Friday, April 23, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Flicker is a resource for media artists, cinephiles, perceptualists, scanheads, art junkies, sabateurs, inverts, agoraphobics, researchers, programmers, educators, media literacists, and disaffected elements of the mainstream media technocracy.
The Artists page lists new and old releases of films and videos organized by individual makers, with descriptions by the artists, and stills and sample clips where available.
The Venues page lists places that show experimental and fine-art cinema, with complete, up-to-date calendars of their events, where possible, and lists of past shows.
The Resources page hosts information about festivals, grants, workshops, seminars and resources for media artists.
The Images page is an ever-changing gallery of images culled from the many corners of Flicker's pages, with links to information about the films and videos from which they're taken. It's a more graphical means of moving around this web site.
Flicker will be growing quickly over the next few months, so check in often. And if you have some information to share or suggestions for growth, or if you are a media artist who would like to have your own page, please let us know!
What is "Alternative Cinema"?
Definitions and distinctions.
"...the so-called mundane, which people use as a word of contempt when they really mean 'earth.' What they don't see is the potential for glory, for envisionment that's inherent in even doing the dishes, in the soap suds... All they have to do is close their eyes and look." -- Stan Brakhage, Sight and Sound (1993)
What is "alternative," "avant garde," or "experimental" film and video? Good question; it's one makers and audiences have been groping with for years. No one definition seems to please everybody.
There are, however, some common characteristics. The works are often short, non-narrative and structurally idiosyncratic, though the makers often use narrative elements and conventional structures in unconventional ways.
The media described in the Flicker pages has a variety of names: experimental, fine art, avant garde, personal, independent, and others. Though each term is inadequate to define any one particular film, video or maker, and the definitions often overlap, it is useful to discuss and distinguish their meanings. You will find some attempts to define these terms below.
The films and videos listed here are not, however, short subjects intended to accompany a feature film; nor do the makers consider them "stepping stones" on a career track to Hollywood feature production. They are complete works of art in and of themselves.
* Alternative: films and videos that provide an alternative to commercial media or to conventional topics and forms, dealing with subjects, points-of-view and formal elements not found in the mainstream. Some makers object to this term as it implies that the work exists only in relation to mainstream media, rather than as a unique art form of its own.
* Experimental: the maker experiments with the medium, the production process, or the structure of the work, without necessarily knowing what the outcome will be. For example, the artist might try processing the film using the wrong chemistry, shooting the film through a rainy windshield, editing the story in a way that subverts the narrative, etc.
* Fine Art: media work that deals with many of the same concerns as fine art painting, sculpture, music and literature, exploiting the aspects that are unique to the film or video medium.
* Personal: the work reflects or contains elements of the maker's personal life, or reflects a highly subjective view of the world or the subject.
* Avant Garde: In French, literally means "advance guard," a military term for troops that led the attack across the battlefield; used to describe artwork that somehow breaks new ground and charts new territory.
* Independent: Work that is made outside of the Hollywood system. Though most experimental film and video falls into this category, it generally refers to non-Hollywood feature and documentary films.
* Underground: Also work that is made outside any commercial system; usually connotes something subversive, or something that would make mainstream audiences uncomfortable. This term came about in the 1960s, where many film venues showed clandestine works that were at odds with censorship or other laws.
You may also come across some of these terms:
* Structuralism: The elements of the work's production or structure become the subject, partly as a way to demystify the cinematic process. For example, a particular camera action might be repeated and studied. There was a movement of structural cinema in the 1970s.
* Visionary: a term coined by P. Adam Sitney to describe work that allows us to see beyond the traditional boundaries of the physical, cultural and/or spiritual world.
* Expanded: A term coined by Gene Youngblood in his book Expanded Cinema to mean work that transgresses the normal boundaries of the viewing experience.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Cloud Cuckoo Land refers to an unrealistically idealistic state where everything is perfect. ("You're living in Cloud-cuckoo-land.") It hints that the person referred to is naïve, unaware of reality or deranged in holding such an optimistic belief. The reference is to the play, The Birds by the Athenian playwright Aristophanes, in which Pisthetairos (which can be translated to mean "Mr. Trusting") and Euelpides (which can be translated to mean "Mr. Hopeful") with the help of Tereus, tired of the Earth and Olympus, decide to erect a perfect city between the clouds, to be named Cloud-Cuckoo-Land (Νεφελοκοκκυγία or Nephelokokkygia).
The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer used the word (German Wolkenkuckucksheim) in his publication On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in 1813, as well as later in his main work The World as Will and Representation and in other places. Here, he gave it the figurative sense by reproaching other philosophers for only talking about Cloud-cuckoo-land.
 Uses in popular culture
Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles. (November 2009)
* U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace (later Vice President in Franklin D. Roosevelt's third term) used the term to describe the unrealistically inflated value of stocks on the New York stock exchange just prior to the crash of 1929 that signaled the onset of the Great Depression. In his 1936 book, Whose Constitution? An Inquiry into the General Welfare, Wallace describes a cartoon in a popular weekly magazine which "pictured an airplane in an endurance flight refueling in mid-air, and made fun of the old fashioned economist down below who was saying it couldn't be done. The economic aeroplane was to keep on gaining elevation indefinitely, with the millennium just around a cloud" (p. 75). Wallace wrote that Wall Street's practice of lending money to Europe after World War I "to pay interest on the [war reparations] debts she owed us and to buy the products we wanted to sell her … was the international refueling device that for 12 years kept our economic aeroplane above the towering peaks of our credit structure and the massive wall of our tariff, in Cloud-Cuckoo Land" (p. 77).
* It is commonly thought that Margaret Thatcher famously used this phrase in the 1980s. "Anyone who thinks the ANC will form the government of South Africa is living in cloud cuckoo-land" However, it was actually a misquotation of her spokesman, Bernard Ingham.
* British MP Ann Widdecombe used the phrase in a debate on drug prohibition with a representative of Transform Drug Policy Foundation: "...it is cloud cuckoo land to suggest that [people who don't currently use heroin would not start using it if it became legal]".
* On their 1985 album Virgins & Philistines, The Colourfield used the phrase prominently in the track "Faint Hearts," and four years later the UK pop-rock group The Lightning Seeds named their 1989 debut album Cloudcuckooland.
* In the song "Like Spinning Plates" by the English rock band Radiohead, lead singer Thom Yorke sings, "I'm living in Cloud cuckoo land."
* Cloudcuckooland is the name of a 1990 Album released by the British band Lightning Seeds.
* Poet Simon Armitage entitled his 1997 collection "Cloudcuckooland".
* Also an indie band from Korea is named Cloud Cuckoo Land.
* The phrase also appears in the poem "90 North" by American poet Randall Jarrell.
* In the video game "Banjo-Tooie" there is a level called "Cloud Cuckooland".
* A song "Cloud Cuckooland" was released by the English antique-beat band The Real Tuesday Weld.
* Cloud Cuckoo Land is mentioned in the song Brave New World on the Public Image Ltd album 9.
* Cloud Cuckoo is the title of track 4 on Airdrawndagger, an album by Welsh artist Sasha (DJ).
* In the 1999 film Notting Hill, Julia Roberts' character Anna Scott is discussing a film she is shooting with her fellow actor/co-lead (played by Sam West - imdb). He (who is referred to in the script as "let's call him James") says, "We are living in cloud cuckoo land" to refer to the wildly optimistic idea that the film will finish shooting that day to allow Julia Roberts' character to make it to LA for another film. http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Notting-Hill.html
* In P.B. Kerr's Children of The Lamp Series, Layla Gaunt's focus word is NEPHELOKOKKYGIA.
* Camille Paglia compares Washington, DC to Cloud Cuckoo Land in an August 12, 2009 Salon.com article entitled "Obama's healthcare horror".
* Its physical manifestation, a floating island ruled by birds, is mentioned in passing by Alan Moore within the "Travellers Almanac" part of the appendix of The League of Extrodinary Gentlemen II.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
'It was the beginning of cable television and as such probably the first opportunity, and maybe the last, to be able to participate in the whole cultural process. It would give us a little window to the outside world which enabled us to show our work, not just my own, but the work of everybody, and to create a truly alternative television. The timing was perfect.'
- Jaime Davidovich
Pitched as a television variety show of the avant-garde - hosted by real and invented personalities and jam packed with interviews, vox pops, home-shopping segments, art performances, live call-ins, art lessons and 'much more' - The Live! Show debuted on Manhattan cable station Channel J on December 21st, 1979.
Though a manic collage of playful ideas, The Live! Show also operated as a polemical artwork for its creator Jaime Davidovich. Davidovich had a long-standing interest in television as a platform for artistic production and intervention and The Live! Show allowed him to critically explore - albeit gnomically - this interest while engaging directly with the conditions of television culture itself.
Davidovich, as the show's host, editorialist, and chief ideologue, wanted people to be aware of their own behaviour in relation to television and the place that television occupied in their daily lives as a transmitter of ideas and cultural values. Davidovich, usually assuming his favoured character role of 'Dr. Videovich' (described by New York Times television critic John J. Connor as 'a persona somewhere between Bela Lugosi and Andy Kaufmann'), would invite artists such as Laurie Anderson, Les Levine and Robert Longo onto The Live! Show to perform and make work. Davidovich also took advantage of his airtime to do a little selling, inaugurating a segment called 'The Video Shop', selling things like Winky Dinky sets, Dukes of Hazzard bedtrays and other objects he'd made especially for sale on the show.
Finally after five years The Live! Show was retired - leaving for history a unique experiment in art television; one that was intensely personal, slightly self-indulgent, often original and definitely entertaining.
For this exhibition episodes and excerpts from The Live! Show will be screened alongside archive materials, printed matter and original photographs drawn from The Live! Show's run between 1979 and 1984. The work of Jaime Davidovich (American, Born 1936, Argentina, lives and works in New York) is featured in prominent public collections including MOMA New York and The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Recent exhibitions include 40 Years / 40 Projects, White Columns New York (2009) and 'Jaime Davidovich', MAMBA, Buenos Aires (2005).
He was born in 1953 in the U.S. to Lithuanian emigrants. He was named after Kęstutis, a 14th century monarch of Lithuania, a heritage which he describes as "...no joke. It's hard work. Like being an emotional verbose gesticulating Italian and a sullen depressed Scandinavian at the same time."
Nakas was active in New York’s East Village performance scene and was Artistic Director of Gates of Dawn, which showcased cutting edge performers such as Holly Hughes. He has taught at New York University, UCLA, CUNY, and the University of New Mexico.
Nakas received his B.A. from Michigan State University's experimental Justin Morrill College and a M.F.A. from New York University.
His best-known piece is the 4-part historical comic farce When Lithuania Ruled the World. Parts I through III of the series combining Lithuanian history and mythology were produced in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s; Part IV was produced in Chicago in 2003.
According to the New York Times review of this play, "Mr. Nakas is a very clever subverter of all versions of history...Experiencing this dizzying spectacle is certainly different and quite exhilarating, perhaps like seeing all the operas of Wagner and Mussorgsky jammed together and staged in Grand Central Terminal at rush hour." 
 Other works
Kestutis is the founder of a monthly live art performance event at i^3 productions I^3 hypermediain Chicago. Originally called "Word Of Mouth," and now "Follow Spot," this event is a "laboratory for original performance and live experiments of any natur
Babette Mangolte is an experimental filmmaker living in New York City. She had two complete retrospectives of her films and camerawork in 2000 in Germany (organized by Madeleine Bernstorff and Klaus Volkmer) at the Berlin and Munich Cinematheque and in 2004 at Anthology
Films Archives in New York City with the opening of her 2003 film Les Modèles de Pickpocket. In 2007 her film Seven Easy Piecesby Marina Abramovic (2007) premiered at the Berlinale 2007.
Her films and photo work were included in "The American Century" show in 1999 at the Whitney Museum in New York and "Century City" at the Tate Britain in London in 2001.
Mangolte is also known for her photography of dance, theater and performances. Her work was included with several performance photographs and two film installations in a show titled "Art, Lies and Videotapes: Exposing Performance" organized by Adrian George at TATE Liverpool (United Kingdom) in 2003.
Among her more recent shows, “Live Art on Camera” at John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK, Curator Alice Maude-Roxby, “ Un teatre sense teatre” at Museu d’Art Contemporari de Barcelona, Curator Bernard Blistene (tour to Museu Berardo, Lisboa, Portugal) and Mangolte’s first solo show in the US at BROADWAY 1602, New York, curated by Anke Kempkes, all in 2007 and in 2008 a two films installation titled Presence a t the Berlin Biennale 2008 and a second solo show at Broadway 1602 titled “Collision”. A new photo installation TOUCHING was included in a show at Akademie der Künste “re.act.feminism – performancekunst der 1960er & 70er jahre heute” curated by Bettina Knaup und Beatrice E. Stammer, till February 8, 2009. She is just back from a residency at OCA in Oslo, Norway in May 2009.
Mangolte has published essays on photography, documenting performance and changing technologies. She is currently working on a text about Robert Bresson.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
What is the Bohemian Grove? The Bohemian Grove is a 2700 acre redwood forest, located in Monte Rio, CA. It contains accommodation for 2000 people to "camp" in luxury. It is owned by the Bohemian Club.
What is the Bohemian Club? The Bohemian Club is a private. all male club, which is headquartered in the Bohemian building in San Francisco. It was formed in 1872 by men who sought shelter from the frontier culture (or lack of culture).
Who are the present members? The Club has evolved into an association of rich and powerful men, mostly of this country (there are similar organizations in other countries). Some artists are allowed to join (often at reduced rates), because of their social status and entertainment value. The membership list has included every Republican U.S. president (as well as some Democrats) since 1923, many cabinet officials, and director; & CEO's of large corporations, including major financial institutions.
What industries are represented among the members? Major military contractors, oil companies, banks (including the Federal Reserve), utilities (including nuclear power), and national media (broadcast and print) have high-ranking officials as club members or guests. Many members are, or have been, on the board of directors of several of these corporations. You should note that most of the above industries depend heavily on a relationship with government for their profitability.
The members stay in different camps at the Grove, which have varying status levels. Members & frequent guests of the most prestigious camp (Mandalay) include: Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, S. D. Bechtel, Jr., Thomas Watson Jr. (IBM), Phillip Hawley (B of A), William Casey (CIA). and Ralph Bailey (Dupont). George Bush resides in a less prestigious camp (Hillbillies) with A. W. Clausen (World Bank), Walter Cronkite, and William F. Buckley.
What activities take place at the grove? The grove is the site of a two week retreat every July (as well as other smaller get-togethers throughout the year). At these retreats, the members commune with nature in a truly original way. They drink heavily from morning through the night, bask in their freedom to urinate on the redwoods, and perform pagan rituals (including the "Cremation of Care", in which the members wearing red-hooded robes, cremate a coffin effigy of "Dull Care" at the base of a 40 foot owl altar). Some (20%) engage in homosexual activity (but few of them support gay rights or AIDS research). They watch (and participate in) plays and comedy shows in which women are portrayed by male actors. Although women are not allowed in the Grove, members often leave at night to enjoy the company of the many prostitutes who come from around the world for this event. Is any of this hard to believe? Employees of the Grove have said that no verbal description can accurately portray the bizarre behavior of the Grove's inhabitants.
Besides this type of merriment. the annual gathering serves as an informational clearing house for the elite. The most powerful men in the country do their "networking" here, despite the Grove's motto "weaving spiders come not here" (don't do business in the Grove). At these gatherings men representing the government, military-industrial, and financial sectors meet and make major policy decisions. The Manhattan project, which produced the first atomic bombs, was conceived at the Grove in 1942. Other decisions made at the Grove include who our presidential candidates will be. There are speeches, known as "Lakeside Talks", wherein high-ranking officials disseminate information which is not available to the public-at-large.
Long before the body-art practices of the 1960s and ’70s, Carol Rama was confronting the physicality, sexuality and limits of the body in her charged watercolours and drawings. Her erotic representations typically depict women in states that veer between pain and pleasure, juxtaposed with prosthetic parts – both painted and real in her bricolage works from the 1940s – and symbols of ill health or deformity that coalesce to reveal a fragile body that is at once subject and object.
«Chi conosce Carol, chi conosce il suo linguaggio quotidiano, sa che c’è una frase ricorrente, che le è particolarmente cara: “fa vissuto”. E’ un’espressione che si applica a qualsiasi oggetto che rechi il segno del tempo, che confessi il suo essere usato. E’ un modo di dire, in particolare, che affettuosamente interviene per consolare dell’irreparabile incrinatura subita da un piatto, dalla chiazza inestirpabile che ha contaminato un mobile, un abito. Ma non è una locuzione esclusivamente confortatrice. Dice, prevalentemente, il profondo orrore di Carol per tutto ciò che non possiede – o non suggerisce almeno di possedere – un suo passato, una sua storia. E dice che il passato è, per necessità, logoramento e corruzione, portati sino al punto in cui l’uso si rovescia nel suo contrario. Così, per contro, ogni oggetto nasce con un suo irritante dono di innocenza originale, che è doveroso cancellare con premura: occorre che il segno dell’uso lo incida – e lo guasti e sfiguri, se occorre – affinché emerga al più presto l’indizio corrompitore, ma finalmente vitale, appunto del vissuto.»
da: Edoardo Sanguineti, in Carolrama, Galleria La Bussola, Torino, 1971
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The story follows the narrator, Robert Syverten, a naive young man from Hollywood who dreams of being a film director.
The story begins with Robert's sentencing for murder. He confesses that he "killed her," and that he doesn't "have a leg to stand on." He is advised to beg for mercy from the Court. The story of his relationship with the girl he killed, Gloria Beatty, is thereafter intercut after every few chapters with short excerpts from the judge's sentencing. The excerpts of the judge's words are written in larger and larger type face until the last page of the book concludes with the words written in small print: "And may God have mercy on your soul".
Robert meets Gloria on a morning when they have both failed to get parts as extras. She talks him into participating in a marathon dance contest. Like Robert, she is struggling to find work in Hollywood, and believes the contest may be a way to get noticed by studio producers or movie stars. Gloria and Robert enter the dance contest, which is held at a large amusement pier on the beach, somewhere near Hollywood.
The contests are long and grueling affairs, taking place over several weeks. Contestants dance for an hour and fifty minutes, then receive a ten minute break. One hundred and forty four couples start the contest. Robert and Gloria, like most of the contestants, are young, jobless, and drawn as much by the free food as by the $1,000 prize money.
From the start, Gloria tells Robert that she wishes she were dead, a point she repeats in most of their conversations. Her parents are dead. She ran away to Dallas from a farm in West Texas where her uncle always made passes at her. In Dallas, she tried to commit suicide, then ran away to Hollywood with dreams of being in movies, but is finding only rejection. Robert considers her plain-looking and unlikely to find work as an actress. She tells Robert frequently that she doesn't have the courage to kill herself.
The promoters of the contest try various schemes to increase attendance. They publicize the arrest of a contestant for murder. Every evening, they stage an elimination race, called a derby, in which the couples speed-walk around a track, the last-place couple being disqualified. The promoters stage a marriage of two contestants, who then lose a derby and should be eliminated. Instead, the promoters disqualify another couple.
As the dance goes on, into the second and third week, the crowds grow larger. Newspapers cover the contest. Some couples receive sponsorships from local businesses, usually in the form of clothes. Hollywood personalities arrive to watch and are announced by the promoters. Gloria goads Robert into speaking with a famous director he recognizes in the crowd. A woman named Mrs. Layden attends the contest regularly and tells Robert that he and Gloria are her favorite couple. She later gets Robert and Gloria a sponsorship.
As the contest grinds on, couples break down physically and drop out. Robert is consumed with claustrophobia and a desire to get outside into the sun. Gloria is tiring and having difficulty walking for the derby without Robert's help.
Gloria is revealed throughout as angry, bitter and outspoken. She curses another male contestant because he won't allow his pregnant partner to get an abortion. Robert learns indirectly that Gloria is having sex with one of the promoters, presumably to gain an advantage in the event the fix should be put in again. When Robert tells her of his suspicions, Gloria tells him she doesn't feel she is worthy of doing anything else. When two elderly women from the local morals society threaten the promoters with shutting down the dance, Gloria is asked to witness the meeting and curses the women as spoiled, interfering hypocrites.
After 879 hours of dancing and with 20 couples remaining....
Robert Syverton (Michael Sarrazin), who once dreamed of being a great film director, recalls the events leading to an unstated crime. In his youth, he saw a horse break its leg, after which it was shot and put out of its misery. Years later, he wanders into a dance marathon about to begin in the shabby La Monica Ballroom, perched over the Pacific Ocean on the Santa Monica Pier, near Los Angeles. He is recruited by emcee Rocky (Gig Young) as a substitute partner for a cynical malcontent named Gloria (Jane Fonda) when her original partner is disqualified due to an ominous cough.
Among the other contestants competing for a cash prize of $1500 are Harry Kline (Red Buttons), a middle-aged sailor; Alice (Susannah York), a would-be Jean Harlow with delusions of grandeur, and her partner Joel (Robert Fields), an aspiring actor; and impoverished farm worker James (Bruce Dern) and his pregnant wife Ruby (Bonnie Bedelia). Early in the marathon the weaker pairs are eliminated quickly, while Rocky observes the vulnerabilities of the stronger contestants and exploits them for the audience's amusement. Already frayed nerves are exacerbated by the theft of one of Alice's dresses and Gloria's displeasure at the attention Alice receives from Robert. In retaliation, she takes Joel as her partner, but when he receives a job offer and departs, she aligns herself with Harry.
Weeks into the marathon, Rocky—in order to spark the paying spectators' enthusiasm—stages a series of derbies in which the exhausted remaining contestants, clad in track suits, must race around the dance floor, with the last three couples eliminated. Harry suffers a fatal heart attack during one of these, and an undeterred Gloria lifts him on her back and crosses the finish line. It is clear that Harry dies as Gloria drags him, and she unloads him on Alice, which causes her to suffer a nervous breakdown. Robert and Gloria, now without partners, once again pair up.
Rocky suggests the couple marry during the marathon, a publicity stunt guaranteed to earn them some cash in the form of gifts from supporters such as Mrs. Laydon (Madge Kennedy). When Gloria refuses, he reveals the contest is not what it appears to be on the surface. Numerous expenses will be deducted from the prize money, leaving the winner with close to nothing. Shocked by the revelation, the couple drops out of the competition.
Distraught and despondent, Gloria confesses how empty inside she is....