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Showing posts from July, 2020

FLASH, WHAT A PICTURE, WHAT A PHOTOGRAPH [252]

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The first camera I remember using was a Kodak Disc 4000. Like most point-and-shoot cameras of the 1980s, there was little to go wrong: there was a single fixed-focus lens and an automatic flash, so all I needed to do, apart from removing the lens cover, was point and shoot. It was our family’s camera, so I obviously will not be sharing any example pictures, but according to what I have read since, the picture quality achieved by the camera and film is supposed to be worse than I remembered. Introduced in 1982,  but not lasting much beyond the end of the decade, Dis c film was Kodak’s latest attempt to package their film in a simple and fool-proof cassette, avoiding the hassle of unspooling film and winding it into your camera yourself, risking damage to the film and unwanted exposure to light if not done properly. Kodak had previously introduced the “126” and “110” film formats for their Instamatic camera ranges, encasing the usual supply and take-up film spools in a car

JUST A MAN AND HIS WILL TO SURVIVE [251]

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“Now I’d like to see you lick that bloke who knocked you out at the fair… and get my two quid back!” When “La La Land” was released in 2016, Hollywood was perceived as having re-learned the ability to make the old-time musicals to which the film was paying tribute. Likewise, I often think that, with the advances in sound technology in film production and in cinemas, the “technology” of making a “silent” film has been lost. True, silent films were never silent, usually having musical accompaniments and sound effects either performed live or on record, but once actors were able to speak, there was no reason to shut them up again. Making a film that works only on its visual imagery has since been restricted to more comedic actors, like Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Tati or Rowan Atkinson, or films deliberately made to be “silent” – like “La La Land,” 2011’s “The Artist” appeared to earn its many awards through having made the effort to re-learn the old, previously trusted ways. H

FILL IN THE BLANK [250]

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[Please see below for the script for my latest video, as seen above.] (black screen) Do not adjust your device, or do not adjust it any more than you already have. Your screen has been intentionally left blank. However, that might change, so don’t look away either. This is not a podcast, and this is not radio. This is a video. This isn’t a confidence trick either. Videos need pictures, but my conscious decision to put nothing on screen still leaves a picture frame. I may also change my mind. Mind you, that frame is never empty – even if your screen is turned off, it still reflects light. In 1951, the artist Robert Rauschenberg painted a series of canvasses with white house paint, but those paintings are not blank, for the brush strokes played off the ambient conditions in the room, and off anyone that looked at them. The following year, Rauschenberg’s friend John Cage composed the musical piece “4’33”” [pronounced “four minutes, thirty-three seconds”] which

THE IDEAS IN HIS HEAD WERE FOREVER FERMENTING [249]

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Calculator, Industry, Work [copyright Paul Rose] “How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File” is the brilliant title for a 2013 film by the German video artist Hito Steyerl, and can be viewed here: [ link ]. Using computerised imagery and voiceover mixed with location shooting and The Three Degrees’ “When Will I See You Again,” this satire of instructional films is also about a serious su bject: resolution targets, used by the American military in the times of pre-digital aerial photography for calibration purposes, but now left cracked and obsolete – to truly become invisible, you must enter those cracks, be smaller than a pixel, become a picture, or be a female over fifty years old. Now try this: Petrochemexxx Solutions Corporation presents “Party Phantoms,” simulated guests ready to fill the spaces at your party or other miscellaneous celebration. They can dance, but you must not dance with them; they can hold conversations, but their opinions might be