SWM Archive: Movies

Collection by John Powers

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Star Wars gets its own board for obvious reasons, but I thought I'd make a space for some other films I've written about, but also for writings on movies more generally.

John Powers
In Hollywood films serial killers occupy lairs filled with magazine clippings, sketches, curios and bizar trophies (think & Silence of the Lambs), they deliver manifestos and preach - exactly like avant-garde (and would-be avant-garde) artists. Avant Garde Artists, Se7en, Lambs, Serial Killers, Films, Movies, Deep Thoughts, In Hollywood, Archive

The Architecture of Serial Killers

A few years ago I was seated next to a guy at a dinner party, where I had been introduced as an artist from New York. It was somewhere far enough out of town where that was exotic (we are like fleas on a yard dog in Brooklyn), and my dinner companion, who was an accountant or some such thing, asked me what artists talk about when they get together. I said, "Movies. What do you guys talk about?" I was giving the guy a hard time, but I wasn't joking. There is good reason to believe its always…

Richard Serra, Hand Catching Lead The installation of Christian Marclay, 24 Hour Clock Christian Marclay'. Christian Marclay, Richard Serra, Afraid Of The Dark, The Darkest, Archive, Movies, Art, Art Background, Films

Who's Afraid of the dark? Not Christian Marclay.

Richard Serra, Hand Catching Lead (196?); The installation of Christian Marclay, 24 Hour Clock (2010) Christian Marclay's 24 hour video, Clock is the most perfect gallery installation of video I've ever seen. In the same way that I am not a cat person, but I love particular cats, I am guardedly pessimistic when it comes to video installations. I have not been to a show, of any kind, that is this good in years. So far I have spent 6 hours watching (easily five hours more than I have ever…

American History X The Pruitt-Igoe Myth I often use the word "apartheid" to describe pre-Civil Rights America. American History X, Apartheid, Couple Weeks, Film Director, Civil Rights, White Walls, The Past, Archive, Felt

White Walls, Apartheid (an aside)

American History X (1998); The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (2011) I often use the word "apartheid" to describe pre-Civil Rights America. I have, in the past, felt a bit uneasy in my appropriation of that word; after all it has a very specific meaning from a country with a very different history from the US. But after attending a screening of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth a couple weeks back, followed by a Q&A with the film's director, Chad Freidrichs, I no longer feel any unease what-so-ever. Apartheid was a…

The Architecture of Inception: Combat Archaeologies - Utopia, Phalansteries, Cartesian Towers, and favelas; Towers, Cinematography, Archaeology, Archive, Knowledge, Architecture, Movies, Slums, Arquitetura

The Architecture of Inception: Combat Archaeologies

Combat Archaeology In a discussion of the methods he laid out in his book, The Archaeology of Knowledge, the French philosopher Michel Foucault admitted: A nightmare has haunted me me since my childhood: I am looking at a text that I can't read, or only a tiny part of it is decipherable. I pretend to read it, aware that I am inventing; then suddenly the text is completely scrambled, I can no longer read anything or even invent it, my throat tightens and I wake up. I can't read in my dreams…

The Art of History - Some thoughts on the "truth claims" of Argo, Django Unchained, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and even Les Mis. Avatar Maker, Django Unchained, Argo, Luke Skywalker, 8 Bit, Lincoln, Archive, Cinema, Star Wars

The Art of 8-Bit History

Luke Skywalker filtered by 8-bit Avatar Maker "What follows is based on actual occurrences. Although much has been changed for rhetorical purposes, it must be regarded in its essence as fact. However, it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles either" Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. A few years ago I began a project to explain Modernism via the…

'Sin City' and 'The Dark Knight Returns' writer Frank Miller speaks his mind about comic book films based on his work. Frank Miller Comics, Dark Comics, Dark Knight Returns, John Edwards, Batman The Dark Knight, Batman Dark, Sin City, Comic Artist, Feature Film

300: racist war propaganda with septic timing

300: Racist War Propaganda with Septic Timing - At the time Frank Miller's comic book 300 was made into a film I wrote a post it for Art Threat.

Why I like Christian Marclay's Clock - I can easily understand why someone may dislike or be bored by Clock, I am totally flummoxed however, as to why anyone who takes contemporary art seriously, or their role as a commentator of art, would show contempt for a work of this quality. I am not an art critic. What follows is not a review, these are the associations I made; the fun I had as an artist watching the work Christian Marclay, Critic, Contemporary Art, Archive, Star Wars, Clock, Film, Artist, Movies

Why I like Christian Marclay's Clock - I can easily understand why someone may dislike or be bored by Clock, I am totally flummoxed however, as to why anyone who takes contemporary art seriously, or their role as a commentator of art, would show contempt for a work of this quality. I am not an art critic. What follows is not a review, these are the associations I made; the fun I had as an artist watching the work

Bill Cunningham New York Between The Folds I saw the Bill Cunningham documentary the night before last, and last night w. Bill Cunningham New York, Art World, Documentaries, Counter, Things I Want, Archive, Times, Artist, Movies

I Want To Be An Old Artist, But Movies Are The Art Of Our Times.

Bill Cunningham New York (2011); Between The Folds (2008) I saw the Bill Cunningham documentary the night before last, and last night watched a documentary about origami a friend suggested. In Cunningham I saw what I have wanted for myself since I made the decision in my teens to become a studio artist I wanted to be an old artist; to someday be able to look back on a long life of making art. In the origami artists, I was reminded that there are many art worlds, each with their own theories…

 Patrick Stewart playing Gurney Halleck as the war hero of Dune. Movies d. Circles, Theory, Collaboration, Fence, Scale, Archive, Army, Names, Film

Movies Are The Art of Our Times: A Theory

Ed Harris playing Jackson Pollock as the genius of the Hamptons; Patrick Stewart playing Gurney Halleck as the war hero of Dune. Movies do not leap to mind when we think of great art because for over a century most artists, theorists and historians have used the military metaphor of the avant-garde to imagine what is most valuable about the art of our times. Shock troops leading the charge in battle, was never a good metaphor for artistic greatness. It puts the highest value on imagining art…

(Part "Beware the Jabberwock, my son!" - Representations of penises, this time in Hollywood movies. In Hollywood, Sons, Archive, Elephant, Star Wars, Movies, Animals, Art, Art Background

“Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick; Dick, Dick, Dick.” - Part 3 "Beware the Jabberwock, my son!"

Peter Jackson's, Lord of The Rings (2001) (Return to Part 2)Despite the fact that I was never a Tolken fan - or even much into fantasy, I saw Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, on opening night in in Imax. I went because a couple of my close friends at the time were long time fans of the books. For the most part I had great time, although I remember thinking that if they didn't leave Rivendale soon I might puke celtic knots, and I could have done with a few less tears (those Hobbits love a…

This is a short mash up my friend Teddy Gage digitally altered for me. It is a snipet of footage taken from Robert Smithson' s film Sp. Robert Smithson, Spiral, Archive, Crystals, Movies, Art, Art Background, Films, Kunst

Spiral Jedi (Video)

This is a short mash up my friend Teddy Gage digitally altered for me. It is a snipet of footage taken from Robert Smithson's film Spiral Jetty. I asked Teddy to "Star Wars Kid" it for me. He digitally altered it just as the original footage of a kid goofing around with a broomstick was altered by countless anonymous animators by added light sabers effects. FOr those of you unfamiliar with the original, this is Robert smithson filmed from above as he ran the length of his curling manmade…

Diegetic Cinematography - In most films we understand that everything we are seeing is non-diegetic vision. That the perspective we are shown is from an invisible point within the fictional universe we are watching. The actors are not supposed to acknowledge the camera, because the characters are not supposed to be able to see it. Chronicle was made by, and for, the generation who was sitting in homeroom when the World Trade Center was attacked. Its cinematography reflects that experience. World Trade Center, Films, Movies, Cinematography, Perspective, Archive, Universe, Star Wars, Characters

Diegetic Cinematography

Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology.

Sunshine Ignites the Sun - Danny Boyle’s Sunshine is a surprisingly effective appeal to identify with suicide bombers. But in his film Boyle has engineered a narrative that frames secular science as the True Belief that drives the faithful. Future Earth, Frames, Archive, Star Wars, Science, World, Movies, Films, Film

Sunshine Film Ignites the Sun

Sunshine Ignites the Sun - Danny Boyle’s Sunshine is a surprisingly effective appeal to identify with suicide bombers. But in his film Boyle has engineered a narrative that frames secular science as the True Belief that drives the faithful.

2001:Play Time - I suspect there is a relationship that exists between Jacque Tati's film, Play Time, and George Lucas' original Star Wars film. No one has told me this, and I can't find a single mention of Tati by Lucas, but Play Time bridges a gap between Star Wars and a film that Lucas does site as an influence: Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Star Wars Film, George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick, Visual Communication, Bridges, Gap, Archive, Neon Signs, Relationship

2001:Play Time

I am home from a symposium on visual communication called Look Better where Jordan Tate (who has a great blog) invited me to present a "silent lecture". I joked with friends that it was inevitable that I would one day be paid to not-speak. It turned out however, to be harder, and take much more consideration to say nothing that I ever imagined. I have uploaded a short segment of the project I presented called, 2001:Play Time - it is not embedded here because of copyright. (Which I edited…

Primer - a short video that explains American Post War abstract art in terms of Star Wars (the two line up eerily well). Abstract Art, Archive, Star Wars, American, Movies, Films, Cinema, Movie, Film

Primer

I cannot figure out how to embed video any larger than this, I suggest watching this full screen. Above is a primer that explains American Post War abstract art in terms of Star Wars (the two line up eerily well). This is part of the video that will be screened at the Philoctetes Center. I heard the score for this the first time today. I could not be more pleased. Hopefully Luke will post it as part of his Year In MP3s project, if and when he does I will link to it so we can all listen to it…