriel Range. Entitled, Death of a President (2006), this film uses the same language and means of American TV documentaries to in fact describes in detail the assassination of Georges Bush when he was still President of the USA.
Of course, none of those movies’ goal is to deceive their spectators by making them rationally believed that what they are seeing on the screen is reality. This is the role of the hoax, not of the docu-fiction. In fact, this type of films manages both to trigger viewers’ imagination to understand what is seen as a potential reality and to allow an association between this fictitious reality with the one they are embedded in. In other words, at the end of Punishment Park, nobody really believed that a group of political activists has been murdered by the Police in the Californian desert; nevertheless, many would understand the dangers of the Police State and might react against it.
Docu-fictions elaborate new norms that are mixed with the one already existing in order for the viewer to react both to the new, and the existing ones. Just like many science fiction narratives, by introducing an elsewhere in time (docu-fiction are somehow similar to what is known as uchronia) or in space, the latter are metaphor for the current situation. That is how, District 9 describes (fairly unsubtly) the conditions of the South African Apartheid by replacing Black people by aliens in order for everybody to understand what “otherness” really is, and how Death of a President drives an fictitious historical (nice oxymoron!) event in order to illustrate how the state of emergency is being implemented as permanent law.
Donatien de Sade (1740-1814), more famous for his title, Marquis, is the author of one of the most subversive literature work of history. His name even enters the common vocabulary by being associated to a pathological behavior that takes pleasure in one’s suffering: sadist. However, this word has lost a bit of its original inspiration from Sade’s work since then. What the Marquis de Sade describes in his books, is not so much focusing on the pleasure of a dominant person who distribute bad treatments to others but rather in the relationship between two bodies, one of them exercising an absolute power over the other. Her lies the real disturbance in Sade’s literature. His descriptions could not be cruder, but at the difference of another author who also ended up giving its name to a comparable behavior, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch -i.e. masochist- the crudeness of his discourse is not the only disturbing aspect of his narratives. Indeed, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch was describing a domination of a body over another that was registered in an explicit contract “signed” between two of them. His sexual descriptions, however crude they might be, are therefore a common construction that managed to create an immanent ethics rather than a transcendental moral.
On the contrary, the violence introduced by Sade, whether it is sexual or other, could not be more transcendental in the absoluteness of the power exercise on a body over another. The quintessential example of such power in Sade’s work might be The 120 days of Sodom that introduces a form of societal embodiment of Sadian behaviors. Written on a twelve meters long paper roll when Sade was imprisoned in La Bastille, this narrative describes four wealthy libertine men who seclude themselves in a remote castle along with 46 young men and women. The latter will suffer all along the story of the worst sexual and physical treatments from those four bodies who embody an absolute transcendence over them. Pier Paolo Pasolini, few decades after having observed the industrialization of such power in the camps created by the Nazis during the Second World War, will adapt this work in a film, entitled Salo (1975) that still remains extremely painful to watch (see stills below as a mere example).
The Marquis de Sade’s work thus allows us to observe this absolute power and this way, includes “true evil” in our imaginary. By forcing us to be spectator of the exercise of this power, he does not give us the choice but to react to it, and to integrate that a form of pact with evilness is offered to everyone of us as a philosopher like Hannah Arendt attempted to show in her lifetime work.
picture: The Battersea Experiment by Dan Tassell
Factory Fifteen is a new video artists/architects collective that can be recognized as the children of Nic Clear as the professor of the Unit 15 at the Bartlett seemed to have generated the passion for this group of the students to make of the architectural video, the main medium of their creation.
Blogs like Dpr-Barcelona, Deconcrete, BLDG BLOG and also The Funambulist itself recently published some of their individual projects but they now formed a collective and are releasing a very interesting film entitled Robots of Brixton. In fact, when the films released within the frame of Unit 15, as aesthetically stunning as they are (see all the pictures on this blog), were remaining videos rather than cinematographic work per say, this last film really attempts to create a narrative and to use the moving pictures not anymore as a sort of painting but rather as a medium that confronts what cinema is about.
Robots of Brixton is a science fictive film that reproduces as a farce what used to be the tragedy of the 1981 Brixton riots in London severely suppress by the London Police.
Factory Fifteen is Jonathan Gales, Paul Nicholls, Dan Tassell, Kibwe Tavares, Chris Lees, Rich Young
See all their films on their common website.
Other articles about the Unit 15 at the Bartlett:
- Royal Cabinets/Re-Formation by Paul Nicholls
- Eco Commune by Richard Hardy (Weareom)
- Synaptic Landscape by Dan Farmer
- Nic Clear’s Bartlett Unit 15. Interview with Ballardian
- MANIFESTO /// Nic Clear