Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Said Jonas Mekas.
I thank the internet for being the medium through which I discovered the work of such a profound leader in 20th Century film. Considered the midwife of avant-garde cinema in America, Jonas Mekas made it his life's work to archive, promote and produce many experimental and abstract films that would have otherwise disappeared into obscurity.
He co-founded what was to become the Anthology Film Archives, one of the largest collections of experimental film anywhere in the world. I took great interest in his background as a Lithuanian born internment camp survivor in WWII. Uprooted from his home, made to suffer through an extraordinary circumstance and outliving the horrors of war and death, you can feel the immediacy and the urgency with which he records his experience. In April 1966 he wrote in his film column in the Village Voice,
"Let’s record the dying century and the birth of another man… Let’s surround the earth with our cameras, hand in hand, lovingly; our camera is our third eye that will lead us out and through … Nothing should be left unshown or unseen, dirty or clean: Let us see and go further, out of the swamps and into the sun"
He was very inspired by John Cassavetes' Shadows, stills of which I've posted here in the past. He himself realized that all his practice footage amounted to a enough footage to assemble a personal video diary, which he titled "Diaries, Notes and Sketches" or "Walden". In this carefully edited video, we are aware of a dream like state that the footage induces upon each viewer, playing to Mekas' own memories, not only of New York but of his lost Lithuania. Below are some stills, and some of the footage itself.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
A selection of paintings, drawings and photographs covering the myth of the New World from the nineteenth-century explorations of America,including the Far North, to contemporary explorations of the solar system.COMPILED BY JEREMY NAKLE
Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), Florida scene, oil on canvas
Friday, June 10, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Proclaimed to have been the largest photographs ever taken, the Kodak Colorama Billboards stood 18 feet high and 60 feet wide looming over Grand Central Station's main concourse. Backlit and needing over a mile of cold-cathode bulbs to illuminate them, the billboard was changed once every month for nearly 40 years creating a total of 565 Kodak Colorama billboards in existence. They were shot or art directed by the likes of Ansel Adams and Norman Rockwell, conjuring a type of fantasy nostalgia that I think only Americans can conjure.
The power of photography has always been its claim to preserving a visual record of our history. How authentically they represent the true zeigeist, or aesthetic or compulsions of an era are not always how we determine the value of a particular photo.
The Kodak Colorama series must be valued as a record not of a society, but of the aspirations of one. Their eerie perfection projected an almost comical disconnect from the realities of what most Americans experienced. The vast and endless landscapes, interspersed with happy caucasian nuclear families, seem now like ironic parodies of an America that never was. They are the simulated realites, or as Baudrilliard has called them, the simulacra, of America.
Labels: Kodak Colorama