Tag Archives: film

FreeSpace: Poet/Writers James Knight and Richard Biddle

5 Mar

Welcome to ArtiPeeps’ latest initiative FreeSpace whereby we offer 3 post slots to any creative who has taken up a Weekend Showcase. Within these 3 spaces the creative can do whatever they like, and stretch the slots time-wise however they like to. And here taking up this offer, in the first of their 3 slots are James Knight and Richard Biddle

The nicest people you’re never likely to meet…or…How ‘Time Lines’ came in to being…

About a year ago, I began using twitter to promote a now defunct business. I quickly realised its potential for connecting with like-minded others, and put it to work. I found the immediacy of its feed both addictive and seductive.

As a struggling poet, creative writing was never very far from my radar. So one day I had an epithany ‘what if I used the tweet as an experimental platform for poetry.’

It wasn’t long before I found out that there was already a seam of creativity out there. It was called, among other names, #microfiction and there were quite a few people at it. @echovirus12 was one of the first nuggets I found.

EV12 is the brain child of @jeffnoon. It is a constantly changing evolving narrative that involves a number of different writers. In simple terms, each writer/member has the choice to respond to the previous tweet by echoing some element within it, and there is one golden rule: you cannot follow your own tweet. It’s genius, a kind of modern day exquisite corpse. I immediately wanted to be a part of it.

In my searching, I also found the amazing @virulentblurb by the incredibly prolific

@kneeledowne who uses twitter like no one else on earth.

Originally starting life as an experiment to write an ongoing fantasy novel via the medium of Twitter, the Blurb has now mutated into its own website. ‘

http://www.virulentblurb.com/index.html

I started writing, what I hoped were absurd, strange and darkly-humoured tweets and it wasn’t long before my work was noticed by the extremely talented @jamesknightbad, whose creation ‘The Bird King’ I had just discovered. His alterego, @badbadpoet had created this mythical character.

How did the Bird King come to be in James’s head in the first place? Maybe Loplop planted him there: a bad seed sown in the soil of dreams. Maybe a mythical being called Crow was responsible. To this day, James is unsure. We will probably never know.’ 

James and I seemed to share a similar proclivity for the absurd and the surreal and it wasn’t long before we were regularly communicating and RTing each other’s outpourings. This mutually respectful appreciation led to James inviting me to contribute to his latest project, an anthology of writing by poets & dreamers who were using Twitter as a portal through which they could birth their latest ideas; like me, they were using Twitter as a testing ground/sounding board.

 A few months later and the dream has become a reality. Amazingly, James coordinated, collaborated and self-published the book that is now called ‘Time Lines’

Self-publishing anything always involves risk but above all it requires ‘guts’ and a belief.

 Time Lines’ is ambitious, it is international. It combines the writings of poets from the USA, UK, Australia and Mexico.

 Five of the writers, including myself are members of @echovirus12. Yes my desire to become a contributor/member of EV12 came to fruition.

 Time Lines’ is ‘out there’ literally and figuratively. I don’t want to say too much about it here, other than, I am proud to be a part of it.

 Not being one for self-agrandisment, I hope that if your’re reading this, you’re curiosity has been aroused and that you will make the step towards supporting our venture by clicking on the link below.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-knight-and-richard-biddle-and-aksania-xenogrette-and-mina-polen/time-lines/paperback/product-20696993.html

 Finally, James and I are now collaborating on another project @cosmologgorhea. In short, it’s an ‘epic’ mythopoetic, prose poem inspired by creation myths, surrealism and the big bang theory.

 We take it in turns to tweet, building-up an imagistic wordscape. Each tweet has to include 3 words that have been chosen in advance by the person who last tweeted. We have no idea where it will lead us. Who knows, perhaps one day we may actually shake hands but if we never, ever physically meet it doesn’t really matter, our minds have, our words have and our cyber-selves have. In today’s social-networking age, remarkably, this can be all we need.

 

James Knight

I make bad dreams in the form of poems, stories and pictures. I am a member, with acclaimed author Jeff Noon, of experimental writing group @echovirus12. I am the bad, bad poet

Website: http://thebirdking.com/

.

The Madness of the Bird King is a poetic picture book for grown-ups. It presents the reader with the enigmatic Bird King and his world, in a poem made of twelve fragments, each with an accompanying watercolour illustration by Diana Probst

In constructing our little book, Diana and I wanted to offer the adult reader the feelings of delight, wonder and joyful terror that young children experience daily, when immersing themselves in picture books like The Gruffalo and Where the Wild Things Are. Much of that rich emotional experience is a result of the potent combination of text and image; the magic of The Madness of the Bird King is generated by the connections and disjunctions between my words and Diana’s beautiful pictures, which are not illustrations in any traditional sense. Although each painting was inspired by a Bird King fragment, we have not paired them up. Indeed, some of the pictures were inspired by tweets that didn’t make it to the finished poem.

What follows are the first three parts of our twelve part work. In the book, my text appears on the left hand page, and Diana’s illustration appears on the right. The Bird King himself may sometimes be glimpsed, fleeting between the two.

I

The Bird King is mad again.

He caws

through empty midnight streets,

moulting tar-black

feathers.

Bird In Flight Original Artwork by Diana Probst

Bird In Flight Original Artwork by Diana Probst

II

The Bird King’s wings:

stiff machinary

cobbled together from wire

wood,

corrugated iron.

But the feathers are real, seasonal:

Spring: urinous, downy.

Summer: purples, scarlets.

Autumn: rust-tinged greys.

Winter: a widow’s fan.

Original Artwork by Diana Probst

Original Artwork by Diana Probst

 

III

The Bird King spends much of his time

asleep on a throne of lightbulbs,

dreaming of love.

Waiting in the wings: his retinue of electricians.

Sometimes he wakes,

jovial.

His laughter breaks glass,

frightens animals.

He cackles and crackles on his electric throne.

Original Artwork by Diana Probst

Original Artwork by Diana Probst

Copies of the book can be purchased here

Find out more about Diana and her work here

You can read Diana’s account of her work on the Bird King book here

.

This one is called:

Grandma’s Eyes or 13 Unpleasant Stories, Invented for the Purpose of Terrifying and Mystifying.

1. She found the book at twilight in the silence of the forest. It was bound in red leather. When she opened it, the pages turned into moths and fluttered in drunken spirals, aspiring to the moon.

2. Grandma’s garden has gnomes, roses, a lovingly mown lawn. But her greenhouse is home to a thousand desperate twisted things, gasping, blind.

3. She pauses before the door to the forbidden room. The apple-shaped doorknob is warm, smooth. In her other hand: a key like a snake’s tongue.

4. Grandma sips a cup of tea. A broken wolf stares at her from the prison of a picture frame.

5. The curtains of her eyelids are the forest. Denser and denser into the heart, into the wet darkness, into the house of phantoms.

6. Grandma’s teeth are knives, hatchets, crenellations, the serrated canopy of the endless forest.

7. When she breaks the mirror she swoons into a long, restless sleep. Her lips turn to rose petals, her hair to snakes. Her sex becomes a seashell. Put it to your ear: listen to the mermaids murmuring in an ocean of blood.

8. Red roses proliferate in the Kingdom of the Wolf. Grandma’s skull is a cave. Inside, you’ll hear the voices of the dead.

9. In her heart is a mirror in whose surface you may catch a glimpse of the witch, an apple, a rose bush, a broken sword.

10. In Grandma’s eyes you’ll see a red moon, red shoes, secret flames, the howling storm. She shows her bleeding palms to the heavens.

11. Opening the door to room 13, she finds herself entering a candlelit bedroom. Her double is sitting at the dressing table, smiling at her own reflection.

12. In the Medusa coils of Grandma’s floral wallpaper: the statue of a wolf.

13. An axe, a grin, a labyrinth of trees. The girl, now a woman, writes her name in blood on the mirror of the moon.

.

And this is: 

Dinner for One

.

I made the film a few years ago with a couple of exceedingly talented people, but we ran into some copyright problems with the soundtrack soon after it was uploaded to YouTube. So I approached  Adam Wimbush  who composed some terrifying music for the Bird King last year (See here for more details) , and asked if I could use a section of his piece Realms as the soundtrack to Dinner for One. He agreed, and when I added his music to the film it was as if he’d written it especially for our horrible little piece. I’ll say no more. You can see the film  and enjoy the combination of sound and image yourself. I’m the one in the suit, by the way.

.

Richard Biddle

Just

Picture this happening continuously –

In his mildew-ridden study, pocked with mouldy black stink on the walls, he struggles to word the paper with thought. Blank pages lie before him like prayer flags awaiting a tornado.

At his back, books ranged on makeshift shelves chatter claptrap at him, trying to distract him from his task with their half-muttered theories and better poetries.

An idea forms in this memory like sucked bones giving up their sparse meat, a tongue-snapped taste that lasts as long as a snowflake.

Ghost-seeking torches hover their nervous beams over graveyards. Moonlit ouija boards anticipate the spelling out of death. Municipal murders, suicide rumours, scare-legends…

…In an abandoned toilet, where a boy’s body was found swinging, they dare each other.

Suddenly he realises that residing within his aging limbs there is a poltergeist. He decides to become invisible.

.

Minutiae

This is a symphony to be conducted with a pin, a moment to be replayed again and again and again.

Like a throng of winged ants leaving their dead queen, these letters leave me, an exhaled silent trail. Pips, delicately planted so as to grow into fruiting trees. Or, is each word a tiny coffin making this whole text a burial site for dead thoughts, an insignificant graveyard.

What will become of this effort? Will it be cast aside like a rotten fish, left to fester in maggoty juice? Will each vowel metamorphose into a tooth, each consonant merge to form a fleshy tongue and will this alphabetic mouth be able to talk?

More likely that the autopsy will reveal death by natural causes and not the last scribbled scrawl of a suicidal scream.

Whispers, that’s what these ciphers are. Shadows cast from the mind to the page, lit by a moon the size of a penny.

Retrace the steps and you will find heaps of scrunched up paper, each one an undiscovered planet frustratingly tossed into the air in an attempt to find an orbit, failing and falling back down to terra-firma with a whimper.

Read this treatise and think of the tiny things, the details; a match before it ignites, a mosquito before it bites and a splinter waiting to catch your skin with its irritating twinge.

Paper cuts, snagged nails and kisses of betrayal, this is a novel to be read through a microscope, a symphony to be conducted with a pin.

.

Nightly

Dressed in a suit of soot, tar-gloves and tar-shoes, a charcoal walking stick and a lump-of-burnt-wood-hat, it carries a cave on its back, a cave where secrets are stored and fetish is found. Sometimes the cave is a mouthful of ink and the fetish a lithe tongue, darting in and out, licking the light to darkness.

Its smell is burning tyres and its voice a chalkboard nail scratch, whispering screams, cutting dreams, penetrating.

It is a fat, on its back, black beetle, a malignant cancer, and a barrage of dubious bruises.

Unable to escape the liar’s essence, the murderer’s stench and the rapist’s desire, it rolls its solemn heart through the lonely body of every nocturnal hour. Cursed by the sun, this is where it must stay, firmly lodged between the witches and the stars.

A fox scratches at a wire fence, its snout catching the panic of a chicken. On a country lane, a car crunches a badger’s bones to pulp.

https://twitter.com/littledeaths68

http://writings43.blogspot.co.uk/

Something For the Weekend #7

19 Jan

Horizons

It is the function of creative men to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expression that may seem utterly different and to be able to combine them into some new form’. William Plomer

Some inspirational snippets and recommendations for your weekend

____________

Something to Watch:  

DVD:  Let the Right One In

INTIMATE, DENSE, IMAGINATIVE

Let the Right One InA  film  directed by Tomas Alfredson  with a screenplay by John Ajvide Lindqvist (adapted from his book of the same name ) from 2008 starring  Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson. A  sensitive and lyrical  horror film (yes, they can be) about a  young boy Oskar  and his blossoming friendship with Eli which becomes a tale of life and death.

Why you could watch it:

For its subtlty,  sensitivity and lyricism.  It has a few vampiric moments but it’s actually an egrossing tale about friendship, love  and not fitting in.  Elements of our lives that we have all shared. And the young leads are great too.

Here’s the author, Lindquist, talking about his book:

_____________

Something To Listen To: 

Gavin Bryars: Jesus’ Blood Never Left Me Yet

MESMERISING, SOULFUL, DELICATE

A piece composed from a drunken song he heard being sung by a person living rough on the streets in London. Looping the words round and round he created this:

  Official Website

___________

Something To Look At:

George Braque (1882-1963)  

SPLITTING, RESTORING, DEFINING George Braque

20th century French painter and sculptor, who along with Pablo Picasso developed the art style known as Cubism

Once an object has been incorporated in a picture it accepts a new destiny. 
To define a thing is to substitute the definition for the thing itself.

 
An Interesting Mini-Audio on Georges Braque’s, Mandoline à la sonate
2554_14_Braque_Mandoline-à-la-sonate

Conor Jordan, Deputy Chairman of Christie’s autioneers discusses Mandoline a la Sonate
http://www.christies.com/features/audio-georges-braque-mandoline-a-la-sonate-2266-4.aspx


___________

Something To Read:

Gertrude Stein

(1874-1946)

Gertrude Stein
American
Modernist experimental writer of prose and poetry;
and art collector
EXPERIMENTING, QUESTIONING, EXCHANGING
__________________________________________________
Here’s an Audio Biography of Stein:
http://www.biography.com/people/gertrude-stein-9493261

 

And Excerpts from Tender Buttons (1914)

From ‘Objects’

A Long Dress

What is the current that makes machinery, that makes it crackle, what is the current that presents a long line and a necessary waist. What is this current.  What is the wind, what is it.  Where is the serene length, it is there and a dark place is not a dark place, only a white and red are black, only a yellow and green are blue, a pink is scarlet, a bow is every color. A line distinguishes it. A line just distinguishes it. 

 A Red Hat

   A dark grey, a very dark grey, a quite dark grey is monstrous ordinarily, it is so monstrous because there is no red in it. If red is in everything it is not necessary. Is that not an argument for any use of it and even so is there any place that is better, is there any place that has so much stretched out. 

For more see:

http://www.bartleby.com/140/
__________________
Here’s an online version of her famous Cubist influenced novel Three Lives (1906):
http://www.bartleby.com/74/

____

Something To Think About:

FLUX, PATHS, FLUIDITY

Heraclitus (c535 BCE-c475BCE)

A Greek Philosopher
Heraclitis and Democrotius by Salvatore Rosa

Heraclitis and Democrotius by Salvatore Rosa

famous for his insistence on ever-present change in the universe

Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character. 

Much learning does not teach understanding.

Knowing not how to listen, they do not [know] how to speak

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/heraclitus.html#5LqJL3LAH517voLr.99 

___________

A Reading on Heraclitus from Bertand Russell’s The History of Western Philosophy:

____________

Something For You:

Inspired  Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred. Thich Nhat Hanh    

Something For the Weekend #6

12 Jan

Horizons

It is the function of creative men to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expression that may seem utterly different and to be able to combine them into some new form’. William Plomer

Some inspirational snippets and recommendations for your weekend

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something to Watch:  

DVD:  The Page Turner

The Page TurnerA  film  written and directed by Denis Dercourt  from 2006  starring Catherine Frot and Deborah Francois. A film about a 10 year old butcher’s daughter who holds revenge at the core of her heart until it is released as an adult as a page turner against the pianist who rejected her as a child.

Why you could watch it:

For the slowly ratcheted tension that is built up throughout the film, and the two female leads particularly Deborah Francois whose cultivated stare is pitched perfectly to get under your skin.

_________________________________________

CINEMA

The HobbitHere’s another great film review of The Hobbit by the tale of bengwy

http://bengwy.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey/

 

_____________________________________

Something To Listen To: 

1. The Cocteau Twins– Song To the Sirens

2.Song To the Moon by Anton Dvorak from Rusalka

3. Sharon Van Etten, Live ‘Give Out’

Just discovered Sharon this morning. Beautiful

http://sharonvanetten.com/

_______________________________

Something To Look At:

Robert Delauney

(1885-1941)

Robert Delauney

 

 French artist

 Cofounded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes…His key influence related to bold use of colour, and a clear love of experimentation of both depth and tone.

Click link (left) under name for more…

I am very much afraid of definitions, and yet one is almost forced to make them. One must take care, too, not to be inhibited by them.
Robert Delaunay 

Read more at 

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/robert_delaunay.html#ZPbICX3XCDfhj6PR.99 

__________________________________

Something To Read:

Hugh MacDiarmid

(1892-1978)

Hugh MacDiarmid

Scottish poet, attempted to revive the Scottish language in poetry as a means of asserting Scotland’s artistic independence from England and re-invigorating a literature suffering from sentimentality. 

_____________________________

It is time we in Scotland put England in its proper place and instead of our leaning on England and taking inspiration from her, we should lean and turn to Europe, for it is there our future prosperity lies.
Hugh MacDiarmid 

Read more at:

 http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/hugh_macdiarmid.html#g30bTUm2KISLmRyX.


Completely beautiful articulation of national identity:

Scotland

by Hugh MacDiarmid

It requires great love of it deeply to read

The configuration of a land,

Gradually grow conscious of fine shadings,

Of great meanings in slight symbols,

Hear at last the great voice that speaks softly

See the swell and fall upon the flank

Of a statue carved out in a whole country’s marble,

Be like Spring, like a hand in a window

Moving new and old things carefully to and fro,

Moving a fraction of a flower here,

Placing an inch of air there,

And without breaking anything.

So I have gathered unto myself

All the loose ends of Scotland,

And by naming them and accepting them,

Loving them and identifying with them,

Attempt to express the whole.

_____________________________________

From Complete Poems, edited by Michael Grieve and W.R. Aitken (Carcanet Press, 2 vols., 1993-4)

Reproduced by permission of the publisher

See:

http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poems/scotland-0

_________________________________________

Hugh MacDiarmid Reading the Watergaw:

http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=1558

 

________________________________________

Hugh MacDiarmid: A Portrait by Margaret Tait (1964)

________________________________

 Something To Think About:

Arthur Schopenhauer

(1788-1860)

German Philosopher


Arthur Schopenhauer

__________________________________________

Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, “Lighthouses” as the poet said “erected in the sea of time.” They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind, Books are humanity in print.” 

__________________________________________

 

“Hope is the confusion of the desire for a thing with its probability. ” 

For quotes see:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/11682.Arthur_Schopenhauer

___________________________

Schopenhauer, BBC, Sea of Faith with Don Cupitt

http://www.doncupitt.com/don-cupitt

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something For You:

Inspired

 

‘If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise. Robert Fritz

 

Something For the Weekend #5

5 Jan

Horizons

It is the function of creative men to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expression that may seem utterly different and to be able to combine them into some new form’. William Plomer

Some inspirational snippets and recommendations for your weekend

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something to Watch:  

DVD:  PERSONA

PersonaA  film  written and directed by Ingmar Bergman from 1966  starring Liv Ullman and Bibi Andersson. One of Bergman’s most influential films charting the startling merging of two women’s personalities and identities

Why you could watch it:

For the sheer innovation of the cinematography and camera angles, and for the intensity of the female leads and the morphing face frame which is incredibly powerful

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.
Ingmar Bergman 


Read more at:

 http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/i/ingmar_bergman.html#K8VAzzsscTTU023B.99 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here’s  the first part of an interview with Bergman . 

Here are the other 5 links to the other parts of the interview: 

Part 2: http://youtu.be/51WUgKcIXBw

Part 3: http://youtu.be/YRS6Uu9-OPk

Part 4: http://youtu.be/ROQZLJZ6aSs

Part 5: http://youtu.be/xt6UwqHPp54

Part 6: http://youtu.be/90CCPSAF4Zw

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CINEMA

Life of Pi

Here’s another great film review of Life Of Pi by the tale of bengwy: 

http://bengwy.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/life-of-pi-gonna-need-a-bigger-boat/

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something To Listen To: 

JOYCE GRENFELL

(1910-1979)

Joyce Grenfell  an English actress, comedienne, monologist and singer-songwriter

Happiness is the sublime moment when you get out of your corsets at night. 
Joyce Grenfell 

*

Read more at:

 http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/joyce_grenfell.html#4jClv7ijypO1ZoWX.99

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

One of Grenfell’s comic monologues animated….

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something To Look At:

M.C Escher

(1898 – 1972)

M.C. Escher

‘known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These feature impossible constructions,explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations’. See link, left.

Official Website: http://www.mcescher.com/

‘He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder.’

Read more at:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/m_c_escher.html#ijyRMKx9KTmI3CWQ.99 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

We adore chaos because we love to produce order. 

Read more at:

 http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/m_c_escher.html#ijyRMKx9KTmI3CWQ.99 
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

My work is a game, a very serious game. 


Read more at: 

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/m_c_escher.html#ijyRMKx9KTmI3CWQ.99 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Escher Inspired Animation:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something To Read:

Margaret Attwood

http://www.margaretatwood.ca/

Margaret Atwood

‘Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It’s like the tide going out, revealing whatever’s been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future.”  ― Margaret AtwoodCat’s Eye

Cat’s Eyes is one of my favourite books of Atwoods; it  made a real impression on me when I was younger, it helped….. 

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3472.Margaret_Atwood

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In the Secular Night

by Margaret Atwood

In the secular night you wander around
alone in your house. It’s two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grapejuice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were not dancing,
and then danced, by yourself, your mouth circled with purple.


Now, forty years later, things have changed,
and it’s baby lima beans.
It’s necessary to reserve a secret vice.
This is what comes from forgetting to eat
at the stated mealtimes. You simmer them carefully,
drain, add cream and pepper,
and amble up and down the stairs,
scooping them up with your fingers right out of the bowl,
talking to yourself out loud.
You’d be surprised if you got an answer,
but that part will come later.


There is so much silence between the words,
you say. You say, The sensed absence
of God and the sensed presence
amount to much the same thing,
only in reverse.
You say, I have too much white clothing.
You start to hum.
Several hundred years ago
this could have been mysticism
or heresy. It isn’t now.
Outside there are sirens.
Someone’s been run over.
The century grinds on.

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/in-the-secular-night/

_________________________________________________

 Something To Think About:

Tillie Olsen

(1912-2007)

American writer and feminist 

Tillie Olsen

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From Silences (1962) ….Literary history and the present are dark with silences: some the silences for years by our acknowledged great; some silences hidden; some the ceasing to publish after one work appears; some the never coming to book form at all. What is it that happens with the creator, to the creative process, in that time? What are creation’s needs for full functioning? Without intention of or pretension to literary scholarship, I have had special need to learn all I could of this over the years, myself so nearly remaining mute and having to let writing die over and over again in me. These are not natural silences….

For more go to:

 http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/m_r/olsen/silences.htm

Time granted does not necessarily coincide with time that can be most fully used. 

Tillie Olsen


Read more at:

 http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/tillie_olsen.html#XIZOYRGU8mItrKtT.99

I know that I haven’t powers enough to divide myself into one who earns and one who creates.
Tillie Olsen 


Read more at:

 http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/tillie_olsen.html#62K8b2okBR34aBvK.99

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something For You:

Inspired

…Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Viktor Frankl, from Man’s Search For Meaning

 

Something For the Weekend #2

8 Dec

Horizons

‘It is the function of creative men to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expression that may seem utterly different and to be able to combine them into some new form’. William Plomer

Some inspirational snippets and recommendations for your weekend

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something to Watch: 

DVD: Heaven

Heaven

A Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi film directed by Thomas Tykwer (Run Lola Run) about a woman who takes the law into her own hands, and much much more…

Why you could watch it:

Brilliant performances, beautiful cinematography, challenging direction and beautiful, beautiful soundtrack:

CINEMA

The HuntGreat film review of ‘The Hunt’ the latest film from Thomas Vinterberg director of Festen by ‘the tale of bengwy’( a site with stimulating music, film and book reviews).

http://bengwy.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/the-hunt-pointing-the-finger/

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something To Look At: 

Gerti Schiele in a Plaid Garment by Egon Schiele

Angular, Edgy, Delicate and Spiky

Gerti Shiele

Egon Schiele
charcoal and tempure on brown wove paper, c. 1908

To restrict the artist is a crime. It is to murder germinating life. 
Egon Schiele 
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/egon_schiele.html#QkKEPm0OCUsTwg8s.99

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/gerti%20schiele%20in%20a%20plaid%20garment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egon_Schiele

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something To Read:

William Wordsworth

______________________________________________

A Night-Piece by William Wordsworth

——The sky is overcast
With a continuous cloud of texture close,
Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
Chequering the ground–from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards; he looks up–the clouds are split
Asunder,–and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not!–the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent;–still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene. 

William Wordsworth

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-night-piece/

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something To Think About:

Humility is attentive patience. 
Simone Weil 

Simone Weil

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_Weil

In Our Time , Radio feature on Simone Weil.

Really interesting!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nthz3

Something For the Weekend #1

1 Dec

Horizons

‘It is the function of creative men to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expression that may seem utterly different and to be able to combine them into some new form’, William Plomer

Some inspirational snippets and recommendations for your weekend

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something to Watch:

Once

Set in Dublin a story the lives of two ‘kindred spirits’ (one musician) the other a young mother (also with a love of music) intertwine.

 

Why: Brilliant score, beautiful scenery and warmth.

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

Something To Look At:

Philosopher In Meditation by Rembrandt, 1832

Rembrandt, Philosopher in Meditation

From: http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/index.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosopher_in_Meditation

In common with Michelangelo and Rembrandt I am more interested in the line, its rise and fall, than in color.
Edvard Munch

 

______________________________________________________________________________

Something To Read:

An Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) Poem:

A Light Exists In Spring

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-light-exists-in-spring/

_________________________________________________________________________________

Something To Think About:

‘If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence’.

George Eliot, Middlemarch (1872)

_____________________________________________________________________

  • And check out Classic Friday with Nisha Moodley on author Elizabeth Gaskell here

It’s the Feeling That Counts

19 Nov

An Exploration of Emotion in the Film MAGNOLIA

‘Films Have the Power To Create Dreams’

From the Film ‘Hugo’

One of my all time favourite films is Magnolia, directed by PT Anderson (PT). In my opinion one of the most powerful, immersive films ever.  You cannot fail to be moved by it, even if you find it difficult, strange or melodramatic. In contrast to Hugo, it’s a film about emotions and not about dreams. It’s about connections and what matters most in life- feeling. Yes, films, I would argue, are on one level about dreams and escapism but the best ones are the ones that make you feel and connect and where you can find a tear gently tracing down your cheek. Magnolia carefully takes you on a journey through dilemma and emotion to a place where you can rest in the positivity of a tentative smile. The smile we see above, of Claudia, Melora Walters.

‘The moment we cry in a film is not when things are sad but when they turn out to be more beautiful than we expected them to be’  Alain De Botton (from Goodreads, Quotes)

To me Magnolia is that film. At the beginning of the piece you are thrown into a fist of  in-your-face feeling; feeling that appears barbed, but by the end, through a subtle process of aclimatisation you come to realise,  is not barbed at all but tender, universal and beautiful. It’s actually a film about the beauty of feeling (with all its pointed edges exposed);  As the film scrolls outwards you are given  a private space to emote and to connect with emotion- in the dark facing a flickering screen.  Magnolia moves you into a state of pure emotion. Each scene is pure emotion. Directed emotion, emotionally directed.

In this blog, I would like to consider how emotion is created in a film, using Magnolia as a particular and special example of that. Rather than immersing you in a dream world where you can suspend your disbelief, Magnolia  keeps rooting you back into what matters,  (through the  emotional sensibility of its characters) and reveals to you the powerful consequences of that individual choice . This, I think, is quite an unusual technique. In cinema today much emphasis is placed on the power of plot and story to drive emotions and character. However, Magnolia  it is strikingly different – emotions drive the plot and the characters; the plot feels secondary (in a good way) to what is going on in vibrant colour within us and the characters. It’s the feeling that counts.

John August who wrote  BIG FISH suggests there are 4  ways in which emotion is formed in a film, and I want to use this quartet  to explore Magnolia:. Emotional engagement can only occur:

IF: 1. Emotional Catharsis is created – a journey through dark territory, through which you can see the characters develop and from which you eventually get release

IF: 2. The  Writer creates emotions through obstacles and  dilemmas from all sides

IF: 3. The Actors give striking performances rooted in honesty and struggle from the beginning and established from the onset.

IF: 4. If the Director successfully co-ordinates all of the other elements: the pace, camera angles, music, and totally  commits to the emotional build of the piece.

In my opinion Magnolia does this, and in so doing becomes a profound articulation of the shared plight of us all (the common condition of man); the fact that life is hard, difficult but there is forgiveness, love and release on the other side. (If you are brave enough to ‘SAY’ and wise -up)

PT  wrote this epic film just after the death of his father when he was only 29. It is the fact that the action and emotions are grounded in  personal experience that makes this  film so special and singular. It also explains the intensity of the piece. Emotion  is perpetually ratcheted up, relentlessly until the final release. The plot and the characters are pushed to the very edge by dialogue and circumstance. There is no release. And this is just like life; and it is this realisation  that PT is trying to create- the complexity of life communicated through diverse characters;  trying to communicate and create the delicate spider’s web of existence:

‘Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads’,

Henry James (from The Modern Psychological Mind, Leon Edel)

And what PT does is intricately create an immense sensibility from the differing emotions of his  major characters. The themes dealt with in the film are huge, universal and engage with core issues that are common to us all: ‘the silken threads’ that so complicate our lives : about lies and reality, parent and child relations, love and sickness, how we try and let go of the past, but how the past doesn’t let go of us; the importance of choice; the power of forgiveness; saying, just saying; resting in regret and being okay with this; how hard it is to do what we really, really want. These matters are the nub of life; guilt and redemption; losing and finding. All these themes are directly engaged with in this film. It’s amazing!

PT , not only wrote and directed the film; but he also  wrote the script with specific actors in mind (Julianne Moore, Tom Cruise, Jason Robards, William H. Macy, John C.Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Melora Walters, Jeremy Blackman) The dialogue was completely tailored for the actors; he knew their strengths and their abilities and new they could take the sparseness of his words to a different level, and because they were all friends as well, the distance between actor and director was foreshortened and strong performances could be easily accessed. This personal, real-life bond further  underpinned the piece. If you have  that as a bedrock as well than it further enhances the commitment and ease of the performances.

Lots of truly seemingly inconceivable incidents and coincidences happen in this film. However,  PT makes this acceptable by a questioning of the very nature ‘ happenstance‘. He makes it a theme running through the film itself  by book ending the piece with a prologue and a postscript that throws up the question of ‘happenings’ not just being about chance, ‘that extraordinary things do happen’. This thought now laid, seeded in our mind,  gives us a template in which to place the threads of the story. In so doing he also subtly makes a comment about artifice and realism. Is a  film  a piece of artifice purporting to imitate life or vice versa?

In terms of direction, quickly and in a very fast paced, edgy way,  characters are individually introduced. PT moves initially quickly between the different storylines. It’s hard to keep up; it’s a bit confusing (just like life), the dialogue is extremely naturalistic and visceral. You don’t know where you are quite -but  extremely strong  individual characters are established before you: the god-fearing policeman; the adulterous wife, the lost girl, the dying father filled with regret; the dying father filled with a need to redeem himself; the son fronting out as a man, but truly still just an unhealed boy wanting love, the young and old child geniuses – one wanting to be able to choose and the other wanting to give, just wanting to be loved. All of these  characters are  snappily and separately laid out before us and established. And then thread by thread PT starts to merge them, and the lines of dialogue start to intermingle and the emotions stretch out like a taught rubber band.

The film could not work if the actors did not commit to the themes and characters wholeheartedly. Without their sincere performances Magnolia would be pure melodrama; and, indeed, if you look at it in snippets it can feel like that. However, the  performances put it onto a different level, and as one committed performance coalesces with another something very serious and beautiful occurs. Gradually you start to become completely encaptured by the emotion, and its reality.This makes the other surreal and biblical happenings, circling around the feeling  and plotlines feel like  mere add ons.  The plot in Magnolia although important structurally:  moving  the story  and characters to their climaxes, is always secondary to the real action of the piece: the shifts of emotion and feeling. In other films, it’s different, in Magnolia, the emphasis, the placement, is elsewhere because the film is about internal shifts and movements and not about external occurrences. It’s about how things linger and rest in us.

Pace is maintained by the way PT chooses to  use  the camera.  He creates pace and movement via particular shots and camera angles. All of which serve the story. He places cameras in odd space, looking up from a safe:

tracking a frog falling from the sky

Tracking the young child-prodigy Stanley running through the television studio, slinking through it as if it were a dark tunnel.  As Mike Figgis states on digital film making:

The function of camera movement is to assist in the storytelling. That’s all it is. It cannot be there just to demonstrate itself’,

(from Goodreads, film quotes)

Equally, there are moments when the pace slows right down and we are left (almost alone with the emotion of the character. we are left to see the intimate nuance of a person’s face in anguish). PT manages these shifts brilliantly and he gives you time to really experience the dilemmas of the characters, and the careful interweaving.

Music is a strong connecting factor and directs not only the viewer’s gaze but the emotional threads of the characters, even to the extent where they share a song, which is extremely affecting as well as serving to give a space for the viewer to collect themselves before the pivotal regret scene between Earl (Jason Robards) , the nurse (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Frank (Tom Cruise) ….. All the songs are by Aimee Mann, and in fact the songs  are used to emotionally direct the film. The song ‘Deathly’ actually  inspired PT to create  the character of Claudia  (who you see heading this post). The music thread pushes the viewer through to another emotional level that we really have no control over  (music always has that power) and that helps to open us up to accept the highly charged drama we’re seeing in front of us. PT uses the music as a foundation for our emotions.

The film builds and builds up until a pivotal seen with ‘Earl’s ‘/Jason Robards regret speech which is phenominal and which culminates in an extraordinary performance by Tom Cruise.  There are lots of issues around  Tom Cruise but in this moment he’s fantastic: capturing that moment where anger, frustration and love merge into something excrutiating.

The Regret Scene…Combination of brilliant writing and perfectly pitched performance:

which leads to where the film becomes pure emotion through another extraordinary performance:

I would argue that it is at this moment that the film reveals itself for what it is. It is emotion. This film I think is an expression of emotion masquerading as a film, and the catharsis comes not from the plotlines unravelling (although this is the vehicle) but through the releasing of emotion in that scene. This ‘spewing’ is underpinned by fantastic dialogue which engages with a profound life issue that touches us all (oh, what I could have been, oh, the regret) and when this is combined by strong performances we cannot fail to become part of the ‘ ‘immense sensibility’  which is the character’s sensibilities, connecting to the film’s sensibilities, connecting to ours –a beautiful spooling spider web,

Magnolia is not an easy ride. It shows the consequences of making a choice, choosing truth, and choosing hurt because that is the right thing to do. ‘If it’s worth being hurt, it’s worth bringing pain in’. A phrase that is put into nearly every characters mouth- a line connector- and a matter of choice far removed from dreams and escapism.

Magnolia completely embodies the 4 principles of capturing emotion that John August outlines. PT controls the pace of the film through fast-cuts and slow lingering intense close ups. The intensity of the piece is controlled by great actors and solid performances;  the writing takes us from snippets of dialogue, mumbled , to complex and challenging encounters of words. Everything is perfectly thought through so that we can become emotion; get caught  and suspend our disbelief  (because in life extraordinary things do happen). It gives us a rare moment and space to find ourselves up-lifted by something so unsettling beautiful, like the curve of Claudia’s mouth as she finally smiles…..like the realisation that we’re not part of a dream but part of an extended emotional reality.

___________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it, and do  let me know what you think.

*

As always thank you for your interest and your feedback is always welcome!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

ARTIPEEPS NEWS:

  • Your second helping of  Flash Fortnightly with Laura Besley  is coming up this  Wednesday (21st).  Great New flash Fiction
  • This Friday (23rd) we have a second blog coming from ArtiPeeps’ resident English Art Correspondent JAMES MACKENZIE on his connection with KOBO online Art Gallery. So watch out for that one!
  • And starting from next Friday (30th) we have CLASSIC FRIDAY with NISHA MOODLEY introducing and reviewing classic fiction….

There’s lots afoot!

Vimeo & What Does It Mean?

4 Sep

😉 I had a great week last week because I stumbled upon Vimeo (an alternative to You Tube- less ubiquitous it seems, and more creative) where I thought I/we could host any videos we create. It’s where I’m going to put The Dove Project as we go along.  Having thought it through  I  have also  decided to use Vimeo as a springboard for not only our group and individual creative projects but also  for ArtiPeeps  as an entity in itself and for what will be my overarching business (now called CreoKardia …meaning to create from the heart). I’m doing little videos focusing around the themes we do for each session, and I’m doing little creative tips and inspiration pointers etc..whatever comes up for me, a bit like these blogs… I also thought it would be a good place for little videos about ArtiPeeps and where we can record/video our pieces (like Karin reading her poetry, if we so wish). I’m also doing little videos on the creation of my business.  I’m also hoping this will lead to other creative opportunities for us. There’s so much potential there. I’m really enjoying it. So far I’ve uploaded two videos: the shortened version of Harvey was Heavy, and a little conscious business video. I haven’t made it live yet because I want to build up a collection of videos, so everyone can really see what we’re about. I’m hoping to go live in about a 2 weeks time, and at the same time letting ArtiPeeps blog go live at the same time (if that’s okay with you), so people can see the link between the two.  I’ll see how it goes. It will then mean I can embed Vimeo videos into Artipeeps which will be brilliant! I’ve loved doing it. If you ever see a hunched woman on a bench in the Country Park speaking ardently into her ipod it’s probably me doing a video….

Anyway, that’s a really huge segue! Back to what I really wanted to muse over. A couple of days ago I showed Karin the new shortened Harvey was Heavy that I’ve put up on Vimeo, and what she said at the end really made me think. She said, and she didn’t mean it critically, I know:  what was the point of it? She didn’t quite get it. It didn’t make sense to her.  And I’ve been going over this in my mind (the way I do), questioning if it really does have to make sense. If my intention was to use it as a vehicle of experimentation, to try and show my peeps what I wanted to do with our Dove Project does it have to make sense?  There were some really striking images, some good bits of editing and audio..isn’t that enough? If the intention never was to create a narrative but to try and get a feel of something-does it then  have to be coherent as well? Isn’t it just a matter of intention? And is there something slightly askew about our expectation for films to be linear and make sense? Maybe a juxtaposed form challenges all of that, and that is that. I don’t know… Karin’s reaction just placed all these thoughts into my head. What  do you think? Let’s have a heated debate… I’ve also done a little Vimeo video about it which I’ll hopefully upload shortly….

So that’s been me-growing and expanding over the last fortnight, and loving every minute of it……………………

Inspiration Point: 10 Greatest Films by Women Directors

9 Aug

Do you agree?:

 

www.awardsdaily.com/blog/2012/08/04/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-directed-by-women

%d bloggers like this: