Main Tabs


Valtari Mystery Film Experiment

Ok, let's get meta for the end of the year.
That was my tweet on the 9th of December for the Sigur Rós Valtari mystery film experiment screening.  During that weekend of December 7-9, more than a hundred screenings of the project were taking place on all seven continents.  The screening for Montreal was at the more than awesome Phi Centre, where guests viewed 16 shorts inspired by the tracks on the band's latest album Valtari.

And the result? Let's discuss!
The premise was to give the filmmakers creative freedom.  Neither the band nor the filmmakers knew the content of anyone else projects. Knowing this, it is interesting to observe overall themes and imagery that came out of the shorts.

The album Valtari consists of 8 tracks, some of which were used as the sole guide to the video or two or three songs were compiled to create a longer piece.  The most dominant track was "varúð", which was featured in five of the videos.  Overall feel/conjured imagery: atmospheric is a given, moody, end of the world as we know it/economic collapse aesthetic.

Another dominant theme was nature (surprise!)  The sweeping sounds of Sigur Rós dares you not to conjure images of (Icelandic?) landscapes full of dollies and pans of forests and celestial montages.

The films varied in themes, styles and production values.  The music lends itself easily to dance/performance and is represented by 5-6 shorts in the series (depending on your personal interpretation.)

Two dance/performance pieces from top: film #7: varðeldur by melika bass and film #13: varðeldur by clare langan

But things start getting tricky when a narrative is applied; such as leaning towards solace by Floria Sigismondi.  Being a fan of her work since the nineties, I was surprised at the heavy handed voice-over and certain clichéd imagery.  The video featured Elle Fanning and John Hawkes; two actors whose faces and expressions I could stare at for hours, but with the already emotional Sigur Rós track, the extra maudlin touches lacked subtlety that could have taken the clip to the next level.

Floria was not alone in the heavy narrative catagory, but somehow film #9: seraph by Dash Shaw and John Cameron Mitchell fared a bit better.  Maybe because it was an animation.  You be the judge.

But enough with being critical- let's talk about coincidences!  As mentioned earlier, there was no conferring between the directors or the band.
The carving/drawing with glass and making eyes.
Seen in film #3 fjögur píanó by alma har'el and film #9, mentioned above.

Removing peeling paint from walls
seen from top: film #15: varúð by björn flóki and film #14: valtari by christian larson

People crying (even in the same aspect ratio!)
from top: film #4: rembihnútur by arni & kinski and film #3: fjögur píanó by alma har'el and yes that is Shia Leboeuf getting all performance art on us.

There is also blonde haired girls with gemstones glued to the corner of thier eyes, plenty of animals, New York City, and snowfall/rainfall. But please feel free to treasure hunt for those yourselves!

I'll take this moment to mention one of my personal faves, a short that features a body covered in what looks like gooey marshmallow, shot in negative?

That's it for me! Wishing you lots of food, art, film and fashion awesomeness in the new year!


Arielle de Pinto Holiday Sale

During the gift-giving season Arielle de Pinto went and had a series of holiday sales in TO, NYC and MTL, yo.  Only having finally recently acquired jewelery from this awesome designer, I thought why not add my own piece of merry ho ho to my imaginary christmas stocking.  Cheque book in hand, off I went.

Hosted in the awesome space by Hercules Taxidermy just up the street from me (convinient!), the sale featured Arielle's signature crochet pieces in a variety of metals, hair bun cages, and crystal baubles.  What intrigued me the most was that mass of shininess above-I was compelled to try it on.

 ...And the result? The insanely beautiful Waterfall tanktop- admittedly my sweatshirt is not the best piece to go with it, but you get the idea yes?  Unfortunately this wasn't the piece to go home with me.  But with more hesitant than usual hemming and hawing (should I really be spending money on myself today?!)  I picked out this:
 The Everybody Duster is a three finger ring of six conjoined figurines, it's a little hard to wear with gloves admittedly, but it. looks. amazing.


Eastern Bloc: Data Salon II

I'm a little late to the posting party. Things got busy, but it's never too late to share!

Sometime back I went down to the Eastern Bloc to check out Data : Salon II, featuring the works of Alexandre Larose and Félix & Paul.  The evening was an off-site presentation in conjunction with the "Looking through time" event organised by McGill University’s Moving Image Research Laboratory.  

Félix&Paul presented two 3D works and judging by the image above, there is no way I can do it any justice without sticking a pair of 3D glasses on you!  And yes, that is the head of a caribou.  This is a still from the film "Kobe" that was shot in and around Igloolik (yes, that is the arctic!) revolving around a young boy and his daily life.  In case you're expecting the caribou head to come out and jump off the screen as we've come to know commercial 3D films, let me assure you that is not the case.  In fact it is the inverse that takes place, the depth of space is what is most remarkable here, alas, I can only describe it to you!

Above, “Aller/Retour” is Alexandre Larose's film installation/performance of one mega film loop that passes through each of the four 16mm projectors, displaying four images following each other through time and space.  Larose moves back and forth between the projectors, maintaining the tension of the loop and compensating for the not perfectly sync 24fps vintage beasts.

Some seating, placed with a slight curve to reduce the parallel distortion of the projectors.

The projectors, some gobo stands and the giant loop! Projectors also placed on a slight curve to compensate for distortion.

Close-up of the loop at work. Rad!

I like GIFs, Larose at work


Dita Von Teese, NYTimes

Quote day!
I'm catching up on some reading and thought I'd share an excerpt from the New York Times article "Dita Von Teese, From Burlesque to a Brand" by Ruth La Ferla.

"She shared with her husband, a penchant for self-invention. Problems arose in part because, she says, "I liked being Heather Sweet from Michigan, but I don't think he liked being Brian Hugh Warner from Ohio." 

The husband in question is of course Marilyn Manson, to whom Dita was married to for just over a year.  What was great about this quote was the discovery that Dita's real name is a perfectly acceptable burlesque stage name; although limits one to very soft/cute/delicate numbers.  The whole kinky/fetish side to Miss Von Teese would have been ix-nayed had she stayed Sweet.

The couple during happier times: above left pic is from here and the koala is from this tumblr with no credit of origin.