pyramid beach…

Home » 2010 » November

Monthly Archives: November 2010





Parisian hospital break room graffiti…


Concealed within several of Paris’ hospitals, strange paintings give testimony to one of France’s most singular subcultures. In The Obscene Image, photographer Gilles Tondini has documented these frenzied frescos, created by medical interns who use hospital break rooms to let off steam and maintain sanity as they work to save lives. The break rooms—known as salles de garde—the interns ignore the rules of decorum observed throughout the rest of the hospital, and create a new order—in the name of maintaining traditions, and, of course, to relieve stress.

Graphic, sexually charged, saturated with color and lewd references, these little known images manifest all the frustrations, stresses, highs, and lows that medical professionals anywhere must deal with in their quests to keep people healthy. The manic murals provide visually compelling insight into how the medical professionals of 12 hospitals around metro Paris struggle to keep their minds healthy and their connection to their peers alive. Along with all of its sexual content, the imagery in The Obscene Image draws from cultures high and low, ancient and modern. Nothing, from the Bible’s Last Judgment and chivalric tales to comic book heroes and villains, is too sacred to be farced.


“L’IMAGE OBSCENE” 2010 by Gilles Tondini



another dispatch from the end of the world as we know it


Two Nashville filmmakers have been traveling the country shooting an elegy to Kodachrome film, which went out of production last year and will cease being developed in December.

This week, their journey brought them to Rochester, where the color film got its start around 1935. “It’s an American icon,” Davis Watson said of Kodachrome. “It’s incredibly gorgeous and it’s very necessary for us to just come up and touch this place … to see where this thing really got off the ground.”

After learning that Dwayne’s Photo in Kansas — the world’s last Kodachrome processor — planned to stop developing the film, Watson and Jake Smith started shooting a documentary of the film’s era, along with a series of vignettes and experimental narratives, all on Kodachrome.

Smith and Watson were in New York City earlier in the week shooting a short film that showed the band The Last Royals trying to navigate the city with a carpet wrapped in a two-by-four with a drum suspended from the middle. On Tuesday, they were at the George Eastman House, watching early films shot with Kodachrome, with the help of Ed Stratmann, the museum’s associate curator of motion pictures.

Smith and Watson are using the website Kickstarter to raise money for their Kodachrome project and have received pledges of about $9,000 toward their $12,500 goal. Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money will change hands so Watson and Smith are hoping for more pledges by their deadline, which is today.

As the clock winds down on Kodachrome, Davis said they plan to “shoot, shoot, shoot before it’s too late.” He encourages others to do the same. “You have six weeks to enjoy one of the most beautiful color palettes that has ever been offered to photographers and cinematographers.”


check the website for more info…

celebrate the end at the American Cinematheque 12.9.10…


three projects…


Bernard Tschumi Architects design buildings, bridges, and plazas that blur the boundaries between art, society, symbol, and function. They are responsible for some of the most staggeringly original and unforgettable — and sometimes controversial — edifices and public projects, both built and imagined, in the modern world. From the 1983 high-profile urban sculptural experiment of Paris’ Parc de la Villette, to the more recent Blue residential tower watching over New York’s Lower East Side, Tschumi’s progressive vision of fractured, expressive architecture embraces new materials, vibrant color, and the element of surprise.

(FLAVORPILL  11.25.10)


BLUE Residental Tower: New York, 2004-2007

This residential mid-rise in New York’s Lower East Side presented a major design challenge: how to create an original architectural statement while simultaneously responding to the constraints of the New York City zoning code and to the developer’s commercial requirements? BLUE did not start with a theory or a formal gesture, but took the character of the site as its source, parlaying intricate zoning into angulated form, and form into a pixelated envelope that both projects an architectural statement and blends into the sky, simultaneously respecting and embracing the dynamism of the neighborhood.

Acropolis Museum: Athens, 2001-2009

The challenges of designing the new Acropolis Museum began with the responsibility of housing the most dramatic sculptures of Greek antiquity. The building’s polemical location added further layers of responsibility to the design. Located at the foot of the Acropolis, the site confronted us with sensitive archeological excavations, the presence of the contemporary city and its street grid, and the Parthenon itself, one of the most influential buildings in Western civilization. Combined with a hot climate in an earthquake region, these conditions moved us to design a simple and precise museum with the mathematical and conceptual clarity of ancient Greece.

Rouen Concert Hall and Exhibition Complex: Rouen, 1998-2001

Initiated as a civic tool capable of fostering both the economic expansion and cultural development of the Rouen district in the 21st century, this concert hall and exhibition center are well-located near the entry to Rouen, less than an hour-and-a-half by car from Paris. As seen from National Route 138, the 8,000-seat concert hall, open public space, and new 70,000-square-foot exhibition hall provide a strong contemporary image, a spark of cultural and economic rebirth placed on 70 acres of a site structured by dramatic lighting and a grid of plantings.



a contribution to Nick Rombes’ REQUIEM // 102 project



from “Los Caprichos” by Francisco Goya…


THE FRAME (14:28:02)


ANGLE DOWN from the ceiling.  CENTERED.  Bug’s eye view.  Summer.  Two YOUNG LOVERS dream — transcendent — REQUIEM yet to come…

A single piece of a camera move — a move that has BLACKNESS wiping through the scene — the dark just a step ahead of the young lovers — the frame in question, a frozen moment of blackness hovering there — as much a part of the equation as the lovers themselves — in danger of being overcome by their own darkness…

boom down and push in…

This particular frame made curious — not so much by what’s missing as by what’s replaced it — a full third of the frame lost to nothing — obscured, negated by the back side, dark side, of a light — a frame INTERRUPTED — incomplete — unfinished…


Two dope fiends face up into  a LIGHT we see only as blackness — ascending to a kind of false heaven — escaping into the VACUUM — void, interrupting — like a landing strip for anything we might carry in — movie screen in negative to project your dreams on — an infinity of dope space…

A way out — an escape — a hole — a DOPE HATCH — a swath of black tar — a black band — black armband (signifies death, loss, mourning) — a token of remembrance — accompanied by a moment of SILENCE — remembering a loss — a requiem — a lost friend — a flushed dream…


Plastered but UNPAINTED — not stripped bare — just uncooked — RAW — unfinished — limbo — somewhere between a beginning and an end…  Summertime again — hard edges, sharp angles and jagged plasterwork like a network of veins — a circulatory system with a big BLACK HEART — murky, pallid, dark, sombre — all light artificial — the hard lines linked together like a network of veins, vessels, arteries…


Occupy only 7 percent of the frame — as if by afterthought — our heros — THROWAWAYS — snuck in before the pain — the only organic matter in a frame filled with hard lines — shoes on — punched out — two zeros — almost fused — so close, but not connected — nothing and nothing is nothing — EYES CLOSED — adrift — in their minds — the vacuum filled by potential — hope before truth sets in — bodies sailing, terrified of being alone…


Cradles them — the only surface there with any forgiveness, comfort, softness — modern — matches the lamp — a summer couch (the couch changes with the seasons) — couch as SPACE SHIP — their raft — dope is rocket fuel — the couch swallows them as the rising tide swallows Goya’s dog…



When I first saw the image from minute 14, my favorite painting came to mind…


French Navy shipwreck — a makeshift raft riding heavy swells — 15 survivors, broken men without hope — 13 days lost at sea — starving, dehydrated, loosing their minds — a ship APPROACHES from the distance…

The event fascinated the young artist, and before he began work on the final painting, he undertook extensive research and produced many preparatory sketches. He interviewed two of the survivors, and constructed a detailed scale model of the raft. His efforts took him to morgues and hospitals where he could view, first-hand, the colour and texture of the flesh of the dying and dead. As the artist had anticipated, the painting proved highly controversial at its first appearance in the Paris Salon, attracting passionate praise and condemnation in equal measure.


1819 – “EL PERRO”

And then I thought of Goya’s dog…


Painted directly on a wall — untitled — not for the public to see.

A DOG — adrift in flood water — LOOKS UP — solitary, lost,  neglected — flood slowly growing to devour…

A depiction of man’s futile struggle against malevolent forces; the black sloping mass which envelopes the dog is imagined to be quicksand, earth or some other material in which the dog has become buried.  Having struggled unsuccessfully to free itself, it can now do nothing but look skywards hoping for a divine intervention that will never come.



“REQUIEM // 102”

102 minutes, 102 frames…


October 27 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream. To mark that and to extend the super-charged, experimental aspects of the film, REQUIEM // 102 examines/explores/riffs on/detours from/responds to/aggravates/supplements one frame from each minute of the film. 102 minutes = 102 frames. Inspired by the creative constraints that have produced projects such as Longshot! Magazine and 50 Posts about Cyborgs, the project aims to push the boundaries of the medium and experiment with new ways of thinking and writing about film. You do not need to be a fan of the film to participate. This is an archaeological survey of the film, not an ode to it. There are no editorial constraints on the approach you take to your assigned frame, except that it be compelling.

Each contributor is assigned one frame from the film. Each frame will be taken from a separate minute from the film. For instance, frame #52 will correspond to minute #52. Contributors will write something “about” the frame in somewhere between 200 and 2,000 words, or create a visual response (i.e., a poster, an image, a graph, etc.). The length of the contribution is not as important as its power. How contributors decide to respond to the frame is entirely up to them. The project launched November 1, beginning with a frame from minute #1.

(REQUIEM // 102)

for more information and an archive of REQUIEM//102 posts

“REQUIEM FOR A DREAM” 200 directed by Darren Aronofsky

coming tomorrow — MINUTE 14


“a genealogy of ideas…”


This year, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat would have turned 50 years old. And in half-century celebration, there are events all over the world: In Paris, you can see more than 100 of his works at the Museum of Modern Art through January 2011, as well as a special exhibition at Galerie Pascal Lansberg. In other cities, you can catch Tamra Davis’ new documentary, The Radiant Child, centered on an interview the director shot with Basquiat 20 years ago. And in New York, a Basquiat exhibition was on display for much of the fall at the Robert Miller Gallery, in Chelsea.

But in Los Angeles, there resides a much more personal collection. At LeadApron, a gallery on Melrose Place, gallerist Jonathan Brown has an unusual collection of ephemera: 112 pieces belonging to Basquiat, including self-portraits and even the signature bow tie he wore in his hair, all from the last year of his life.

Brown acquired this collection about five years ago from an old friend, Kelle Inman, Basquiat’s last girlfriend. “Kelle had a real mothering instinct; she wanted to care for you,” Brown says. “I think that may have been some of her connection to Jean-Michel, because she spent the last year of his life with him. She nursed him, cared for him, and tried to help him get off drugs.”

Inman and Basquiat met when she was working as a waitress at Nell’s; two days later, she was living with him. “She didn’t really know who he was,” says The Radiant Child director Tamra Davis, who knew Inman during the relationship.

“My sense is she wasn’t starstruck, per se—more than he was someone in need,” adds Brown, of their relationship. All of the objects in the collection, given to her by Basquiat, belonged to Ms. Inman (who passed away in July). “Some of it has his handwriting on it; and some of it doesn’t, so it was difficult to authenticate outside of Kelle’s word­—though everybody knew she was with him. There were pictures of them together; notes written to her, so there was no reason for her to manufacture anything,” he says.

“It’s as if you’re working with a penumbra of an idea of someone’s life—this is just filling it in,” Brown says. “There are photos he took in New Orleans that he used as references for his artwork. He wrote on them, ‘4×5, one reg’—meaning he meant to blow them up and use them as source material. These are Basquiat’s curatorial picks—his edited life.… This is a trail—a genealogy of ideas.”

(VANITY FAIR  11.17.10)


the original home cinema in Los Angeles…


There was never before a phenomenon quite like the Z Channel. There hasn’t been one since. Yet at its height, under the guidance of one particularly brilliant but tragic man, Z made a radical and abiding difference in the way we see movies.


Grab my hand and jump back in time with me to a day in late October 1986. It’s a warm Saturday afternoon. I’m sitting in a sunlit kitchen, laughing and chatting with my friends Deri and Jerry. They’ve been married six months. I’ve got a clear plastic cube about the size of a human skull in my hand, and I’m marveling happily at baby pictures of the two of them, mounted all around its translucent sides. Deri was already tall and beautiful by age six—her elegant posture, her merry, curious way of eyeing a person, and above all, her life-marking sweetness, were there from the get-go, indelibly present in every high-school and college snapshopt that followed. “I have a crush on Deri,” I tell Jerry lightheartedly. He replies with mock gravity: “I can relate.” Deri laughs—no stranger to people having (or announcing) crushes on her, and no less lightly at home with Jerry’s dry, often subtle, darkness-tinged humor. He makes her laugh a lot. She in turn powerfully and consistently lifts his spirits. In the four-and-a-half years that I’ve known and worked closely with him, I’ve never seen him so much at ease, so comfortable in his own skin. The only evidence that he’s ever been truly happy prior to this moment in his life is actually in my hand—a little snapshot of Jerry at five, identifiably himself (pale sharp eyes, bowed forehead, expressive grin) yet so open, so radiant and all-welcoming that Deri has given the image a side to itself in the Plexiglas cube. I ponder it, tickled, and show Jerry what I’m smiling at.

A year and a half later, Deri would be dead—shot from behind by Jerry, of all people, at the sink in this very kitchen, of all places, in a blind rage that apparently followed a late-Saturday-afternoon quarrel. Jerry then climbed into bed fully clothed, boots and all, drew up the covers, and turned the pistol on himself. This ghastly double tragedy scarred hundreds of souls, mine included—and for many years, the shame of Deri Rudolph’s murder understandably obliterated what had been, up until its final hour, the noble achievement of Jerry Harvey’s public life. He had, by his sheer passion for movies, led a revolution in how they are perceived and received by the mass public.

Filmmaker Xan Cassavetes went a long way toward redressing this imbalance with her 2004 documentary, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, which I co-produced and appear in, as one of several dozen witnesses to the Z legacy, and Jerry’s life. Inescapably, that film swims deep into the mystery of the murder-suicide, a befogged, arctic darkness in which no echo sounds. Jerry’s killing himself makes perfect sense—it was a tragic but sane, even honorable, response to a desperate and shameful act. Deri’s murder makes no sense, this side of madness. What I hold to, now, when I think back to the Z days, is the life of what we did there. And that happy autumn of 1986 is right where my mind flies—the bright, abundant bull’s-eye of our adventure. Not only were Jerry and Deri utterly unclouded by any tragedies ahead, but he was at the height of his powers and freedom as the programming chief of a local (strictly Los Angeles–based) TV service that had become legendary under his leadership.

the article continues with a gallery of Z Magazine covers that will take you back to where you were when…

(FRESH JIVE  11.1.10)

“Z CHANNEL: A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION” 2004 directed by Xan Cassavetes

%d bloggers like this: