Microcinema, Zen TV & Illegal Art


Seen recently in Melbourne: an almost ferocious flock of pigeons completely covering a boy who in turn was completely art prank covered in bread-crumbs and wearing these weird Japtech googles that gave off the tiniest flickerings of light. No idea what he was watching, but here’s a few other options for your eyeballs.

– Has probably one of the largest DVD libraries of short and experimental films in the world, where you can browse and then order unusual bits like ‘Tales of Mere Existence’ by Lev ( see www.ingredientx.com ), which has Lev dry-narrating his way through a series of daily blunderings, ponderings and brutally honest reflections on his ability to meet women and assimilate into society. All of this is illustrated literally, by filmed live drawings ( by Lev who is a comic artist ) on tracing paper of the characters and events involved. Lazily lo-fi but on the money anyway.

On another bent, the Films of Brent Simon compile a gorgeously shot collection of abstract yet evocative shorts – gentle xylophonics guiding silhouetted camera edits, a narrated remembrance about the ‘girl who would do anything’ and high school hard-ons, experiments with multiple voices, on-screen ‘windows’ and high-speed photo copy outputs. There’s hundreds of such films to browse through, so the microcinema compilations might be a good place to start.

Zen TV
A DVD retrospective of Ninja Tune videos has seemed inevitable given their emphasis on the visual as well as audio, and now that it’s finally arrived, they’ve amassed quite a body of work to choose from. And so the DVD delivers thirty something tracks such as Coldcut & Hexstatic’s infamous ‘Timber’ chop-up of greenpeace footage, a range of Funky Porcini gems, the Sesame Street & Pointer Sisters Pinball Number Count cut-up by DJ Food, the home-made colours of Neoptropic & plenty of other animations, clips & AV collages. All up tis a tasty mix, with an exclusive 60 minute audio mix and an extended Hexstatic Video mash-up – though the Hex boys recent live av ‘party set’ in oz seemed a bit flat & jukeboxy.

“Borrowing from another artwork–as jazz musicians did in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators did in 1940s–will now land you in court. If the current copyright laws had been in effect back in the day, whole genres such as collage, hiphop, and Pop Art might have never have existed. The irony here couldn’t be more stark. Rooted in the U.S. Constitution, copyright was originally intended to facilitate the exchange of ideas but is now being used to stifle it.” – illegal-art.org

Compiled from an exhibition showcasing a range of creative approaches to copyright, this is quite a cool DVD showcasing a madcap collection of ‘art and ideas on the legal fringes of intellectual property’. Pieces range from Brian Boyce ‘State of the Union teletubby remix’, a bizarre ‘Barbie Audition’ where a narrator tries to get his way with an auditioning Barbie, to a Tim Maloney & Negativland look at Disney characters – apparently featuring much footage made after hours by a Disney worker. The highlight for me though, was Todd Hayne’s grainy retelling of Karen Carpenter’s battle with fame and anoxeria, and eventual death – all re-enacted in 70s film colours by stopmotion barbies. Also exhibited, but missing from the DVD and worth catching if you can, are Craig Baldwin’s “Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America” – a skewed history of United States intervention in Latin America and a satire on conspiracy thinking, and “Iraq Campaign 1991” – a phenomenal collage by video artist Phil Patiris who cleverly & powerfully transforms network news footage, clips from Star Trek, and sports coverage into a ‘critique of the media/industrial complex’. Check the site for more info, as well as many related articles and audio downloads.

Links Of the Week:

Massive library of freely available online audio and video, as used by artists such as People Like Us and Cold Cut. And you can also upload your own works there ( free web storage anyone? ).

Showcasing alternatives to All Microsoft Products, by someone with an obvious bee in their bonnet about Microsoft’s prices, privacy compromises and quality.

Autobot Roulette:

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