August 7, 2017

“The Universe Is A Very Quiet Place” – Reflections by Aryan Kaganof on a film by Dick Tuinder.

Filed under: dick tuinder,film as subversive art — ABRAXAS @ 12:08 pm

Is it a film? What tangent of the cinema as we knew her, as she died, is Tuinder going off on here? Self Portrait of the 20th Century of a Brain seems to me to be a footnote, an epilogue, to a kind of cinema that has simply died out. Become extinct. Drained away. Tuinder has constructed a memorial for cinema, a burial ground of sorts, a tomb.

Tuinder the film maker is not concerned with the kind of uninventive ontology that has made Bela Tarr so tedious to watch for a decade now; although I mention Tarr because Tuinder shares with the sour Hungarian a mournful and utterly inexorable championing of the molto adagio, a tempo it must be stated, that only grandmasters can play without losing our attention these days; by grandmasters I mean Ashkenazy and Beethoven, I mean Johnny Hodges and Ellington; and as of now, I mean Dos Santos and Tuinder.

Tuinder films in the language of parables. All sacred writings contain an outer and an inner meaning. Behind the literal images lies another range of meaning; another form of knowledge. This knowledge has been lost to the cinema (some would say she lost this knowledge when she learned to speak).

Tuinder rescues for the cinema that recourse to what is intuited at, what is ultimately only known, in silence. Although Dos Santos has contributed a marvellous score which is a classic of minimalism, the incessant repetition of a bell tone that we distantly recognize from Schnittke (Symphony no.4) but the grave, repetitive cadence of this note lends the film a gradually swelling monumentality until we are confronted with a cinema that has literally evolved out of the miraculous bell of the final scene of Tarkovsky’s Andrei Roubliouv.

The question arises: why is this sacred bell cast in a misleading form? Why doesn’t Tuinder simply tell us what he’s trying to say, simply, in so many words/images? I am convinced that the idea behind such a sacred cinema is to convey a higher meaning than the literal images/words contained, the truth of which must be seen/experienced internally. By this I mean that Tuinder has made a psychological film. Not the pop psychology of Syd Field’s “plot points” that virtually dominates all discourse on the medium these days, but a psychology that Tuinder has allowed to grow from the seed of his own psyche, even his brain.

Ordinary cinema, and by that I mean the pulp of special effects and digital blah-blah that is called cinema now, is not the correct starting place for a way of seeing into Tuinder’s twentieth century. One would be better served by exploring Lumiere, by negotiating Murnau. Tuinder is a classicist, but a very sorrowful one. Tuinder’s cinema has proved mortal. She has died an inelegant death, she has been shot off, literally expelled from the stage that is not even a screen anymore.

Mata Hari dances one last time and as the Brain ends with her rifle shot induced assassination, the curtain falls on a kind of cinema that simply is no more. Frans van der Staak is dead. Marguerite Duras is dead. Kurt Kren is dead. Tarkovsky is dead.

But Tuinder is not dead. Thus we speak, and speak we must when it comes to our attempts to understand this unnerving rupture of cinema that is his Brain, of a possible inner evolution of the cinema called “re-birth”.

Tuinder’s epilogue, his mortuary which was conceived to bury a century which was her century (the cinema’s) now turns out to have been more than an obituary notice. Cinema cross-pollinates with digital art in the matrix of a computer-generated cosmology that does not understand banality, that refuses ragingly, any attempt to banalify what is unique, special, disturbing, enchanting, organic. Remembering Adorno’s dictum “the real betrayal is exactly that banality you were expecting” and remembering that in the psychological teachings of the Gospels, a man is not to be taken as what he appears to be, but as what he most deeply is; I say to you – make a point of finding Dick Tuinder’s Portrait of the 20th Century as a Brain, make a point of watching it twice, three times. In this silence that you find haunting yourself, Mata Hari’s words (the cinema’s voice) will resonate in the slowly decaying tones of a solitary bell, “the universe is a very quiet place.”

Peter Delpeut on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 11:07 am

Screen shot 2017-08-07 at 11.06.50 AM

Numero deux

Filed under: film,film as subversive art — ABRAXAS @ 11:05 am

Numero deux is also concerned with the difficulty of crossing sociocultural barriers, be they physical or psychological. Rarely has a film concentrated on the concept of blockage in so many forms. This starts at the beginning, when the title has trouble appearing on the screen, as if the movie were facing some invisible block or obstacle on its way to the audience. The film does get started eventually, but various devices keep the sense of blockage going. Some operate through the film’s style: the uneven progress of the story; the frequent interruption of one scene by another; the competition between film and video images, which sometimes seem to get in each other’s way. Others operate through the movie’s content: the stop-and-start pictures on the monitors in Godard’s workshop; the image of a primal scene that must be repressed as soon as it is witnessed; the linkage of birth (commencement) and death (cessation) in the girl’s blackboard sentence. When the narrative proceeds a little farther, we will encounter the film’s most blunt metaphors for blockage: the constipation and impotence that plague Sandrine and her husband, respectively. When she compares her mother with a “factory” that “hurts” when it “charges and discharges,” Sandrine is also describing herself and many others – women who feel cut off from life’s flow by the demands of work, and deprived of healthy sexuality by the insensitivity of their husbands. We will also learn that Sandrine’s spouse is abusive, using anal intercourse (blocking a channel) to punish and control her.

One more aspect of Numero deux that Kristeva’s ideas illuminate is its Godardian use of sound (immediate, surrounding, ungraspable) to combat the tyranny of the image (distant, hard-edged, authoritarian) that dominates commercial cinema. Kristeva holds that early infancy is bathed in sound as the child develops within the “chora,” which is both the fleshly envelope of the womb and the sonic envelope of the noises (most notably, the mother’s voice) that filter through to the infant’s hearing. Nostalgia for this stage of life persists long after its peace and plenitude are ruptured by the rude awakening called birth. This helps explain the power of music (increasingly important in Godard’s cinema) to touch us in ways for which rational considerations can’t wholly account. It also helps explain the cacophonous sounds in Numero deux, a film that extravagantly favors physical immediacy over coded communication. Numero deux loves noise – noise for the ears, such as the gobbledygook of overlapping sound tracks, and noise for the eyes, such as video static and on-and-off television pictures. Godard told us earlier that language games can cure sickness, so it isn’t surprising that verbal and visual puns are a major component of this movie (which was produced after he himself had recuperated from his serious motorcycle accident). The way to heal blockage is with slippage – and nothing slides more easily, or with a more liberating effect, than a word or image whose meaning has no fixed abode other than in-the-moment dialogue with its audience.


Amy van Houten on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 10:28 am


Jitsvinger on Afrikaaps

Filed under: afrikaaps,catherine henegan — ABRAXAS @ 10:22 am

first published here: http://cultshakennis10.blogspot.co.za/2017/06/a-perspective-on-afrikaaps-musical_18.html

August 2, 2017

Claire van Daal on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 9:33 pm


Andries Gouws on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 9:27 pm

Screen shot 2017-08-02 at 9.25.44 PM

WOLE SOYINKA: Re-positioning Negritude

Filed under: literature,philosophy,politics,race — ABRAXAS @ 1:07 pm


Yana Kostova on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 1:03 pm

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AFRICAN NOISE FOUNDATION, Cape Town harbour, 1880: “We Promise Nothing, We Bring The Noise”

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 12:33 pm


Jeffrey Babcock on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss,acéphale — ABRAXAS @ 12:31 pm

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Ramses II, Turin

Filed under: art,dick tuinder — ABRAXAS @ 12:28 pm


Lars Pettersson on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 12:26 pm

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Aryan Kaganof and Jonathan Eato, archiving

Filed under: Jonathan Eato,niklas zimmer — ABRAXAS @ 12:03 pm


photo by niklas zimmer

Manfred Zylla on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss,Manfred Zylla — ABRAXAS @ 12:01 pm

Screen shot 2017-08-02 at 12.00.08 PM

Tete Mbambisa, Johannesburg, Monday 3 July 2017, 3:04pm

Filed under: kagaportraits — ABRAXAS @ 11:59 am


Zuzana Sestakova on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 11:57 am


Filed under: 2013 - the vuvuzela murders,sex — ABRAXAS @ 11:21 am


Patricia Pisters on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss,patricia pisters — ABRAXAS @ 10:51 am


Barney Rachabane, Jonathan Eato and Tete Mbambisa, Johannesburg, Monday 3 July 2017 5.16pm

Filed under: Jonathan Eato,kagaportraits — ABRAXAS @ 10:48 am


andile mngxitama – “is black speech hate speech?”

Filed under: andile mngxitama,politics,race — ABRAXAS @ 10:43 am


Khalid Shamis on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 10:40 am


Filed under: art,caelan — ABRAXAS @ 10:37 am


Grim grinning on the abyss

Filed under: 2016 - abyss — ABRAXAS @ 10:33 am

Screen shot 2017-08-02 at 10.33.01 AM

Metalepsis in Black

Filed under: 2016 - Metalepsis in Black — ABRAXAS @ 10:31 am


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