Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saw You In the Film Where the Children Write On Glass

So what have I been up to so far in Glasgow? Mostly music and film stuff. I've seen Je Suis Animal, Wake the President, A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Basil Pieroni, All My Friends, The Thanes, Ulric Kennedy, Roy Moller, Friends of the Bride, Hyena, Hey Enemy and Selfish Cunt. And Calvin Johnson is playing on Saturday in that church on Great Western Road you always used to pass on the way to NPL! I missed Je Suis Animal at Indietracks so I was lucky to catch their intense set at Nice & Sleazy. Three guitars, one of which was a Burns Double Six. Wake the President are still getting better and the new songs sound brilliant. Watch out for "Miss Tierney". Another Double Six turned up at Eyes Wide Open at The Twisted Wheel, where Edinburgh's garage legends The Thanes did a loud and fuzzy set and I'm very happy I finally got a chance to see them. Eyes Wide Open seems like a great club night and any Flipside regulars ought to love it. All My Friends did their last ever gig at The State Bar's country night Don't Mess With Texas, supported by Butcher Boy's Basil Pieroni. They had a new song, that I recorded with my camera because no one will probably get to hear it again! Ulric from The Catalysts did a solo set at The Halt which apparenlty had two more ex-Mixers in attendance. He's got a full band together for the 15th, which is more than what I hoped for!

Filmwise I've seen Pierrot le fou, Made In USA, Team America, Angel-a, Hardware, and a Luke Fowler short. The latter was screened downstairs at Stereo as the first in a series of art films every Sunday afternoon. It was introduced by the artist and followed by two films chosen by himself. Both really interesting, the first one was a Hollis Frampton piece called (nostalgia) revolving around a set of photographs from the 60s. It was the second film that made the biggest impression on me though. Peter Gidal is an English structuralist filmmaker and we got to see his Conditions of Illusion from 1975. As a structural work it examines the formal qualities of cinema and is suitably a silent, as the moving picture is the only feature unique to the medium (medium-specificity being of huge concern for formalists). This 30 minute film is essentially one take of an interior, with occasionally frantic camera movements, repeated three times. Only intermittently does the footage coalesce into regoniseable imagery. As the title suggests it investigates how little visual information we need to create the illusion of three-dimensional space, movement and time. At first we are merely trying to make out what is in front of us, obviously struggling. The first time the sequence repeats we minutely compare what we see to the images in our memory. We no longer seek objects and backgrounds but imagery itself. During the second repeat the illusion is complete as we don't even question what we see. Traditional filmmaking is to a large extent about creating anticipation and reaching a resolution. Here, Gidal has achieved the very same with a minimum of means. The rule of three is widely used in films within the Hollywood system, where information is often duplicated over mise-en-scène, dialogue and soundtrack. An interesting thing occured during the screening; not only were there vertical green lines down the middle of the screen throughout, but dust started collecting at the top of the screen as the film rolled. We all assumed it was part of the film, until they had to stop the roll to blow it off. Interruptions and distractions of course also affect the lllusion the filmmaker is trying to create, and it's fascination how much we can accept in order to loose ourselves in the cinematic world. I could have watched it all day. The context and conditions in which we watch things is a very interest area of film studies. This Sunday they're screening Holy Mountain, which should also be good.

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