Monday, June 25, 2007


kopya, korsan, sahte durumlar icin almancada "getürkt" deniyormus.
bunu viyana'da bulgar bir arkadasim söyledi. biz de türkiye'de aynı durumlar için "bulgar malı" diyoruz, diye cevap verdim. çok güldük.

"getürkt" is an adjective used in german for pirate, copied, illegal stuff. a bulgarian friend here told me about it. i replied her saying in turkey we use "bulgarian stuff" for the same situation. we laughed a lot.



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

generation X

Slacker's Oblique Strategy
- Ron Rosenbaum

This piece originally appeared in The New York Observer, August 13, 2001. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.

One of my favorite things about this column is the opportunity it gives me to put in a word on behalf of an overlooked or underrated classic: a book or film that may have gotten respectful attention when it came out, but deserves more now. Deserves not just celebration for the way it�s �held up,� but for the way it�s grown since its debut in the sense that time and repeated reading or viewing have disclosed layers and depths not necessarily apparent on the first encounter.

Such a film is Slacker, a film that was either dismissed (or appreciated) as an amiable satire of Austin hippies, heads, coffee-bar layabouts, and beer-garden lounge lizards. A dismissal that can be attributed to one of the film�s subtle strengths: to what it describes in a self-referential episode as its �oblique strategy.�

It�s an obliqueness that disguises the fact that, despite its Texas college-town setting, its cosmic-shitkicker accents and characters, Slacker is at heart a very Russian film. Not just in its obvious kinship to Oblomov, Ivan Goncharov�s great nineteenth-century Russian novel, the classic celebration of the luxuriant pleasures of lethargy and the sensual delights of the contemplative life. There�s another Russian link, to Turgenev and his novels of the �superfluous man.� (And, to make a cross-cultural comparison, there�s a link as well to the seventeenth-century British pastoral �poetry of retirement� tradition, whose varieties are best limned in a volume with the lovely title The Garlands of Repose by the scholar Michael O�Loughlin.)

But on a deeper level, the true Russian kinship is less with Goncharov or Turgenev than with Dostoyevsky, to a novel like The Brothers Karamazov: the kind of novel that is unashamed in its preoccupation, its obsession, with ultimate philosophical and metaphysical questions.

The link is not obvious, because Slacker addresses these questions with a sly sense of humor, an affectionate mockery of its slacker-philosophes that disguises its love for the deeper questions they�re obsessed with. Made in 1990 for a reputed $23,000, remembered more for its role as harbinger of the independent-film movement than its intrinsic merits, Slacker is a brilliant tribute to bohemian cerebration and metaphysical speculation: the coffee houses and beer gardens of Austin are stand-ins for the agora of Athens.

Of course, there are some pure comic satiric moments that still hit home: The sequence featuring a woman selling what she claims is �Madonna�s Pap smear� may be the most acute comment ever on the ludicrousness of celebrity worship.

But let me return to the notion of �oblique strategies.� To put it in the context of the film, Slacker consists of a series of interrelated episodes�mostly conversations, riffs, raps, and rants. They begin with its writer/director, Richard Linklater, playing a guy taking a cab from the Austin bus station into town and telling a silent cabdriver about a strange dream, a dream in which �instead of anything�going on, there�s nothing going on��a harbinger of the movie�s contrarian discourse on the virtues of inaction, the virtues of, frankly, sitting around talking. Sitting around talking about creation rather than mindlessly �creating.� (Toward the close of the film, one character describes himself as an �anti-artist,� one who likes �to destroy other people�s artwork.�)

Anyway, Linklater, the director playing the guy who �Should have stayed at the bus station,� goes on from recounting his nothing-happens dream to posing (to the patient cabdriver) the epistemological problem that dreams pose�the problem first raised as the ultimate refutation of realism by the pre-Socratic Athenian skeptics in the fourth century B.C.: No one can be certain whether one�s dream is the reality, or whether the life one seems to be living is the dream.
All of this is delivered in an easily mockable �like, man, you know, dude� lingo that gets mileage from the mockery, but nonetheless insinuates these ultimate questions into the film. Questions that range�in Linklater�s cab monologue alone�from the ancient epistemological problem to the current debate over the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, one articulated first, I believe, by a cosmologist based at the University of Texas at Austin. (Not an accident, I think.)

Anyway, I digress. To return to the structure of Slacker�which is, come to think of it, a serial digression, a digression about digression, meta-digression�Linklater, as the guy who �Should have stayed at the bus station,� arrives in downtown Austin and witnesses a hit-and-run accident. We then follow the guy in the hit-and-run car. We see him being arrested, and then we follow a guy who witnesses the arrest to a coffee shop, where we listen to another guy at a neighboring booth. This guy (identified in the credits as �Dostoyevsky wannabe�) is asking his friends, �Who�s ever written the great work about the immense effort required in order not to create?�

This riff is somehow his take on The Gambler (Dostoyevsky�s novella), a take that evolves into his Principles of Noncreation, which include �intensity without mastery� and �the obsessiveness of the utterly passive.� He goes on to celebrate �opportunistic celibacy� (which means, I think, if you can�t get laid, turn no-sex into a principle) and the �renunciation of all human endeavor.� It�s a pose that�characteristic of Slacker�is both satirized and savored. Frankly, I like the idea that we could all do with doing less. That the doers of the world are more likely to cause destruction and horror than the nondoers.

Anyway, the film ambles through Austin by way of this interlinked series of riffs and rants. There�s a video-terrorist type who advocates that the workers of the world adopt a Lazy Man�s Marxism. He�s in favor of workers not working at all, not making things at all: �Every single commodity you produce is a piece of your own death.� There�s a guy who claims to be a veteran of the Spanish Civil War who fought with Orwell and the anarchists� brigade, but turns out to be a nondoer of another sort: he�s utterly faked or dreamed up this heroic past, and he talks such a good game of it that you wonder whether it made a difference that he wasn�t there with Orwell.

All these links in the Great Chain of (Non-) Being, all these talkers of good games, eventually lead, about two-thirds of the way through the movie, to the �oblique strategies� sequence. This woman in sunglasses is standing in a lot, offering cards to passersby. She says laconically, �Oblique strategies.�

We see a few takers read the oblique strategies on their respective cards. One (very likely my favorite, and perhaps the signature line in Slacker) is: �Withdrawing in disgust is not the same thing as apathy.� Again, a knowing tribute, a satirically expressed philosophical rationale for lethargy or, if you prefer, principled laziness.

Then there�s �It�s not building a wall, but making a brick,� which I believe in philosophic terms might be seen as an anti-teleological ethic. Ambitious focus-on-the-future mentality distracts us from apprehension of the infinite dimensionality of the Here and Now in our hands, in front of our eyes.

And finally, �There is no structure. The underlying order is chaos,� which devolves into a muddled discussion of chaos theory. This oblique strategy can be seen as a self-referential characterization of Slacker itself: it appears to have no structure, to be chaotic (a matter of random encounters), when, in fact, it has a very subtle, extremely well-crafted structure that makes it a portrait of chaos. But there�s a difference between a portrait of chaos and chaos�a difference often called art. Even if it sometimes goes under the guise of anti-art.

let me sing you a waltz...

double screening of Before Sunrise/Before Sunset at filmmuseum with Linklater present
(for the occasion of 13th anniversary of Before Sunrise shot in Vienna)

a quote:
I believe if there's any kind of God it wouldn't be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there's any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it's almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.

Friday, June 15, 2007



The winner with the jury (from left: Ralph Rugoff, Övül Durmusoglu, Giacinto Di Pietrantonio, Dan Cameron) Photo: Antonio Maniscalco

The award of the fourth Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi per l'Arte - EnterPrize, the only one of its kind dedicated to curators under 30, was made at the closure of the second Qui Enter Atlas � International Symposium of Young Curators

For three days GAMeC has been the meeting point for a whole generation of international young curators: meetings and debates between 15 international curators under 35, suggested by 15 institutions and coordinated by the artist Dara Birnbaum to discuss around the theme "Art in the Landscape of the Media". On the same occasion opened the exhibition Pietro Roccasalva. Truka, part of the Eldorado project in which GAMeC focuses on the work of the most interesting up-and-coming artists on the international scene.

GAMeC is pleased to announce that the 4th annual Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi per l'Arte - EnterPrize is awardedData Recovery submitted by Övül Durmusoglu nominated by Sabine Breitwieser (Director, Generali Foundation in Wien).

Last Tuesday 5 June 2007 a jury comprised by:
Dan Cameron, Director of PROSPECT.1, New Orleans
Ralph Rugoff, Director of Hayward Gallery, London
Giacinto Di Pietrantonio, Director of GAMeC, Bergamo

Evaluated the exhibition projects submitted by the following young curators

Binna Choi (Amsterdam - Seoul) nominated by Anton Vidokle, E-flux, New York � unitednationsplaza, Berlin

Övül Durmusoglu (Wien - Istanbul) nominated by Sabine Breitwieser, Director, Generali Foundation, Wien

Tom Morton (London) nominated by James Lingwood, Director, Artangel, London

Manuela Moscoso (Madrid) nominated by Rafael Doctor Roncero, Director, Museo de Arte Contempor�neo de Castilla y Leon

Ana Vejzovic Sharp (Los Angeles) nominated by Tom Eccles, Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College Executive Director, New York

The jury - even though appreciated the relevance of all projects - awarded the worthiest one submitted by Övül Durmusoglu with the following statement:

"For the prominence of the project concept, good artists choice, the right mix of media in the exhibition, a clear accurate set up in relation to the space"

The award will consist in realization of the exhibition project Data Recovery in 2008 at the GAMeC in Bergamo.

A bilingual catalogue

The Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi per l�Arte - EnterPrize is intended to support the innovative work of a young curator and his or her original exhibition project. The aim of this award is to highlight the key role and importance of curators not only on the international art scene but also in the broader context of contemporary cultural practices, in addition to encouraging and supporting the talent of a young curator at an extremely critical moment in his or her professional career.

This prize was inaugurated in 2003 by the Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo with the support of Bonaldi's family to commemorate Lorenzo Bonaldi's passion for art and collecting.

Five advisors are invited to nominate each one a curator, who can take part in the competition in one year only. In a second phase an international jury, different every year, composed of three outstanding representatives of the international art world awards the Prize.

Now at GAMeC are on show till 29 July:
Vanessa Beecroft. Paintings and Drawings
Johannes Kahrs. Men with music
Eldorado. Jordan Wolfson. Optical Sound
Eldorado. Pietro Roccasalva. Truka
organized in collaboration with S.M.A.K. in Ghent (where there will be the second part of the symposium on 19 � 20 � 21 October 2007). for the exhibition project selected by as many international advisors: (Italian/English) of the exhibition will be published, illustrating not only the content of the show but also presenting the other competing projects in detail.

inland empire- a contemporary masterpiece!

Light and Dark

David Lynch’s first digital video feature, INLAND EMPIRE, is his most experimental work in years
by Kristin M. Jones

David Lynch, master of resonant absurdity, has never chosen a more eerily appropriate title than that of INLAND EMPIRE (2006). Riddled with shifts between places and levels of reality like wormholes, rabbit holes or web portals, his first digital video feature has been shaped by both the particular qualities of the medium – with which he says he’s ‘fallen in love’ – and his experiments with the Internet as an alternative medium, through his website and idea incubator, He’s currently sharing insights into his working processes not only on the web but also in his recently published book Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity (2006), a collection of vignettes about Transcendental Meditation and creative inspiration (Lynch’s perky enthusiasm for Transcendental Meditation comes as a surprise to many, who find it difficult to square with his dark and often horrific visions). And then there are the hundreds of art works – including paintings, digitally altered found erotic photographs, drawings on Post-its, napkins and matchbooks, and interactive sound pieces on view at the Fondation Cartier, Paris in ‘The Air is on Fire’ from 3 March to 27 May 2007.

Writers-turned-directors are a familiar breed, but Lynch is rare in being a major filmmaker who began his career as a painter. Texture crossed with light and movement gets him going. He’s often discussed the revelatory moment when a breeze moved one of his paintings at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts – leading to his first foray into cinema, Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) (1966), a Francis Bacon-esque ‘moving painting’ loop projected onto a sculptured screen to the accompaniment of a wailing siren. With his short films The Alphabet (1968) and The Grandmother (1970), whose characters glow against black-painted interiors, he defined his fascination with the horror and tenderness found in the everyday, as well as his themes of growth, decay and language. But he became a director when he burrowed into the five-year-plus project Eraserhead (1977), above the mouldering horse stables of a California estate. With INLAND EMPIRE his art and cinema draw closer together – his digital video approaches the paintings’ impossible spaces, exaggerated figures, murky tones. It’s replete with distortion: bodies float uncannily from backgrounds, wide-angle close-ups deform faces, darkness bleeds outwards, light burns out detail.

Described as Lynch’s most experimental work since Eraserhead, INLAND EMPIRE is certainly his most intuitive – written scene by scene and shot in bits and pieces. Within the narrative an actress named Nikki Grace (played by Laura Dern) lands a role in On High in Blue Tomorrows, a melodrama based on a Polish folk-tale. She soon finds that the film is cursed and that the leads were murdered during a previous production. Her life enmeshes frighteningly with that of her character, Sue, and she metamorphoses as time folds in on itself. The shadowy web includes a Polish ‘lost girl’ who watches the proceedings on television weeping, rabbit-headed people, a disjunctive laughter track and prostitutes haunting the streets of both Los Angeles and Lódz, Poland. Much recalls Lynch’s earlier work – voyeurism, doppelgängers, worlds nested within worlds, lipsticked mouths stretched across the frame. Yet this desperate spiral, which at times echoes avant-garde ‘trance’ films with their dreaming protagonists and interior journeys, is a radical departure.

‘Every medium is infinitely deep’, Lynch has remarked, and INLAND EMPIRE suggests he’s right. For the production he used a consumer-grade Sony PD-150 camera and became entranced with the grubby texture of the medium and its suggestive withholding of visual information, which evokes for him early cinema. (He knows the virtues of primitive media: in 1995, for a project marking the centennial of cinema’s invention, he made a mysterious 55-second film using a restored cinématographe.) He shot some scenes and liked the look when they were transferred to film, then realized that what he had was not another open-ended Internet project but the makings of a full feature. Shocking many who have appreciated his pristine visuals – consider the shimmering greys and lovingly lit details in Eraserhead and The Elephant Man (1980) or the voluptuously rancid splendour of Blue Velvet (1986) and Mulholland Drive (2001) – he’s since renounced shooting on film. In Catching the Big Fish he writes bluntly: ‘I’m through with film as a medium. For me, film is dead.’ Although he’s produced ravishing images on celluloid, digital video’s lighter cameras and longer takes are perfectly suited to his instinctual working method. No wonder he talks of falling in love.

Light and shadow still electrify him, though. ‘I love seeing people come out of darkness’, he writes, and his chiaroscuro has never been more redolent of early movies. When the spotlit Nikki/Sue throws back her head, she could be channelling Gloria Swanson – or Norma Desmond – as if past and future were pulling her into oblivion. In fact, the weeping ‘lost girl’ reenacts the snippet from the 1929 Swanson film Queen Kelly in Sunset Boulevard (1950). The line ‘Cast out this wicked dream that has seized my heart’, suggests she may represent the souls of ambitious actresses stolen by their dreams. Yet perhaps everything in INLAND EMPIRE, which opens with a haunting shot of a phonograph stylus descending onto spinning vinyl, echoes Mulholland Drive’s Club Silencio: ‘It is all a tape. Il n’y a pas d’orchestre. It is an illusion.’

Dern, as a noir-ish dame delivering a jaded monologue in a windowless room, is the film’s bruised heart. Whoever she is, her time has run out: a screwdriver-wielding enemy of Nikki/Sue awaits her on Hollywood Boulevard. The Walk of Fame, studded with stars honouring once-celestial names such as Dorothy Lamour, becomes a Walk of Death. ‘You dyin’, lady’, a homeless woman observes before continuing a conversation about the bus to Pomona. But is death ever the end for a Lynch protagonist? Here the gore seems a way out of the sea of evil reflections – a means to a creative rebirth, like when Cocteau’s Orpheus passes through a mirror. is yet another world, a Piranesian labyrinth of sooty tones and charming industrial sounds. The site offers subscribers music, animated shorts, serial movies, sketch-like experiments and other odds and ends, some of which made their way into INLAND EMPIRE’s anxious stew. The most unsettling thread in the film – the rabbits – first appeared online. What Lynch calls ‘short ideas’ include a shot of jagged shadows inching across an exterior wall before dusk renders part of his kitchen visible and a video showing him applying yellow plaster to a lamp (he designs personality-filled furniture and fixtures). Before the INLAND EMPIRE promotional tour he even delivered a daily weather report. Most disarming for fans of his work are the videotaped answers to members’ questions, in which he sometimes appears before a red velvet curtain as if in one of his celluloid dream spaces. He also periodically visits the chat rooms.

The city of Lódz promises to become another creative test-site. When Lynch first travelled to the home of the famed Lódz Film School, he was entranced by the distinctive architecture and mood of the ‘Polish Manchester.’ He photographed its abandoned factories and later filmed INLAND EMPIRE’s otherworldly Polish scenes there. Now he’s partnered with Cameraimage film festival director Marek Zydowicz and architect and businessman Andrzej Walczak to found an ambitious arts centre, The Arts of the World, for which the city council has donated a century-old power plant that once serviced textile mills. Plans are also in the pipeline with architect and urban planner Rob Krier, who is involved in a larger urban redevelopment expected to include a museum addressing Lynch’s film, art and ideas, post-production and sound recording facilities, a festival centre, contemporary art and technical museums and various cultural facilities.

INLAND EMPIRE is wildly challenging; a chambered nautilus in a dark sea, it makes Mulholland Drive’s Möbius-strip-like structure feel downright classical. It’s anyone’s guess where Lynch is headed next, although he’s mentioned that the kinds of projects he would previously have tried to get produced for television may find release on the Internet. He’s rethinking distribution in general: he self-distributed INLAND EMPIRE in the US, making personal appearances across the country. (He also lobbied for an Academy Award nomination for Laura Dern by installing himself at what looked like a farm stall with a cow alongside on an L.A. street.) In March the movie was still playing in New York, over two months after it was expected to close after a short run. Interestingly, Lynch’s transition to digital video coincides with that of certain revered filmmakers working in the avant-garde, an arena that not long ago saw adamant resistance to video. Who could have imagined visionary filmmakers would make it seem easy to leave film behind?

aren't they lovely? volksgarten

transit (hommage to drop me off your wing by hale tenger)

holy ghost of vienna

04:54 02/06/07 U3 Neubaugasse


a night with valie export-extended cinema at filmmuseum 30th May'07

Saturday, June 2, 2007