PART 3: “THE MODEL COUPLE”
evil controllers, fantastic fashion and futurology — but even as satire this film is far less absurd than the house-format reality shows it foresees…
“I had a big project I wanted to do around 1973. The French had these delusions of grandeur inherited from DeGaulle. They wanted to make, oout of nothing, new cities, and I wanted to show how rediculous all this was. I never got the money to make this film, but I had a government advance. So I developed just part of it about this model couple in a model apartment who were being tested night and day – a science fiction farce. The couple were Anemone and Andre Dussolier; it was her first commercial role and one of his first parts as well.”
— William Klein 1988
“THE MODEL COUPLE” 1977 directed by William Klein
once impossible to find, now part of Criterion’s box set “The Delirious Fictions of William Klein” along with “Mr. Freedom” and “Who Are You Polly Magoo”…
(quote excerpted from a conversation with Johnathan Rosenbaum, “Cinema Outsider: The Films of William Klein”, Walker Art Center 1989)
screened at this years Tribeca Film Festival and set to be released next month on DVD, “Keep Surfing” centers around Eisbach River surfers…
the Eisbach wave, located in the middle of downtown Munich — just outside the Haus der Kunst (big art museum) in the Englischer Garten (big park), about 300 miles from the nearest coast — is a phenomena up there with surfing lake Michigan…
these photos were taken in ’96 and already the wave, which at about 3 feet, hovers in the low 40°s year round, had been surfed for almost a quarter century — people wait in line and drop in from the bank one at a time…
see the travel guide Destination Munich for more photos and a facts about the wave — and a map to Munich’s other wave, the Floßlände in the south…
“KEEP SURFING” 2009 directed by Björn Richie Lob
watch the trailer here…
in Rondônia, Brazil lives the one guy still not on Facebook…
Kinski is not the most isolated man…
The most isolated man on the planet will spend tonight inside a leafy palm-thatch hut in the Brazilian Amazon. As always, insects will darn the air. Spider monkeys will patrol the treetops. Wild pigs will root in the undergrowth. And the man will remain a quietly anonymous fixture of the landscape, camouflaged to the point of near invisibility.
That description relies on a few unknowable assumptions, obviously, but they’re relatively safe. The man’s isolation has been so well-established—and is so mind-bendingly extreme—that portraying him silently enduring another moment of utter solitude is a practical guarantee of reportorial accuracy.
He’s an Indian, and Brazilian officials have concluded that he’s the last survivor of an uncontacted tribe. They first became aware of his existence nearly 15 years ago and for a decade launched numerous expeditions to track him, to ensure his safety, and to try to establish peaceful contact with him. In 2007, with ranching and logging closing in quickly on all sides, government officials declared a 31-square-mile area around him off-limits to trespassing and development. It’s meant to be a safe zone. He’s still in there. Alone.
History offers few examples of people who can rival his solitude in terms of duration and degree. The one that comes closest is the “Lone Woman of San Nicolas“—an Indian woman first spotted by an otter hunter in 1853, completely alone on an island off the coast of California. Catholic priests who sent a boat to fetch her determined that she had been alone for as long as 18 years, the last survivor of her tribe. But the details of her survival were never really fleshed out. She died just weeks after being “rescued.”
Certainly other last tribesmen and women have succumbed unobserved throughout history, the world unaware of their passing. But what makes the man in Brazil unique is not merely the extent of his solitude or the fact that the government is aware of his existence. It’s the way they’ve responded to it.
Advanced societies invariably have subsumed whatever indigenous populations they’ve encountered, determining those tribes’ fates for them. But Brazil is in the middle of an experiment. If peaceful contact is established with the lone Indian, they want it to be his choice. They’ve dubbed this the “Policy of No Contact.” After years of often-tragic attempts to assimilate into modern life the people who still inhabit the few remaining wild places on the planet, the policy is a step in a totally different direction. The case of the lone Indian represents its most challenging test.
A few Brazilians first heard of the lone Indian in 1996, when loggers in the western state of Rondônia began spreading a rumor: A wild man was in the forest, and he seemed to be alone. Government field agents specializing in isolated tribes soon found one of his huts—a tiny shelter of palm thatch, with a mysterious hole dug in the center of the floor. As they continued to search for whoever had built that hut, they discovered that the man was on the run, moving from shelter to shelter, abandoning each hut as soon as loggers—or the agents—got close. No other tribes in the region were known to live like he did, digging holes inside of huts—more than five feet deep, rectangular, serving no apparent purpose. He didn’t seem to be a stray castaway from a documented tribe.
Eventually, the agents found the man. He was unclothed, appeared to be in his mid-30s (he’s now in his late 40s, give or take a few years), and always armed with a bow-and-arrow. Their encounters fell into a well-worn pattern: tense standoffs, ending in frustration or tragedy. On one occasion, the Indian delivered a clear message to one agent who pushed the attempts at contact too far: an arrow to the chest.
Peaceful contact proved elusive, but those encounters helped the agents stitch together a profile of a man with a calamitous past. In one jungle clearing they found the bulldozed ruins of several huts, each featuring the exact same kind of hole—14 in all—that the lone Indian customarily dug inside his dwellings. They concluded that it had been the site of his village, and that it had been destroyed by land-hungry settlers in early 1996.
Those kinds of clashes aren’t unheard of: Brazil’s 1988 Constitution gave Indians the legal right to the land they have traditionally occupied, which created a powerful incentive for settlers to chase uncontacted tribes off of any properties they might be eyeing for development. Just months before the agents began tracking the lone Indian, they made peaceful first contact with two other tribes that lived in the same region. One tribe, the Akuntsu, had been reduced to just six members. The rest of the tribe, explained the chief, had been killed during a raid by men with guns and chainsaws.
If you go to Rondônia today, none of the local landowners will claim any knowledge of these anecdotal massacres. But most aren’t afraid to loudly voice their disdain over the creation of reserves for such small tribes. They will say that it’s absurd to save 31 square miles of land for the benefit of just one man, when a productive ranch potentially could provide food for thousands.
That argument wilts under scrutiny, in part because thousands of square miles of already-cleared forest throughout the Amazon remain barren wastelands, undeveloped. The only economic model in which increased production absolutely depends on increased clearing is a strictly local one. The question of who’d benefit from clearing the land versus preserving it boils down to two people: the individual developer and the lone Indian. The government agents know this, which is why they view the protection of the lone tribesman as a question human rights, not economics.
He eats mostly wild game, which he either hunts with his bow-and-arrow or traps in spiked-bottom pitfalls. He grows a few crops around his huts, including corn and manioc, and often collects honey from hives that stingless bees construct in the hollows of tree trunks. Some of the markings he makes on trees have suggested to indigenous experts that he maintains a spiritual life, which they’ve speculated might help him survive the psychological toil of being, to a certain extent, the last man standing in a world of one.
Some Brazilians believe that the rapid spread of technology itself might protect his solitude, not threaten it. The agents who have worked on the lone Indian’s case since 1996 believe that the wider the story of the man’s isolation spreads—something that’s easier than ever now—the safer he’ll be from the sort of stealthy, anonymous raids by local land-grabbers that have decimated tribes in the past. Technologies like Google Earth and other mapping programs can assist in monitoring the boundaries of his territory. Instead of launching intrusive expeditions into the tribal territories to verify the Indians’ safety, Brazilian officials have announced they will experiment with heat-seeking sensors that can be attached to airplanes flying high enough to cause no disruption on the ground.
I first heard of the lone Indian a little more than five years ago, when I was the South America correspondent for the Washington Post and was interviewing a man who headed the federal department responsible for protecting isolated tribes in the Amazon. He mentioned the man as an aside, giving me a rundown of the latest attempt to force contact with him—the expedition that ended with an agent getting shot in the chest with an arrow.
a survey of the French master…
Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904) was among the most officially honored and financially successful French artists of the second half of the 19th century. His brilliantly painted and often provocative pictures were at the center of heated debates over the present and future of the great French painting tradition. Reproduced using brand new photomechanical processes and dispersed across Europe and America, Gérôme’s images indelibly marked the popular imagination, directly influencing spectacular forms of mass entertainment, from theater to film.
Through most of the 20th century, however, Gérôme’s critical reputation was tarnished by his alleged commercialism and his stubborn opposition to the triumphant avant-garde movements of Impressionism and Postimpressionism. The first comprehensive exhibition of his work in almost 40 years, this exhibition offers the opportunity to reconsider the variety and complexity of Gérôme’s masterful oeuvre.
through 9.12.10 at the Getty…
the art of the deal…
“A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter” by Caleb Larsen, 2009, is a black, acrylic box that places itself for sale on eBay every seven days thanks to an internet connection, which, according to the artist’s conditions of sale, must be live at all times. Disconnections are only allowed during transportation, says the creator.
Larsen tells Wired.co.uk: “Inside the black box is a micro controller and an Ethernet adapter that contacts a script running on server ever 10 minutes. The server script checks to see if box currently has an active auction, and if it doesn’t, it creates a new auction for the work. The script is hosted on a server to allow for updates and upgrades if and when the eBay API (the interface used for 3rd party programs to talk to eBay) changes.”
The technology is designed specifically so that the buying and selling process could carry on ad infinitum, suggests Larsen, who adds that, if eBay “dries up and disappears, then another platform, either propriety or public, can be used for the selling.”
However, the process is also reliant on purchasers agreeing to stringent rules. There are, in fact, 18 terms listed on the eBay auction site, although Larsen is confident that buyers will comply because they could make money by doing so.
Here’s how it works. The purchaser can set a new value for the artwork, which must be based on “current market expectations” of Larsen’s work, and which could be considerably more than the price they paid. When A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter decides it wants to be sold again, bidders will start their battle at the value set by the current owner.
This is where the art collector could make money. However they must first pay any fees to eBay and give Larsen 15 percent of any increase in value of the artwork.
Speaking to Wired.co.uk from Tullum, Mexico, Larsen expressed his confidence that his black box will continue to rise in value. This is, after all, how he will make money, and is the premise of this project and that of some of his past works. These include the Donor Plaque, for which Larsen asked for donations to pay for an artwork and then made the list of these names his finished piece. But will the Tool to Deceive garner the same interest?
Larsen says that responses so far have been generally positive but it will be in six days and seven hours that the artist will see whether his impish bid to make money by combining technology, the internet and art has paid off.