Archive for February, 2016


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

— The shooting and editing of my first film, Katalin Varga was entirely financed from inheriting a portion of my uncle’s semi-detached house in Coronation Road, Aldershot in the early 2000s. The house had history, as my uncle spent his whole life there. A physically and emotionally draining few weeks had been spent sifting through two generations of clutter that had accumulated into every nook and cranny of the house. In a trunk in the loft there was a scuffed notebook that reeked of damp, containing military drawings from The First World War. There was no name attached. The only clue in the drawings was the wording ‘23rd Field Company Royal Engineers’ and a date on each page. Bomb boxes, periscopes, pile drivers, portable artillery bridges, rifle racks, telescope cradles, snipers’ posts and so on were divorced from the horrific connotations of war by the sheer beauty and immaculate detail of the drawings. This was work you could hang on a wall despite its troubling context.

One of the drawings was loaned to Organum’s David Jackman in 2003 for his solo record, Edge of Nothing. Also, a segment of another drawing was used for one of our Sonic Catering releases.

It is one hundred years since this particular drawing was made and ten years since I shot Katalin Varga. The irony is that the sole purpose of the drawings in the notebook was to defeat the armies of the very land we shot our film in. Far from being the enemy, the ethnic Hungarians, Romanians and Hungarians from Hungary offered their time, talent and energy for a film that neither paid well nor had any guarantee of a future in front of an audience. We bickered a lot, but I’m eternally grateful to the cast and the ten crew/catering members – Anikó Bordos, Zsolt Páll, Márk Győri, András Szőke, Csaba Ványalós, Zoltán Karaszek, Dezső Gálfi, Zsolt Kiss, Botond Huszti and Marek Szold – from the summer of 2006 in Transylvania. It seems cruelly absurd to imagine our grandfathers once fought against one another.

Peter Strickland was born in 1973, in Reading, England. His first feature, KATALIN VARGA, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for its sound design. His sophomore feature was BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO (2012), followed by THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY (2014). He recently directed an audio version of the cult 70s horror, THE STONE TAPE, for BBC Radio 4.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

— I lead a rich and full life, and I like routine, which on most days (when not teaching) means going into the studio in the morning, handling email, then making stuff. Then lunch, more studio, figuring what to make for dinner and shopping, more studio, then the important 5 o’clock gin while doing something like arranging a fantasy football line-up on DraftKings.

And my routines have sub-routines. Lunch, for example, means eating while listening to an audio book and playing fantasy solitaire. Every day this last week the sandwich was saucisson sec on a baguette with lots of butter, and 2 clementines. Let me explain fantasy solitaire. My father once told me how there used to be a casino game, turn of the 20th century I imagine, in which one bought a deck for $50 and was paid $5 dollars for every card played above the line, going through the deck once, a single card at a time. So I keep a Post-It tracking my winnings or losses in the cards’ box. Of course because of the odds, I always ended up in the red. Last summer I created new rules (I own the casino) that permit a fantasy side-bet of any amount, which I win if I get more than 10 cards above the line (plus the $5 cards). I need to imagine/place that bet after the initial round of cards is displayed but before flipping the first card. Inevitably I can recoup my losses with some outrageous bet. I get a minor gambling jolt from the game, and the audio book allows a proper amount of distraction from its onanistic tedium.

Dike Blair was born in 1952, he lives and works in New York. He has mounted solo exhibitions at Gagosian (New York), Linn Leuhn (Dusseldorf), Feature, Inc (New York) and Karma (New York). His work has been exhibited in group shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), and Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). In 2015 Karma published a collection of his gouache paintings in conjunction with his solo exhibition. In 2010 he received the Rome Prize and in 2009, a Guggenheim Fellowship. Blair says one constant in his work is the subject of light, remarking that his paintings are personal while his objects tend to be more formal. Dike Blair studied at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1977. He is also a senior critic in the painting department at Rhode Island School of Design.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

— I was 11 years old when the revolution in Iran started in 1979. It had been a few years since my father had become obsessed with photography. Most of the demonstrations took place downtown, very near his office in Tehran. We lived in the northern part of the city, which was mainly an affluent neighborhood. Unlike me, most of the kids in our apartment complex that I was friend with had pro Shah, anti revolutionary parents. I knew what my father was up to with his camera everyday going to work and several times without my mother knowing he took me downtown to show me what was going on. I felt uncomfortable talking about all this to my neighbor friends, but one day I found out my father, behind my back on several occasions had gathered the kids up and had given them slide shows of his photos. Here are few out of many I have preserved:

Seven years later my father died of a sudden heart attach. I inherited his camera and all the gears with it. It had been three years since we had immigrated to U.S due to the Iran /Iraq war. On my first few trips back with his camera in hand I took slides obsessively; always of what was going on downtown and occasionally out of town. Here are some of them:

Raha Raissnia was born in 1968, in Tehran, Iran. She immigrated to U.S in 1983. She received her BFA from the School of the Art institute of Chicago in 1992 and her MFA from Pratt Institute in 2002. In the interim, her interest in avant-garde filmmaking led her to work at Anthology Film Archives (1995–1999), where she has also exhibited. In 2015, her work was included in All the World’s Futures, 56th International Art Exhibition, curated by Okwui Enwezor, Venice Biennale. Previously, her work has been featured in exhibitions at White Columns (New York), Access Gallery (Vancouver), the Museum of Contemporary Art St. Louis, Khastoo Gallery (Los Angeles), Thomas Dane Gallery (London) and The Kitchen (New York), among others. Recent solo shows were held at Miguel Abreu Gallery (New York), Galeria Marta Cervera (Madrid), Galerie Xippas (Paris), and the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art (Isfahan, Iran). Raissnia’s expanded cinema performances, undertaken in collaboration with musicians such as Panagiotis Mavridis, Charles Curtis, Aki Onda and Briggan Krauss have been held at The Drawing Center (New York), P.S.1 (New York), Arnolfini –Center for Contemporary Arts (Bristol, UK), Issue Project Room (New York), and Emily Harvey Foundation (New York), among others. Raissnia’s first solo show in Tehran was held at Ab/Anbar in December 2015. An upcoming retrospective of film-based works will be held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in March 2016.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Master Parker was born in 2012. These paintings were made while he was between 2 and 3.5 years old. I love watching him paint and making marks. The process is so free and pure. It’s inspiring to see the uninhibited colors and lines flow out of him. I’ve got a lot to learn from him.




2014 – Collabs

Rhys Lee was born in 1975, in Brisbane, Australia, he lives and works in Melbourne. He has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and internationally in New York. Lee’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne (2015), the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2012), Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2001), The University of Queensland National Artist’s Self Portrait Prize (2009) and the Doug Moran Prize at the State Library of New South Wales (2009). A monograph on the artist was published in 2009. Lee’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian Government’s Artbank.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Here is a small selection from a set of very quick drawings I made on a train ride through the Rockies, in 1997.

Now I only experience the world in fragments………moments
of time tentatively connected………….coming together…
…….drifting apart……..superimposing….

Malcolm Le Grice was born in 1940, in Plymouth and lives and works in London. He studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art but began to make film, video and computer works in the mid 1960s. He has shown in major international exhibitions including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Louvre Museum and Tate Modern. His films and videos are in collections at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Royal Belgian Film Archive, the National Film Library of Australia, the German Cinamatheque Archive and the Archives du Film Experimental D’Avignon. A number of longer films have been transmitted on British TV, including FINNEGANS CHIN (1981), SKETCHES FOR A SENSUAL PHILOSOPHY (1986) and CHRONOS FRAGMENTED (1995). Le Grice has written critical and theoretical work including a history of experimental cinema, ABSTRACT FILM AND BEYOND (1977). For three years in the 1970’s he wrote a regular column for the art monthly Studio International and has published numerous other articles on film, video and digital media. Many of these have been collected as an anthology under the title EXPERIMENTAL CINEMA IN THE DIGITAL AGE by the British Film Institute (2001). Le Grice is a Professor Emeritus of the University of the Arts London where he is a collaborating director with David Curtis, of the British Artists Film and Video Study Collection.A monograph of his work, LE TEMPS DES IMAGES, was publish by Les Presses du réel in 2015.