on whit stillman, back with another film on the fly [& more thoughts on filming dance steps…]

Barcelona  by Whit Stillman – let’s choo choo!

Let’s hope that Whit Stillman’s new film Damsels in Distress is actually distributed in the UK. It’s true that he makes films with lots of words in them when that is almost a capital offence… Stillman’s films are literate and digressive [not theatrical, as in filmed theatrical dialogue] in ways that makes him a radical in contemporary English-language cinema. Yes, he films people actually talking, even discussing things; insane!

I love Whit Stillman, Continue reading “on whit stillman, back with another film on the fly [& more thoughts on filming dance steps…]”

on some late summery art in london town, miro, emin, twombly/ poussin/ dean, and cage

Edwin Parker by Tacita Dean 2011

My little friend and comrade has enabled me [firmly embedded in London for the summer] to catch up on some exhibitions missed, ones I might not get to otherwise and other big-ticketish shows; Miro at Tate Modern [to Sept 11], Emin at the Hayward [now ended], Twombly and the other guy at Dulwich [to Sept 25], Cage back at the Haywood [to Sept 18], etc.

To have so full a show of Miro in London is a privilege and I was beginning to think I’d miss it, despite looking forward to it for a year, from sheer lack of time. Continue reading “on some late summery art in london town, miro, emin, twombly/ poussin/ dean, and cage”

on ‘in ramallah, running’ -it’s official; publication is [NOT!] february 2012 [UPDATED]

In Ramallah, Running 2010′ by Guy Mannes-Abbott

Manuscript in first draft, 5 of 14 scrolls/parts

In Ramallah, Running is now contracted to appear in February/March 2012 with Black Dog, more details/announcements to follow [24.04.2012 UPDATE: publication pushed back into summer 2012, watch for update very soon].

I’m very happy because the book was conceived and developed independently and will appear within the kind of urgent time frame that is appropriate to its subject and hard to achieve without compromise -or at all. I finished my 20,000 word series of e.things -a unique conjuring of place as well as the people of Ramallah and almost the whole open-air camp that is Ramallah District- in mid-September 2010 [after my Residency at al Qattan Foundation in Ramallah]. The series is made up of fourteen parts, alternating running within the limits of the city and walking out from it to, along, beyond and off limits, discovering how mobile they are. How they really work.

e.things as a form were crucial to this project because they’re the only way I could say what needed to be said. Often exhibited or published in a visual art context [with the best visual minds of my generation!], they’ve grown into a highly singular body of texts; the shortest of which is a single line called ‘go’ from 1997, the longest is this series; In Ramallah, Running. Continue reading “on ‘in ramallah, running’ -it’s official; publication is [NOT!] february 2012 [UPDATED]”

on the country of the blind in full detail & downloadability

The Country of the Blind and Other Stories Installation shots CAMP with GM-A Folkestone Triennial [ongoing]

CAMPuter.org now has a good page on the film here with cat. text, shot-lists, stills, credits… There’s also a link here to pad.ma where the film is archived…

But I strongly recommend heading down to Folkestone, not only to see the film in situ where it’s installed beautifully and offers optimised-viewing, but also to see all the other art on show throughout a fascinating town. The harbour tastes irresistible and in the pubs on the water  front a version of the film is always looping…

Folkestone Triennial’s page is here and they have weekend tours conducted by some high calibre guides not least this weekend with Achim Borchardt Hume here. It takes 53 minutes to get there…

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback.

on an art of two-sides, mathaf interference at ICA

Shumon Basar and Jack Persekian Wash Hands…

Jack Persekian’s performance of Nablus Soap at the ICA, as part of the Mathaf’s Interference weekend, was brilliant.

The work takes off from a show he put on with Mona Hatoum back in the early days in Jerusalem. It recounts that earlyness, the basic space, cold and uninviting and the process of arriving at the piece –Present tense [1996]- by Mona H., its installation and the historical context of a disastrous willingness to compromise with Occupation in the form of ‘Oslo’. An apologetic Abu Amar is scratched-in which raised a big laugh and the whole piece is damn fine, not least as testament to Nablus.

As Jack and Shumon talked, the film was paused on one of the many Occupation watchtowers that terrorise the Palestinian Hills, lest any of us forget the bloody stain it represents… Continue reading “on an art of two-sides, mathaf interference at ICA”

on cy and elias, death and a new novel

Suma Cy Twombly 1982

Cy Twombly was on my mind only last week as I worked on a short review of Elias Khoury’s new novel, As Though She Were Sleeping [MacLehose Press]. Khoury’s writing is highly distinctive and there are good literary cultural reasons for that, reasons I sketched in an interview based piece in 2005 for The Independent. Reasons I can’t keep on repeating, so I was trying to think of another way to describe his scratchy seeming but endlessly recircling, reconfiguring, rhythms of ideas, lines and words and a particular image of Twombly’s would not leave my mind. Continue reading “on cy and elias, death and a new novel”

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…