Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Sunday morning

This morning I went to the Scottish National Gallery for the first time.
I need time to incorporate scenes, colours, forms and topics together. The gallery is not immense but I always prefer not to see a great numbers of art works all at once; I reckon I will go back there, it’s free and sometimes this is a good point on which organize your priority.
I knew I didn’t have to go downstairs where the shop is, I didn’t actually need to spend money. But sometimes you can’t be bothered to follow your moral principles and you just take the moment as it comes!
I bought a Henry Cartier Bresson poster, one of his shots in China during the communist revolution. Honestly this is a Cartier Bresson I didn’t know before, my familiarity with him belongs to his Parisian portraits, for example Sartre’s image. The poster I bought depicts a group of Chinese people crammed in a very small space. They are looking at the camera, some of them seem terrorised by what is likely to happen next, but a few are kind of smiling and I don’t know if the reason for that is their awareness of being captured by somebody else’s eyes and work.

Well, not even a fragment of second and my mind was immediately transferred to BIUTIFUL, an authentic masterpiece of this year that is about to finish.
A bunch of Chinese people are found dead all in the same room where they used to sleep together at the limit of what can be called a human experience. Later their bodies will be hidden in the sea but with no success since they will be carried back to the shore.
This is Barcelona, not the shining fun fair well known by European people with no better desire in their life than the one to represent the standard prototype for tourists. Inarritu’s choice talks about the city’s suburbs, far away from the artistic centre and they are the location for a perfect tragedy. And when I say tragedy I’m referring to the Greek kind of tragedy, sometimes too intense judged from a contemporary point of view.
We do know what a drama is but our mainstream cinema leads us to believe and hope in a happy ending anyway, no matter the gravity of the topic.
Inarritu’s movie is the story of Uxbal, an immense Bardem who is dealing with his life coming to an end. He is a family man but the family seems to have fallen apart: his wife is in fact too unstable to carry on the duties and responsibilities out for bringing up her children.
The movie is completely lyrical, I know it could sound paradoxical, but there is something in all the poverty and darkness shown which makes the viewer think about purity and catharsis. I do believe it deals with the power of bond that links Uxbar to his kids. Something in these blood ties which goes beyond the inescapable desperation of an all too-human reality.
Every time Bardem has to face the most brutal times of his sickness, he is by him self in the toilet. The place is extremely small as if it could suffocate him, exactly the same place where Sean Pean coughed to death while he was smoking his addiction to cigarette. Too many references to be described just as randomness. There is obviously a connection between the two movies. In some way they both could describe a significant situation in Inarritu’s personal life (the film director dedicated Biutiful to the memory of his father) and the bathroom could possibly represent a meaningful locus.
Well, that’s what the poster I bought made me think about.
At the end I guess it was worthwhile.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I would have liked to have seen something such as David Lynch’s scenario. The colour blue was a sort of leit motiv for the exhibition. It replicated itself a few times in the art works and especially the nuance of the curtain took me straight away to a scene of either Blue velvet or Twin Peaks.
I would have expected a dwarf to open the door for me. He would have looked perfectly at ease playing with the water around. And he would have been a great Cicero indicating the show’s features. I actually can see him going around creating an itinerarium between Yao-Lung Cheng and Lindsay Boyd’s works.
CO2 space has become very theatrical yesterday: the artists and the curator Yen- Yi Lee put an electric blue curtain on the gallery’s big window: it divided the space from the rest of the surroundings, as it wants to represent a microcosmos apart, in which unusual and spectacular things can happen.
This blue, like the other colours chosen for gadgets such as the little umbrellas for the drinks, made a visible and shining contrast with the supreme whiteness that characterizes the gallery’s space. A whiteness towards which my reaction is still so undefined: I don’t know if it makes me comfortable or if I actually can’t physically stand it. It’s everywhere and this chromatic supremacy does affect you in some ways. But this Friday my attention was captured by something else for the first time since I’ve been to CO2.

One of Lindsay’s works is located on too high a level for me to be able to see it.
I’m aware of the potential silliness of it but I loved it. Not because I’m glad I couldn’t pose my eyes on something very horrible and so I saved my self from a tremendous sight. But because I’ve found it highly symbolic.
The location of the picture could indicate the difficult comprehension of some contemporary art works: willy-nilly the beholder doesn’t understand very often what seems to appear in front of him and when he does, it’s more likely to arrive to a different conclusion from the one of the artist.
Yao-Lung work is a journey along his everyday life, it tells us which objects are precious for him, without explaining the reason why. And that’s probably because a meaning is not always necessary.
For me, here there is a proper bulimia of things, their quantity reminds us of our tendency of keeping everything. The art works tell us about our fear of getting rid of even the smallest simulacrum we keep within our domestic walls.
The spectacle I was waiting for just looking at the curtain’s electricity did happen because a mini fountain has been situated in the middle of the room. The water’s noise kept me always somewhere else with the aftermath of an unstable position in between the ordinary and what I can’t reach as the picture on the wall.

Just another playlist

The Who-Teenage Wasteland. I spent my childhood imitating my sister imitating Roger Daltrey.

The DirtBombs- Chains of Love. Friend’s suggestions are always precious.

PVC- Wall City Rock. I have got a thing for Germans.

Radio Birdman- Love kills. Reminds me never-ending afternoons in Melbourne.

The Jam- Down in a tube station at midnight. From here I started to invent my own English. Ages to understand a word form Paul Weller.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- The Ship song- A life-long friendship.

Rocket from the Tombs- Ain’t it fun. The most beautiful and saddest song ever.

Pavement- Gold soundz. “You are the kind of girl I like, because you are empty and I’m empty”.

Gun Club- Carry home. Jeffrey Lee Peirce’s desperation makes me feel at “home”.

Kylie Minogue- All the lovers. Still haven’t understood why I didn’t participate to the video clip.

Just another playlist with eleven songs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quoting Sean Cubitt:
"We can no longer take the face-to-face as the normative mode of human interaction. Our increasingly interlaced and planet-spanning networks of interdependence and communication are enacted most pervasively through money, but also through the cycles of picturing, recording, reproduction and distribution that link us multilaterally across continents. My inevitably consumer choices articulate with coffee farmers I will never meet; my charity is articulated with pictures of famine-stricken regions I will never visit; my voting behavior is imbricated in refugee camps I pray never to inhabit. Actions in which I recognize what I take to be my very self, my most precious identity, are couched in the music, the movies, the brands and the news I opt to allow into my life, the products and services I pay for with my money or my attention. This much also we all know."

from TV news titles Picturing the planet

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Smoking Guns

Let’s be honest about this, if it wasn’t for the master’s project, I would have never thought about creating a blog. I’m not that kind of person, I don’t feel very at ease with this sort of communication. It’s not a matter of judgment, I do believe in the commodity and usefulness of something like a blog. It could be a great way to express yourself, even powerful, cos it obviously represents a wide platform through which people share opinions and develop a totally democratic critique. But I have always thought it wasn’t for me: I’m still basically a luddite and an anachronistic person for some ways: yes, I do use e mails everyday and I have a facebook page, but that’s pretty much in order to keep in contact with my friends overseas. 

I don’t actually know the very reason for my adversity: it was the same when mobile phones came along, I didn’t want one, but not because I was strongly persuaded by a pure and anti technological way of life, mostly I was just scared I might not be able to use it. I still remember the day I bought my first one- the first of a long list, since I usually lose them very often- I did it just in order to please my sweet Italian mum, always concerned about my health. It was a winter afternoon at my friend’s place and she was so surprised by the event that she saved my number under “Elena New Age”.

The same with the bank card: don’t you think it’s very weird and nearly unrealistic that a super flat and little object like this can contain all your money?? Once you lose it, you are “out of order” for days and days waiting for somebody else adjusting your life.

I’m very much like my beautiful niece when she looks at the computer screen and she sees my face while I’m having skype with my sister. She is very unsure and confused about what’s going on. Her eyes tell her I’m there but she can’t touch me…..I do agree with her….how strange and sometimes even uncomfortable it is, but this is another story.

Nevertheless things–fortunately- change (just a few days ago I was told by a guy I was chatting with there’s something that people call space tourism, well...anyway!) so here I am, trying to write something interesting, I hope not just from my point of view. I will try, promise, and if I fail, please don’t blame me!!

I think it could be a nice idea to start from the name I decided to give to this web page: SMOKING GUNS. The first time I saw the expression written in a book I wasn’t very sure about the meaning of it: well, I did know the significance of each term but put together it didn’t make any sense really: so I thought it was probably one of the various examples of idiomatic terms which the English language is so fond of. And I was right, because it doesn’t deal with either any particular kind of cigarette or anyone with a worrying passion for weapons.
Smoking guns is a nice metaphor for EVIDENCE: imagine I have just shot somebody and you arrive at the crime scene a few second later, my gun would probably still be ejecting some smoke.

This is evidence- not many ways of ESCAPE for me, the criminal (nearly) without doubt. 
But this is a situation that happens very seldom in people’s life. In our everyday experience, the real one, not even the one mediated by any sort of critique, not a lot of space is left for stable principles and sureness. Also the idea of an absolute rightness is contaminated by endless nuances of relativism.
That’s great, it gives the benefit of a re-valuation for situations we previously dictated as completely negative or wrong. For sure, to believe in some kind of evidence gives you a path you can walk down without worrying too much about the unknown, but it has to be temporary, cos we must keep ourselves open to changes.
Yesterday I went to see an art exhibition with a friend: we were looking at some collages on a gallery’s wall: “I can’t see any meaning in these pieces of paper” she came out. “I actually find them too meaningful” I replied.

Staring at the same thing, people can have very diverse reactions. That means diversity helps us in sharing opinions and recreating things and value of events.