Lawrence Lessig on Culture, Freedom and Responsibility.

March 11, 2010: Speech at Italian Parliament by Lawrence Lessig hosted by President of the Parliament, titled “Internet is Freedom”. A new frame to a central theme.

These presentations by Lawrence Lessig on Free Culture, corruption, Net Neutrality, privacy, cyberlaw, copyright, RESPONSIBILITY and Democratic politics, should be seen by every Modern mind. And every Modern mind should reflect on them. We, the people, still have the power.

Presentation made at the OpenVideoAlliance Webside Chat on February 25, 2010.

‘Ten Miles Round’ by Jackie Nickerson

Two gates, From the exhibition "Ten Miles Round". © Jackie Nickerson 2009Ten Miles Round, Jackie Nickerson

Opening: November 25, 6.30pm. Exhibition continues until January 24 2010.

The Gallery of Photography is proud to present the premiere showing of a new body of work by Jackie Nickerson, one of the foremost photographic artists working today. In ‘Ten Miles Round’, Jackie Nickerson (Winner of the AIB Prize) explores the predominately rural community around her home in coastal Co Louth. In large-scale colour landscapes and portraits, she builds a psychological portrait of her community. The landscapes challenge conventional notions of the picturesque, offering instead a more engaged view of the land. Through Nickerson’s lens, muddy, rutted lanes and straggly hedgerows are imbued with the quiet poetry of the everyday. People and place are united by the distinctive, cloud-filtered, northern light. Infused with a subtle grace, the work is a profound meditation on what it is, and how it feels, to belong.

A full-colour 48-page catalogue accompanies the exhibition. It features 17 exquisitely reproduced images and an essay by Aidan Dunne. It is available in the Gallery Bookshop, price €10. The photographs are all lightjet digital c-prints mounted on dibond and framed. Each piece is available for sale in a limited edition of 3.

Artist’s Talk: Jackie Nickerson will talk about her work, on Wednesday December 2nd at 1.15pm in the Gallery. Admission free, all welcome.

About the artist: In 2008, Jackie Nickerson was nominated by the Gallery of Photography for the AIB Prize, which she won. Much coveted, the AIB Prize is one of the major art awards in Europe and identifies artists of exceptional talent. She won the Curtin O’Donoghue prize in 2009 and has been shortlisted for the John Kobal award and nominated for several prestigious prizes such as the Becks Futures Award and the Prix Pictet. In 2002, Jonathan Cape published FARM, a book of portraits of farm workers taken all over southern Africa and in 2008 SteidlMACK published Faith which captures Catholic religious communities in Ireland. Her work is represented in many important public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and the Santa Barbara Museum. She is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

All events and access to the Gallery are free.

For further information, press scans or to interview the artist, contact The Gallery of Photography

Antichrist: The 6th Obstruction.

Antichrist is Lars von Trier’s latest film.

Short synopsis: The film tells the story of a couple suffering a relationship collapse, apparently triggered by the tragic loss of their only child. A therapeutical trip to a forest retreat turns to be so revealing that it provokes their own demise. But actually, the collapse of their relationship is caused not by the loss of their child, but because of the discovery of the woman’s rampant schizophrenia, that goes far back before the story’s beginning.

The film follows the physical structure of a novel: is divided in prologue, four chapters, and ended by an epilogue, all these introduced by visual queues and the temporary halt in the narrative. Most definitely, we are been told a story. Do not forget that.

Antichrist, Lars Von Trier.

What are the reviews like?
Breaking News: This film is not for everyone. Well, it wasn’t made for everyone and it hasn’t been rated as a PG, rather as an 18 certificate in Ireland. It does contain violence, nudity, explicit sex, but also some of the most astonishingly beautiful sequences I have seen in long time.

First of all, go and watch it: Is the only way to make your own mind, and who else do you need to make yours? At the end of the day, you made the effort to watch ‘Bruno’ though you knew it was going to hurt, so why not doing it for a film made by someone who at least has done more than one great film?

Also, if you are going to bitch about it, go and watch it first.
Dont do like a number of Inquisition-styled critics that are complaining almost of it being blasphemic, thought they haven’t even bother seen it! And don’t let the voices that claim it is too violent, too perverted, the sickest film ever made, etc. dampen you enthusiasm in finding out for yourself. Just beware: it is a story for adults.

Antichrist, Lars Von Trier

My experience?
I watched ‘Antichrist’ at the IFI, on a half-full room, sitting in the last row, dead centered, and managed to get two empty seats in each side for extra silence. Unfortunately, all the annoyed people in Dublin that couldn’t get a ticket for U2 that day decided to ruin my film and annoy me with their snacks noises, loud comments, and at some point when an animal speaks in the film, their laughs.

Honestly, I was following people’s reaction as much as the film – I had no choice -, coming to the conclusion that definitely this film is not for everyone. The girl in front of me was even stretching her arms, body-yawning, incidentally blocking my view. The over 60s couple on my right were talking as if the world was a giveafuck away from them. The two guys on my left were constantly overreacting, screaming. And someone a few rows far away was messing with a plastic package. The usual at Cineworld, a pity for IFI.

Well, it is ok; I learnt to control myself and to breathe a long time ago. Although I thought about requesting silence, the movie was actually grabbing their attention at times. But why were they so not into the film? Why so altered and uneasy? Was it cause they were missing U2’s gig? Not sure, not sure. I was truly getting interested in the film myself, despite all that drama in the room, and was threading in my head my way back to its message.

Antichrist, Lars Von Trier

Says Slavoj Žižek, that “the paradox of cinema,[is] the paradox of believe. We don’t simple believe or do not believe, we always believe in a kind of conditional mode: ‘I know very well is a fake, but nonetheless I let myself be emotionally affected’ […] “. Yes, suspended disbelief. That is exactly how and why you enjoy a film, a story, a legend, by temporarily setting aside some questions and letting your empathy follow the trail laid in front of you. The question remains when do you start to make the questions?

Too early: One of the most irritating things that happen while watching the film was when a good few in the audience laughed hysterically and out of rhythm (I mean, clearly not laughing cause it was funny) at the speaking animal scene. Hard to explain, but my feeling is that there is a lack of maturity in those who laughed. As if they were letting loose and infecting each other with a reason to underline their sanity – cause explaining themselves what the film was exposing was just to hard a calculation.

I was imagining their thoughts: ‘Ha, animals dont speak! This is ridiculous!’. Yes, animals do not speak. Unfortunately, we have had a rain of films in the last decade of speaking animals, that you have enjoyed and never questioned. (And there are more coming) Cause they were films and you suspended your disbelief, as the message wasn’t buried too deep. But they were films for kids, so it was easy not to laugh – we all know films for kids are fantastic and require not to be taken literally. It is a pity that when the same effort is requested for grownups films, the audience fails to give. Remember ‘Dogville‘? Now that was disbelief.

Antichrist, Lars Von Trier

“This strange status of believe, accounts for the efficiency of one of the most interesting characters […] in staging as such, the character of prologue” (Žižek). Each time the film stops to introduce the next section, we are reminded of the artificiality of the experience, ‘it is a film’, yet some wish to remain offended or disturbed. Lets say that some people, including a load of critics, have become too conformist to look only anywhere else but in the surface and are neglecting to see whats underneath.

This is what I call the ‘6th Obstruction’.

But wait. Look at these stills.

Antichrist, Lars Von Trier

Antichrist, Lars von Trier.

Antichrist, Lars von Trier.

Antichrist, Lars von Trier.

Antichrist, Lars von Trier.

Antichrist, Lars von Trier.

Antichrist, Lars von Trier.

Antichrist, Lars von Trier.

Antichrist, Lars von Trier.

Do they look to you as those of an abominable movie?

No. Certainly not. And there are even more elaborated scenes for which I couldn’t find stills. It has been very carefully produced, with very high technical standards, far away from Dogme 95. Your true feelings about this film have been obstructed by someone elses interests. First, those of the Director’s PR machine, that surely are enjoying the benefits of the bad publicity. And then, the media, those newspapers, magazines, radios, TV channels, that have NOTHING to say, cause they have lost the power and will to analyse and now merely repeat.

Excessively sexual? What, more than CaligulaNine 1/2 WeeksEmmanuelle, etc? Not. Perhaps they need to learn more about sex in film. The film starts with a purposely beautiful slo-mo sex scene interweaved with other non sexual narrative elements. Yes, you can see his dick in profile slowly thrusting into her vagina, for like 5 seconds. And? Oh, for fucks sake, grow up! If this offends you, where do you look at when you are making love?

Excessively violent? As in more than Final Destination 3The Texas Chain Saw MassacreAmerican PsychoMisery, etc? Not. And by the way, you cannot get more violent than in catastrophic films like ArmageddonDie Hard, and the like. Or is it dying collectively that removes pain? This film has only 4 scenes of those that make you look away. And even then, they are not narrated to disgust, they are rather underlined with a straight view; a way of saying this is it, a prick in your eye so you understand the consequences of her mental disorder.

In any case, dismissing the whole film because of certain scenes is plainly ludicrous.

The strength of this film may well be that there are two conflictive narrative layers: that of the reality that is external to the film (the PR marketing, the reviews, Cannes, what you heard, etc), that critiques how excessive and irrational this film is; and that of the film itself, that warns us about how an uncritical mind can end up putting believes above reason, dominated by unruly passions, to the point of loosing its mask of sanity, becoming schizophrenic.

The 6th obstruction is your mind.

Antichrist, Lars von Trier.

After all, this is a story for adults.

*   *   *   *   *
If you still need to read more, here are a few reviews, good and bad:

Irish Times:

Daily Mail:
What DOES it take for a film to get banned these days?

Time Out:
Will you dare to see Antichrist?

Irish Independent:
Antichrist was Lars’ ‘fun’ way of treating depression
Is Antichrist anti-women?
The films that pushed audiences to their limits
Movies: Antichrist *


Now, go and watch it. And if you care, find out about the Five Obstructions:

Five Obstructions, Lars von Trier.

Five Obstructions, Lars von Trier.

Five Obstructions, Lars von Trier.

A final recommendation.
If you want to read under the grass, here’s a very necessary shovel: ‘The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema‘ by Slavoj Zizek, conveniently divided in a 14 videos playlist.

Mondrian’s Room

The Mondrian’s Room Gallery, (was) located in South Anne Street, Dublin. They showcased last November 2008 some unique glass plates (autochromes) by The Lumiere Brothers, which represent the invention of colour Photography. Despite the fact that such a relevant collection of artifacts was offered for public enjoyment, very little was mentioned in all ‘expert’ media and the everyday papers. What a pity.

I just happened to be walking by the area when I saw one of the plates on the window display. I couldn’t believe it!
Girl in Garden with Doll’s Pram, 1910-11
Cows in Early Evening Light, 1910-11
Forest Bridge with Mother and Child, 1910-11
Lyon at Twilight, 1910-11
Girl in Meadow with French Flag, 1910-11
Un Petit Repos, 1910-11
Family Portrait at Countryside Café, 1910-11
(Find more at Mondrian’s Room site)

But who is behind Mondrian’s Room?

In their site you can also see other available work from Doisneau, Muybridge and other historic figures.

Un Regard Oblique, 1948La Petite Balcon, 1953Picasso et Françoise Gilot, 1952Le Fox-Terrier des Ponts de Arts, 1958Les Enfants de la Place Herbert, 1957Giacometti dans son Atelier, 1957

The shop is now closed, but here’s what is coming from them in 2009:

For a start, our gallery and activities will become more mobile.

As major renovation works will be commencing shortly on the South Anne Street buildings, over the next 6 months Aebhric and I will be focussing our energies on developing future exhibitions, and travelling around Europe to source new artworks and collaborating with European curators and collectors. We hope to reopen our gallery space in Autumn.

In early May, we will be relaunching our website with lots of new content and features, to broaden the reach and services of Mondrian’s Room.

During the Summer, we will be working on a new TV programme designed to excite people about international art and photography, and continue exposing Irish audiences to a whole new world of artworks never before seen here. Sneak-peaks will be available on our website.

Our consultancy services will also be expanded, due to growing demand. In February, Mondrian’s Room worked on the installation of the major James Coleman exhibition, currently on view until 26th April at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hibernian Academy, and Project Arts Centre. (James Coleman)

As usual, we will also be sourcing specific artworks for our clients and providing investment advice. Whether you’re looking for drawings, photos, or paintings from any period or country, we will be very pleased to help you in any of your art enquiries.

Looking forward to that!!

via Mondrian’s Room

Joakim Eskildsen: The Roma Journeys.

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I saw ‘The Roma Journeys’ exhibition in Winterthur’s FotoMuseum last Saturday. What an amazing piece of work. I totally recommend you, if you really like Photography and know what Photography is for, to check the full extent of his work. It is a pleasure and a refreshing experience to see photographers engaging in other matters than self-endulgement. In his own words:

“Between 2000 and 2006 I together with writer Cia Rinne undertook travels in seven different countries with a view to gaining an insight into the life of the Roma and the conditions they face. We always tried to spend a considerable length of time among the people whom we wanted to learn about and, if possible, to live with them for a while.
It was our own interest that initially took us to the Roma streets in Hevesaranyos in northeast Hungary, where we spent four months at the home of Magda, an elderly Roma. The other journeys to Romania, India and our travels in Finland came about through personal contact, while in Greece and Russia we were initially assisted by human rights organizations and in France by the Centre de recherches tsiganes in Paris.
These Roma journeys were by no means meticulously planned, and instead the product of a number of coincidences that enabled us to come into contact with the Roma. We endeavored to communicate directly with them. In most countries this was possible, and while in Russia and India we were accompanied on our travels, and thus had willing assistance.
We have frequently been asked what had triggered our interest in the Roma, but we were unable to provide a definitive, let alone exhaustive answer. What is certain is that once we hard started we were unable to simply stop continuing with the project. The more we found out about the Roma and got to know them, the more our interest in and liking for them grew.
In keeping with the different countries traveled, the photographic body of work is divided into seven series, the sequence of which roughly corresponds to the chronology of our journeys.”