Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New www for news from the bog and films

I'm moving over to a new wordpress website, where I can eventually have all the stuff together.  My Spellbound website is flash and it's no good on the mobile devices, so this winter I'm consolidating.

Here is is! It still needs a bit of work.  For one there's a  cannibal doing revolting things on the front page and I'm not sure it gives the right impression.  But if you want to keep abreast, you can follow me over there, and eventually I'll flush this one down the bog.

Monday, November 12, 2012

British Museum - Lion hunt and Fearful Folly

We had an outing at the British Museum, and instead of heading straight for the family sandwich room or the cat mummies we went to room 10a to look at the eye poppingly brilliant Assyrian Lion Hunt (645 - 635BC).   The sculpted reliefs depict the sporting achievements of King Ashurbanipal for his palace at Ninevah.  It was wet in Assyria and there were alot of Lions.  Lion fighting was the sport of Kings, although unfairly the lions were brought to the Kings, and fought in an arena.  The reliefs show the events in episodes, so for some, it was like reading a comic.  A comic rendered in beautiful detail, not just the muscles and claws, but the violence and the drama too.    

In the exhibition space, the British Museum's collection of Spanish prints is on display.  I hadn't seen Goya's prints before, and seeing them in the context of an exhibition of his predecessors and contemporaries was enlightening.  Stone lithography was in it's early days as an artistic medium, and some of Goya's experiments didn't quite work, but when he got going with it, he propped his stone on an easel and standing up, used his crayons like brushes, and sometimes he coloured the whole surface of the stone in wax crayon and used just a knife to create the image. He was getting older too, so he often needed a magnifying glass. I thought they were amazing.  Here is an image from Los Disparates series, there are 29.

Fearful Folly from Los Disparates (1815 - 24)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Laburnum Boat Club

I've just uploaded an animated film that I made with Laburnum Boat Club to You Tube. We made it during a day long workshop last year, it's called The Nature of Laburnum Boat Club, and it features acts of great daring, some in live action, some by zoetrope.  The workshop and film was commisssioned by The Floating Cinema.   Emily and I are hoping to do some more work with them next year on the community engagement part of their programme.  They have launched a crowd funding campaign, it's such a good venture and Up Projects are really brilliant, if I had some spare money, I would spend it there.  Instead I have some spare time, so Emily and I are writing funding applications too.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

LIAF 2012

LIAF has been rescheduled, and it arrives at half term, so it's harder for some of us to get away and visit and revisit the LIAF feast as it unfolds.  I can only imagine what the long shorts were like, or the creepy Into the Dark screening at the evocative Horse Hospital.  I went to the opening Gala, the Koji Yamamura retrospective and to Best of the Fest.  It's wonderful to see LIAF settled and supported at the Barbican.  Both splendid directors Nag and Malcolm have worked like dogs for nearly ten years, and their unshowy, thoroughly eclectic festival deserves a good home.

It was great to see Kōji Yamamura here, he's a really good and very busy artist.  My favourite of the films he showed on Thursday is Mount Head (2002).  It has a brilliant raucous voiceover and a strange twisted, traditional story: the protagonist is so stingy that he doesn't throw anything away and gorges upon foraged food, so I expect we all have little people living on our heads making merry at the moment.  It was a great pleasure to see The Old Crocodile (2005) on the big screen, the traditional story told by Peter Barakan and Yamamura's simple graphic artwork make it really enjoyable to watch. My only thought is that the depiction of the Sudanese people at the end is uncomfortable, and perhaps stops the film from being really great.

There was a great mixture of films shown this year in Best of the Fest.  Of all of them I enjoyed Stephen Irwin's Moxie the most, it was awarded the Best British film. The film been travelling the world, though I havn't seen it yet. I  love the artful way Irwin uses loops, and  the bold way he cuts his shots together.  Will Anderson from ECA scooped the Best of the Fest, which is fantastic.  His film The Making of Long Bird had a really charming feel to it, though perhaps it didn't quite merit the long short form, I might have cut it up a bit myself.  It reminded me very much of Jim Le Fevre's ECA student film The Little Princesses Birthday Party from 1997.  

The Little Princesses Birthday Party by Jim Le Fevre, 1997
It was a treat to see Joseph Pierce's new film The Pub, his style is really unique and it lends itself to this study of a range of drunken public house visitors.  A live action performance underpins the work, and his actors are always spot on, with generous uncomfortable silences.  The amazing Vladimir Leschiov's new film Villa Antropoff was good to see there too, though it didn't have the mystery and calmness contained in his earlier films, and perhaps I missed that.

As a final thought, I noticed that there were no women's films in either the Best of the Fest audience votes or judges favourites, which was something that cropped up during a panel discussion that I was involved with for Best of the Fest ever a couple of years ago, I wrote a blog entry about that evening.  It's unsettling to notice that women's films are becoming less visible, or that there are less of them, or that they are just less popular.  I'd have to do some counting, but a quick scan of the programme reveals that women aren't making up half of films screened, visitors or judges at the moment.  Perhaps the best thing to do is get on and make my film in time for next year and make sure it's good.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dennis Franz

I found my portrait of Dennis amongst some older drawings, I've put him on the wall tiles for a bit, I listen to a lot of detective fiction on the radio in the studio, and he keeps me on track. If I could have a moustache (it may yet happen) it would be just like this one.

Light Music

At the weekend we made a too brief visit to see some of the projections and events from Filmaktion at the Tanks, Tate Modern.   Lis Rhodes' Light Music (1975) has been on for longer than the Filmaktion week, but it was a highlight for me. I love her brave and spare Dresden Dynamo from 1971, it's such an exciting work to show to students, so it was brilliant to enjoy the noisy and immersive Light Music for the first time.

My visitors

Having a studio in the house is nice, there's the fridge of course and then small visitors too, who put me to shame with their easy ways and quick ideas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nut the nut

These little fellas are a part of a home-made party game called Nut the nut. If you are interested in the rules you may contact me directly. They are made out of pistachio shells and it has fulfilled a long cherished ambition to make a little army of bugs out of nut shells.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Water Folk

Emily and I are hoping to work with extremely tiny beasties for our new project, here we are doing some research in the River Lea yesterday with scientist Malcolm Burrows.

Danbury Ring

A few weeks ago we visited the iron age hill fort Danbury Ring in Middle Wallop, a much loved family Sunday walk from many years ago.  The sunny autumn days need to be saved up and treasured.