11 September 2010

Paris Acceleration, le 11 septembre, 2010

For Paris Acceleration, (first cut), I was inspired yet again by a Francis Bacon triptych of male nudes--this one occupying an entire gallery wall at the Centre Pompidou. Clearing away the furniture in my apartment, I shot a series of “still” nudes of myself against my modest wall, with the assignment to remain still (and understand what that meant) but gradually shorten the duration of poses. Once I started putting it down on the "wall" of the screen in editing, it became an experiment in assemblage, composition, balance and disruption. Movement and stillness... transitions, real and/or edited. The work of Etienne-Martin, Cornell, Rauschenberg, Braque, countless others… and reading a critique of my old friend Rudy Arnheim’s work about dynamic balance re. the composition of imagery within the frame. Then of course, there’s always the rhythm of the edit! Click here. (WARNING: Those who might be offended by nudity should not enter.... although I've never seen such a warning at a museum!) 

Other museum finds: a film of Trisha Brown dancing Water Motor, filmed by Babette Mangolte in 1978--first in real time and repeated in slow motion-- lush, loose, elegantly awkward movement permutations (made even more vivid after reading Laurence Louppe’s passages on Brown’s embodiment of weight & flow), Hans Richter’s film, Rhythmus 21, (a videodance primer: the dance of squares and rectangles in editing), the photos of Pierre Boucher and Raoul Ubac. 

I spotted a poem by Delmore Schwartz while surfing the Internet. Here some some lovely passages I've lifted. So much to say about seeing, editing, making art: 

Excerpts from Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon along the Seine by Delmore Schwartz:


If you look long enough at anything
It will become extremely interesting;

If you look very long at anything

It will become rich, manifold, fascinating:

If you can look at any thing for long enough,
You will rejoice in the miracle of love,

You will possess and be blessed by the marvellous blinding radiance

of love, you will be radiance.

Selfhood will possess and be possessed, as in the consecration of mar-

riage, the mastery of vocation, the mystery of gift's mastery, the

deathless relation of parenthood and progeny.

All things are fixed in one direction:

We move with the Sunday people from right to left.

Seurat is at once painter, poet, architect, and alchemist:

The alchemist points his magical wand to describe and hold the Sun-

day's gold,
 Mixing his small alloys for long and long

Because he wants to hold the warm leisure and pleasure of the holiday

Within the fiery blaze and passionate patience of his gaze and mind

Now and forever: O happy, happy throng,

It is forever Sunday, summer, free: you are forever warm

Within his little seeds, his small black grains,

He builds and holds the power and the luxury

With which the summer Sunday serenely reigns.

-Is it possible? It is possible!-

Although it requires the labors of Hercules, Sisyphus, Flaubert,

The brilliance and spontaneity or Mozart, the patience or a pyramid,

And requires all these of the painter who at twenty-five

Hardly suspects that in six years he will no longer be alive!

-His marvellous little marbles, beads, or molecules

Begin as points which the alchemy's magic transforms

Into diamonds of blossoming radiance, possessing and blessing the


For look how the sun shines anew and newly, transfixed

By his passionate obsession with serenity

As he transforms the sunlight into the substance of pewter, glittering,

poised and grave, vivid as butter,

In glowing solidity, changeless, a gift, lifted to immortality.


Although he is very careful, he is entirely candid.

Although he is wholly impersonal, he has youth's frankness and, such

is his candor,

His gaze is unique and thus it is intensely personal:

It is never facile, glib, or mechanical,

His vision is simple: yet is also ample, complex, vexed, and profound

In emulation of the fullness of Nature maturing and
enduring and
toiling with the chaos of actuality.

An infinite variety within a simple frame:

Countless variations upon a single theme!

Vibrant with what soft soft luster, what calm joy!

This is the celebration of contemplation,

This is the conversion of experience to pure attention,

Here is the holiness of all the little things

Offered to us, discovered for us, transformed into the vividest con-


After all the shallowness or blindness of experience,

After the blurring, dirtying, soothed surfaces which, since Eden and

since birth,

Make all the little things trivial or unseen,
Or tickets torn and thrown away

En route by rail to an ever-receding holiday:

-Here we have stopped, here we have given our hearts

To the real city, the vivid city in which we dwell
And which we ignore or disregard most of the luminous day!