Oh yeah, that meme. Open your entire music folder, shuffle the playlist, be honest about the first ten results, feel less hip. Results, therefore:
- DJ Danger Mouse — What More Can I Say
- Haendel — Sarabande (from the Barry Lyndon soundtrack)
- Jack Johnson: Bubble Toes
- Joanna Newson: Peach, Plum, Pear
- Beastie Boys: Crawlspace
- Sam the Kid: Fogo Sem Chama
- Sneaker Pimps: Splinter
- Tears for Fears: Sowing the Seeds of Love
- Yann Tiersen: Summer '78 (from the Goodbye Lenin soundtrack)
- Spektrum: Interference (Radio)
It started off nicely with something from the infamous Grey Album, but the jump to classical music (thanks to Barry Lyndon, speak of the devil!) was a bit abrupt. Jack Johnson is one of those friends' recommendations I ended up listening now for the first time — but liked it. Joanna Newson is excellent (think acoustic and humble Björk), and then more hip-hop from the Beasties and Portuguese wünderkid Sam The Kid. Sneaker Pimps are nice, Yann Tiersen a virus in everybody's playlist, Spektrum is that band I once saw live that may become something extremely good if they drop the abuse of electro, and as for Tears for Fears, I had no idea I had it, although I can't say I dislike it. Hm, and with that there goes my hipster karma down the drain.···
My friend Joana invited me to be a guest blogger at her new Estrada Nacional, and I immediately accepted because I'm cheap, even though I often don't have the time for my own blogs. But it suits my needs for irresponsible blogging, so maybe some interesting stuff will appear over there. Anyway that got me thinking about Cafeína and how it grew and grew and got so many features and became some kind of sacred glossy magazine unconfortable to write in. Bloated, and with a format. So, having a Sunday afternoon with not much to do, I did a little cirurgical intervention. Off with the glossy looks, off with that fanzine feeling which I'm getting more and more convinced is great for paper but bad for daily internet use. Again, that site looks like a weblog, and I even offed the litle topic icons. Now, let's hope it starts picking up karma again, and looking more like a home rather than a cold designer office.···
An article about Stanley Kubrick's famous Barry Lyndon lens, still the fastest lens ever at f/0.7, an aperture which should be physically impossible. Kottke···
Oh yeah, that meme. Open your entire music folder, shuffle the playlist, be honest about the first ten results, feel less hip. Results, therefore:
The other day I went crazy spent 12 in a single roll of film, a 'professional' 50ASA Fujichrome because I needed some good slides for a large projection in a set piece in a documentary I'll be shooting. Problem is, the photo lab I took the precious roll to will get my personal recommendation as Worst Photo Lab Ever. It seemed like a good deal — 10 to get the slides developed and digitized (thinking, they'd do a better job than my crappy scanner). Well, not only they ruined the film, leaving it with a weird magenta tint, stains and scratches, they gave me a CD containing... 540x360 JPEGs (what kind of size is that!?). Wow, that's useful. So. Shitlisted.
Somehow, the only good image to come out of this debacle is a photo I had mistakenly overexposed. Playing around with the controls of my old, not-really-meant-to-scan-slides scanner, I got the image to look old and charming. I guess it takes a glitch to cover another glitch.···
In 1917, Marcel Duchamp, a lesser-known cubist painter, decided to play a prank and enter an inverted urinol, under the pseudonym R. Mutt, in an art exhibition. Nowdays historians consider it the greatest turning point in the History of Art, a fact confirmed in a recent survey that puts the Fountain as the Most Influential Work of Art Ever. I agree. I can't say it's good or bad — once and for all, understand art and not-art have nothing to do with being good or bad, but here's a piece that forced a paradigm shift in aesthetics of unprecedented magnitude. So big, that Duchamp himself didn't understand it retired as an artist a few years later to become a chess player. The thing is, the 'prank' was just the last drop, the change was inevitable, if it wasn't an urinol, it'd be someone else's toilet. Decades ahead of 'conceptual art', the Fountain forced philosophies to adjust, art to be redefined in a broader sense. It paved the way for much good art that would have been impossible to accept otherwise: Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, conceptual art, installation art, appropriation and sampling; while at the same time being the root of many evils: counterfeit conceptual art (meaning: that art that behind a semantic barrage is devoid of any real concept), the excesses of post-modernism, artists without a path and a process taking shortcuts. We all owe that to the pissorium.
As a note, Malevitch's 1915 White Square would be my second choice (I don't think Picasso's Demoiselles and Warhol's Marylin the article quotes are that influential) because it's still painting — the Fountain has greater taking-the-piss value.···
I am starting to get convinced that there are two kinds of economists: those who practice a clueless pseudo-science and are as reliable as garden-variety horoscopes, psychologists or old-fashioned weather men; and then there are the real sinister ones, Doctor Strangeloves of social sciences, who know the whole economic system is fundamentally flawed and the Greater Depression is a matter of when, and then say "zat iz interesting" and "zon't give ze vörkers a raize". Therefore, I was going to write a magnum-rant called "Why we're all doomed". However, I'm not feeling pessimistic enough for that anymore: the Portuguese President decided to throw the Prime-Minister and the whole Coalition out of the window, meaning earlier elections in which the Socialist Party will surely get an easy win without needing to try hard (last week's polls suggested they'd get 45% of the votes), as this right-wing populist government was decomposing quite fast. And it'll be fun, because if you thought recriminations between ministers in office were bad enough, I can hardly imagine what will happen now that they all lost their jobs. Quality television, I expect. But it was good to see there is still a limit to how bad you can get, even if the threshold is quite low. And that the person I voted for President still has a bit of spine left after all. And no, I do not intend to vote for the Socialist Party in the upcoming elections: even though I like the thought of having Peter Bling-bling out of the office I'm not going to help a Tony Blair get absolute majority.···
I'm in full screenwriter (deadline: Tuesday) mode at the moment, that's why I've been blogging even less often. Not that I feel that particular need to justify myself, of course. While writing a screenplay I only worry if the dialogue between the doctor and the patient is tense enough, therefore I'm not worrying about an uncertain readership I'll most likely never know — I worry instead if I will feel embarrased when my movie debuts at some festival and I'm forced to watch it in the company of strangers to whom I can't go and explain why something isn't that perceptible. Whatever. I've got work to do and bloody doctor Estevez is just sitting there the whole scene, and I know that if I don't find a way to make him stand up the scene looks crap. Unless she shoots him... Hm... No, no, that's out of order, too much of a copy of the Bladerunner prologue.
That's what happens when you jack a live stream of consciousness to your weblog. I'm not schizophrenic so I can't work in multiple threads, hence this sorry sorry attempt of a text, just to show I'm alive and well and with an OpenOffice document glaring at me in a window behind the one I'm typing at. It's funny people say I don't work much because I'm a kind of a bon-vivant who spends too much time having beer after college or having tea before, because in this area work even sleeps with you, has shower with you, and when you are sitting on the toilet you are just thinking about some photographic technique or some stage design problem. And I can assure you, the screenplay phase is the worst mindfucker of all, at least for me.
Oh well, the other day, while looking for info about this hi-def format we'll be using, I found out Adobe has a few interesting PDFs about digital video that I believe are near-perfect guides for beginners in the technical aspects of video. But then I was thinking about the image part of filmmaking. Now, for the screenplay. Cheers.···
It's a bit disturbing to sit and watch some 13 and 14 year old videotapes documenting family Christmas' parties. And then you find out you already were a film nerd when you were eleven, but somehow forgot it until now.
I'm wearing headphones. And what are those other cables dangling from the side of the camera? Childhood can be so strange.···
The Grey Video, the most illegal video ever! And no, it's not snuff porn — it's a very illegal music video for one of the tracks in the also very illegal Grey Album, that Beatles/Jay-Z mashup (and it is quite a good record in fact) which got The Beatles' EMI corporate hounds harrassing its author. Again, the video mixes footage from the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night and Jay-Z's in an impressive display of what can be done with compositing and effects software. Get it quick before lawyers wipe it out the face of the Earth.···
This 2500 megapixel photo is both impressive and fun to zoom through. A technical achievement. But not nearly as charming for us camera geeks as the R1 Project, a 50 kgs analog monster that shoots 46x23cm negatives. Nice.···
As if the 0.1 percent of visitors who also live in Porto would care: This Wednesday and Thursday, 9.30 in the evening, at the ESAP Auditorium (entrance via R. Belomonte, a couple of houses' distance from the Pinguim Café), you may watch movies, documentaries and videos done by my class. My own Por Vezes Somos Felizes is set to be shown on Wednesday, while the multi-director 'megaproduction' Os Sete Selos do Apocalipse will premiere on Thursday's session.···
I once had diner with a friend at a Persian restaurant and she stole this from the ladies' room:
We're now sharing a studio along with other people and the paper was decorating the pasteboard. I had to scan it. Since the message should read 'Please — Do not drop papers in the toilet — Use the basket', I can only guess either someone played a prank with the translation or it is a severe case of machine translatione gone wrong.···
A Guide to Original Aspect Ratios, or, why do some films look immensely crap on television. Although not very detailed (they are missing some common film aspect ratios, and that remark about 1.66 being the 'shape' of European movies is just untrue — perhaps they meant it's the standard ratio of 16mm film?), the guide explains well enough why those black bars that people say are stealing screen space are actually preventing people from being robbed of a percentage of the original movie. It's an American guide, therefore it refers to NTSC, but European PAL television has almost the same aspect ratio. The page does miss another point though, the fact NTSC runs at 30 frames per second while film runs at 24 (PAL has 25 frames per second, so movies are just played slightly faster in Europe, but the difference is too slight for most people to notice). Therefore, some weird calculations are done to adapt films to NTSC. I can only imagine how bad it should be to watch a 'pan&scan' version of 2001 full with that stuttering motion...···
File under 'sad but true': Fuck the South. No, it's not a rant about Lisbon. It's a secessionist manifesto from the US, and quite a funny one (unless you're a Red). However, the way I look at it from the other side of the Atlantic, secession isn't a solution. The US are split in half, but in a messier way, cities versus the outback (for instance, the Democrats won Austin, TX, comfortably). This isn't new, in fact it also happens all over Europe, the problem in the US is the degree of radicalism. I read today there are 70 million adult functional analphabets in the US (if true, that's a quarter of the population!). There resides the danger. Cities under ideological siege, Reds and Blues in a delicate balance in the same states... Not good.···
So much for realtime performance, then. Anyway, the new asseptic.org/media website is now up, only a year or so past my earlier promises. There are plenty of new videos there, and as always you need a NSV-compliant player (Winamp — Windows, MPlayer — Linux, VLC — multiple OSs including Mac) to watch most of them. In a whim, I named the webpage The Video Streams of Consciousness. Did anyone put drugs in my drink at diner?···
Hip post of the week: Alright, more complicated visual programming stuff for jockeys of any kind: VVVV is a multipurpose toolkit (think Max/MSP, PD) meaning, it's a nerdy but hip app you can use to make visuals syncronized to music, or whatever. I wish I knew how to use it.···
Next Tuesday we'll be organizing auditions for actors and actresses at college. Since we only want people who speak Portuguese and I'm feeling quite lazy, I'm just going to copy-paste the following information:
Sou aluno finalista do curso de Cine-Vídeo da ESAP. A minha turma tem 14 alunos, cada um com os seus projectos pessoais de documentário ou ficção para fazer durante este ano lectivo, somando-se a isto um grande projecto colectivo, uma longa metragem por capítulos que será rodada ou em película de 16mm ou em alta definição. Para tudo isto, são necessários actores e actrizes, de todo o tipo e todas as idades. Assim vamos realizar um casting, onde iremos produzir uma cassete e um dossier que poderá ser consultado pelos realizadores na escolha de interpretes para as personagens dos seus filmes.
Este casting irá ser realizado esta terça-feira, dia 9, entre as 14h e as 20h, nas instalações da ESAP na Ribeira do Porto / Infante (em frente à Igreja de S. Francisco). Os interessados e interessadas deverão trazer apenas uma foto. Não é necessária qualquer experiência prévia. Para mais informações utilizem os comentários. E apareçam!
If you are really curious about what it says, try machine translation. It's fun.···
There's no point in discussing the reelection George W. Bush anymore. That's what happens when one side turns politics into faith and rationality is left in a corner. It's horrible to feel people trying to argue with you are deeply engaged in doublethink, therefore in a defensive mood that makes them impossible to reason with. I'll just leave a couple of links, and then resume the regular programming about 16mm film versus hi-def video, or whatever: An American proposes secession (thanks João), this way agreeing with my own impression the future will see the United States of America reduced and giving way to the new Confederate States of America and California-Oregon Republic. And to those who say Bush has a definite democratic legitimacy, here's an explanation on how elections are defrauded in the US. It's tragic to see the world's superpower performing as led by some well-known mafiosi mayors or regional governors here in Portugal...···