Corporations, Hollywood, Homeland Security and Museum Space?

Posted: April 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Art, Museums, performance art | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Movie lights surround Abramovic as MoMA’s atrium is turned into a film set (MoMA is slowly figuring out how to use this vast, cold space which is its center).  Three HD cameras record Abramovic’s performance at all times and a man with a still camera stands behind Abramovic, taking extreme close-ups of each person who sits across from her.  There are signs alerting the public that whoever enters acknowledges consent to being videotaped and photographed, giving up all rights to these images.

There are other signs stating that no photographs can be taken in the atrium, and there are guards set up at either ends to insure that this doesn’t occur.  Luck only for those with a long lens.

There is no photography allowed in any part of the Abramovic show, there was no photography allowed in the recent Tino Seghal show at the Guggenheim or of  any other Seghal piece for that matter, there was no photography and even more egregious, no note taking(!) allowed in the Urs Fischer show at the New Museum.  I’ve spent the last few years fighting with everyone and anyone who has challenged my right to shoot in public spaces.  Granted, a museum is a private form of public space and we’re surrounded by ever more of these hybrid spaces as true public space shrinks.

I understand that museums have the ‘right’ to forbid any activity on their premises.  But by denying viewers’ rights while invoking their own, what kind of controlling (precious) atmosphere do these museums and artists want to promote?  It seems to put us back several decades in terms of the positioning and passivity of the viewer.  These tactics also mimic those of large information-gathering corporations as well as our own government’s Department of Homeland Security.  What is up here?


Posted: February 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Screenings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Interview with Radio Eins on short films.  Before my turn with the charismatic host, Maike Mia Höhne, the tireless director of the Shorts Competition, was asked about the status of the short film form:  ‘Should short films be considered ‘real.’” She diplomatically talked about the huge amount of submissions she received and the quality and interest of her program.  (At a film festival like this, where narrative features have the privileged spot, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of films in the shorts competition that aren’t ‘calling card’ films – made with no other raison d’être than to gain the director the budget to make a feature.  I think of this as the disease of (spread by?) most film schools.)

I took the chance, at the end of my interview (I’m learning the benefits of holding on to a microphone when one is handed to me) to risk the prediction that the traditional feature film form (unless one is working in James Cameron steroid 3-d) is on the wane and that the short film is in its ascendancy, what with YouTube, Vimeo and David Lynch ranting about the dangers of watching a feature film on a cell phone (with an official or non-official iPhone tag and ending with a nice use of the word Fucking)
Then the interview was over and the booth was filled with familiar but unrecognizable pop music.

I’m not saying that these short films will necessarily all be good films, but this idea/formula that an optimal film is 86 minutes seen in a dark cinema where the popcorn costs $6.00 and the plot is developed in the first 10 minutes (etc) may no longer hold.  I’m pretty sure that Hollywood is running scared.

An observation – a wide range of budgets and shooting formats evident, and much of the festival is being projected digitally – a far cry from the not so distant past when ‘film’ festivals wouldn’t consider screening a video, or a film for that matter, unless it was on 35mm.

Some things are changing quickly and some things are not changing quickly…

An image of the main table of the temporary stall set up in the lobby of the Arsenal Theater by B-Books, a wonderful Berlin bookstore (and publisher).  All interesting filmmakers.  All men.