Monday, October 27, 2008

Dusk

Dawn


Ten seconds of exposure at seven in the morning.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I can stay here all day, if you like


Um, sure, but I can't feel my feet any more...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Night, again

Most quanta of solace

Yesterday, I saw a trailer for the new Bond - you know, the guy who looks like a bloodthirsty banker - that looked like it contained snippets of enough action scenes to fill a two hour film. Since the previous trailer appeared to give enough plot to make at least a van Damme vehicle, I wonder if there is anything left to watch: "Come, see the trailers in ultra-slow motion, stretched out to 90 minutes!"
...um...Considering the dross I usually watch - yesterday's Max Payne made Babylon AD look like a lost Tarkovski masterpiece - nothing will keep me from going...
Oh, hi! Is this the place where I can hand in my intelligentsia membership card? Teeheehee!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A twitchy dub

The Twitch goes dub (mp3, 2.6 MB).
Well, just reacquainting myself with my LADSPA plug-ins, actually...apologies to King Tubby and all other true masters of dub.

Lazy, rainy day

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mömö posing for de Kooning

Every blog needs cute cat pictures, right?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Guitar mangling

Meandering across the fretboard. (mp3, 1.3 MB) A minute.
Twitchy. (mp3, 1.8 MB) Or two.

Today's glance out of the window

Being about something

Artist and film maker Steve McQueen in a Guardian interview:

I ask him if his films emerge, however obliquely, out of self-exploration? Are they essentially about his own inner struggles? 'God, no!' he shouts, startling both myself and the two hotel guests sitting opposite us. 'Don't even mention that in a newspaper. You cannot. I mean, come on! I'm not that selfish. I have never been interested in me. What I'm interested in is not I, it's we. Always. It's we: our history, our culture, whatever makes us who we are and informs how we act.'
I wonder. That sounds so right and virtuous that it cries out for questioning. Obviously, whenever we see a film or any work of art, we can sense the personality of its makers behind it. And every personality is formed in the crucible of its surroundings - genes, family, community, society, world. This means that even the most personal and private work of art will be a reflection of the time and place it is born in. Obversely, the most strenuous attempts at objective portrayal of the world are merely attempts of obscuring the artist's attitudes and thus end up the poorer for it, mere surface where emotional involvement would have added layers of meaning to it.
More objective without them, you say? There is no objectivity. It is impossible to achieve. Even uncut footage from a security camera is biased by its placement and lighting and then individually coloured by the attitudes of each viewer. There may be a Platonic Truth behind it all, but I'm not sure it is as interesting as the distortions we add to every experience, for they are what we call meaning. What it is about is not the prison, the cell, the cot nor the body upon it, but the unique suffering of that individual and what it does to his life and the lives of those around him. And the only way we can understand that is by asking ourselves: "How would I feel in his place?" Every work of art is personal, since every human being sees things through one single, unique perspective. A film is the result of many unique perspectives, but it is still never made by a whole culture. There is no 'we' there, just several individuals adding their own 'I' to aspects of it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The funny thing about the economic meltdown

The current economic meltdown takes long weekends off. All through Friday, stock exchanges were rollercoasting (you know, roller coasters do have a tendency to start at the top and end up at rock bottom), but right now all those stock gamblers are at home strangling their tear-sodden pillows, waiting for Monday's ride - or Tuesday's, if they are American. Until then, the meltdown is on hold and the wise and fearless leaders of the Great Seven have until then to draft a message that will soothe the stock markets' little lemming minds and stop their little, abyss-bound lemming legs.

My suggestion: "Bankers of the world, live a little! Spare a penny for your fellows!"

My current fields of study

At present, studying means I go for long walks and take lectures with me on my mp3 player (which, judging by its inscriptions, appears to be manufactured by one of the following well-known companies: MIC, REC/A-B, MENU, HOLD or OPEN).
C
lassics 164 - Spectacle Entertainments of Ancient Rome given by Paolo Monella at UCLA would be highly informative, but having seen Mel Brooks' history, Monty Python's Life of Brian, Gladiator, Ben Hur and Caligula I obviously already know, like, everything about ancient Rome.
Modern Poetry with Professor Langdon Hammer (mp3 downloads here) is nicely soporific and fills some gaps in my knowledge of poetry, which up to now has covered nothing but German Dada poetry by Kurt Schwitters, Raoul Hausmann, Hugo Ball, Hans Arp etc.

It's a rainy day, sunshine girl

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A foggy day in Turku

Focus

There are far too many things I really do not want to talk about right now, such as politics, economics, philosophy or anything else that will look pompous and half-informed in hindsight, so I'm going to take a good friend's advice and concentrate on pictures and sounds here. Writing articles to myself here feels too much like doing monologues in public - and frankly, I'm not quite that crazy yet.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Turku by day


And another postcard from my window to help you triangulate my position and aim that cruise missile you are probably wishing on me by now. Do send it soon, okay?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Babylon AD.

The quality of a film has nothing to do with the depth of analysis achievable on it. Every film ever made sheds light on its makers and the world they lived in. Of course, good ones usually make it easier, since their text and subtext are mostly intentional...
The idea of Mathieu Kassovitz directing Vin Diesel sounds a lot like John Woo directing Jean-Claude Van Damme, but since the former is at least not doing it in Hollywood, he does not achieve the latter's amazing levels of blandness. He's trying, though. The tropes are mostly comic book clichés: Murderous religion, viral warfare, artificial intelligence as a synonym for omniscience (go on, imagine how omniscient you would be, if you sucked up all of the Internet...w00t, 3133t!), the former communist block as an unrelieved zone of cruelty, despair and disrepair, from Serbia to Vladivostok. "A holiday in other people's misery." (Sex Pistols). Wallow, folks, wallow. Then go back to your 2.5 kids and cars in suburbia and feel the relief wash over you.
One of the messages here might be the loneliness and uselessness of the ultimate fighting man, with just the forlorn hope of protecting women and children as the light at the end of the tunnel. First they plunge the world into a testosterone-driven nightmare and then they offer to protect the cutest ones from it. From them, in effect.
Here Vin Diesel plays a disconnected, disillusioned man, sleepwalking even through the action scenes as if he had been there too often. That's life: As soon as we start being competent, it becomes pointless.
Ah well, perhaps one should see this film twenty years from now to see all the quaint obsessions of the noughties standing out in stark contrast, whatever they are. My guesses: Fears of unexplained bomb massacres, unexplained because we fear that understanding the enemy will make us like him, fears of a science drafted into producing goods we can't afford and making us obsolete in the process, fears of a backlash from these obsolescents. Is it just me or is the whole world succumbing to panic disorder?

The view from my window today



Sunday, October 5, 2008

Violence

Violence, as in war, fist fights, harsh words, conscious manipulation or even mere refusal to listen, has always been popular. Its appeal rests on simplicity. Violence removes options from the board and leaves you with blessed few choices.
Gone are the times when freedom was the battle cry of the young and subversive. Today, just hearing the word raises hackles, for it comes associated with the White House and means very little, perhaps merely the choice between doing business or starving.
Still, we don't mind. We are scared of freedom. It is the agoraphobia of a man standing on a wide open plain and seeing a million directions he could choose. And they all look equally meaningless. Now, if only there were a wall cutting through it. Then all your decisions could be phrased in terms of it. You could climb over it, walk alongside it or away from it. Down from a million to a scant three. Now there you have something you can fit into your genetically inherited response system: Fight, flight or prevarication. And those are taken care of by your basic nature, unthinkingly...