Archive for November, 2013


Monday, November 4th, 2013

— My grandfather, Earl Collins, painted airplanes in England during WWII. After, in civilian life, he painted houses, until he was hired by a Baltimore savings and loan company to supervise maintenance of their city branch. I remember him as a kind and exceptionally generous man with impeccable style. When he died in 1996, my grandmother gave me his 35mm Nikon. I don’t remember him ever taking pictures, but a box of slides I found recently are evidence that he took a lot in the years between 1959 and 1972. These photos are also evidence of an aesthetic, which, if such things can be handed down generations, I believe I inherited. Though we never discussed photography or art and he didn’t like the movies, I am haunted by the similarities between the subjects that interest us and the way we organize the frame.

Matt Porterfield was born in 1977, he lives in Baltimore and teaches in the Film & Media Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University. He has produced and directed three feature films, HAMILTON (2006), PUTTY HILL (2011) and I USED TO BE DARKER (2013). In 2012, Matt was a featured artist in the Whitney Biennial, a Creative Capital grantee, and the recipient of a Wexner Center Artists Residency. He has two scripts in development, METAL GODS and SOLLERS POINT.


Monday, November 4th, 2013


— Everything you thought you knew is wrong (i.e. incorrect at least). But it also isn’t. If past knowledge had its puissance, its patency, poise and poignant pride, then that is what it rightly had.

Having is something very important to people—truism of truisms. Having is something most particular to the tactile sense. The partial deprivation of the tactile sense is something particular to many tenets of civilization. With touch out of reach, other senses come to the fore; I think art is about this.

Art is a word that has different degrees of common senses. As such, everything I thought I knew remains correct, but can’t be.

A crisis of faith, perhaps. When engaged in spiritual matter(s), it’s convenient/apt to establish rules. Rules can’t be wrong until they are. The horizon line is mean—the child cries/keens, a geometry sounds.


Monday, November 4th, 2013

— This short sketch was a way to toe the water of my new film Color Diary. In this version, I culled color images from my digital films completed between 2011 and 2013. The home recorded, ambient soundscapes, however, were captured with this sketch in mind. The full length Color Diary, which I hope to create during the next year or two, will have imagery and sound created specifically for it with a running time around 10 minutes long.

Called “the reigning proponent of cut and paste” by J. Hoberman of the Village Voice, collagist Lewis Klahr has been making films since 1977. He is known for his uniquely idiosyncratic experimental films and cutout animations which have screened extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia – in venues such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, and the LA County Museum of Art. Klahr teaches in the Theater School of the California Institute of the Arts.


Monday, November 4th, 2013

the strong boys
a rage in heaven
rocket diseases
the chief of police
a kiss before dying
a woman’s face is smashed
raw killers
the dirty judge
I hear train whistles
I hear train whistles
a rage in heaven
is worth shit

Alan Vega was born in Brooklyn, in 1938. One half of the seminal electronic duo Suicide, Vega began his career as a visual artist, gaining notoriety in the early 70s for his radical light sculptures. He also co-founded the NY gallery space, ‘the Project of Living Artists’, one of the first alternative artist-run spaces in NY, open 24/7.


Monday, November 4th, 2013

Here are some rough notes about my 70×70 film curation, while the project was still cooking.

A few thoughts, after our meeting, now that I have a better idea of how the films might be programmed.

Some of the films are only needed as clips. Or quotes.

Some of the films seem to work in pairs.

For example, BEAT goes with THE BEAT GENERATION. Both being low budget exploitations (in very different modes) of Beat Culture.

THE BEAT GENERATION also links, by way of Steve Cochran, with IL GRIDO.

And there is one other notion that strikes me, a film that was never actually made. See: THE FACE ON THE FORK (WILLIAM BURROUGHS TRIPTYCH). Beat Scene Press, 2012. THE FACE ON THE FORK being the Burroughs film I wrote for WDR (Cologne). Unproduced. It would be quite interesting, I think, to do a reading – perhaps with images or other Burroughs footage – of the script. A film made in performance.

BRING ME THE HEAD OF AG links, tenuously, via Mexico, with THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA CRUZ (Which is also the film Gary Walkow wants to view during the making of BEAT.)

IN A LONELY PLACE (LA noir) links with THE LINE UP (San Francisco noir).

CANDY MOUNTAIN links with CHAPPAQUA: underground with ambition or vanity or budget. And being largely unseen. A little demented, both (Robert Frank has strong connections with Kerouac, Conrad Rooks with Burroughs.)

NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (Chile) links with TORNADAO (Mexico).

Two of the other pairs work more like conjoined twins.

I’d like to see TOUCH OF EVIL and PSYCHO intercut (compare and contrast motel scenes; the Welles single-take drive and the Hitchcock drive; and, above all, the presence of Janet Leigh in both films). Either mix and match as a single film. Or project alongside on twin screens.

VULCANO and STROBOLI, being attempts to make the same story, at the same time, on neighboring islands, should certainly be projected side-by-side, as an installation.

DRIVE would only be sampled for the one scene where the Chevrolet Impala is chosen.

I remembered another Danish take on the West Coast, the migrant director Nicolas Winding Refn’s film of the Jim Sallis novel, DRIVE. The stunt driver in the zipped windcheater who moonlights as a professional getaway man is checking out possible motors for the night’s business. The limping mechanic tells him he looks like a zombie and offers: ‘Benzedrine, Dexedrine, caffeine, nicotine.’… ‘There she is,’ says the gimp. ‘Chevy Impala, most popular car in the state of California. No one will be looking at you.’

This clip could be twinned with the material on Jim Sallis from ASYLUM, the visit to Phoenix made with Chris Petit. Which also links with the opening sequences of PSYCHO.

Only a couple of sequences from IN SEARCH OF DEADAD would be required: Hollywood and the visit to Mexico for the Day of the Dead. The Kötting material might lend itself to performance, readings. I’m sure Andrew would be prepared to do a gig. Bits from various places, along with a showing of SWANDOWN perhaps?

Iain Sinclair has lived in (and written about) Hackney, East London, since 1969. His novels include DOWNRIVER (Winner of the James Tait Black Prize & the Encore Prize for the Year’s Best Second Novel), RADON DAUGHTERS, LADOR’S TOWER and, most recently, DINING ON STONES (which was shortlisted for the Ondaatje prize). Non-fiction books, exploring the myth and matter of London, include LIGHTS OUT FOR THE TERRITORY, LONDON ORBITAL and EDGE OF THE ORISON. In the 90s, Iain wrote and presented a number of films for BBC2’s Late Show and has, subsequently, co-directed with Chris Petit four documentaries for Channel 4; one of which, ASYLUM, won the short film prize at the Montreal Festival. He edited LONDON, CITY OF DISAPPEARANCES, which was published in October 2006. Recently he has published HACKNEY, THAT ROSE-RED EMPIRE (2009) and GHOSTMILK (2011).