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Left: Aki Sasamoto and Momus, Love is the End of Art, 2009. Performance view. Zach Feuer Gallery, New York. Right: Aki Sasamoto, Secrets of my Mother’s Child, 2009. Performance view. Living Room Festival, Auckland. (Photo: Rob Garrett.)

Aki Sasamoto is a New York–based Japanese artist who often draws on performance, sculpture, and dance for her works. Here she describes her sense of dislocation after performing and also talks about her role as a founder of Culture Push, the collaborative artists’ group. She recently performed at Zach Feuer Gallery (with Momus) and in the 2008 Yokohama Triennial.

THROUGHOUT JUNE, I experienced a sense of the unreal and constant self-doubt. A friend pointed out that I always take my time to return to real life after a performance and that I had spent the previous two months performing almost every day in four different shows. I thought I had bored her with my disorientation stories. (Is it like having an easily dislocated shoulder: no longer surp ... Read more »

Category: Other | Views: 471 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Left: Cover of Michael Sorkin’s Twenty Minutes in Manhattan (2009). Right: A view of Broadway in Times Square, New York. (Photo: Lisa Davidson)

Michael Sorkin is a New York–based architect, urban planner, educator, and the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Variations on a Theme Park (1991), Exquisite Corpse (1994), and After the World Trade Center (2002). His latest book, which examines the history and changing face of New York through the lens of his morning commute, is Twenty Minutes in Manhattan.

THE IDEA FOR THE BOOK CAME ABOUT FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. Walks are contemplative times and spaces, and going over the same territory day after day gave me the opportunity to see things over the relatively longue durée: construction projects, seasonal activities, changes in commercial life, in culture, in the population. After dilating internally on the happy accidents produced by the city and on the quality of my immediate environment, I thought I’d begin to write ab ... Read more »

Category: Other | Views: 468 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow, Dirt! The Movie, 2009, still from a color film, 86 minutes.

EVER SINCE DAVIS GUGGENHEIM integrated Al Gore’s biography into An Inconvenient Truth (2006), punctuating the despair of the activist’s climate change warnings with an array of personal asides about family and fame, documentaries about the environment have strived to make their dire subject matter more readily digestible. That’s a pity in the case of Dirt! The Movie (2009), because the chipper, animated interludes that litter the film, all featuring a smiling nugget of dirt, almost derail a thesis that is otherwise probing and provocative —that the history of life on our planet can be directly linked not only to the quality of its air or water but to the health of its skin, the soil.

Directors Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow partition the story into a revealing celebrati ... Read more »

Category: Films reviews | Views: 432 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Andrew Bujalski, Beeswax, 2009, still from a color film in 16 mm, 100 minutes. Jeannie and Lauren (Tilly Hatcher and Maggie Hatcher).

LET’S NOT DILATE—as many have—on whether writer-director Andrew Bujalski’s scripts are indebted to the languid stylings of Eric Rohmer, or the degree to which his characters are heirs to the lustful eccentrics in Woody Allen’s films. Let’s also forget about Mumblecore, the poorly named genre he’s said to have pioneered, which is distinguished by the directionless musings of late-twenty-somethings as they try to figure their shit out. If Bujalski’s Beeswax (2009), is any indication, he’s well on his way to surpassing most expectations.

Let’s begin, instead, with the end. It’s a bittersweet moment when the closing credits roll onto the screen. After nearly one hundred minutes of drifting plotlines and relaxed dialogue by a few ... Read more »

Category: Films reviews | Views: 442 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Park Chan-wook, Thirst, 2009, still from a color film in 35 mm, 133 minutes. Tae-ju (Kim Ok-vin).

HAVING WALKED OUT OF OLDBOY (2003) AT CANNES—preferring a dinner with friends to the spectacle of watching someone swallow a live squid—and fallen asleep long before the halfway point of the DVDs of both Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Lady Vengeance (2005), I can’t call myself a Park Chan-wook enthusiast. Nevertheless, Thirst, the latest viscerally violent bloodfest from the Korean director dear to Quentin Tarantino’s heart, thrilled me head to toe, and I don’t mean that metaphorically. There’s a lot of digit-sucking foreplay in two lengthy, rough-and-raw sex scenes, which put the anemic, PG-13 yearnings of Twilight to shame. But my affection for Thirst has mostly to do with the performance of Kim Ok-vin as Tae-ju, a sullen household slave who’s transformed ... Read more »

Category: Films reviews | Views: 482 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Lorna’s Silence, 2008, color film in 35 mm, 105 minutes. Publicity stills. Left and right: Claudy and Lorna (Jérémie Renier and Arta Doborishi). Photos: Christine Plenus/Sony Pictures Classics.

NO OTHER FILMMAKERS put pressure on the underprivileged young of mainland Europe as consistently as Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Among their works, La Promesse (1996), Rosetta (1999), and L’Enfant (2005) variously trace the steps of a compromised teen or twenty-something negotiating survival in the context of revved-up capitalism, a world in which nearly everyone is grubbing for money. The mood is generally bleak, but thanks to the Dardennes’ blending of Loachian realism with Bressonian asceticism, hope and grace are often attained.

On paper, Lorna’s Silence (2008), their latest film, isn’t a departure from this formula, yet it is dece ... Read more »

Category: Films reviews | Views: 487 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

VICE AND VULGARITY PLAY WELL IN AUSTRALIA. With the country's rum-corps origins and epic isolation, low-grade spectacle exuding illegality takes on a certain mythic quality. It’s hardly surprising then that the “great southern land” would have a rich and shameless history of bottom-line exploitation cinema, the glory days of which—the 1970s and ’80s—are affectionately chronicled in Not Quite Hollywood, a second-generation fan’s account of the rise and squall of the seedier side of the Australian film industry. Directed by Melburnian, gen-X music-video impresario Mark Hartley, NQH has no time for cultured, capital-C cinema. Peter Weir be damned. What we have here is the underbelly—cheap thrills devised to populate Australian, and eventually American, drive-in and grindhouse theaters.

The story begins with the explosive confluence of freethinking, ’60s radicalis ... Read more »

Category: Films reviews | Views: 467 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

ROY ANDERSSON’S EYE IS SO STEADY, his scenes so static, that audiences could be excused for mistaking his stare for utter detachment. In his films, urban existence initially seems inert and exhausted, a modus operandi in which people cram themselves into apartments, pubs, subways, and high-rise boardrooms, leading lives that are seemingly always under pressure. But as a viewer becomes accustomed to Andersson’s peculiar rhythms, what become salient are the small spontaneities that interrupt the routines—unpredictable, life-affirming asides that are both joyous and heartbreaking.

An acquired taste to be sure, Andersson’s Songs from the Second Floor (2000) cynically illuminated the tribulations of everyday life. The world was coming to an end, hope was running thin, and while there were some laughs to be found in one city’s attempt to maintain a sense of normalcy ... Read more »

Category: Films reviews | Views: 552 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Rocco Landesman, the head of Broadway’s Jujamcyn Theaters, has been approved by the Senate to assume the top position at the National Endowment for the Arts, reports David Ng for the Los Angeles Times. The Senate also unanimously confirmed Jim Leach to head the National Endowment for the Humanities. An imposing figure on the New York theater scene, Landesman was seen by many as an unusual but welcome choice by the Obama administration to head the troubled NEA, which has been reeling from years of budget cuts and accusations of irrelevancy. On Broadway, the sixty-two-year-old Landesman has had a hand in producing such high-profile shows as Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and Mel Brooks’ The Producers. His nomination to the NEA post was announced in May.

Landesman, who is expected to begin his new job shortly, will take over from Patrice Walker Powell, who has served as interim chairwoman since February. Dana Gioia, a poet, stepped down as NEA chief at the beginning of the year. In ... Read more »

Category: Other | Views: 456 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Artist Bruce Nauman, fresh off his Golden Lion win at this year’s Venice Biennale, has lined up his next local project, reports David Ng for the Los Angeles Times. On September 12, between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM, Nauman will transform the skies over Pasadena, California in a project titled Untitled (Leave the Land Alone), 1969/2009. Viewers can expect to see the words LEAVE THE LAND ALONE written in the sky, with the best viewing spots at La Loma Bridge, Colorado Street Bridge, and Brookside Park, according to organizers.

Nauman had apparently planned a similar project in 1969 but shelved it for unknown reasons. Now resurrected forty years later, the project is being held in conjunction with “Installations Inside/Out” at Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts, running from September 20 to December 31. It will mark Nauman’s first solo institutional project in the L.A. area since 1994, according to the Armory. No words yet on whether Nauman will be in the plane that will perform the sk ... Read more »

Category: Other | Views: 712 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

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