Archive for March, 2011

SWF: An Introduction

by on Mar.27, 2011

[Disclaimer: Intro based entirely on the trailer and a vague memory of this movie]

In the summer of 1991, Terminator 2: Judgment Day broke box office records with its techno-apocalyptic vision of the future declaring war on the present day. The following summer, audiences were treated to another sci-fi action horror fantasy about utopian technology and the impending end of human beings. This movie was Single White Female. Its premise is a warning to those of us living in the future: Propagate your image at your own risk. As the plot of this piece of work indicates, a life and the image of a life cannot live at the same time, and so it happens that what validates one’s existence may also eradicate it. The image starts by making demands. It asks where the hell you’ve been. It sleeps with your boyfriend. Finally it burns your clothes and comes after you with a meat hook.

Tonight we’re going to witness a prophetic allegory of the Facebook era, distributed by Columbia Pictures in 1992. Twenty years later we are all celebrities, in love and at war with our image. Tonight, we are all single white females.

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Some More Nathalie Djurberg Clips

by on Mar.26, 2011

[Some youtube clips of Nathalie Djurberg and her claymations.]

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To Intricate Universal Toxic: Kyle Minor & Johannes Göransson

by on Mar.25, 2011

In his review of Johannes’s Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate, Kyle Minor remade my brain a little bit by reinventing the word ‘universalizing’. I usually squawk loudly against celebrations of literature’s ‘universalizing’ force, because such universalizing has a whiff of the Enlightenment about it. It seems to me that to universalize is not so much to invite the whole world to loaf in the shared, bland banquet of humanity, but to colonize the world with one’s own image.

Kyle’s review changed my thinking on that. In applying the word ‘universalizing’ to Johannes’s writing, he led me to see that the nefarious, colonizing thrust of universalization is to be embraced. The ‘unversalizing’ energy of literature is not ethically clean, it’s tainted with history, & is another name for Art’s contaminatory function. It’s the Fascist dimension of Art, dirty, badly-intentioned, well-dressed, devouring, doomed. Continue reading “To Intricate Universal Toxic: Kyle Minor & Johannes Göransson” »

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Ornament/Excess/Fat/Elizabeth Taylor

by on Mar.24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor (actually Snow White by Camille Rose Garcia)

Picking up on Johannes’s post, here’s Manohla Dargis’s paen to Liz in the NYT:

Living large proved a brilliant survival strategy as well as something of a rebuke to the limits of the studio system, both its formulas and false morality, which was all but gone by the time she appeared in “Virginia Woolf” in 1966. Her weight went up and down and the accolades kept coming. She cheated on one husband and then another at a time when adultery was still shocking, and her career kept going. She was a lovely actress and a better star. She embodied the excesses of Hollywood and she transcended them. In the end, the genius of her career was that she gave the world everything it wanted from a glamorous star, the excitement and drama, the diamonds and gossip, and she did it by refusing to become fame’s martyr.

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Ornament/Excess/Fat

by on Mar.24, 2011

It is amazing to me that almost every time I come across the word “ornamental” it is accompanied by the word “excess” or “excessive.” The one word demands the other.

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This can in part be traced to modernism, to the very origins of modernism, for example in Ezra Pound’s various imagist manifesto:

1. To use the language of common speech, but to employ always the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.

5. To produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.

6. Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very essence of poetry…

Of course, Imagism soon became too ornamental for Pound, so he rejected it as Amygism – ie it was too feminine.

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But there’s another element to that and that seems to be Modernism’s idea of itself as a muscular, healthy body.

The ornamental is feminine and ornamental, but also an unhealthy and fatty “indefinite.” The fatty, ornamental body is related to the past; the modern body is healthier, more fit, more energetic.
Continue reading “Ornament/Excess/Fat” »

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My favorite Elizabeth Taylor is a version of American Tragedy

by on Mar.23, 2011

Two homages to Liz emerge from her role in perpetuating the versioning of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy in film (for her, Stevens’s A Place in the Sun and Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma) and fiction (Steve Erikson’s Zeroville), excerpted below:

Jacques Rancière, “The Saint and the Heiress”

And if George Stevens hadn’t used the first sixteen-millimeter color film at Auschwitz and Ravensbrück, undoubtedly Elizabeth Taylor’s happiness would not have found a place in the sun.” The viewer of Histoires du cinéma recognizes in this declaration Godard’s manner of making incisive juxtapositions (rapprochements à l’emporte-pièce). And in this, undoubtedly habit has already had a share in things. She says to herself that it’s indeed interesting that before tackling the cinematic version of An American Tragedy, George Stevens had accompanied the advance of the American army and filmed the death camps in cinema. But she adds here the feeling that, if Stevens had spent the war as an announcer in New York or a parachutist in Burma, this would have ever so slightly altered the way Elizabeth Taylor, in A Place in the Sun, portrayed the beautiful heiress overjoyed by her idyll with the young Rastignac played by Montgomery Clift. Having thus sorted things out, she awaits the provocateur’s next telescoping and prepares herself to handle it in the same way.
Continue reading “My favorite Elizabeth Taylor is a version of American Tragedy” »

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Elizabeth Taylor: Citizen of the Necropastoral, Queen of the Underground

by on Mar.23, 2011

The Queen is Dead! Long and Undead Live the Queen!

a warhol, silver liz

Elizabeth Warhol Taylor is and has always been dead, the undead potential of media, on horseback, draped in silks and white diamonds and kohl eyeliners, counterfeit, celluloid Art in its most beautiful and x-ray-vision form, a gaze that spreads tabloid damage.

From her debut in ‘National Velvet’, her violet/violent eyes were an excessive, uncanny pooling of beauty, Art’s narcissistic pools that overflow and contaminate every thing with their vision. Art’s font is a human animal hybrid, in silks, in satiny eye-shadow drag: Continue reading “Elizabeth Taylor: Citizen of the Necropastoral, Queen of the Underground” »

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Cotner and Hamilton Raid the Armory

by on Mar.23, 2011

Artworld insiders and power couple, Jon Cotner and Claire Hamilton, spent four hours roaming New York’s Armory Show and they documented their afternoon at Paper Monument. Basically, Cotner and Hamilton offer us, the poor, a glimpse into the lives and charisma of their rarefied and beautifully bespectacled friendset. Go see Jon and Claire hash out with their pals how they might blow the wads burning holes in their silk-lined pockets.

Billionaire Mayor Jon Cotner could buy and sell you eight times over.

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New issue of Action, Yes

by on Mar.21, 2011

We’ve been a bit slow but we now have a new issue of Action, Yes, featuring work by Aime Cesaire, Clayton Eshleman, Laura Mullen, Alejandra Pizarnik, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Jackie Wang and a whole bunch of others. It also includes Montevidayo contributors Sarah Fox and Lucas de Lima!

Please stop by:http://www.actionyes.org/

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Strange Political Meetings in the Necropastoral: The Sleepwalkers

by on Mar.21, 2011

1. Last year, the (Mexican-American) fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte collaborated with MAC to introduce a ‘Juarez’ line of cosmetics, featuring blush, eyeshadow, lipstick and nailpolish with names such as ‘Juarez’, ‘Factory’, ‘Ghost Town’, ‘Sleepwalker’, ‘del Norte’, ‘Quinceanera’. The line was inspired by a visit by the Mulleavy’s to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.


2. The women of Ciudad Juárez suffer two notorious distinctions which are not unrelated: they are being murdered at the despicable rate of at least 500 raped, mutilated, murdered, and tossed in the desert over the last 10 years, plus another 500 missing; and they are employed at foreign-owned factories known as maquiladoras, jobs for which they are atrociously underpaid ($55 for a 45 hr workweek, according to Amnesty International). Their work at the maquiladoras leave the women vulnerable to murderer(s); many are snatched and murdered commuting to and from work, walking across the desert to and from bus-stops. The corporations have declined to provide protection for these women or screen busdrivers.

3.The Mulleavys have said that they were inspired by the women they saw in the (dangerous) early hours crossing the deserts or at the busstops; they called these women ‘sleepwalkers’ and made them the focus of their line Continue reading “Strange Political Meetings in the Necropastoral: The Sleepwalkers” »

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The Silk-Upholstered Chair: Art, Death and Media in Classic Rock

by on Mar.20, 2011

I don’t particularly like the Rolling Stones (young or aged), but over the past couple of weeks I’ve listened incessantly to their song “Dead Flowers.” It’s a great song and it seems play into some of our discussions about Art as Media as Death:

I’m fascinated by the first three lines: “When you’re sitting there/ in your silk-upholstered chair/talking to some rich folks that you know.” Especially the “silk-upholstered chair.” Yes, the aestheticism of that idea – the humble chair upholstered into something over-the-top fashionable with orientalist “silk.” But more just the word “upholstered.” Such an unmusical word, such an odd word, calling attention to itself as signifier – an excessive, luxurious word. Ridiculous. Has it ever been used in a pop song before or after?
Continue reading “The Silk-Upholstered Chair: Art, Death and Media in Classic Rock” »

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Solidarity: Does the Body Bleed? Does It Tear or Tear Up?

by on Mar.18, 2011

The People's House

A week ago, I posted on the possibility of realizing the connectedness of widely scattered bodies and hinted at the existence of a larger body politic than the one we are accustomed to acknowledging (http://montevidayo.com/?p=1078). Whereas bodies politic are often thought to be limited by national borders, provinces, districts, and voting bodies, I suggested that the slogan “We Are Wisconsin” is a key marker of the present state of solidarity as well as a potential opening to increase our awareness of solidarity beyond traditional borders. One of the most quoted recent examples of this in the social imagination comes from the report of an Egyptian ordering pizza for protesters in Wisconsin.

In this context, “We Are Wisconsin” means “We Are Egypt” means “We Are Tunisia” means “We Are Libya” means “We Are Yemen” means “We Are Bahrain.” The present state of affairs in all of these places are potentially relatable in sundry and subtle ways. We should add to the list: “We Are Michigan.” I predict that Michigan will rise from its ashes or fall further into domination by corporate heads based on the lived reality of this slogan. I put the slogans in quotes because we must realize that they are inactive until actually spoken, until we have changed posture in some way to accommodate their reality in actual life lived beyond the realm of internet likes and commentary. And it bothers me, really, that more Americans outside of Wisconsin have not yet expressed this reality with more than words, not yet with their bodies. The difference between Wisconsin or Egypt or Tunisia or Bahrain or Libya and Michigan, for example, is that the tweeters were in the streets, not sitting at home. But there is still time.
Continue reading “Solidarity: Does the Body Bleed? Does It Tear or Tear Up?” »

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