I Want Your Love Banned In Australia

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I Want Your Love, is the first fea­ture film directed by Travis Matthews. It fol­lows the first sex­ual rela­tion­ship two male best friends embark upon one night in San Fran­cisco, before one of them leaves for the Amer­i­can Midwest.

I Want Your Love was meant to be screened at gay film fes­ti­vals in Aus­tralia, at the end of a global fes­ti­val tour, but the board has banned it from being shown any­where in the country.

James Franco recently col­lab­o­rated with this film’s direc­tor, on a film that explores sex as a story-telling tool in addi­tion to cen­sor­ship and per­sonal, sex­ual and cre­ative bound­aries, Inte­rior. Leather bar. A short film which pre­miered at Sun­dance fes­ti­val. It is based on the 1980 gay film Cruis­ing, which had 40 min­utes of graphic sex scenes cut, and aims to explore the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of gay sex and censorship.

Franco crit­i­cised the Board in a YouTube video, say­ing adults should be allowed to choose what they watch. He said: “I don’t know why in this day and age some­thing like this, a film that’s using sex not for tit­il­la­tion but to talk about being human, is being banned.”

Matthews issued a state­ment on the ban, say­ing that he wasn’t “shy­ing away from sex” in the film. He added that he used sex “as a tool to show char­ac­ter devel­op­ment, inter­per­sonal issues, inti­macy, play­ful­ness and some­thing over­all closer to the real­ity I’m famil­iar with.”

Six months ago the Board allowed Don­key Love, a doc­u­men­tary about a Colom­bian folk tra­di­tion where men have sex with don­keys to pre­pare them for rela­tion­ships with women, to screen at film fes­ti­vals in Syd­ney and Melbourne.

A peti­tion to remove the ban already has over 2,500 sig­na­tures. Aimed at Les­ley O’Brien, direc­tor of the Aus­tralian Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Board, it says that while the film con­tains “actual sex, it is shown within a non-violent, intel­li­gent and artis­tic narrative.”


Europe In 8 Bits

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A film about reusing out­dated tech­nol­ogy in cre­ative ways to revamp the music scene.

Europe in 8 bits is a doc­u­men­tary that explores the world of chip music, a  musi­cal trend that is grow­ing expo­nen­tially through­out Europe. The stars of this musi­cal move­ment reveal to us how to reuse old videogames hard­ware like Nintendo’s Game­Boy, NES, Atari ST, Amiga and the Com­modore 64 to turn them into a tool capa­ble of cre­at­ing a new sound, a mod­ern tempo and an inno­v­a­tive musi­cal style.

This is a new way of inter­pret­ing music per­formed by a great many artists who show their skills in turn­ing these “lim­ited” machines designed for leisure in the 80’s into sur­pris­ing musi­cal instru­ments and graph­i­cal tools.


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Robert Hughes’ The Mona Lisa Curse

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Robert Hughes died on 6 August last year, aged 74. He was one of the best known art crit­ics of his gen­er­a­tion. His crit­i­cism ranged from the sub­tle and sen­si­tive, as in his mono­graphs on Auer­bach and Lucian Freud, to the caus­ti­cally dismissive—“Jeff Koons is the baby to Andy Warhol’s Rose­mary” or “The pres­ence of a Hirst in a col­lec­tion is a true sign of dull­ness in taste”—for which he was best known.

With his trade­mark style, Hughes explores how muse­ums, the pro­duc­tion of art and the way we expe­ri­ence it have rad­i­cally changed in the last 50 years, telling the story of the rise of con­tem­po­rary art and look­ing back over a life spent talk­ing and writ­ing about the art he loves, and loathes.

In these post­mod­ern days it has been said that there is no more passé a voca­tion than that of the pro­fes­sional art critic. Per­ceived as the gate keeper for opin­ions regard­ing art and cul­ture, the art critic has sup­pos­edly been ren­dered obso­lete by an ever expand­ing plu­ral­ism in the art world, where all prac­tices and dis­ci­plines are pur­ported to be equal and valid.

Robert Hughes, how­ever, is one art critic who has deliv­ered a mes­sage that must not be ignored. “Mona Lisa Curse” is unlikely to be released in the United States any­time soon. It’s been pulled from YouTube sev­eral times already. Watch it while you can.


An Encounter With Simone Weil

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‘Atten­tion is the rarest and purest form of generosity.’

In her short life, Simone Weil (1909–1943) fought in the Span­ish Civil War, worked as a machine oper­a­tor and farm laborer, debated Trot­sky, taught high school stu­dents and union mem­bers, and was part of the French Resis­tance. The daugh­ter of afflu­ent Jew­ish par­ents, she spent her life advo­cat­ing for the poor and dis­en­fran­chised in France and for col­o­nized peo­ple around the world, bravely orga­niz­ing and writ­ing on their behalf. A con­sum­mate out­sider, who dis­trusted ide­olo­gies of any kind, Simone Weil left behind a body of work that fills fif­teen vol­umes and estab­lishes her as a bril­liant polit­i­cal, social, and spir­i­tual thinker.

In her writ­ings, she ana­lyzed power and its dehu­man­iz­ing effects, out­lined a doc­trine of atten­tion and empa­thy for human suf­fer­ing, and cri­tiqued Stal­in­ism long before most of the French left-wing. She believed intel­lec­tual work should be com­bined with phys­i­cal work, and that the­o­ries should evolve from close obser­va­tion and direct expe­ri­ence.  And, after three Chris­t­ian mys­ti­cal expe­ri­ences, she began grap­pling with reli­gious faith, its role in human his­tory, and the short­com­ings of orga­nized reli­gion. Her best-known works, all pub­lished posthu­mously, are Grav­ity & Grace, Oppres­sion & Lib­erty, Wait­ing for God, and The Need for Roots.

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Simone Weil died in obscu­rity in Lon­don in 1943. She was just 34. Her rep­u­ta­tion rested mainly on her involve­ment in left-wing pol­i­tics in France dur­ing the 1930s. Then after the war, she was dis­cov­ered. T.S. Eliot intro­duced her to Eng­lish read­ers, with the claim that she pos­sessed “a genius akin to saint­hood.” A lot of atten­tion was focused on Weil’s extreme per­son­al­ity and her extra­or­di­nary life. Now, schol­ars and read­ers are pay­ing atten­tion to the endur­ing sig­nif­i­cance of her polit­i­cal and reli­gious thought.

The New York Times described her as “one of the most bril­liant and orig­i­nal minds of twentieth-century France.” But by far her biggest advo­cate was the exis­ten­tial­ist philoso­pher Albert Camus who played a major role in get­ting her work pub­lished after her death. He even made a pil­grim­age to her writ­ing room before leav­ing for Stock­holm to receive the Nobel Prize in 1957. Yet, despite these lumi­nary sup­port­ers, Simone Weil is a little-known fig­ure, prac­ti­cally for­got­ten in her native France, and rarely taught in uni­ver­si­ties or sec­ondary schools. Slowly that is start­ing to change.

Albert Camus described her as “the only great spirit of our times”.


Perihelion By Nick Cross

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Cana­dian film­maker Nick Cross (Yel­low Cake, The Pig Farmer) took a break from pro­duc­tion on his one-man fea­ture Black Sun­rise to make the ani­mated short Per­i­he­lion. Cross describes Per­i­he­lion as “a sort of ani­mated tone poem…that toes the line between nar­ra­tive and non-narrative, essen­tially hav­ing no real begin­ning, mid­dle or end.”

The film draws upon his appre­ci­a­tion of fine art, par­tic­u­larly Ger­man Expres­sion­ism and Sur­re­al­ism: Visu­ally, I was heav­ily inspired by the work of a num­ber of Ger­man painters from the early 20th cen­tury. Notably: Otto Dix, Richard Oelze, Ingrid Griebel-Zietlow, Rudolf Schlichter and Max Ernst, as well as Fran­cisco Goya. This is sort of a trib­ute to the work of these artists liv­ing in a time of Fas­cism and impend­ing war, which really informed their work in a dis­tinct way. Fans of those clas­sic artists will enjoy spot­ting the visual references.


Brian Butler’s Magick Act

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For the Los Ange­les artist Brian But­ler, magic (or “mag­ick,” as the case may be) is as mod­ern as tech­nol­ogy. Cer­tain teach­ings may be ancient, he notes, but that doesn’t make them any less rel­e­vant. “In the mod­ern world of com­put­ers, the same ener­gies are still oper­at­ing,” he says.

But­ler was pre­mier­ing his film, “The Dove and the Ser­pent,” at the LAXART Annex in Hol­ly­wood last year, and a gritty, glam­orous crowd had gath­ered to watch a live musi­cal per­for­mance fea­tur­ing the leg­endary under­ground film­maker Ken­neth Anger.

Ini­tially drawn together by a shared inter­est in Aleis­ter Crow­ley and the occult, But­ler and Anger have worked together for more than a decade, But­ler pro­duc­ing Anger’s last few films and act­ing as cre­ative direc­tor of the trippy short he made for Missoni’s fall 2010 cam­paign. Anger appears with Vin­cent Gallo in Butler’s film “Night of Pan,” and the two also formed the band Tech­ni­color Skull.

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The Dove and the Ser­pent is a med­i­ta­tion on alchemy; the title ref­er­ences the Her­metic prin­ci­ple “as above, so below.” Filmed at a cas­tle in Nor­mandy, France, with some friends he rounded up dur­ing Paris fash­ion week last fall, includ­ing Dash Snow’s sis­ter Car­o­line and the cin­e­matog­ra­pher Edouard Plon­geon, whose fam­ily pro­vided the locale, the two-and-a-half minute piece is beau­ti­ful, hyp­notic and vaguely sinister.

Shad­owy fig­ures shape-shift and meld with the ele­ments, occult sym­bols flash and fade, and there is some cov­etable fash­ion on dis­play, includ­ing a Masonic robe and an ivory silk gown by the Lon­don designer Qasimi.

The Bartz­abel Work­ing is a per­for­mance based on a cer­e­mo­nial evo­ca­tion of the spirit of Mars, first writ­ten and per­formed in Lon­don in 1910 by Crow­ley, the rit­ual later became part of Los Ange­les his­tory in 1946 when Jack Par­sons con­ducted his own ver­sion of this rite with the inten­tion of plac­ing a Mar­tial curse on a pre-scientology L. Ron Hubbard.

For his rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of this his­tor­i­cal per­for­mance, But­ler con­jures Bartz­abel, the spirit of Mars, evok­ing on the site that was once home to late sci-fi author Ray Brad­bury and cur­rently com­prises L&M Gallery. And bel­low is also a lit­tle gem of a video by Mr. But­ler for The Black Lips



The Art of Creative Coding

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Pro­gram­ming plays a huge role in the world that sur­rounds us, and though its uses are often purely func­tional, there is a grow­ing com­mu­nity of artists who use the lan­guage of code as their medium. Their work includes every­thing from com­puter gen­er­ated art to elab­o­rate inter­ac­tive instal­la­tions, all with the goal of expand­ing our sense of what is pos­si­ble with dig­i­tal tools.

To sim­plify the cod­ing process, sev­eral plat­forms and libraries have been assem­bled to allow coders to cut through the nitty-gritty of pro­gram­ming and focus on the cre­ative aspects of the project. These plat­forms all share a strong open source phi­los­o­phy that encour­ages growth and exper­i­men­ta­tion, cre­at­ing a rich com­mu­nity of artists that share their strate­gies and work with unprece­dented openness.


Prom It’s a Pleasure: Etiquette Film From1961

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The Prom It’s a Plea­sure is a well-produced color film that stars the 1961 Coca-Cola Junior Miss Pageant win­ner as the guide to a well-mannered prom night.

From the phone call ask­ing Junior Miss for the date, to the drop-off at the end of the night, this film details prom eti­quette for the curi­ous and uncouth teenager. It also explains that the boy should call his date’s mother before the dance to find out the color of her dress so he can match the cor­sage to it.

Whole­some six­ties movies often dealt with Amer­i­can morals, and this prom night film is a clas­sic exam­ple. At the high school dance itself, the film shows how to dance, how to ask some­one to dance, ways to ask some­one to dance, how to fill out a dance card, and how to nav­i­gate the refresh­ments, which con­sisted mostly of Coca-Cola, not sur­pris­ingly. In addi­tion to all the prom do’s and don’ts eti­quette tips, this film fea­tures great footage of a typ­i­cal six­ties prom.


Rewind This!

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Home video changed the way the world con­sumed films. The cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal impact of the VHS tape was enor­mous. Rewind This! is a doc­u­men­tary that traces the rip­ples of that impact by exam­in­ing the myr­iad aspects of art,technology, and soci­etal per­cep­tions that were altered by the cre­ation of videotape.

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The film is the first fea­ture length effort from Austin, TX based IPF Pro­duc­tions, with shoot­ing loca­tions all over North Amer­ica and abroad, includ­ing a two week stint in Japan. The team has spo­ken to film­mak­ers, stu­dios, archivists, rental chain oper­a­tors, per­sonal col­lec­tors and media experts to cre­ate an overview of the video era that is both infor­ma­tive and cel­e­bra­tory. The film will pre­miere at SXSW Film Fes­ti­val in Austin March 2013.

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Dr. Cornel West On Blind Willie Johnson And The Blues

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Dr. Cor­nel West is a promi­nent and provoca­tive intel­lec­tual. He is a Pro­fes­sor of Phi­los­o­phy and Chris­t­ian Prac­tice at Union The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary and Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity. In this inter­view, Dr. West argues that the blues is not so much about tri­umph as it is about resis­tance and sur­vival. He edu­cates the viewer on the pain that became Blind Willie Johnson’s blues. West claims that at the cen­ter of the blues is an indi­vid­ual yearn­ing to find one’s voice.

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Blind Willie John­son. Old blues singers led the wildest lives. He was blinded by his mom throw­ing lye in his face as a pun­ish­ment, dirt poor since birth, he lived in the burned remains of his fam­ily home, preached and played on street cor­ners dur­ing the day, and no one is sure where he is exactly buried.

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