Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WHITE PANTHER: The Legacy of John Sinclair

WHITE PANTHER: The Legacy of John Sinclair from Nomad Cinema (Charles B Shaw) on Vimeo.

"I'm here to tell you that apathy isn't it. And we can all do something if we try." ~ John Lennon

"I just considered it part of my job. If you were gonna be a revolutionary, you were gonna have to go to prison." ~ John Sinclair

John Sinclair is best known as the Sixties marijuana activist who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for giving two joints to an undercover policewoman. He was eventually freed when John Lennon and Yoko Ono spoke out on his behalf

Less understood is his role as the founder and chairman of the radical anti-war group, The White Panther Party, an offshoot of the Black Panthers. The Black Panther Party was a militant political organization formed after the brutal murders of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy.

During the Cold War the US Government launched a secret program called COINTELPRO to disrupt and ultimately destroy the Black Panthers and the Anti-War movement. As part of this program, John Sinclair was set up and imprisoned on marijuana charges. When the government could no longer justify denying him a bond over two joints, they falsely charged him with a Federal conspiracy to blow up a CIA station, in order to make him disappear.

In this case we find the secret origins of so much that troubles us today, like: classifying dissidents as terrorists, or the use of warrantless wiretaps and indefinite detention. The things that were revealed during his case are what the US government would prefer history forget.

WHITE PANTHER: The Legacy of John Sinclair
a short film by CHARLES SHAW
music by Thelonius Monk, Roy Harper & Jimmy Page, Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon, Phil Ochs, Frijid Pink, Commander Cody, The Up

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Harun Farocki - The Parallel Series I-IV

The four‐part cycle Parallel deals with the image genre of computer animation. The series focuses on the construction, visual landscape and inherent rules of computer-animated worlds.

"Computer animations are currently becoming a general model, surpassing film. In films, there is the wind that blows and the wind that is produced by a wind machine. Computer images do not have two kinds of wind."—Harun Farocki

A history of graphical representation in computer games. It starts with the 30 year history of the tree in computer games, how it changed and what it means to recognise a tree in a game around 2010. It then goes on to explain how images are adapted and transferred across media. It ends with the claim that the creators of computer images want to surpass film images.

This is the first in a series of four films about the visuality, ontology and philosophy of digital imaging in computer games, along with its intersections with other visual art forms and cognitive philosophy.

Parallel I opens up a history of styles in computer graphics. The first games of the 1980s consisted of only horizontal and vertical lines. This abstraction was seen as a failing, and today representations are oriented towards photo‐realism.

"For over one hundred years photography and film were the leading media. From the start, they served not only to inform and entertain, but were also media of scientific research and documentation. That’s also why these reproduction techniques were associated with notions of objectivity and contemporaneity -- whereas images created by drawing and painting indicated subjectivity and the transrational.

Apparently today computer animation is taking the lead. Our subject is the development and creation of digital animation. If, for example, a forest has to be covered in foliage, the basic genetic growth program will be applied, so that “trees with fresh foliage”, “a forest in which some trees bear four-week-old foliage, others six-week-old foliage” can be created. The more generative algorithms are used, the more the image detaches itself from the appearance as found and becomes an ideal-typical.

"Using the example of trees and bushes, water, fire and clouds we compare the development of surfaces and colourings over the past thirty years in computer animation images. We want to document reality-effects such as reflections, clouds, and smoke in their evolutionary history."  -- Harun Farocki

This second film deals with the spatial dimensions of computer game imagery. Permitted and forbidden space. How boarders are established in computer games spaces. A beautiful thing that encages the player.

Parallel II explores the borders and boundaries of the game worlds. The work follows characters attempts to escape the edges of their animated world by any means, and seeks to reveal what lies outside of the defined spaces and digital borders.

We as player are placed within the space of the game. Before long the limit of the game is reached. The limit of the game is a backdrop as in a theatre. The world ends like a board game.

Parallel III seeks out the backdrops of the game worlds and the nature of their digital objects. It reveals digital worlds which take the form of discs floating in the universe—reminiscent of pre-Hellenistic conceptions of the universe. The animated worlds appear as one-sided theatre stages, flat backdrops revealed only by the movements of an omniscient camera. The objects in the worlds often do not react to "natural forces." Each of their properties must be separately constructed and assigned to them.

Parallel IV explores the actions of the heroes and protagonists of the video game world. These heroes have no parents or teachers; they must test their relationships with others and determine of their, own accord, the rules to follow. Farocki notes these characters are "homunculi, anthropomorphist beings, created by humans. Whoever plays with them has a share in the creator's pride."

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ten for Two: The John Sinclair Freedom Rally (1971)

The John Sinclair Freedom Rally was a protest and concert in response to the imprisonment of John Sinclair for possession of marijuana held on December 10, 1971, in the Crisler Arena at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The event was filmed and released as Ten For Two.

The reason behind the concert was the arrest of Sinclair, who was given ten years in prison for the possession of two marijuana cigarettes. Shortly after the event, Sinclair was released.

John Sinclair will be making two appearances in Stockholm later this month. At Rönnell's Books and Larry's Corner

Friday, August 11, 2017

Goolengook 1997-2004

Mass arrests among the old-growth forest of Goolengook, the site of Australia's longest-running forest blockade.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

I'm Now - The Story Of Mudhoney

Few bands have changed my life. Mudhoney is one. This documentary tells the story of Mudhoney from their very beginnings, to following them on their recent world tour and everything in between. Complete with testimonials from friends, music industry veterans and musicians such as Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, Soundgarden's Kim Thayil and Mudhoney themselves. This is the true story of the founding fathers of Grunge.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Colin Wilson: The High and the Low

In this moving and profound program, Colin Wilson shares his personal struggle in dealing with states of panic and depression. His attempt to cope with these difficult experiences has led him to explore states of extreme lucidity and self-control.

Colin Wilson (1931-2013) was one of the most prolific writers in the English language. His novels include The Mind Parasites, The Philosopher's Stone and Sex Diary of a Metaphysician. Other major works include A Criminal History of Mankind, The Occult, Mysteries, Religion and the Rebel, The New Existentialism, New Pathways in Psychology and The Outsider--his first and most famous book.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Great War (BBC 1964) - Surely We Have Perished: The Battle of Passchendaele

On this day one hundred years ago the Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, began. It would rage until 10th November 1917. A total of 800,000 soldiers on both sides of the war died in the blood and mud of the Ypres salient between 1914 and 1918. This is the story of their suffering, sacrifice and slaughter.

First Broadcast: Sept 20, 1964

British and Dominion offensives in Flanders in 1917, originating from the Ypres Salient. The successful capture of Messines Ridge is followed by a partial breach of German defences at Passchendaele, with immense loss of life at both sides. Rainy weather sets in early and armies bog down in mud.

Alfred James Bromfield - British soldier 3:28
Gordon Carey - British Officer 3:57
Bryan Frayling - British Officer 7:33
Cecil Arthur Lewis - British Pilot 9:05
John Roll - Australian Sapper 9:50
Richard Talbot Kelly - British Soldier 21:25
Richard Henry Tobin - Royal Naval Division 21:33, 29:03
Sydney White - British Soldier 22:01
William Bunning - Australian soldier 25:42
Cyril A. Lee - British Soldier 36:24

Heratik: We Had a Dream (in French)

This is an intriguing, intimate account of one of the most celebrated Sound Systems in Europe, offering in-depth interviews with Heretik members as well as their arch-nemesis, officer Jaques Prigent.

Heretik is more than just a Sound System—it’s a political statement. They became a symbol of the free party movement and they were clear in their Heretik ways: We do not conform to the established standards of conduct. They were the “newbies” at the ’95 Teknival in Tamos, amongst established systems like Spiral Tribe. This was a lifestyle that certainly resonated with them and by ’96 they set up their own first party.

“It’s a different life, living in a truck, living outside of society, living far from capitalism. {…} I want to follow people that are open minded, that have an impact, that know things.”

The police were always right behind them; when the system was busted for their respective drug stashes, a five-month stint in jail resulted in the prohibition of attending any of these magical, illegal parties. Suffice to say, that didn’t keep them away, on the contrary—they now saw themselves as “musical terror activists,” spreading messages like: Free parties should be recognized as a public utility. The cat-and-mouse game continued all over France and ex-officer of the French Police Intelligence Unit, Jaques Prigent, is the first to admit that Heretik had magnificent organizational skills—they weren’t always easy to track down.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tantra: Indian Rites of Ecstasy (1969)

This early western film documentary (filmed 1967-68) features Hindu Tantric rituals and visualisation as images and sounds from Northern India and Nepal.

Tantra (Sanskrit: तन्त्र) literally means "loom, warp, weave".

The connotation of the word tantra to mean an esoteric practice or religious ritualism is a colonial era European invention. The term is based on the metaphor of weaving, states Ron Barrett, where the Sanskrit root tan means the warping of threads on a loom. It implies "interweaving of traditions and teachings as threads" into a text, technique or practice. The aim is to experience immediate revelatory or conscious shifts in awareness through disciplinary practice; both physical and mental.

The word appears in the hymns of the Rigveda such as in 10.71, with the meaning of "warp (weaving)". It is found in many other Vedic era texts, such as in section 10.7.42 of the Atharvaveda and many Brahmanas. In these and post-Vedic texts, the contextual meaning of Tantra is that which is "principal or essential part, main point, model, framework, feature”. In the Smritis and epics of Hinduism (and Jainism), the term means "doctrine, rule, theory, method, technique or chapter" and the word appears both as a separate word and as a common suffix, such as atma-tantra meaning "doctrine or theory of Atman (soul, self)".

The term “Tantra” after about 500 BCE, in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism is a bibliographic category, just like the word Sutra (which means "sewing together", mirroring the metaphor of "weaving together" implied by Tantra). The same Buddhist texts are sometimes referred to as tantra or sutra; for example, Vairocabhisambodhi-tantra is also referred to as Vairocabhisambodhi-sutra. The various contextual meaning of the word Tantra varies with the Indian text.

Directed by Nik Douglas, Produced by Mick Jagger and Robert Fraser. Limited initial release in 1969 on college cinemas and galleries in the USA and England. Re-released in 1994 as a VHS cassette. 

Tantra of Gyuto Sacred Rituals of Tibet (1968)

Monks of the Gyuto Tantric College perform sacred Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies in a style of chanting that expresses the ecstasy of true meditation. Tantra Of Gyuto - Sacred Rituals Of Tibet is a 1968 British documentary film made by Francis Huxley vesves Mark Elliott. It focuses on the monks of Gyoto Tantric