Thursday, May 21, 2009

Citizen Game

Being both a fan of trash culture and the philosophical discussion of "biopolitics," I was wicked psyched to find that a trailer for Neveldine and Taylor's new film,
Gamer, (which used to have the cheekier title, "Citizen Game") has just been unleashed onto the interwebs. These screenwriting and directing bros are already responsible for my favorite action film of the year, Crank: High Voltage, so I find it an utter treat to have the pleasure of seeing two new flicks of theirs in the same year. While the film seems to shamelessly update the premise of Corman's classic and recently remade film, Death Race 2000, to the current cultural obsessions with online video-game communities, I find the shameless update quite illuminating as it echoes the biopolitical concerns of post-Operaismo thinkers regarding western capitalism's movement between industrial productivity (see the Hot Rods of Death Race) to postindustrial performativity/immateriality (the real-life avatars of Gamer).

The premise of the film immediately brings to mind the premise of Matteo Pasquinelli's new book, "Animal Spirits: A Bestiary of Commons," which explores the ethically darker libidinal desires (war porn for example) at work within the communal mediascapes of the multitude. See here for a review that features an amazing image commentary, here for more of his writing and here for a website he edits. With Hollywood taking great pains to transfigure B-movies into politically predictable Oscar gold (see this "go green" trailer), I find a certain reprieve that the tried & true genre pictures still aren't afraid to pursue the tough questions...or at least provide a titillating send up of today's techno-realities.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hats off to Sarge!

While its not strange these days for blogs to actually hold some sway in guiding public opinion I must admit that I was wicked psyched to find that one of my favorite bloggers, Sargeant D of Metal Inquisition, has certainly
ruffled the feathers of the death metal community thanks to Decibel magazine's recent feature on Slam Metal ("metal's brootalest subgenre")--an article in which the Sarge emerges as a premier scholar. Just to digress... for all the art nerds who ever come across this blog, you may geek splooge a tad reading the the magazine's preceding feature: an interview with Thurston Moore about his love of all things Xasthur, Leviathan & Striborg (there's a great anecdote about Striborg breakdancing after a gig). Thankfully Moore fesses up to his poseur-dom (see the photo of him with an overpriced Mercyful Fate LP); openly admitting that his recent interest in the genre's art-world approved incarnations came with the much ballyhooed publication of "Lords of Chaos." I often wonder where the (art) world would be today had that book not been published... Certainly there would be no Banks Violette--who hails from Ithaca, a storied birthplace of NY slam (or at least he'd still be making Lisa Frank art)--and Stephen Shearer would stick to what he knows best... nothing. Perhaps--taking Sarge's advice--we should fire up the Nocturnus time machine and take things into our own hands...

As a recent convert to the slam phenomenon (my Devourment shirt just came in the mail the other day...), I highly recommend all readers of this blog to go out and take a glance at this article. While Sarge's insights into the genre's politically complicated social foundations (controversial use of the slang term "wigger" arises as does the genre's rampant misogyny) are certainly worth further investigation given the genre's potential existence as a contemporary example of lumpen cultural production (a close second to
juggalos); his analysis of the genre's musical structure is something that I find of utmost value as a person who cares about art, contemporary manifestations of painting in particular. With painting's perpetual anxiety, Sarge's profound thoughts on slam's rudimentary dasein seem zeitgeist-worthy. I only think of Cheyney Thompson's current show at Andrew Kreps (no doubt the gallery's biggest show of the year), Jacqueline Humphries at Greene Naftali or even the whole generation of European painters who are now coming back into vouge--from Hantaï to Degottex to Barré--when I read the following words by Sarge:

"As far as when they'll run out of ideas, I think they already have. [...] The formula isn't the secret, and there's not a lot of variance in quality; if you play that style, you're probably good at it."

To leave you with a taste of slam, here's a description of one of the best "new-school" acts, Cephalotripsy:

"They have absolutely no sense of songwriting, dynamics or any of the other things that define most music. Cephalotripsy is a machine with only one setting: "crushing slamz." The record is about 35 minutes of alternating mid-paced slam riffs and gravity blasts, with breaks defining the beginning and end of songs inserted seemingly arbitrarily."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ruthless Babysitting

with summer right around the bend, I thought it'd be fun to post what would be my idea of a blue chipper summer show about middle age...lou rusconi painting on its way!

philip best
julie becker
merlin carpenter
poul gernes
rachel harrison
richard hawkins
ull hohn
takeshi kawashima
john knight
ross knight
michaela meise
josephine pryde
bill rice
pietro roccasalva
nora schultz
ulrich strothjohann
joan wallace
katharina wulff

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