Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Occult Symbolism in Art

Occult symbolism in art. Art curator/historian Lisa Derrick explains some of the occult symbolism in both classical and modern art and helps decipher it for the passive viewer.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Manufacturing Dissent

This video presentation is a documentary-based analysis of the role of the media in the political strategy of former Queensland Premier, Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen.

The video documentary was submitted as part of a thesis for a Master of Arts degree at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in July 1997.

The documentary was compiled by Debra Beattie, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Sources include:
The Sunshine System (1986) Quentin Dempster and Ross Wilson (50 minutes)
The Moonlight State (May 1987) ABC Four Corners, Chris Masters (reporter), Andrew Olle (presenter) and Peter Manning (executive producer) (59' 59")
The Battle For Bowen Hills (1975) Peter Gray and Garry Lane (Crowsfoot Films) (21 minutes)
Earth First (1987) Gaia Films Jeni Kendall (director/producer) and John Seed (producer) (54 minutes)
If You Don't Fight, You Lose (1978) Leslie Mannison, Joseph Monsour and Ian Curr (24 minutes)
The Whole World Is Watching (1982) Amanda King and Peter Gray (25 minutes)
Friends And Enemies(1987) Tom Zubrycki, Jotz Productions (88 minutes)
Portrait Of A Premier (1978) Brian Benson
State Of Shock (1989) David Bradbury
Joh's Jury (1993) ABC Television, Ken Cameron (98 minutes)
Bruce Dickson footage (1977)

Laurie Anderson's "The Dream Before" is sung by Christine Johnson, recorded at one of the early performances of Women In Voice at the Sitting Duck (cafe and performance venue) in Brisbane in the early 1980s.

Lyrics: History is an angel being blown backwards into the future
He said: History is a pile of debris
And the angel wants to go back and fix things
To repair the things that have been broken
But there is a storm blowing from Paradise
And the storm keeps blowing the angel backwards into the future
And this storm, this storm is called Progress.

Inspired by Walter Benjamin
Lyrics by Laurie Anderson
Performed by Christine Johnson

Monday, November 20, 2017

Making Sense of the Sixties - Breaking Boundaries, Testing Limits (PBS 1991)

This PBS series on the 1960s was broadcast in 1991 and provides a thorough overview of the decade on six one-hour episodes. The use of over a hundred interviews with a wide range of people is an especially effective device in bringing this decade to life for younger viewers. Among those interviewed are former hippies, social activists, musicians, students, commune members, authors, and parents. Through their reminiscences these now middle-aged men and women reveal a great deal of uniformity - not in politics or philosophy, but in their deeply felt emotions about the period.

Breaking Boundaries, Testing Limits looks at the immense changes in America's youth culture between 1964 and 1968. The Beatles; happiness as a goal in itself, the counterculture of Haight-Ashbury, communes, the alternative press, Eastern religions, and mind-altering drugs are all discussed. Freedom without responsibility, however, could not be sustained - and Woodstock marked the death of the counterculture.

The societal changes begun in the 1960s persist: divorce is more common, couples living together before marriage is a widely accepted phenomenon, curricular reforms continue on college campuses, and earning a lot of money is still seen as the only important career goal.

A large portion of the series can be seen here.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Yidaki: The Sound of the Didgeridoo (2007)


Yidaki' or didgeridoo is one of the oldest wind instruments in the world. Djalu Gurruwiwi is an Aboriginal Elder from Gove in the North East Arnhem Land and is the spiritual guardian of this ancient musical instrument. The yidaki is used for sacred Aboriginal Corroboree's and is only played by men. Djalu passes his knowledge down to his son and grandsons, explaining the fundamentals of the required techniques used in finding, making and playing the yidaki. Over half a million yidakis or didgeridoos are sold each year with no information of their historical importance. It is Djalu's responsibility as the custodian of the yidaki that he ensures that the education is passed onto the wider community and is maintained for the next generations. Jack Thompson eloquently narrates this engaging and beautifully filmed documentary.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Music For Misfits - The Story Of Indie, The DIY movement

A look at the development of British indie music, born in the 1970s when the music industry was controlled by the major record labels and releasing a record independently seemed an impossible dream.

BBC Imagine David Bowie Cracked Actor [ 2013]

To mark David Bowie's comeback album and a new exhibition, Alan Yentob looks back at his legendary 1975 documentary, Cracked Actor. The film follows Bowie during the Diamond Dogs tour of 1974. The film has become one of the classic rock documentaries of all time, remaining an enduring influence on generations of Bowie fans.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Hail the New Puritan (1985-6)

Exhuberant and witty, Hail the New Puritan is a simulated day-in-the-life "docufantasy" starring the British dance celebrity Michael Clark. Atlas' fictive portrait of the charismatic choreographer serves as a vivid invocation of the studied decadence of the 1980s post-punk London subculture. Contriving a faux cinema-verite format in which to stage his stylized fiction, Atlas seamlessly integrates Clark's extraordinary dance performances into the docu-narrative flow. Focusing on Clark's flamboyantly postured eroticism and the artifice of his provocative balletic performances, Atlas posits the dance as a physical manifestation of Clark's psychology. From the surreal opening dream sequence to the final solo dance, Clark's milieu of fashion, clubs and music signifies for Atlas "a time capsule of a certain period and context in London that's now gone.

Director/Editor: Charles Atlas. Choreography: Michael Clark. Dancers: Gaby Agis, Leslie Bryant, Michael Clark, Matthew Hawkins, Julie Hood, Ellen van Schuylenburch. Music: Glenn Branca, The Fall, Bruce Gilbert, Jeffrey Hinton. Camera: John Simmons. Producer: Jolyon Wimhurst.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Get Rid of Yourself

Get Rid of Yourself is a video-film-tract addressed to those who anonymously embody the return of political activism within Empire. While its initial sounds and images were filmed during the riots in Genoa, 2001, these materials are pulled apart and recomposed in order to locate the intensity of a shared experience, rather than producing one more documentary version of the programmed and hyper-mediatized confrontation of the G8 counter-summit. Elaborating a complex and rhythmic form of address via sound/image disjunctions, cheap video effects and performance, the film declares its own exile from a biopolitical space-time where nothing ever happens. The crisis it announces is the sudden return of history, but this time without characters or a story, and of a politics without subjects.

Provisionally aligning itself with the so-called Black Bloc' movement with the arrogance of its discourse as well as the force and style of their resistance Get Rid of Yourself is an encounter with emerging, non-instituted or identity-less forms of protest that refuse the representational politics of the official Left. Edited in the aftermath of 9/11 - a period of doubt, reflection and heightened security measures worldwide the film also attempts to measure the strange distance these events have crossed, and the increasing repression under which the feeling of civil war' has been buried in the meantime. A filmed essay that works by betraying its own form, Get Rid of Yourself tries to approach what is most open in an event, rather than capturing and completing it as something recognizable.

Bernadette Corporation (2003, DV, 61 min, featuring Chloe Sevigny and Werner von Delmont)

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Vipers (1955)

Director: Shinkichi Tajiri |
Production Country: The Netherlands |
Year: 1955 |
Production Company: Unknown |
Film from the collection of EYE (Amsterdam) -

"The ritual of people who come together, make a joint, smoke it, become high and have fantasies. Tajiri and his wife Ferdi figure in the film together with Hy Hirsch (an American abstract artist) and his wife. The film also contains "found footage" from movie journals. The film got a lot of attention at the time."

"I wanted to make a short documentary-style film about marijuana and hashish, psychoactive drugs that in 1955 were still relatively unknown to the general public. They were mainly used by a small group of artists, jazz musicians, intellectuals, and North Africans."

"I wanted to visualize the ritual of rolling and lighting up a joint, and then put a series of seemingly unrelated images next to each other to represent the feeling of being high. When the movie was finished, we took it to the festival for 16mm films at Cannes, and won the Golden Lion for ‘Best Use of Film Language." (Shinkichi Tajiri, Tajiri, 1993)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Austerity is a Scam

A searing documentary looking at the pragmatics of what is called Austerity -  "difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure" - in the UK today.

The present UK Conservative Party government came to power in 2010 but even before that national financial policy favoured the rich over the poor for decades. In 2008 the Labor Government of Gordon Brown responded to the global credit crisis by giving billions of Pounds to the banks. Neoliberalism has been an entrenched defining element in government social, educational and cultural policies in the West since the 1980s. We are now just seeing the endgame of it play out amid economies that have little room to maneuver outside the neoliberal model. When wealth is so concentrated in the hands of those that control the majority of assets, then the majority of the population will be brought to a point of suffering that will only be comparable to feudal societies.