April 7, 2017
February 25, 2015
October 30, 2014
April 28, 2014
Matthew Pateman: Aryan Kaganof’s Amsterdam Avenue Black Cadillac Blues: Acinema and the pain of watching.
Aryan Kaganof is a South African cultural activist: poet, novelist, blogger and film maker. His controversial documentary, Wasted (1996), was the biggest grossing film in Holland in the year of its release, and its ‘eye-warping flashes’ demonstrate the kind of aesthetic adventurousness that has made his work so important, yet impossible. Wasted followed from his earlier award-winning Kyodai Makes the Big Time and his Bataille / Nick Land influenced The Dead man2: return of the man variously described as ‘a disgrace’ and ‘revolting’ as well as ‘a beautiful artistic exercise’ and it has been the subject of a range of engagements not the least of which is Henk Oosterling’s ‘Self-Immolation: The Pornological Acinema of Aryan Kaganof’. The ‘acinematic’ aspect persists in many of his subsequent works including his recent the exhibition of vandalism (2010), and An Inconsolable Memory (2013) which continue his astonishing interventions into documentary film making.
My paper is going to look at a recent short film of his, Amsterdam Avenue Black Cadillac Blues. Inspired or, at least, influenced by Joyce Green’s 1959 recording, the film is part counterpoint, part music video, part something else. It refuses, like all of Kaganof’s work to be reduced, simplified, explained. I do not intend to explain this film, but I will assert that the true spirit of Lyotard’s acinematics is found in (and possibly only consistently in) Kaganof’s work. The physical discomfort of watching, the visceral pain the ‘rupturing’ that Kaganof seeks in his film is present here – yet in essence this is a meditation of walking down a street. While I will not explain Kaganof, I will be working with his film to make manifest the meaning of Lyotard’s essay, and the violence it demands.