Sunday, 30 October 2011

Notes from "The face of Garbo" by Roland Barthes

...when the face represented a kind of absolute state of flesh...


...are two faintly tremulous wounds.


She herself knew this: how many actresses have consented to let the crowd see the ominous maturing of their beauty. Not she, however; the essence was not to be degraded, her face was not to have any reality except that of its perfection, which was intellectual even more than formal. The Essence became gradually obscured, progressively veiled with dark glasses, broad hats and exiles: but it never deteriorated.


A mask is but a sum of lines; a face on the contrary, is above all their thematic harmony. Garbo's face representes this fragile moment when the cinema is about to draw an existential from an essential beauty, when the archetype leans towards the fascination of mortal faces, when the clarity of the flesh as essence yields its place to a lyricism of Woman.


...the passage from awe to charm.


As a language, Garbo's singularity was of the order of the concept, that of Audrey Hepburn, an event.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Notes from 'Feel Flows : The Films of Phil Solomon' @ Tate

private made public, but available
non-ironic montage
the compulsion to be with others in language (observation made to someone texting on mobile right after 'Nocturne')
the world ending with water, fire and ice
night photography
lighting as the essence of film
everyone suspect to sentimentality. Hollywood to blame.
economy of gesture
aura as light
night as a field where your eye moves across

nathaniel dorsky
joseph cornell

Films screened :
'What's out Tonight is Lost', 1983, 16mm, colour, silent, 8 min
'Psalm I : The Lateness of the Hour, 2001, 16mm, colour, silent, 10min
'Nocturne', 1980, 16mm, b/w, silent, 10min
'Seasons...', 2011, 16mm, colour, silent, 15min
'Remains to be seen' 1989/94, 16mm, colour, sound, 17min

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Notes from the show 'Progress / OMA' @ Barbican

As a quasi-apocalyptic mood holds us, and the idea of a worldwide wave of 'saving' the environment shows signs of faltering - too expensive, politically unfeasible - we should rediscover the beauty of the desert: not only as a metaphor of our future, but perhaps as a state we could aspire to: present in unimaginable quantities, distributed over the entire globe, pure, often surprisingly habitable, (at least part of the year), they are also easier to "protect" than more demanding ecologies... A good way to begin our future...

What did those billions who left the city leave behind? The countryside is now the front line of transformation. A world formerly dictated by the seasons and the organization of agriculture is now a toxic mix of genetic experiment, science, incidental inhabitation, tax incentives, investment, political turmoil, spill over development, terminal class warfare, in other words more volatile than the most accelerated city...

If 'bloated' is the word that best describes the outcome of many forms of contemporary exaggeration / excess - bloated sectors, bloated bills - can we make sobriety appealing? Generic medicines have been a noticeable success in the war against inflation. Can we achieve the same effect in architecture by introducing GENERICS, designs that focus on essentials, repeatable perhaps, prefabricated even? Projects for instance that would embody legal minimums, foreign worker accommodation, a resurrection of the modernists' existenziminimum*, a voluntary surrender of that is unnecessary, that could have a political potential...

*the minimum accommodation necessary for a dignified existence.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011