Sunday, May 31, 2009
AT SFU GALLERY, BURNABY, THROUGH JUNE 27
The Insurance Man: Kafka in The Penal Colony is an installation based on Kafka’s story, which was itself derived from his reading a 1914 study of penal colonies in the South Seas. In the story a researcher-explorer arrives at a penal colony and is introduced to a curious apparatus comprised of a harrow, a designer and a bed; the Officer who operates the apparatus lectures the Explorer about its workings. The subreality of everyday life in Prague and the inner world of office work were Kafka’s own ‘apparatus of reality’. He continually wrote about these parallel realities in letters, diaries, stories, office documents, manifestos and aphorisms, all of which gave his inner world an intensely visual quality, merging life and art into a unified, fragmented whole. In the exhibition, the fable of the Colony is portrayed through objects, texts and visual constructions shown as gestures representing the pre-history of Kafka’s report on the world as a chilling penal colony. The South Seas penal colonies here become a lexical metaphor for the 20th century’s concentration camps, asylum camps and prison colonies.
The installation searches for Kafka’s ‘Secret Insurance Policy’ that enabled him to relate his life in writing to art, perhaps in the way that Walter Benjamin wrote of Kafka, as “one who compelled Expressionism to bear fruit, by pruning it according to wild linguistic drives.” This installation imitates both linguistic and visual drives: “I imitated people,” the ape says in Kafka’s ‘Report to an Academy’, “because I was looking for a way out, and for no other reason”.
Curated by Jerry Zaslove and Bill Jeffries
Posted by lee bacchus at 7:14 PM
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Veronica Lodge with her hair so black, it's blue. Betty with her perky blonde pony tail high on her head. And gormless Archie with his carrot-colored, weirdly cross-hatched hair.
They'd been an adolescent menage for 65 years. Whom did Archie like better, the doting, always cheerfully average Betty, or the shallow, fickle Veronica whose surname alone denoted membership in the upper echelon of Riverdale society? The question was a poser for the better part of a century.
Shockingly, the news came all of a sudden that the time/four-panel-reality continuum would be shattered and that Archie would finally end his 65-year-long (presumed) celibacy and wed one of them, the shock being the implication that they'd had sexual organs all that time.
Though Archie and Betty clearly belonged together in a class sense, Archie evidently wasn't quite as dumb as he looked. Times are tough and he decided to go upscale.
It's hard to know where this leaves them now, comic dynamic-wise. Will he sneak off periodically from his palatial new digs to the low side of Riverdale and "do" Betty occasionally with his new-found naughty bits? Will Veronica Lodge-Andrews have him tailed with her vast resources? We wouldn't put it past her and remember, she has the makings of a real bitch.
There are other things to consider too. In the 1930s it was far from unusual to see comic strips invite reader suggestions as to how the events of comicdom should unfold. The tragic death of Mary Gold in Andy Gump alone elicited bags and bags of shocked, tear-stained mail from the -- well let's call them "innocent."
And the more "innocent" newspapers are doing it again with Archie.
Yes, times are tough, aren't they?
— Lloyd Dykk
Posted by lee bacchus at 2:22 PM
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
When I first learned about Turner Classic Movies it seemed too good to be true. Great old movies, surely many of them in black and white, commercial-free and around the clock — classics, as the title says. Bergman, Antonioni, Buñuel, Cocteau ... finally I might get to see Il Posto.
Two years went by and I avoided contemporary TV all but completely. I fell into the habit of not even watching the news. Gradually I sensed that "classic" was just another word that the Turner people were confusing with "old." Who would ever describe a Doris Day movie as a classic? They like "themes" at TCM and it seems she was one, for a whole wretched month. Read Dwight Macdonald on her if you want a great laugh — it's better than John Simon on Barbra Streisand because it's less acidically personal. But I owe my Il Posto fixation to Simon, who wrote about it unforgettably.
1930s shorts with dogs standing in for human scenarios. Double Indemnity twice within two weeks, Yuk-shorts featuring Robert Benchley, Giant with Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor: so static and "epic" in a near-Kabuki way that I turned it off. I should have made notes on my TCM experience. There were many times I thought, how low can you go in the name of greatness? Of course, running 24/7 the pantheon would have to run dry eventually, but maybe pick a new name.
But then you see Rules of the Game or Rashomon and suddenly you forget how suddenly "refreshing" you found Corner Gas or The Office.
Maybe old movies are best appreciated as seen through the eyes of an expert who was there. Like Graham Greene's immensely witty The Pleasure Dome, reviews of films from 1935 to 1940.
I've hated Shirley Temple, or her studio, ever since they shut him down. Shirley was only 9 at the time but as sexually knowing as Mae West, which is more or less what he said. Wasn't it true?
— Lloyd Dykk
Posted by lee bacchus at 2:42 PM