Archive for May, 2012

May 25, 2012

Arnold Layne v David Noonan?

Is anyone else seeing this connection?


© David Noonan/Photographer: Unknown.

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May 25, 2012

Arnold Layne | Pink Floyd (1967)

They don’t make pop videos like they used to!!  Love this theatrical promo,  Arnold Layne – the first single released by Pink Floyd. The song’s title character is a transvestite whose primary pastime is stealing women’s clothes and undergarments from washing lines. According to Roger Waters, Arnold Layne was actually based on a real person.  “Both my mother and Syd’s mother had students as lodgers because there was a girls’ college up the road so there were constantly great lines of bras and knickers on our washing lines and ‘Arnold’ or whoever he was, had bits off our washing lines.”

However, despite finding a place in the Top 20, the song’s unusual transvestism theme attracted the ire of Radio London, which deemed the song was too far-removed from “normal” society for its listeners, before eventually banning it from radio airplay altogether.

This black and white promotional film of Arnold Layne  features members of Pink Floyd dressing up a mannequin before showing it around a beach in East Wittering, West Sussex. Recently, an alternative promotional film was unearthed, which featured the band goofing around on Hampstead Heath, and also in front of St Michael’s Church in Highgate near to where the band were living at the time. It is the only known footage of Barrett lip synching to the song. Shot in the spring of 1967, around the time that Barrett had begun his mental deterioration.

May 22, 2012

Masao Adachi | A.K.A. Serial Killer (1969)

Continuing my research into the politicised aesthetic of Japanese film and photography in the late 60s, I have discovered (through the art of Eric Baudelaire) Masao Adachi’s ‘landscape theory’ as demostrated in A.K.A. Serial Killer  – could this be a potential avenue to explore?

Masao Adachi & Kôji Wakamatsu, both having ties to the Japanese Red Army, stopped in Lebanon on their way home from the Cannes festival. There they caught up with notorious JRA ex-pats Fusako Shigenobu and Mieko Toyama in training camps to create a newsreel-style agit-prop film based off of the “landscape theory” (fûkeiron) that Adachi and Wakamatsu had developed. The theory, most evident at work in A.K.A. Serial Killer (1969), aimed to move the emphasis of film from situations to landscapes as expression of political and economical power relations.

In 1974 Adachi left Japan and committed himself to the Palestinian Revolution and linked up with the Japan Red Army. His activities thereafter were not revealed until he was arrested and imprisoned in 1997 in Lebanon. In 2001 Adachi was extradited to Japan, and after two years of imprisonment, he was released and subsequently published Cinema/Revolution [Eiga/Kakumei], an auto-biographical account of his life.

May 19, 2012

Eric Baudelaire | The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images

Images: The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images, 2011 © Eric Baudelaire.

This exhibition and related events are well worth checking out at Gasworks, London.

The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images is the first UK solo exhibition by French artist Eric Baudelaire.

Baudelaire’s most recent work looks at the complexities of recounting the history of the Japanese Red Army (JRA) – a radical group that emerged from the 1968 Tokyo student movement, settled in Beirut in the early 1970s, and engaged in sophisticated terrorist activities in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

The exhibition consists of an installation encompassing his 2011 experimental documentary film of the same name, which centres upon the oral testimonies of two JRA protagonists: May Shigenobu, the daughter of JRA founder and leader Fusako Shigenobu, and Masao Adachi, a legendary underground film director, JRA member and theoretician. This is shown alongside documents, photographs, prison drawings and works on paper that further contextualise the JRA’s radical journey, focusing on issues of representation associated with documentary, testimony and the production or absence of images. The Anabasis… engages with questions concerning the relationship between politics and film, and militant filmmaking versus activism without cinema – a distinction that Masao Adachi refuses, but that Baudelaire’s exhibition interrogates anew.

Baudelaire frames the story of the JRA in a literary tradition going back to Xenophon’s Anabasis: a journey of soldiers lost in foreign lands, wandering into the unknown on a circuitous journey home. In recounting their own journeys, May Shigenobu and Masao Adachi weave together intimate stories, political history, revolutionary propaganda and film theory. They each describe clandestine and imageless experiences in which images are nonetheless constantly at stake. May Shigenobu, for instance, spent much of her early life in hiding, often living under pseudonyms. When family snapshots were occasionally taken they were always then hastily destroyed. As she grew older, returned to Japan and started working as a television journalist, images began to provide her with a new means of self-invention.

As a filmmaker, Adachi devoted his life to images. During his years in Lebanon, he sought to advance his radical film practice by trading the camera for the rifle. Yet all the while he remained a filmmaker at heart, even conceiving of JRA aeroplane highjackings as screenplays. The scenarios were his own, the actors were JRA fighters, but the cinematography was left to the news cameras.

May Shigenobu’s and Masao Adachi’s stories unfold over new ‘fûkeiron’ Super 8 images filmed by Baudelaire in Tokyo and Beirut. Fûkeiron is a ‘theory of landscape’ developed by Adachi for his 1969 film AKA Serial Killer, an excerpt of which is also included in the exhibition. Through filming landscapes, he sought to reveal the structures of oppression that underpin the political system and cause alienation. The Anabasis… puts this theory to work and also turns it back towards its author, exploring the problematic overlaps between images of reality and those of fiction, and between a radical political engagement and an unsettling fascination with violence.

May 14, 2012

Irreversible Materiality | Rethink

Pure Extraction is an experimental multimedia piece from my Rethink project.  You can read about the projects gestation on the project blog.

You can also view reference images here.

May 13, 2012

Akiko | Infinity Mirrored Room