Category Archives: art

With the Nomads rides again

As Parmi les nomades at the Afrikabidon festival in Ardèche on the 26th.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, documentary, film, news

Yesterday the Tate, today the V&A

Does this say anything?

Leave a comment

Filed under art, news, writing

I’m coming back

It’s been a few years since I showed any artwork in public, almost a decade since I showed any photographs. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, though, the whys and hows, and then there was a what – photos I took when I was living in Melville, in South Africa, in 2008 – and now there’s a when, two of them in fact.

It seems that every few years I have to go through the cycle of thinking through the following thoughts about doing art and documentaries, in no particular order: Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art, confession

On memories and cameras

I’ve written two more CultureLab posts. The first one troubled me a bit because, although I didn’t much like the artwork, the people were really nice. Ah, but your duty to your public, I began to tell myself, but that voice was quickly told to shut up and stop being a pompous arse. What public? What careful selection process permitted me to post my opinions on a site of a respectable magazine? What careful editorial oversight ensured that this was a fair and reasonable thing to write?

And who’s got their stuff in Gimpel Fils, and who’s hoping for the basement of a bookshop on the Lower Clapton Road?

Leave a comment

Filed under art, confession, news, writing


L asked, how much do you need to know? (later, she made it more complicated still: how do you know what you need to know?) D said, knowledge is a construction, like a castle, with principles of design that keep it standing so high and proud and strong, and with a clear function (and, I might add, with defences to keep people out). It sits in a landscape. It does not contain everything (though, I might add, from the inside it might seem that it contains all that matters).

I asked, if someone makes art outside the institutions of art – markets, galleries, collectors, academies (though I feel it should be, as it is usually said, “the academy” – there is only one academy – is that so?) – is it really art? Or could it be art, but only in the category of failed art? (I like this category – though I know I’m not the only one) D said, there is a castle of art too, and if you want to live in the castle, there are rules to be learned, hierarchies to be respected, fashions to follow, compromises to be accepted. But there is (he said) a world outside the castle, a world full of art.


Filed under art, fill in the blanks

Vivian Maier

Mike shows me I should be spending more time here.


Filed under art

School for rogues

Related, but more practical subjects, will be the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance.

How to be the real thing. But which rogue would pay the fee?

1 Comment

Filed under art, film, Werner Herzog

So much for my big idea

Abbas Kiarostami Rain

“It’s said that in the beginning was the word, but for me the beginning is always an image.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Abbas Kiarostami, art, film, Iranian films, writing

The production designer and the egg

The FT recites the commonplace observation that curvaceous, minimalist 1960s commercial designs look “space-age”, as if inspired by 1960s SF films, principally 2001: A Space Odyssey:

Furniture inside the space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey

which might indeed stand comparison with, say, Maurice Calka’s PDG Desk:

Maurice Calka's PDG Desk

The writer, Josh Sims, says there’s a similar “stripped back, wipe-down, germ-free” vision of the future in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris. I think he might want to refresh his memory of this film:

Kris Kelvin in the rocket bay on the Solaris station

Gibarian's video message to Kelvin in Solaris

But more generally I think he’s missing the point I made rather eloquently in my last post. Isn’t it more likely that, rather than furniture designers looking at film designers, they were all looking at the slightly older generation of modernist sculptors?

Leave a comment

Filed under art, film, space, Tarkovsky

Barbara Hepworth in space

Barbara Hepworth 1
Barbara Hepworth 2
Discovery spacecraft from 2001: A Space Odyssey
Barbara Hepworth 3
EVA pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey
Barbara Hepworth 4
Death Star from Star Wars

Barbara Hepworth, unknown and Icon (1957); Discovery One spacecraft from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); Barbara Hepworth, Oval Sculpture (No. 2) (1943); EVA pod from 2001; Barbara Hepworth, Spring (1966); Death Star from Star Wars (1977).


Filed under art, film, space