Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth

“Whether Nick Cave’s efforts qualify as fashion, body art or sculpture…they fall squarely under the heading of Must Be Seen to Be Believed.” Roberta Smith, The New York Times

Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth, until May 30, 2010 at the Fowler Museum, UCLA, USA. —is the largest presentation of work by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave (not that one), featuring thirty-five of his “Soundsuits”—multi-layered, mixed-media sculptures named for the sounds made when the “suits” are performed.

Evocative of African, Caribbean and other ceremonial ensembles as well as haute couture, Cave’s work explores issues of transformation, ritual, myth and identity through a layering of references and virtuosic construction, using materials as varied as yarn, beads, sequins, bottle caps, vintage toys, rusted iron sticks, twigs, leaves, and hair. Mad, humorous, visionary, glamorous and unexpected, the Soundsuits are created from scavenged ordinary materials and objects from both nature and culture, which Cave re-contextualizes into extraordinary works of art. The Fowler is the first LA-area museum to feature Cave’s work and the only Southern California venue for this traveling exhibition.

The Fowler presentation of this exhibition holds particular meaning for the artist and for Los Angeles because Cave’s first Soundsuit was sparked by the civil unrest in Los Angeles in 1992 following the acquittal of the officers involved in the Rodney King beating. The Soundsuits almost always cover the whole body, erasing the identity of the wearer. Thus, the Soundsuits can be understood as coats of armor, shielding Cave from the day-to-day prejudice he encounters as an African American man, and facilitating a transformation into an invented realm of vibrant associations and meanings.

“In addition to this particular relevance for Los Angeles, Nick Cave’s Soundsuits resonate with many of the genres of global art for which the Fowler is known, including African masquerade ensembles, Haitian Vodou beaded flags, Carnival costumes and examples from our vast textile collections,” says Marla C. Berns, Shirley & Ralph Shapiro Director of the Fowler Museum. “This presentation is one in a succession of solo shows focusing on works by artists that speak to the Museum’s collections and exhibition history and highlight our capacity to provocatively consider interdisciplinary international work.” Other such artists with recent solo exhibitions at the Fowler are El Anatsui, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Samta Benyahia and Edouard Duval-Carrié.

For this exhibition, Cave also employs animal imagery in ways as complex and multi-layered as the human-based suits. While conjuring the spiritual strength and power of animal totems used in ancient rituals from around the world, Cave’s Soundsuits also become vessels of transformation, and seek to connect us to the earth and the animals around us. Using wit and humor and a fanciful sensibility, Cave’s Soundsuits beg us to pay attention and to dream of a different future.

“To me, everything outside of myself is community. I don’t see myself as an artist but as a humanitarian using art to create change. My hope is that these new Soundsuits will cause people to find ways to live with each other, extend our compassion to other communities, and take care of our natural resources. If I can create an opportunity to bring people of all creeds, identities, and interests together, then I am doing my work,” said Nick Cave.

A video montage of the suits being worn in performance will give viewers a sense of the cacophony of sounds and sensations that are integral to the work. In addition, the Fowler is partnering with dancers and choreographers in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures to create a series of performance-interventions (termed by Nick Cave’ Soundsuit Invasions’) in and around Los Angeles that will animate a special set of wearable Soundsuits. Times and locations for these Soundsuit Invasions will be announced via the Fowler’s Fowler’s Twitter feed and Facebook page


About Nick Cave
Cave received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1982 and MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1989. He studied fiber art, but is committed to a broad spectrum of interests and disciplines. Cave is an associate professor and chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he teaches in the Fiber Arts Program. He has led workshops on topics such as Extending the Body: Experiments in Clothing and has designed, manufactured, and marketed his own line of men’s and women’s clothing. He has received numerous awards including the United States Artist Fellow Award (2006) and Joyce Award (2006), and his work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and Europe.

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.

Trouble of some kind

“On a chilly January morning 24 years ago, Corydon optometrist Jack Moss raised his new video camera to the sky over central Florida and captured one of the darkest moments in American space exploration the explosion of the shuttle Challenger.

In the videotape, a stream of white smoke behind the climbing shuttle shoots into view but Moss, his wife and a neighbor noticed immediately that More..something was amiss when the channel separated into two streams.

‘Thats trouble of some kind’, Moss can be heard saying. ‘That didnt look right.’

Moments later, someone is heard telling Moss that the Challenger had blown up.”

Via YouTube

The Look of the Irish

From RTE,

“ON TV, ONLINE AND THE RTÉ STILLS LIBRARY, LOOK OF THE IRISH CELEBRATES THE PHOTOS WHICH HAVE SHOWN US WHO WE ARE SINCE 1839.”

‘The Look of the Irish’ is a series of 9 programs dedicated to Photography and representation. This is the list:

Fergus Bourke: In His Own Words.

Fergus Bourke: In His Own Words

RTÉ One, 11.10pm on Sunday 9 August 2009

Made shortly before his death, this moving portrait of renowned photographer Fergus Bourke was first shown in May 2007. It introduces us to his life and work and the wide array of Irish life captured through his lens, including Dublin street scenes, pioneering photo-journalism, remarkable portrait photographs and classic images of Connemara and the Irish countryside.

Robert, William, and Alec Day

Day By Day By Day

RTÉ One, 7.30pm on Monday 10 August 2009

Robert, William, and Alec Day photographed their native Cork for over 100 years, creating a unique and unsurpassed photographic record of the city and its surroundings. This new documentary tells the story of an unusual family and the images they produced, from visiting kings and streetscapes to naked ladies and departing liners.

Michael Ryan

The Day Before Yesterday

RTÉ One, 8.30pm on Monday 10 August 2009

First broadcast in April 1994, ‘The Day Before Yesterday’ looks back at Ireland in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, as shown through the lens of Jesuit and photographer Fr. Francis Browne. Scripted and narrated by Michael Ryan, over 2,000 photographs from Fr. Browne’s collection of 40,000 are seen onscreen, a fascinating account of the birth and growth of independent Ireland record, of the people and the times.

David Farrell - Elusive Moments

David Farrell – Elusive Moments

RTÉ One, 11.05pm on Monday 10 August 2009

David Farrell is the only Irish photographer to have won the European Publishers’ Award for Photography, for his hugely successful exhibition Innocent Landscapes, dealing with the searches for the so-called “disappeared” from the conflict in the north of Ireland. Shot in Dublin, Wicklow, Cork, Italy and Paris, Elusive Moments follows two years of his working life, taking photographs, editing and printing his pictures, preparing them for exhibitions, and dealing with the marketplace.

Edward Quinn

Riviera Cocktail

RTÉ One, 11.25pm on Tuesday 11 August 2009

The Côte D’Azur in the 1950’s was the most glamorous place on the planet, where high society, big business, art, music and literature gathered to play. And Irish photographer Edward Quinn (1920 – 1997) was there to record it, producing exclusive photos of Grace Kelly, Federico Fellini, Pablo Picasso, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas, Sophia Loren, Edith Piaf, Max Ernst, Frank Sinatra, Brigitte Bardot, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Miles Davis and so many more.

Sweet-Cork-of-Thee

Sweet Cork Of Thee – Edwardian Cork On Camera

RTÉ One, 7.30pm on Wednesday 12 August 2009

Some 15 years before Tomas MacCurtain and Terence McSwiney defined Cork’s republican credentials, English cinematographers Mitchell and Kenyon observed an altogether more ‘loyal’ Cork than that portrayed in the Rebel Cork story. In this RTÉ Archive Unit documentary, first shown on Christmas Day 2005, Pat Butler casts a wry eye on the Citizens of Cork, as they sport and play and go about their lives on the Banks of the Lee in 1902, spiced with Victorian and Edwardian ballads.

darkroom1

Dark Room

RTÉ One, 11.55pm on Wednesday 12 August 2009

First shown in February 2003, Dark Room looks at the life of the famous Irish photographer, Harry Thuillier, Jnr. Born in Dublin in 1984, his subject matter was noted for its particular darkness, including ancient skulls, limbs decorated with opium pods and flowering nudes. He survived an attack on a Dublin street which left him with only 80% vision in his right eye, and went on to make very distinctive and beautiful work, until his unexpected and mysterious death in Milan in December 1997.

man-who-shot-beckett2-1

The Man Who Shot Beckett

RTÉ One, 11.05pm on Thursday 13 August 2009

John Minihan is probably the most important Irish photographer alive today, his subjects ranging from Francis Bacon to John Hurt, Princess Diana to William Burroughs, his acclaimed pictures of Athy, and the famous series of photographs he took of Samuel Beckett in London and Paris. This profile of Minihan was first shown as part of RTÉ Beckett 100 in April 2006 and celebrates the friendship between Beckett and the photographer, a friendship that produced some of the most remarkable images of the great writer.

NotFadeAway-BoyTurfDonkey

Townlands: Not Fade Away

RTÉ One, 8.30pm on Friday 14 August 2009

In the wet and windy summer of 1913 two young women arrived in Ireland from France. Marguerite Mespoulet and Madelaine Mignon were women on a mission – to document what they regarded as the dying remnants of a great Celtic culture. During May and June 1913 they made a total of 75 colour photographs, stunning images, many with the delicacy of paintings, which together with their travel notebook, form a unique and fascinating record of an Ireland that, even then, was quickly fading away. (First shown in August 2004.)

The official site for ‘The Look of the Irish’ is here:
http://www.rte.ie/lookoftheirish/index.html

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:
Antichrist

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 *

IFI:
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.