on the country of the blind and other stories, first art critical response

In the Country of the Blind and Other Stories Installation NCI Folkestone [Ph. Guy Mannes-Abbott]

Adrian Searle’s review in The Guardian is so generous about the film I’ve been working on with Shaina, Ashok and Iyesha [CAMP] that I can’t help but post it.

“In the National Coastwatch Institution cabin, perched on a cliff above Folkestone, the volunteer guards scan the sea. Mumbai-based collective CAMP recorded the view, the constant traffic plying the Channel, and the volunteers’ casual commentary The result is an almost hour-long film recorded over a year. French church spires break the horizon, seen through a telescope. We follow tankers and canoes, ferries and fishing boats – and there’s the archbishop of Canterbury, helping out at an archeological dig along the coast, his hair a white, fluffy windsock in the distance. The artists in Mumbai recorded the observations and anecdotes of the volunteers via broadband. It’s a case of the watchers watched, and we watch too, following near-collisions out at sea, and blokes hauling up lobster pots. “Lobsters are giant Jurassic insects,” someone says. I’d happily stay all day.”

Read the piece here.

AS’s warm words had a warm affect, though I would only point out that it’s not a documentary and say no more -other than that Fruit Store loyalists and Dostoyevskians shouldn’t need me to!

Read the letter from the man, jocularly referred to as the ‘archbish’ on the soundtrack, here! And beware similar assumptions!

Probably should resist saying that I agree with him about the ill-judged mermaid too… I was too involved to see very much else other than Zineb Sedira’s very beautiful and complex film installation Lighthouse in the Sea of Time. I’ll post on what I think might well be her best work so far in time and definitely take the 57 minute train back for more of the Triennial and more of Folkestone itself too…

on unintended consequences, naaem mohaiemen’s the young man was…

Excellent piece/interview on The Young Man Was…: Part 1, United Red Army, Naeem Mohaiemen’s film that was first shown at Sharjah Biennial X -and which I wrote about ‘live’ here. Naeem has a page on the film/project here.

Don’t miss the film whenever/wherever it screens. Interesting to see in some relation to Assayas’s surprisingly good biopic Carlos, which is still a very different project obviously [read Jonathan Romney here]. Continue reading “on unintended consequences, naaem mohaiemen’s the young man was…”

on the varne, with CAMP at the folkestone triennial

The Varne NCI Folkestone’s channel map [Ph. Guy Mannes-Abbott]

The Varne is a mid channel sandbank, slightly closer to the French coast than the coast at Folkestone. If I stood on it, you might see my hand waving above the water. This is where the Varne Lightship Automatic of radio legend is permanently anchored, where massive ships can and do run aground. A place that obtains peculiar potency when watched from the shore.

Everything that goes on in the world’s water, as observed and imagined from the NCI at Folkestone, is the subject of the film I’ve been working on with CAMP -during intensive bursts in Brussels and Folkestone itself. The Country of the Blind, and Other Stories will be installed in a bunker-like room at the back of the NCI Folkestone, high up on the cliffs overlooking the industrial scaled port of Folkestone and English Channel during the Triennial. It will be worth the walk…

Folkestone Triennial opens on Friday 24th June and to the public on the 25th June until 25th September. Continue reading “on the varne, with CAMP at the folkestone triennial”

on the living of patrick leigh fermor

Patrick Leigh Fermor – still from BBC film 2008

Ninety six is a good age to have lived. Both my grandmothers lived into their mid-90s, one of them to 96, a pivotal experience in my own life. Why am I telling you this?! Well PLF is such a vivid presence to me, principally from his writing and words and their conjuring of his feet and ‘heart’, that the news of his death is sad and yet the confirmation that he lived until today makes me happy. Continue reading “on the living of patrick leigh fermor”

on recognition of palestine, i do!

Free Free Palestine [BIG] Hyde Park London 2003 [Ph. Guy Mannes-Abbott]

As leaked documents make concrete, the state of Israel is panicked about the Palestinian declaration of independence in September and its recognition at the UN. I think we all know what will happen and Germany’s desire to see ethnic cleansing and siege continue will be supported by the UK [and Tony Blair of course, still fighting his permanent war. At least Blair used the phrase Israel-Palestine -just like Bosnia-Herzogovina; site of Crimes Against Humanity- while promoting his paperbacked memoirs, while the BBC journo -Sarah Raven?- couldn’t bring herself to say Palestine] and usual Imperialista desperadoes…

In the context of where things are now, I think it’s important that the world starts to recognise the Palestinian right to exist, such that they support and recognise its independence in September Continue reading “on recognition of palestine, i do!”