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Monday, 30 December 2013

Stefan Ruitenbeek, part of Mythological Proportion @ Laurent Delaye Gallery, W1. Free. Until 18 January 14

Stefan Ruitenbeek, 
Damia, 2013, photographic print, 100 x 140 cm, 
image courtesy of the artist and Laurent Delaye Gallery

14-04-14 = this text is not written by Stefan Ruitenbeek as he seems to think. He gave answers!

In ancient history, mythology revealed its society of the time. Without mythology, it would be impossible to understand ancient people. Gods constituted the sacred and represented what men and women wanted = their needs, desires and aspirations within the limits of control.
From chaos, Stefan Ruitenbeek’ photographs emerge in some sort of order à la Shiva = destruction/creation. Ruitenbeek is no story teller. He exhibits his naked models in scenery of devastation recreating some classical epic painting where pieces of wood serve as plinths...

Born in Breda, the Netherlands in 1982, Stefan Ruitenbeek lives in Berlin, Germany where his work consists mostly of photo-portraits and abstract photographs involving the human body. He creates through an extensive studio process involving various materials such as paint, smoke and polyurethane.

e-correspondence with Stefan:

On beauty vs the torment of it 
It feels different every time. Sometimes I feel embarrassed for what I have done to people I photograph. Because the pictures show how I want to look at people and that is an intimate thing that is sometimes hard to accept or be generous with. Because sometimes it feels comfortable to me to look at them as total aliens, somehow inhumane. Even though I believe it is a very humane thing to reveal certain feelings of awkwardness, it is still something I can feel ashamed of. But I do it anyway. There is something unpleasant and uncomfortable about that.

On theatre vs crime scene 
Mostly I choose my models because I feel a certain desire to lock them down into an image, capture them, because I find them beautiful and I can't stand the idea of them not being part of my universe. I don’t always manage to photograph them beautifully because I make them into problems to look at. There is a definite moral or ethical side to my work. But I try to generate the ethics and morals of what I do through the series of formal choices that define my working process. I was looking for ways to photograph the naked bodies I liked and at the same time I wanted to liberate those bodies from social (documentary photography) connotations. I wanted to elevate it away from 'the' world.”

On avatar vs morbidity
The place where people / bodies end up is my studio. It felt very good to paint their skin. I think that colours that are strange to the human body are more interesting to apply, like blue or green or grey, as they seem to enhance or derive the body from certain carnality. They become a bit like avatars while maintaining a very analogue, tactile and physical quality, whereas colours like pink and red and skin tones seem to make the pictures too morbid. It is basically about trial and error. Simply trying different things, looking at the results and moving on. It’s about what I want to see without planning it.

On chaos / world... creation
I knew I was interested in people and I knew I didn't want to do social documentary photography. I wanted something away from that, whilst maintaining a certain portrait quality. I wanted to make portraits without representing 'specific' people.
In the beginning I was still dragging certain elements from the world, like fashion items, accessories, bags, shoes, telephones, reminders of 'the real world' into it, to mix it with the painterly and sculptural activities but I got rid of those items while hoarding different layers of paint and other stuff. It became very chaotic. Somehow apocalyptic. I think creating this chaos was a way of creating a whole complete and total new environment. In a way, an open environment. I wanted to generate the meaning from something like a blank. Like the universe was also still blank in the beginning. All the basic elements were there, order still had to come. In the end, structure and order are inevitable outcomes of chaos. I think that's what I mean by creating from nothing: creating the environment to discover what you actually want to see. Discovering it not from a pre-conceived plan, concept or theme, but through a certain working process.

Stefan Ruitenbeek, 
Jens, 2013, photographic print, 100 x 140 cm, 
image courtesy of the artist and Laurent Delaye Gallery

On evolution
I was recently looking at some of my previous pictures. They looked clumsy and stiff. There was a tension between what I knew it was, the persons I have in front of me (my friends) and I know who I'm photographing, but at the same time they seemed totally distant or strange or weird to me...

In Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits Of Control, Tilda Swinton as the Blonde says “I like really old films. You can only see what the world looked like... thirty, fifty, a hundred years ago. You know the clothes, the telephones, the trains... the way people smoked cigarettes. The little details of life.

Stefan Ruitenbeek is part of MYTHOLOGICAL PROPORTION, an exhibition with Jack Brindley and Peter Lamb. Mythological Proportion is a take on the allegory of magnitude, the fabrication of meaning, and the imaginary narrative created out of the void.
The three artists in this exhibition have taken on the challenge to experiment with the promiscuity of one space to parallel their own different practices.  In twisting perception by reversing scale and playing with inverted mediums in order to blow the myth of representation, they all have a special interest in teasing the familiar and the hierarchy of systems.

In 2014 Stefan Ruitenbeek will be a part of Insurgencies, an internationally travelling series of group shows organised by artists Peter Lamb and Shane Bradford.

MYTHOLOGICAL PROPORTION @ Laurent Delaye Gallery. First floor. 11 Savile Row, W1S 3PG. Free. Until 18 January 14.   

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago.
Bob Dylan – vid on twit

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Barney listens to Mexican psych-kraut-drone... Lorelle Meets The Obsolete’s Chambers – out on Sonic Cathedral = 3 March 14

On day IV, Barney took me to the Lea River and we kissed and the last thing I heard was some muttered meows and I took him back home before being lapidated!
Days V, VI and VII went cuddling.

On day VIII, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete arrived home. Barney went straight near the Hi-Fi flirting with the machine. Quite frankly, What’s Holding You might have been played many times on radio from Lamacq to Skinner and the NME went raving about it back in September... one can’t get enough of that track. The Myth Of The Wise rises up the hill on psych-drone to reach a top note and dive deep into obscure water with Dead Leaves.
I Can’t Feel The Outside, Music For Dozens, Grieving, Sealed Scene, Third Wave, 13 Flowers and Thoughts About Night Noon leaves Barney in a floating space.

No wonder... Lorelle Meets The Obsolete are a duo from Mexico and it’s precisely where his mamita is at present!
So the duo will unleash their Chambers opus to the general public on 3 March 14 after being told by Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom how to change a van tyre while on tour to Liverpool, but that was not the main blow out! Sonic Boom went on to master Chambers... as an extra advice!

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete’s Chambers will be released on London’s label Sonic Cathedral and Chicago indie Captcha Records (Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees etc).

Now, siesta oblige! With Barney on my neck.

More info =

Stalk the twit on = - fresh videos

Monday, 23 December 2013

La Belle et la Bête / The Beauty and the Beast. Jean Cocteau. A BFI re-release film from 3 Jan 14

Courtesy of BFI

La Belle et la Bête / The Beauty and the Beast.
Jean Cocteau.
France, 1946
94 mins
Cert = PG

A new 4K digital restoration @ BFI Southbank, Renoir, IFI Dublin and selected cinemas nationwide from 3 Jan 14.
Please note that the film will be screened at BFI Southbank on almost a daily basis and is selling out fast.

« L’amitié occupe tout mon temps. Elle me sauve de cette angoisse que les hommes éprouvent à vieillir » Jean Cocteau

The advantage of an extended family is the presents you receive. Dolls. Dolls that cry. Dolls that pee on themselves. Dolls that do nothing. I had lots of them... parked in a box! All I wanted was to read my own books; write my own stories! But I had to wait five long years stroking my mythic fable books and imagining other worlds. My secret worlds.
Then, I read the forbidden books, the damned writers, listen to the possessed musicians and I started to write from the age of 12 or 13. In my early 20’s, just before his death, Miron Grindea gave me a copy of Adam 300. I had never met him but a friend showed him my poetic prose. Adam, the famous international literary review since the thirties. Adam 300 = dedicated to the memory of Jean Cocteau.

I must have been five or six when I first watched Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête / The Beauty and the Beast. Those male arms coming out of the castle’s corridor wall holding candelabras! Magical! Not only did Cocteau open a door to imagination but he also allowed me (and I suppose many others) to feel comfortable about those “strange” secret worlds I took refuge into.

In the XVIII century, Jeanne-Marie Leprince wrote the gothic fairytale of an indebt merchant, father of four young adults = a son Ludovic and three daughters, Adélaïde, Félicie and Belle. Belle (Josette Day) is her sisters’ “Cinderella” in love with Avenant (Jean Marais), Ludovic’s best friend.
On his way to sort out his debts, the father gets lost in a dark forest leading to a castle where he is “welcomed” by a hideous human-animal fluffy monster, the Beast (Jean Marais). In exchange of his life, the merchant will have to send one of his daughters back on a white horse responding to magical words. Belle volunteers and enters the Beast’s castle welcomed by candelabras clutched in disembodied arms.

Despite her demure appearance, the Beast falls in love with Belle and will ask her everyday at 7pm to marry him while she dines surrounded by sumptuous wine glasses, plates and dishes. Belle can’t lie for she has only learnt to speak the truth. She can’t marry him, he is ugly and she is platonically faithful to Avenant. The Beast can’t feast with her as he relies on his animal instincts; he hunts in his forest, drinks in his pond.
However, Belle, who is now dressed like a princesse and is getting used to the living statues and talking mirrors, is being tamed by the Beast enchanting voice and refined manners. The luxury in which she is surrounded might be in constant shadow but both she and the Beast learn to trust each other for the best and the least worse until... “Do such marvels really exist?”...
... Guillermo del Toro describes this sensuous masterpiece as “the most perfect cinematic fable ever told

Before entering the small private screening of the BFI, the press officer asked me, after me saying it was a special childhood film, if I had ever watched it on a big screen? I realised I didn’t. Only on TV. I sat in the cinema, re-becoming a five year old watching one of my favourite fable on big screen. A perfect dimension for a special fable that kids and grown up kids should indulge from 3rd January!

Any genre can have poetry. For me, poetry contains truth.” Jean Marais

More info on the conditions of filming and around the filming =
Filmed in France in 1945, in the immediate aftermath of the German occupation, the shooting has its own problematic = a shortage of equipment, location shooting in all weathers including rain, fog and frequent power cuts. Some days, they couldn’t shoot because of power cuts.
Cocteau suffered from intense fatigue and managed to continue filming thanks to his long time lover Jean Marais who kept him from ruin while straightening out his ideas with patience and intuition.
Cocteau on choosing the right B&W stock “at 6pm - Marcel André who had been set up since the morning but didn’t complain as he’s so passionately interested in everything creative – I took two tests, one on Kodak stock and the other on Agfa. The Agfa’s black is more supple and its white more crisp.”
Cocteau chose designer artist Christian Bérard and two former combat cameramen – Henri Alekan and René Clément. The settings for the Beast’s castle were inspired by the dark imagination of Gustave Doré while the scenes in Belle’s family home were influenced by Vermeer. Eerie orchestral score is from Georges Auric.

La Belle et la Bête / The Beauty and the Beast is part of GOTHIC: The Dark Heart of Films, running from August 2013 till end of January 2014

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Friday, 20 December 2013

PUNKS. Karen Knorr & Olivier Richon. Photo exhibition @ Ibid, W1S. FREE. 17 January - 22 February 2014

Karen Knorr & Oliver Richon, Roxy 4, 1976-1977, 
vintage print on silver bromide paper, image 13 x 19.4 cm

Karen Knorr & Olivier Richon – PUNKS - 1976-1977, 16 vintage prints on silver bromide paper capturing the essence of Punk “poseurs”.

Photographers Knorr and Richon documented the London Punk scene privileging the posed portrait of its punters rather than “stealing” their images as if their subjects were unaware of their presence. Both went to several clubs over a period of three months between 76 and 77 including the Roxy, Covent Garden and the Global Village, Charing Cross.

Safety pins, doggy collars, swastikas, chains, outrageous make-up, negationism signs of its time are glimpses of a careful study that John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols once said “You don’t write a song like God Save the Queen because you hate the English race. You do it because you love them and you are fed up with them being mistreated”

Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon arrived in London in 1976. Knorr from Germany and Richon from Switzerland. Both met in the burgeoning punk scene and went on to study @ Polytechnic of Central London with a BA in Film and Photographic Arts in 1980. She is Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey and he is Professor of Photography at the Royal College of Art.

PUNKS was exhibited at The Photographers' Gallery in 1978 and included in Another London at Tate Britain in 2012. Some of the photographs were acquired by the Arts Council of Great Britain collection in the 1970s and appeared in Sounds (1977); The Village Cry (1977); Camerawork 12 (1979) and About 70 Photographs (1980).

Karen Knorr was born in Frankfurt in 1954 and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1960s. Karen was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Award in 1986 for her series Gentlemen; recent work India Song was awarded the Pilar Citoler V International Photography Award in 2010. Her work is represented by Eric Franck Fine Art, London; Photo & Co.,Turin; Galerie Filles du Calvaire, France; James Danziger, New York and Tasveer Arts, Bangalore.

Olivier Richon was born in Lausanne in 1956. In 1991, he received the Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography. Real Allegories, a monograph of his photographic work, was published by Steidl in 2006.

The exhibition will open on 17 January 2014 and I can only recommend you to go to the BFI Mediatheque in Southbank beforehand and watch – for free – my little selection below – the mediatheque will be closed 24, 25, 26 and 31 of December. It will re-open the 1st of January... yes the 1st from 12pm.
Anarchy in the UK
The Captain Zip Video Trip – Dir by Phil Munnoch aka Captain Zip. 5 shorts = 74 min. Amateur films of the Punk scene in London 78-81. Observational, ordinary, doc, fashion from Portobello to King’s Rd, record stores, police search etc...
Top 10; Punk. Channel 4 prog (60 min) = Malcolm McLaren presents 70’s UK punk scene with guests: Captain Sensible, John Lydon, Siouxsie, Tony Wilson, Poly Styren...
Punk can take it (79). Dir = Julien Temple (19 min). Voiced over by tongue in cheek BBC narrator John Snagg and parodying the style of British wartime documentary. Live footage of the Subs and a guide to the punk movement.
Punk Rock (Brass Tracks) (77). BBC (50min), early vox pop prog presented by Brian Trueman – high of punk hysteria with guests like a priest, some city councillors from around UK vs John Peel from BBC R1...
A few programmes by Janet Street-Porter on the punk scene.
Rough Trade (79) = 60 min. Written and narrated by Simon Frith. DIY ethic of Punk and record sales + a visit to Rough Trade shop founded by Geoff Travis = a hub of punks, reggae and other alt music.
Who is Poly Styren (79) 40 min. Dir = Ted Cliisby. Poly Styren was Marion Elliott born in 57 to Somali-British parents and formed influential X-Ray Spex punk band, active from 76 to 79. The doc explores her public/private face while she recites her poetry mentioning Baudrillard. She then became a Hari Krishna member until her death in 2011.
Plenty more around the theme of Punk + wherever you managed to watch Wolfgang Büld’s Punk in London (1977). A great doc starring The Adverts, X-Ray-Spex, The Jam, Chelsea, Miles Copeland,
Joe Strummer + more

Karen Knorr & Olivier Richon
17 January - 22 February 2014
Ibid. 37 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JF. +44 (0) 207 998 7902. Open Tuesday - Friday 11am - 6pm. Saturday 12 noon - 6pm

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

My lover Barney and I – Day III

Turkish Angora with odd eyes

It’s all Philip French’s fault!

On Wednesday morning, my mission was to unearth Boris Vian. As I was standing by my boulangère bookshelf (that is an ancient shelf used by French bakers to deposit their French baguettes, croissants etc.), I was eye searching for Boris Vian books that I read when I was 13 or 14.

Unaware of Barney's (see previous post) will to help... I briefly spotted J’irai cracher sur vos tombes (I’ll Spit on Your Graves) before the Turkish Angora with odd eyes jumped on the top shelf where all my French books are, botoxing my third eye with the said book by complete... chance!
Not finding stability up there, Barney ended up on the middle shelf where all my art books are. He safely touched ground eventually and so did my artbooks, burying my feet and legs.

Fazed, he meowed twice to apologise. I think there was some pain somewhere in my body but couldn’t quite locate it. So, I meowed back as please don’t try this when I am not home because I just managed to hold the boulangère.

On Tuesday 17 Dec 13, I was invited to watch Louis Malle’s Lift to the Scaffold / Ascenseur pour l’échafaud at the BFI private cinema ahead of their re-release. On my way back home, sitting on 55 bus, I read the Press Release which mentioned an extract of Philip French’s book Malle on Malle. The 1958 French film features an original improvised score by Miles Davis... this is the clue that triggered my curiosity and got me into trouble. Louis Malle wanted Miles Davis’ music who – by complete chance - just happened to be in Paris when Malle was shooting his film.
Malle had no contact in the music labels but was a very good friend of Boris Vian who was Davis’s friend... Vian arranged the mythic meeting between Malle and Davis. They worked a whole night together!

I am rereading Vian and Barney listens while purring.

Lift to the Scaffold opens on 7 Feb 2014 at BFI Southbank, Curzon Renoir and selected cinemas nationwide. Now you know.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

My lover has arrived... his name is Barney

@ Blain Southern

Barney was born in Zelenograd, brought up in Moscow and now lives and works in London.

Day 1 = it was going to be lots of cuddles @ first sight. Then... for some strange reasons, he had some bites at my Chinese bamboo. Not that I am easily surprised, but from time to time... I wonder what separates the normal to the unusual!

Day 2 = it officially started @ 2am when Barney checked if I was deeply asleep. @ 4am, in need to double check if I made it alive, Barney crawled my spine, kissing my ear. When it was time for breakfast, Barney made some eights, infinity sign, around my legs from my bedroom to the corridor, en route to the bathroom for the usual pee. As his love was so pure, I didn’t stop over and went straight to the kitchen when love was... intense!
We both have the same taste. We love watching swans by the window. We now have to take turn as to who would be first at the window...

To be continued....

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Friday, 13 December 2013

Foreign Bodies // Common Grounds @ Wellcome Collection, NW1. Until 9 February. Free

'Fossil Necklace' (2013) 
by Katie Paterson 
Credit:Wellcome Images 

That was going to interest me and that was going to take me time to write about it. I am often told I look like I’m on something... strong. My eyes “shine”. I simply often have slight temperature. I have tiny crisis of malaria. I am the “lucky” one in the family that didn’t develop it properly on-site despite our daily consumption of anti-malaria tablets (which have left me with some hearing deficiency). So, on a regular basis, I have the privilege to remember that some vampire beasts have sucked me “deadly”. I had an apocalypse crisis in mid 90’s and since then, only tiny ones are the remains of the days.

Six journeys, six countries - Foreign Bodies, Common Ground, winter Wellcome Collection’s exhibition brings together artworks from residencies at medical research centres across the world, often at the frontline of communicable diseases. From billion-year-old fossils to artificial meat, mobile photo studios to soil paintings, the works present surprising and personal accounts of global health. 

My slight worry was the “fusion” art and science when only art has a much more impact on me. Luckily, the exhibition is a focus on how artists have used art to “democratise”/demystify disease, illness, old belief and make their people understand that going to hospital is not a shameful act.

Children's graffiti, 2012 
Credit:Courtesy of Elson Kambalu 
and the children of Mawila Primary School, Chikhwawa

After listening to some tracks by Peter Mawanga and Agoroso tackling the myth that sleeping with a virgin can cure AIDS or marrying the brother of a dead husband who might have AIDS by cultural practice, I meet with Elson Kambalu in the Malawi section.
Elson’s residency explored the cultural complexities that both divide and unite research teams at the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme and the communities they work within. He says that lots of people in his country believe that their sickness is due to a bewitching act and such belief as to sleep with a very young virgin girl is commonplace to “cure” AIDS. In Malawi, men have power and because of it, they refuse to go to hospitals because they will show off their weakness. Also, they are the ones bringing money home for food, so if they go to hospitals, nobody will bring food to the family. It’s a vicious circle. Elson Kambalu wants men to show an example and change their mindset. He is very aware it will take years to educate and eradicate some ancient belief but he is quite positive that his government and organisations working together will bring awareness.

Earth murals and graffiti displayed in the Malawi section’s exhibition have been created by women and children in Chikhwawa. It dramatises concerns of health and access to care through a traditional decorative form. Kambalu’s own works, the larger than life ‘Kafukufuku Man’ and ‘Kafukufuku Women’ address cultural fears of drawing blood and refer to local fables used as a means of translating medical terms and techniques. Intricate threads connect Kambalu’s sculptures to the gallery space, pointing to the tangled interconnectedness of individuals, beliefs and community and their sense of kafukufuku – ‘research’ in Malawi’s Chichewa language. “Many medical words are almost untranslatable. How does one express DNA or genomics in Chichewa dialect to an illiterate woman?”

Artist Lena Bui with her work 'Where birds dance their last' 
Credit:Wellcome Images

In the Vietnam section, I usher myself in the two-channel video room. Lêna Bùi is an artist based in Ho Chi Minh City and explores zoonosis, the transfer of disease from animals to humans. She visited rural farming areas where researchers are investigating the human-animal interface of ‘high risk cohorts’. She also travelled to smaller villages with long histories of economies based on harvesting bird feathers. Her role as an artist enabled her to engage with communities where scientists might otherwise encounter obstructions. “A lot of their work deals with farming and with people’s livelihood. It can be sensitive. Gathering data is difficult because people don’t want to report sickness. There is a stigma about that as it might affect their business...” She said when I met her that the human body is quite resistant and develop its immune system quite rapidly when in danger.
Lêna Bùi graduated in Wesleyan University, US and has exhibited in US, Vietnam, Japan and will soon exhibit in the notorious Carré d’Art in Nîmes, France.

The trifling necklace aka Fossil Necklace is worth a look and a listen (on video). Scottish artist, Berlin based Katie Paterson immersed herself in genomic archaeology, human variation and human evolutionary history. The DNA of our planet’s biological history necklace is made from 170 beads. Each bead is carved from individual fossil representing a major event in life’s evolution. The first beads are billions of years old and relate to the beginnings of single-celled organisms while the final beads trace the emergence and routes of human beings and our ancestors across the globe. Katie is a graduate from Slade School of Fine Art, has exhibited in Tate Britain, Berlin, Seoul, Sydney and New York where The Guggenheim holds some of her collection. “It’s important... to have a larger sense of where we fit into the grand scheme of our planet and the rest of the universe.”

Not only the Wellcome Collection has enabled me to travel in six countries without passport but it also has shown how we all have different approach to belief in science and yet how strongly connected we all are through science.

A full programme of events accompanies the exhibition. A guidebook, featuring contributions from the artists and researchers involved in the project, is now available. 

Residencies ran for up to six months during 2012 and 2013 and were followed by exhibitions and performances in each county – more details of the process can be found at The residencies took place in following research centres funded by the Wellcome Trust, as part of its Major Overseas Programmes:

Kenya. With links to the Trust since the 1940s, the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)-Wellcome Trust Research Programme is well known internationally for its work tackling malaria and other infectious diseases, particularly bacterial and viral childhood infections. The Programme is helping to train local researchers in areas such as translational research, social science and clinical trials.

Malawi. The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme carries out health research on diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria, and trains clinical and laboratory scientists from Malawi and abroad.

South Africa. The Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal carries out research on population and health issues affecting a rural population with one of the highest burdens of HIV in the world.

Thailand and Laos. At the Wellcome Trust-Mahidol University-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme, medical researchers in Thailand and Laos are tackling some of Asia’s most important healthcare challenges. These range from endemic diseases such as malaria and the emergence of drug-resistance to the dangers of counterfeit drugs.

Vietnam. The Vietnam Research Programme, which is home to the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, is recognized internationally for its excellence in research into infectious diseases such as dengue, influenza, typhoid and tuberculosis.

United Kingdom. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the world’s leading genomic research centres. A leader in the Human Genome Project, it is now focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease. It aims to provide results that can be translated into diagnostics, treatments or therapies that reduce global health burdens.

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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Film on Sunday 15 – 12 - 13 = Welcome to L.A. Directed by Alan Rudolph. 1976. @ White Cube SE1. FREE, 2pm. Over 18 only. 106 minutes

Welcome To L.A. by Alan Rudolph
@ White Cube Bermondsey

Film on Sunday: 15 December 2013, 2-3:50pm 

Friedrich Kunath’s Choice: Welcome to L.A. 1976. Directed by Alan Rudolph. Running time: 106 minutes. Co-produced by Robert Altman

Auditorium, Bermondsey = 144-152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ

With its mood of romantic despair, Welcome to L.A. (1976) is a characteristic debut from American director Alan Rudolph. Keith Carradine plays Carroll Barber, a mediocre songwriter and aloof womaniser. Barber is not successful but is supported in his career choice by his wealthy father (Denver Pyle). He winds up travelling to LA for a job where he meets an eccentric cast of characters, who loosely fall in and out of relationships with each other. Ostensibly about romance, Rudolph's real subject seems to be the loneliness inherent in city life and the enjoyable but unrelenting shallowness of Barber's life. Co-produced by Robert Altman, the film is an extraordinary debut that features a host of stars in unmissable roles: Geraldine Chaplin was nominated for best supporting actress for her role as a Valley wife addicted to taxi rides, Sissy Spacek plays Linda Murray, a housewife who enjoys vacuuming topless, Sally Kellerman plays a lonely real estate agent and Harvey Keitel plays Ken Hood, a troubled businessman. With its haunting score by Richard Baskin and sun-drenched, bleached out cityscapes of a 1970s L.A., it's an emotional and atmospheric classic. At the time of its release, Jack Kroll of Newsweek praised Rudolph for creating a “Los Angeles that's a shimmering Xanadu of psychic uncertainty” and “a metropolis of burnished surfaces that seems to dissolve the will in an amber nullity of light”.


Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Cast =
Keith Carradine as Carroll Barber
Sally Kellerman as Ann Goode
Harvey Keitel as Ken Hood
Lauren Hutton as Nona Bruce
Sissy Spacek as Linda Murray
Viveca Lindfors as Susan Moore
Denver Pyle as Carl Barber
John Considine as Jack Goode

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Gothic season - The Innocents – Directed by Jack Clayton – Opens on 13 December @ BFI SouthBank

Courtesy of BFI

The Innocents – directed by Jack Clayton – UK-US, 1961, 100 minutes, Cert 12A. Starring Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Michael Redgrave, Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin.

Opens on 13 December @ BFI SouthBank, Curzon Mayfair, IFI Dublin, QFT Belfast & selected cinemas nationwide.

The screening at 20:40 on Friday 13 December will be introduced by Sir Christopher Frayling.

Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) is the newly appointed governess for Flora (Pamela Franklin) and Miles (Martin Stephens). Two under 10 years old orphans whose wealthy uncle (Michael Redgrave) keep them at a distance in Bly House, his country mansion while he runs his business in London.
On arrival at the mansion, Miss Giddens is greeted by Mrs Grose, the housekeeper who is very happy to meet her.
A letter from Miles boarding school arrives at Bly House announcing his expulsion.
Children’s games and lectures are more and more punctuated by the ghostly presence of lovers Miss Jessel and Quint, the now deceased governess and valet. Miss Giddens is convinced that the children are possessed by these two spirits and are in great danger.

Is Miss Giddens herself possessed by a great deal of her own imagination – for living in such a huge mansion? Is she a frustrated childless woman in need to protect those children? Is she still the little child of her father who repeatedly told her to be good with people and help them?

Miss Giddens loses her ally Mrs Grose when she wants Flora to confess she can also see the ghost of Miss Jessel across the pond. In tears and screaming, Mrs Grose comforts Flora and both of them depart from Bly House, leaving Miss Giddens with Miles to sort out the expulsion and ghost issues.

But is Miles sexually precocious or is he trying to endorse a father figure? Or is he linked with the devil spirit of Quint... that Miss Giddens will eventually exorcise for good?

When The Innocents was released in 1961, the critics were not overly enthusiastic. Pauline Kael defended the film saying “The best ghost movie I’ve ever seen”. The new BFI Film Classic publication The Innocents by Sir Christopher Frayling (out  now on Palgrave Macmillan) points out that the film’s reputation has grown steadily ever since = through plaudits from filmmakers such as François Truffaut, William Wyler and Martin Scorsese / through “haunted house” movies such as The Woman in Black (1989), The Others (2001) and The Orphanage (2007).

The Innocents was adapted from Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw (1898), scripted by William Archibald and Truman Capote with additional scenes and dialogue by John Mortimer.

The film is part of GOTHIC: The Dark Heart of Film, the longest BFI SouthBank season (four months) running until end of January 2014. The season also extends in different places in UK with film and DVD releases.

Haunted: The Innocents is also exhibited in BFI SouthBank’s Atrium Gallery. From script to screen, showcasing the BFI’s archive of filmmakers’ papers, designs and photographs, it features the costume designs by Motley, unseen concept designs by John Piper, pages from handwritten screenplay by Truman Capote and stills by Ted Reed. Free until 31 January 2014

Stalk the twit on = - fresh videos

Monday, 9 December 2013

A scream = From Herzog to Munch to Goya to Trisomie 21 to Chachapoyas to Pat Collin’s Silence

As illustrated in El Comercio - Peruvian Newspaper

But can you not hear the dreadful screaming all around that people usually call silence?” in Werner Herzog’s The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle).

Not that I have much time for painting. But some are more obsessive than others = Egon Schiele, Goya or Munch’s The Scream!
I always associate Herzog’s 'silent scream' with Munch’s The Scream. Le Centre Pompidou in Paris Beaubourg had a retrospective exhibition on Munch and I went, in search of the Scream. Nichts! I went up, back, down and u-turn! The Scream was missing. Over one hour marathoning around like a crazy woman... for nothing!

Back in 1985/86, I bought Trisomie 21/Chapter IV’s vinyl – Le Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi Et Le Presque Rien (title from a book by Vladimir Jankelevitch) from PIAS records (Les Editions Confidentielles) because of its Goya Painting. The tribal cold-new wave music did not disappoint me at all. Music got me into some paintings, not the other way round. Unlike Serge Gainsbourg or Iain Dury, I think music is above everything, the rest is noise. High respect for noise though!

What motivated Munch to paint such a scream, such a pain, such horror?
Saturday 7 December 2013, I might have had a better answer from El Comercio newspaper. It may come from Chachapoyas, Peru.

When Pat Collins’s film Silence was released on New Wave, my post talked about mummies, Lyemebemba and Chachapoyas. Sometimes I write like an automat, like a ventriloquist. The reason is beyond me. I am very aware that some might feel unhappy, but in the long distance I) there is no harm coming from me; II) the reason/purpose is beyond my initial understanding. The answer is still to come! Spending time in Chachapoyas and seeing mummies was my way to the Scream.

La momia peruana inspiró “El grito” de Munch = this is how the Peruvian article starts. Munch’s famous œuvre is taken from a Chachapoyas warrior’s mummy extracted some 130 years ago.

In 1877, French horticulture Pierre Vidal-Senèze discovered an archaeological site near the Amazonia capital where a line of anthropomorphic sarcophagus was “hanging”. French being French, he went to France with some of them and sold them to the Education French Minister. In 1878, a mummy got exhibited in the Ethnographic Museum of Trocadero in Paris (near the Eiffel Tower). Of course, Gauguin who is partly Peruvian had an inspiration of Peruvian mummies, but Robert Rosenblum, in the 80’s declared that Munch got inspired by Chachapoyas mummies after going to the Exposition Universelle de Paris = an infinite scream through nature...