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  • mono 9:42 pm on September 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Alaska, , , , Doll Underground, Eon McKai, Film, Film director, Logo Movie, , Old Man's Hands, Video art, Vivid Entertainment   

    Brand Strategy: Old Man’s Hands Productions (Eon McKai) 

    Director Eon McKai‘s production company, “Old Man’s Hands” new 2008 “logo movie” presents a change in the Alt-Vivid brand. What are your thoughts on this “logo movie?” Do you think that this new video adequately expresses the aesthetic aims of McKai and company?

    We were able to track down the older “logo movie” for “Old Man’s Hands” and compare the two. The older version shows a tattooed nude body with hands reaching out from both sides of the screen, seemingly touching the body. Also, a close look reveals the words “Eon McKai” tattooed across the woman’s stomach. When the text “Old Man’s Hands” is presented, a voice accompanies it, reading the words for us in a gritty compressed voice.

    The new video shows us a flower being fondled (or broken apart or simply being touched) by what could be the hands of an old man. The scene then suddenly shifts to a saturated frame of a film reel, while the text, neatly aligned to the left, jitters, hovers. No voice or tattooed women can be seen in the new video.

    The new brand image seems well-suited for conneisseurs of abstract visual media and video-art installation pieces. Perhaps, McKai is reaching out to a new audience or working from the influence of contemporary experimental filmwork. Whatever is behind the new brand image, it seems to me to be a positive step toward broadening the audience of his film and displaying his power as a film maker.

    Watch the 2008 “Old Man’s Hands” Logo Movie:

    Watch the old logo movie:

    Old Man’s Hands Logo Movie (old)

    Other McKai links:

    Eon McKai Official

    “The Doll Underground” Release Party @ Little Cave, 4/9/08
    ‘Hospital!’ Release Party @ Redwood Bar & Grill, 8/24/08

  • ‘Circa ’82’ Release Party @ Hyperion Tavern, 6/10/08
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  • mono 9:11 pm on September 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , circa 82, Dave Naz, Film, Human sexuality, , Larry Clark, , , Nan Goldin, photography, Pornographic film, , Roman Polanski, Sexual identity   

    Dave Naz: Transformation of the Erotic 

    Photographs taken by Dave Naz have a tendency to resonate in the mind and spark an erotically haunting urge to want to experience more of his work…and more…and more. His photographs pull at the insatiable, that which cannot be satisfied, while giving us more than just the intensity of a nude body. You may find yourself sucked into the mind of Naz through the moving picture as well, through films such as “Circa ’82,” “Skater Girl Fever” or “L.A. Lust.” Let’s just say that you won’t find these films in the “Family” section of your local video store. You will have to traverse the void and move into the forbidden “back room” for adults. If you are a collector of the carnal or a dilettante of the delightful, then I hope that you can search out and appreciate the work of photographer/film maker Dave Naz.

    Upon seeing his photographs, I am drawn into the space between the body and the setting, into the uniquely Californian backdrop of modern minimalism and sunny, almost “suburban” cheer that ushers into some of his work. The stark clean rooms, living rooms for instance, in which some photos are snapped, interestingly compliment the model, add a new kind of beauty to her physical beauty, set her in a context that almost can “throw off” the sole attention that could be given to her. One is enraptured by the total overall presentation of the photograph, of the styling of a great artist at work showing us a side of human sexuality, showing us a side of beauty captured.

    Similarly, in his film work, one is drawn to the stylization, to the attention to detail that is brought forth and, interestingly, to the music that is used, the soundtrack. While watching one of Naz’s films, I was not sure who the musicians were, but I found myself being drawn into a trance through the melding of music and image; my attention pinballed between the beauty of the scene and a conscious attention to the music: a sludgy groove, stripped down and thick. I knew that the person who selected this particular music, deliberately selected it, made sure that it fit into the aesthetic of the film, that it brought the film to life – opened the film up in a different way. It is not often that upon watching an adult film, one wishes one could buy a copy of the soundtrack.

    Upon perusing his online bio, we find the following observation: “When one looks beyond the surface, the [sexy imagery] is seen as much more: a cultural artifact giving clues to the sexual identities and persona of our time (http://www.davenaz.com).” Perhaps, it is this uncovering of a “sexual identity” that was exposed to me, through the viewing of his art. It is easy to say that there is something “more” which comes through his work, something playfully erotic, yet subtly transformative, something utterly beautiful. For this writer, the world of the erotic has not been the same since.

    Dave Naz was kind enough to lend us some time and appease our request to “pick his brain” regarding music and film. The following five questions will hopefully satisfy you and give you some insight into the taste of the man behind the camera:

    1. What artists have you been listening to recently?

    The new Wolf Parade, Smashing Pumpkins & The Dirtbombs albums

    2. How concerned are you with the music that is used in your films? Do you personally select the artist or track?

    It’s VERY important to me. I pick out all the artists and songs.

    3. What do you think is your most accomplished piece of work thus far in your artistic career?

    Books: Legs & L.A. Bondage. Movie: Circa ’82

    4. What musicians or artists in general would you like to work with?

    Musicians, bands: The Replacements, Lou Reed. Artists: Larry Clark, Nan Goldin

    5. What film directors or cinematographers do you admire or emulate?

    Larry Clark, Roman Polanski

    Thank you, Dave Naz for doing what you do and for taking the time to answer the above questions. If you are interested in Dave Naz, please visit the following link:

    Dave Naz Official Website
    Dave Naz Myspace
    Carnality Circa 82

    Related:

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  • mono 4:21 am on August 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Crispin Glover, Film, Gordon, , , Joel Potrykus, , non-lingual music, , , UICA, , What is it   

    Sob Noisse: Crispin Glover 30 min. interview (Grand Rapids, MI, USA) 

    A friend of mine who runs Sob Noisse productions, currently operating out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, recently sat down with renaissance man Crispin Glover before the Grand Rapids showing of his film “What is it?”/Live Dramatic Narration performance at the UICA (Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts).

    This an intimate 30 minute interview with Mr. Glover discussing such things as the film “What is it?”, audience participation, the craft of acting, non-lingual music, Vincent Gallo and much more.

    CRISPIN GLOVER 30 MINUTE VIDEO INTERVIEW

    The mastermind behind Sob Noisse is a regular contributor to Videohound, acts and directs films.
    Visit his website for more information: Sob Noisse

     
  • mono 3:04 pm on May 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Empathic Understanding, , Extensionality, Film, Internal Evaluation, , , , ,   

    Constructive Creativity 


    In this post, I will again dive into the work of mental health professional Carl R. Rogers from his essay, “Toward a Theory of Creativity.” I will try to provide you with an adequate understanding of his work via my understanding of the text. If you have read Rogers and wish to comment on his ideas of creativity, be my guest, the conversation is yours.

    Social Need and Creative Process

    We live in an age where the roles of active-creator and passive-receiver are changing. With various social media sites and free software applications, one can produce movies, which can be uploaded or share beautiful photographs for free with others. There is a social need to create lest we sink into actless consumerism. The reading of books can change our ways of perceiving the world and the active creation of books or essays can also greatly affect us in myriad ways. Us humans seem to find ourselves in our creations, the vortex of creativity arises from us, comes into us and colors our world.

    The “creative process” as Rogers defines it can be broken down into two parts. The first is that there must be “an observable product of creation.” That is to say, the musician, instead of rehearsing the song only in the confines of the body’s interior, brings it out through the fingers or through the voice. The designer fashions a table or a draft of the table on paper. “Creativity” enters the picture when we examine the tools and the product of the imagination as it exists in reality in accord with other actual creations that exist in the world. That is, we recognize the once-occurrence of the piece of art or of the live speaker’s speech as novel, as something authentic, as something coming from the true part of one’s self and not from a false space.

    Actualization and Inner Conditions

    Human, the incomplete animal, tends toward actualization. The painter leaving the painting half-finished may be haunted by the forgotten project that could have been. The musician sets a goal of completing an album or of crafting a stellar live show. In doing this, the person moves into the realm of the creative, of actualizing an imagined work and breathing life into it, animating it. Moreover, there seems to be a tendency for us to want to perform to our potential. To be caught in a job that you don’t like may mean quitting the job or it may mean to more fully utilize your potential on the job. In either way, the lagging feeling that you are not doing in accord with your potential may usher in and pester the imagination, sometimes fruitfully and other times not. However, where there is “open-ness” to the situation and to and with others, the results of one’s creative endeavors may flourish with felicity.

    The inner conditions, which promote creativity include “extensionality,” “an inner locus of evaluation” and “the ability to play.” Extensionality is Rogers’ term for this “open-ness” to reality. It is to be fluid, to bend and sway with one’s life situations and learn from them. The internal locus of evaluation is the recognition that only one can truly judge oneself and one’s own performance. That is, for example, after performing a concert, the musician needs to be able to fairly examine the performance and try to come to see it an a balanced way. Moreover, there should be the ability to play with the materials at hand, to brainstorm to create without evaulation, to let what wants to emerge, come out and develop under your guiding hand.

    The Creative Act

    But, what about the creative act? What happens in the play known as “the creative act?” Think about your favorite musician and what that musician seeks to create, what that musician seeks to construct. Maybe, if you are like me, you find yourself listening to Austrian experimental guitar music. What exactly did this experimental guitarist/composer wish to bring to life? Whatever it is, perhaps you can sense the essence of the piece, the images that stir in your mind, the blurry outlines becoming crisp, the image becoming clearer and clearer upon closer listening.

    When we listen to that musician, we become aware that we have entered that musician’s world, that the “I” of that musician is communicating with our very own “I.” Similarly, what makes a certain film stick with us. What gives a marvelous film, its marvelous qualities. Whose vision is the film? When we watch a David Lynch film, even if we don’t know that it is a David Lynch film, we can tell by the way the characters interact, by the music, by the atmosphere…We can sense the “I” of Lynch himself through the fantasy world of cinema.

    Factors for Considering Constructive Creativity

    In closing, for Rogers there are roughly four factors that foster constructive creativity. The first, “individual as unconditional worth,” sees the individual as a once-occurrent event, an ever-changing worlding moment. The second factor wishes to alleviate any forms of external evaluation. That is, the school teacher would have to stop comparing grades for grades only work to block the creative process of the student by pitting student against student, student against parent, student against teacher or student versus self. The third factor is empathic understanding of the other, an acceptance of the other as he or she is, which promotes a willingness to share and to express. The fourth and final factor would be allowing the other person complete symbolic expression. In this way, the person may write a poem about a specific traumatizing situation instead of reacting violently toward a real flesh-and-blood other. Or, the writer may write about a powerful experience, that is, expressing it through a symbolic medium. This is freeing.

    Thank you very much for reading. Have a creative and productive day.

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  • mono 11:47 am on April 6, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Aesthetic, Bad Robot, Camera, Cloverfield, Coping, DVD, Film, Hollywood, , , Merzbow, , Release, US, Viral Marketing   

    Cloverfield: The Interfacial Gap 

    Photo by Jorgeq

    The Bad Robot film “Cloverfield” premiered in Japan last night (April 5th). Given the obvious Godzilla inspiration, I am surprised that it took this long to cross the Pacific and more surprising, it appears that the viral marketing campaign that had many theorizing about the story, analyzing still frames, and so on, failed to attract a large online Japanese following. Moreover, a Hollywood movie buff friend of mine mentioned that the commercial even failed to push the production team connection to the series “Lost,” which is hugely popular in Japan. That being said, I was there last night savoring this surprisingly impacting (albeit playfully shallow) film. I must say that despite the shallowness of the characters, I did admire the sound design (Merzbow must be smiling) and the impressive visual effects. Coupled with the hand-held home video aesthetic, the film ends up transporting the viewer into a nightmarish voyeur-experience or maybe it was just the fact that my brain felt gooey after exiting the theater due to the excessive vomit-vision of the camera operator.

    Unreality

    I also admired the continuous realization that what one is watching is a situation as viewed through the interface of a camera. My friend commented that the use of the hand-held camera destroyed any semblance of reality that they were striving for. That is, it was the continuous self-referentiality of the camera that failed to draw her in, that failed to offer her a void in which to sink. In my case, it was the opposite. The continuous reminder that we are seeing this all through the interface of the camera added the self-produced grit that is perpetuated by social networking video sites. The amateurish quality of the framing coupled with the million dollar visual effects, I thought, were pulled off very successfully. In looked at this way, the movie is successful: Let’s embed the viewer in the situation by transforming the camera into a giant human eye. That is, let’s give the viewer the unsettling feeling that they are participating in this destructive event (while still maintaining some distance). However, lets start the film off with a disclaimer so that the interspersed cuts make sense (while adding a sentimental edge) and add a kind of “Area 51” vibe to the entire film (the film as secret military project). Let’s only minimally build the characters and focus on the tremendous panic of the situation, the impact of the movie not being the story per se, but the unfolding shock of the event. That is, this film is to be pure spectacle. Had this film been created in a more traditional way, I think that the horrifying reality of the monster would have been laughable, but given the home video aesthetic, the monster actually came off looking beautifully vivid and unpredictable.

    Interface as Coping Device

    Moreover, I like the idea of the camera person, Hud (?), I think that was his name, only being able to cope with the situation through the interface of the camera. In one scene, he almost gives up all hope, but upon returning to the interfaced reality of the camera, achieves a glint of distance from the reality of the situation. That is, by interacting through the interface of the camera, he is able to confront the situation. Perhaps his getting devoured was not so horrifying as he was spared the horror of never actually confronting the terrifying void of the monster.

    Another scene that I particularly liked was Rob (our hero) searching for a new cellphone battery while a looting is happening in an electronics shop. At one point, our camera faces a TV set, a news broadcast of the destruction. Also, shortly after that, everyone in the store stops and becomes transfixed by the TV screen showing the horror of the event. In this way, we see the reality of the interface in that even though destruction was happening all around them, they were immersed in it, it was only through the interface of the TV that they were able to “see” the story that they were a part of. That is, the interface gave them the ability to get a grip on the chaos that swirled around them.

    Finally, at the end of the film (if you haven’t seen the film…I will ruin it for you), shortly before Rob and Beth are killed they both address the camera directly. At this point, they are doing two things. First, they are retreating into the comfort of the interface knowing that when they die, the camera offers them a chance to remain “undead,” a chance for their story to be understood and a chance for their voices to live on for some unknown other. Second, they are using the interface, again as way to put perspective into the unbelievability of the situation. We must remember that earlier that day Rob was tossing back beers at his going-away party, while preparing for his new life in Japan. The camera allows them to see themselves in relation to the bewilderment of being under fire and under attack. In distancing themselves from the situation, they achieve a moment of peace, then they are crushed. We are left with the last remaining footage of them as happy couple.

    Closing

    In closing, what I liked about “Cloverfield” was the gap between knowing that what one is seeing has already been retrieved by the military and knowing that what is seeing is unfolding before one’s eyes. It is in this wiggly line of panic and security that we are able to comfortably watch as all hope is lost and as characters continue to be devoured before our interfaced eyes.

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  • mono 8:22 am on March 24, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Becoming, , Dissection, Exhaustion, Film, Phantasy, , Possible, The Brown Bunny, The Temporal, ,   

    The Asphyxia of Becoming: Cioran watches “The Brown Bunny” 

    Let us commit the crime of dissection. We shall proceed to cut a Cioranian fragment open, exposing the innards and watching them ripen. The theme: time, the frame: “The Brown Bunny”.

    “I accumulate the past, constantly making out of it and casting into it the present, without giving it a chance to exhaust its own duration. To live is to suffer the sorcery of the possible; but when I see in the possible itself the past that is to come, then everything turns into potential bygones, and there is no longer any present, any future. What I discern in each moment is its exhaustion, its death-rattle, and not the transition to the next moment. I generate dead time, wallowing in the asphyxia of becoming (Cioran 173-174).”

    Vincent Gallo’s film “The Brown Bunny” takes us on a journey across the USA through the decentered gaze of a motorcycle racer named Bud Clay. Bud suffers the woes of being obsessed, haunted, by a past lover named Daisy. In every woman Bud meets, there is a trace of Daisy. However, Bud also suffers what Cioran calls “the asphyxia of becoming,” that is, for Bud there is no present and no future, only the slimey blur of the projected past. In every woman Bud meets and wants to seduce, he sees a chance to regain the present, but ends up utter desolate in not being able to become apart from his obsession with the past that is Daisy. Near the beginning of the film he meets a younger woman in a gas station and asks her to escape with him to California. She is lured in and they drive to her house so that she can pack. Bud is struggling to regain the present, they kiss, she enters the house while Bud waits in his van and, struck by the Cioran “exhaustion of the moment,” deems futile his efforts and leaves. This inability to escape the vortex of his past continues to haunt him and even at the end of the film in the traumatic sexual act with (what could be the ghost of) Daisy, he finds no recourse. The open road is his only comfort and even then…

    Bud suffers the asphyxia of becoming while caught up in the web of a projected past. His vision is clouded by the phantom of Daisy, of his past obsession. Every encounter with another woman, useless. Struggling to regain the present, to have a present and a future bereft of the monsterous past, he nonetheless gives it his best shot, only to be conquered by his own weakness, by the strength of the human condition: time.

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