North Lakes 2012 was pretty damn fun. Kate and I headed up there on the Sunday just for the wander and the gander. We thought we were being good by imposing a no tattoo purchasing rule, but just ended up buying tshirts, jewellery, junk food and other none essentials. Currency saving fail.
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I’ve got some work showing in exhibitions down in Manchester… both are kicking off this weekend… and for once I will get to see it all. Which never happens. I’m normally working – so woo hoo! This post is going to have to be quick and probably won’t make any sense – I’m on the move – so you know, click on the links, they will provide information about the exhibitions in a much more logical manner.
Here’s whats happening:
I big old art trail through the centre of Manchester with street performers and related shenanigans. My work is in the Hive centre on Lever Street with loads of other lovely work
This should be really fun to see – loads of postcards from both established artists and guys like me who are just starting out:
“The cards will be available to buy for ONE day only on Saturday 20th November, from 12pm – 6pm at NOISELAB, Market Street, Manchester.”
“Proceeds from the postcard and mural sale will go direct to the NOISE Charity. The NOISE Charity currently receives no core funding for its work. In today’s current economic climate, this fundraiser will help us to continue the work we do to promote emerging artists.”
So you can see them now, buy later, and feel charitable.
The artists involved are a diverse bunch – in a good way – check out the website to find out more.
Ok, got to run 🙂
Well it is that time of year. I can preemptively warn that I will probably have some interesting documentation of Halloween this year. By interesting I mean potentially stomach turning and unnecessary. Which is quite seasonal really. So maybe that makes it necessary.
The start of this week was pretty busy:
- Monday: I was in Manchester recovering from a night out partying and seeing Eddie Izzard at the MEN arena. Then travelled back to Cumbria. Late in the evening I discovered that I needed to be in London on Wednesday…
- Tuesday: Organising a very last minute trip to London. Lots of rearranging appointments and general disorder.
- Wednesday: Travelled to London for an interview. Loooong day.
The rest of the week was spent fixing the resultant mess, celebrating a birthday and planning a photo-shoot. However I managed to make a few collages. They are not anything overly fancy but it is good to keep practising I guess.
Ok back to writing and planning tomorrows ‘shoot – the results of both will be popping up on this blog sometime soon.
Successions of images manifest then disappear on the screen. A shot of a beautiful woman’s face appears, captivates, and vanishes. A man, his face skull-like in the half light, stares mournfully until his presence is stolen by the next image. Each photograph is strong in its singularity but ultimately pushed aside by waves of new visions. Ghosts of impressions linger but nothing concrete can last in this fragile world.
Viewing Chris Markers ‘La Jetée’ is like returning to the familiar landscape of a recurring dream. I fell in love with the film years ago while studying it for a photography and film class. Each time I watch the film it unfolds with a reassuring sense of familiarity, the simple framework of the plot, the rapid transition of stills, the narrator smooth tone and poetic words. However it is one of those magical pieces of film that repeatedly rewards a persistent viewer. Previously unseen images appear, thrilling in their evanescence, and flesh out the tale in unexpected ways. Others hit you as startlingly emotive, something that mirrors you own thoughts in a manner you just cannot quite figure out.
‘La Jetée’ is one of Chris Marker’s many short films and perhaps his signature piece in his considerable body of work. The film, lasting only a half-hour, is made up of entirely of black and white still images (apart from one notable moment which I will resist from spoiling). The plot in many ways is a classic piece of science fiction. The story is set in Paris during the aftermath of a war large enough to be dubbed by the narrator ‘World War III’. Nuclear weapons have devastated the land and driven survivors to live underground. The only foreseeable tool for survival exists in the resources of the past. One man is particular is chosen to undergo the painful and dangerous time travel procedure due to his intense attachment to a pre-war childhood memory. The transitions of time reveal the true reasons for his connection to the image and lead to his ultimate downfall.
Beyond the constructs of the narrative ‘La Jetée’ is really about the very human desire for imagery and photography. The film captures the desire and need to preserve fleeting moments in frozen perfection; never to let go, to have proof, to celebrate and mourn the passing of time. However one of the most challenging aspects of the film is how it illustrates the sheer power of images and how with manipulation they can bind and control the subject. After all, the time traveling protagonist never moves willingly through time, it is his experimenters that utilize the seductive qualities of the still moment to lure him along their chosen path.
It is easy to draw parallels to the present day. We live in an age in which our vision is saturated by photography. We preserve our daily existence religiously so to forever add to an extensive image-world. Where will this path take us? It is difficult to say and fascinating to observe. The morals that can be taken from the film exist in a grey area. The image-world may provide answers, even redemption, but can also be destructive. The personal narrative we create through experience and time is as much about forgetting as it is remembrance. To cling and follow the traces of time may be alluring but will always be ultimately futile. Nothing can restore a moment as purely as when it was first conceived.
La Jetée itself lives up to its subject matter: it can move through time. The film’s beauty exists in its universal and enduring themes of time and memory. These themes enable it to mirror the world of the viewer and adapt seamlessly to the most contemporary of issues. Accessing the film through Google Video and viewing it on my laptop screen seem such a perfect fit for a film that tracks our evolving obsession with imagery. I can only wonder, as our relationship with photography alters over time, how it will appear to future viewers. It remains to be seen if Chris Marker can achieve something beyond the capture of a single moment: to forever preserve the tragedy, beauty and wonder of our everlasting love affair with the frozen image.
Nothing sorts out memories from ordinary moments. Later on they do claim remembrance when they show their scars. That face he had seen was to be the only peacetime image to survive the war. Had he really seen it? Or had he invented that tender moment to prop up the madness to come?
I’m writing quite a lengthy(ish) article about one of my favourite films La Jetee. If I get time this week I will upload a scan of an article written about the film for The Guardian by Brian Dillon. It was reading that article that got me to rewatch the film so it is the culprit for my reborn obsession with Marker’s films.
If you explore Google Video the full length film is available for free. It is available in a variety of translations so it might take you awhile to reack down the version you need.
I am trying to look through my endless image files and see whats worth sprucing up and saving. Whether it is my photographs or artwork I tend to dislike my work intensely just after it has been created. So this is an attempt to try and see the good bits.
These were taken while I was in college… They’ve grown on me – I might go back to these places and take more. I would like to get more landscape shots of my home town, October can be a really good time for light so it might be the time to do it.