I am currently catching up on all the readings I should have read when I was 22, and here is a quote that struck me, re: my Agrifash pieces (and perhaps Agrifashionistas in general), it is Adorno in a letter he wrote to Benjamin in response to reading a draft of "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction":
[On "great art" versus populist cinema] - "Both bear the stigmata of capitalism, both contain elements of change....Both are torn halves of an integral freedom, to which however they do not add up. It would be romantic to sacrifice one to the other, either as the bourgeois romanticism of the conservation of personality and all that stuff, or as the anarchistic romanticism of blind confidence in the spontaneous power of the proletariat [insert other contemporary noun here] in the historical process - a proletariat which is itself a product of bourgeois society....The laughter of the audience at a cinema...is anything but good and revolutionary; instead it is full of the worst bourgeois sadism."
Oh, dark, isn't it? Is it possible to laugh without sadism? And though this is not what he means, it makes me think of the source of some laughter today (in the art world) as exactly the failed attempt to reunite the torn halves of high and low. And then, when laughter is inspired by failure, who is the victim of the sadism? Our poor little bourgeois selves?
And speaking of me.......a summary of my pieces!
1. The Brethren of the Stone: Iron Man - video
This is the sequel to Comfortably Numb, a video I finished in late 2006. It is the 2nd in a trilogy. In this installment, we see my main monk-heretic move to the big city. Alienation, on various fronts, ensues: between the other monks that have been "citified"; between him and the first woman he ever meets, the Iron Princess; and between him and Brutalist architecture. As much as Comfortably Numb was a gentle coming-of-age tale set in the forest, this one is another type of coming-of-age approximating the tenor and pace of the contemporary city: cartoonish and noir at once, cut with rapid clip architectural montage.
As with the last, it is also mainly a music video, centered on covers of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" as the motif of urban society.
In the first, a brass band plays it in a feeble battle with the nature demons, then the tune is picked up by the Iron Knight in a guitar solo laid over marching band, set in the Barbican roof conservatory. Nature has been safely contained in the concrete spaceship. In the second, Iron Man has been translated into Italian and rewritten as a late-era (think Verdi) aria for female voice. This is pitted against Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage" translated into Latin and written as a medieval plainchant for male voice. Male-female, country-city, medieval-industrialization, latin-italian, flesh-iron, acid-heavy metal. Who wins?
In the editing process at the moment.
2. Iron Man's Fear Parade - Saturday, March 15
Fear embodied in various (anti-)warrior camps (thanks Lula!): different genres of dance groups parading down from Arnold Circus to Hoxton Square. It was a simple call to dancers: to enact a state of fear. Let's see what they come up with. There are still a couple TBD's: will there be a live brass band to accompany the groups? Will there be banners declaring the "state of fear", or some type of title delineating the groups from each other? Will the figureheads, Iron Knight and Iron Princess, show up? Will I actually find cheerleaders in London?
My initial thought: a birdseye view of the urban street, during the day. Streams of people, each embodying fear consciously or unconsciously, towards real or imagined aggressors to their victimhood in perpetuity. It is quite a serious problem, here. The idea is to exaggerate it, and thus illuminate this dark situation. And of course for sh** and giggles........oh! The bourgeois sadism!
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