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It seems like such a long time since the last CAVE TALK newsletter. I guess that has to do with the fact that we’ve been holed up in the cave working on the NEW ARTLESS WEBSITE !!!. Empty pizza boxes everywhere etc…….Anyway be sure to check out your email in a few days for more information. The website will probably have a different domain name, www.stichtingartless.com and perhaps a new email address. So when you see an email about this open and read it.
In the last CAVE we watched “BADLANDS” . It was Terence Malik’s first film. It contained all the elements of his later films but with a little more narrative. If some of you are not familiar with the work of this great, very American director check it out and then go on to films like, “THE THIN RED LINE” ,“TREE OF LIFE” and his latest, just out “SONG TO SONG”. His films have a unique mixture of sublime cinematography, philosophical voice-over’s and scores that are really overwhelming. The use of the voice-over should be especially interesting for those involved in the “Dogs on Art” video. Using the voice over technique to support and contrast the visual images having the effect of bringing you deeper into the visuals rather than being a substitute for advancing the narrative. The images, sounds and voice bring you into a spiritual FLOW. I guess something like how a title could open different doors to an art work.
“Badlands” is certainly one of my top 5 along with “Le Mepris”, “ La Maman et La Putain”, “Faces”, and “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”, “Les 400 Coups”, “Walk in the Sun” etc. etc. Certainly not the greatest films ever made but films that made the greatest impact on me. The main and only criteria for any Top 5 list I guess the right film at the right time. Hopefully we’ll get around to all those films before the end of the CAVE season.
Before the film we as always had an interesting discussion about the necessity to know what you want your work to be about. The problems with suddenly recognizing what your work is (could be) about and then letting that take over in the making process. And as a consequence that the work stops being “yours” and becomes “theirs”. The moment you become an assistant to a known image or even worse a known effect. Related to this was the discussion about the problem/paradox of how to go further with a work and when to stop with a work. and at the same time being aware that when you understand and recognize it you have probably then gone too far. Per definition, no clear answer to that question.
Also Gertje brought along some beautiful color photos of simple landscape fragments.The framing and technical perfection of the photos transformed them into an abstraction then made you constantly aware that the realistic image that you saw was only a visual layer over something larger. I couldn’t help but see the similarity between these photos and how Terence Malick uses the camera to delve deeper into the philosophical possibilities that his images and sound suggest.
The next CAVE will happen on Wednesday 29 March. In the not too distant future when the class schedule is not so full the CAVE will be knockin on the door of the Stedelijk for the Seth Price exhibition and of course to the FOAM for the William Eggleston show. As chance would have it we discussed some works of Seth Price in regard to that question about allowing the viewer to be an active visual investigator of an image or work.
Eggleston’s use of composition and especially color to infuse the everyday, banal subject matter with a sublime spirituality is I think also directly related to Malick’s aesthetics. Finding beauty, reflection and hidden spirituality in the badlands of America.
This will be the last CAVE TALK that will come in the emails. Starting with the new website they’ll be posted on the CAVE TALK BLOG.