Aronld Dreyblatt, the extremely talented American Composer and Fine Artist living in Berlin, Germany, has allowed me to use three of his tracks (from his most recent album, Choice [Choose Records, Berlin]) to be used to score my upcoming short film The Latent Germ of Madness.
I have been a listening to Dreyblatt for a few years now and am particularly partial to his use of unique instrumentation, unabashed playing lengths, and repetitive, trance-like patterning. A wonderful voice in sound.
[from MIT, where Dreyblatt is currently in residence as an artist in CAST, the Center for Art, Science, & Technology]:
Arnold Dreyblatt is an American media artist and composer. He studied music with Pauline Oliveros, La Monte Young, and Alvin Lucier and has been based in Berlin, Germany since 1984. In 2007, Dreyblatt was elected to lifetime membership in the visual arts section at the German Academy of Art (Akademie der Künste, Berlin). He is currently Professor of Media Art at the Muthesius Academy of Art and Design in Kiel, Germany.
Dreyblatt’s musical and artistic practice has ranged from large multi-day performances to permanent installations, digital projections, dynamic textual objects, and multi-layered lenticular text panels. His visual artworks create complex textual and spatial visualizations about memory, reflecting upon such themes as recollection and the archive. A member of the second generation of New York minimal composers, Dreyblatt continues to develop his work in composition and music performance, having invented a new set of original instruments, performance techniques, and a system of tuning. He has formed and led numerous ensembles under the title “The Orchestra of Excited Strings” for over thirty years.
Needless to say I am thrilled to have one of my favorite composers scoring my short film.
The Latent Germ of Madness will be released publicly very, very soon.
An ash-collecting robot witnesses the collapse of the universe as he slowly drifts through outer space.
Coming Spring 2014.
Big news! Recently I acquired the rights to adapt Joel Priddy‘s wonderful comic The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot into a short film. The comic is a short story about an ash collecting robot floating through space over the course of eons, slowly witnessing the collapse of the universe…
It will be part III (of three) of a series I’ll be creating over the next year or so (in reverse chronological order) conceptualizing an origin story for Artificial Intelligence. Tentative title: The Robot Scriptures
This particular story, though being quite simple, alludes to very complex ideas and theories – time, space, creation, seclusion. In the comic, Priddy has taken a simple 9 square panel format and ripped apart conventions and expectations through his use of composition and form, in many cases allowing the panels to be read both like a normal book (left to right, top to bottom), but also as a whole – really quite genius.
I’ll be making the film as a live action puppetry piece (yet maybe not what you’d think about as puppetry…). That being so, I am currently in the midst of building a robot… The Ashbot:
Keep an eye out for the film this Spring… and Parts I & II coming later this year…
Joel Priddy is a wonderfully talented illustrator and writer in his own right and I highly recommend checking him out.
Another one of Joel Priddy‘s graphic novels, Pulpatoon Pilgrimage is no doubt one of the best out there – an honest and sometimes brutal account of the adventures and history of three unlikely friends. The graphic novel won him an Ignatz Award in 2002 for Outstanding Debut and was also nominated for an Eisner for Best Graphic Novel. His illustration work has appeared in the New York Times, Playboy, and Cricket Magazines. Basically, his work is amazing. check him out: http://www.joelpriddy.com/ http://pulpatoon.tumblr.com/
The N.E.A. Arts Magazine featured Denizen (a performative work I co-created) in an article titled
Defining Creative Placemaking
By Jason Schupbach
Denizen is a performance, sound, and video projection based work that draws inspiration from local native mythology. It is a two-part piece that explores life and the therefore imminent approach of death; using the Coyote as a central character. The coyote is a native to the California area and has prospered through all the human developments. Even though its natural habitat is being reduced, its population has grown by assimilating to the human culture and living off human bi-products. In the time of the Ohlone people, native to the bay area, the coyote was a main figure of their mythology; portrayed as a character of wit and cunning and contributing to the creation of humankind. The coyote is an instigator, and an animal that has the ability to adapt, while remaining wild and uncontrolled.
Denizen was directed by Tina Matthews, eve Warnock and Colin McDonald and performed in the Zero 1 Biennial 2012 – San Jose, CA for hundreds of onlookers in Oct. 2012
More about DENIZEN: http://www.zero1.org/blog/denizen-emma-polster
Photography: Patrick Lyndon
“There would be no Greek tragedy if the Greek writers listened to their audience.”
- Roman Polanski
“You begin with an artifact left on earth four million years ago by extraterrestrial explorers who observed the behavior of the man-apes of the time and decided to influence their evolutionary progression. Then you have a second artifact buried deep on the lunar surface and programmed to signal word of man’s first baby steps into the universe — a kind of cosmic burglar alarm. And finally there’s a third artifact placed in orbit around Jupiter and waiting for the time when man has reached the outer rim of his own solar system.
When the surviving astronaut, Bowman, ultimately reaches Jupiter, this artifact sweeps him into a force field or star gate that hurls him on a journey through inner and outer space and finally transports him to another part of the galaxy, where he’s placed in a human zoo approximating a hospital terrestrial environment drawn out of his own dreams and imagination. In a timeless state, his life passes from middle age to senescence to death. He is reborn, an enhanced being, a star child, an angel, a superman, if you like, and returns to earth prepared for the next leap forward of man’s evolutionary destiny.
That is what happens on the film’s simplest level. Since an encounter with an advanced interstellar intelligence would be incomprehensible within our present earthbound frames of reference, reactions to it will have elements of philosophy and metaphysics that have nothing to do with the bare plot outline itself.”
- Stanley Kubrick
“The tremendous world I have in my head. But how to free myself and free them without ripping apart. And a thousand times rather tear in me they hold back or buried. For this I’m here, that’s quite clear to me.”
“The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.”
“My life has been the poem I would have writ, but I could not both live and utter it.”
- H. D. Thoreau
“In every parting there is a latent germ of madness.” – Goethe, 1788
Back in February, a feat of film production was accomplished. The shooting of both a music video and a 10 minute short film over the course of one weekend. Pshew!
The short film is titled The Latent Germ of Madness – Initially written as a traditional screenplay, I then decided to eat my words from this previous post and try to make a film based on something other than a traditional screenplay.
I made this diagram (below), and it was my script.
And for fun, here was my original screenplay…
The Latent Germ of Madness, drawn from the Goethe quote at the top of this post, is, at its core, a story about the value of struggle.
In the recent past, I read a hell of a lot of theoretical essays on “The Epic of Gilgamesh” (ancient mesopotamia, circa 2700BCE, the oldest written story known to man) - – the feature length screenplay that I recently wrote is loosely based on this story. These essays and texts are on a range of topics – anthropological, mythology, sociological, scientific, poetry, etc. One of these essays I came across was called “Reaching for Abroad: Departures” by Eric Leed and it really struck a cord with me with all of my recent global traveling.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh – the hero Gilgamesh goes on a very long journey to find immortality, but in the end cannot find it, or looses it really, but is left with a more broad appreciation for life because of this journey.
This short film was meant to explore this exploration – and what/why it brings value to our lives. How fear is perhaps the reason traveling is so worthwhile – taking one far from comfort to make them realize the value of life – the power of life is much stronger when one knows what the face of death looks like. And so I took an almost literal approach…
Acting in the film is a woman by the name of Anna Hebblewhite. She is a wonderfully talented musician and actress who I got to know while in Tasmania and can now confidently call a friend.
Over the same weekend we shot the Latent Germ short, we also shot a music video for Anna – a song of hers titled “Awakening”. We approached the shoot with a similarly circular structure to the short film, but went about it in a loosely composed way, shooting in and around the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park. Annnnnd we all got to go swimming – which was understandably the best.
More of her music can be found here:
Andrew Maynard, her partner in crime, and also my good friend, was instrumental in helping out on the shoot, acting as a production assistant and overall good spirit during the long, hot days in the mountains. Like a warm weather sherpa. Many thanks go out to him. ps – almost all these photographs in this post were taken by him.
The films, both shot in Tasmania, Australia, are currently in post-production and should be done in the near future! Keep an eye out for more pics and words and etc etc in the near future…
Here’s – the new short film I just finished up creating with Corbin Jones!
Mike reluctantly listens to his eccentric friend tell him a story about what happened to his uncle Lester on a Saturday morning in 1969 – the ultimate humdinger.
Written and Directed by:
Corbin Jones & C. West McDonald
2013 / USA / Stoker Motion Pictures / 7:44
Some production stills:
Robert Fludd’s Et sic in infinitum (and like this to infinity)
“I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, and keeps only their quintessences. This is an unspeakable torture during which he needs all his faith and superhuman strength, and during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed – and the great learned one! – among men. – For he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his own soul – which was rich to begin with – more than any other man! He reaches the unknown; and even if, crazed, he ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them! Let him die charging through those unutterable, unnameable things: other horrible workers will come; they will begin from the horizons where he has succumbed!”
Christopher Moloney goes out into New York City armed with still frames from movies and captures their location with a larger (modern day) frame – calling his project FILMography. Though I am unsure of his intention with this, when thought about, it’s much more than just clever arrangements. People tend to think that video captures reality – and I can see why one would think this – motion pictures. Pictures being the most true to form representations of a ‘thing’. Go back in history: painters of the renaissance and Greek Sculptors (Daedalus) were known to produce art that was so realistic that it literally was moving in the the eyes of the viewer, fooling them into thinking it was reality. How silly they were. …And how silly we are to think that film and video is a pure representation of life. It is simply our generations closest form of natural representation. Or perhaps the most all inclusive (though not necessarily the best in some circumstances) form of communication that has had widespread influence due to economic factors (cheap cameras, the internet, and so on).
Moloney does a great job at breaking a wall and giving us a view into the world of cinema and its relation to reality. At least offering a new view of the media itself, and of the lens of the camera – not speaking about any one particular film, but instead about the very action of capturing time – - a moment on film. These photographs allow us to see that these moments are just that, moments – and while we may re-live those moments again and again, they are still, just one moment in time. Not a life, not reality – but rather a story – the communication of an event, seen from one angle – history.