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05 AUGUST 2012

Paolo Gioli's cinematic tone poem to Marilyn Monroe

"Italian film maker Paolo Gioli creates a haunting short movie by animating photographs taken by Bert Stern of Marilyn Monroe shortly before she died at the age of 36, fifty years ago today.

Filmarilyn is both beautiful and foreboding. As the film's jazzy rhythms start to disintegrate and the images slow to a crawl, 'X' marks on the contact sheets appear like magical curses and a fresh scar on Marilyn's flesh transforms into a stigmata while her face, half–hidden by shrouds of white, eyes closed, turns impossibly pale and lifeless. In the final moments, close–ups of her hands in death–like repose seem almost saintly and as the film's last frames unspool we are left with the sense of having seen an apparition, a ghost... a soul X–rayed.

It's amazing how much power and sadness Gioli creates from so few elements – a testimony to his artistry, Marilyn's radiance and Stern's skill in capturing it."

(Marc Campbell, 05 August 2012, Dangerous Minds)

Fig.1 Paolo Gioli (1992) "Filmarilyn", uploaded to Vimeo by Volodymyr Bilyk.

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TAGS

1992 • actress • animated sequenceanimated video • animating photographs • apparitionavant-garde cinema • Bert Stern • blondecelluloid • contact sheet • cultural icondeath • death-like repose • depth of focus • disintegrate • experimental film • eyes closed • Filmarilyn • Filmmarilyn • final moments • forebodingfound imagesframe by frameghost • haunting • HollywoodHollywood starletjazz rhythm • lifeless • manipulated images • Marilyn Monroe • modulated object framing • motion designnon-narrative • Paolo Gioli • photographic blow-upspop iconre-purposerhythmic motionrisque • scar • scavengedsequence design • sex symbol • short film • short movie • shrouds of white • simulate dimensionality • slow to a crawl • soul • stigmata • still images • still photographs • stop-frame animation • superstar • tantalizing • tone poem • unspool • visual recessions • X marks • x-ray

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 JULY 2012

Maurizio Anzeri: embroidered patterns on found vintage photographs

"Maurizio Anzeri makes his portraits by sewing directly into found vintage photographs. His embroidered patterns garnish the figures like elaborate costumes, but also suggest a psychological aura, as if revealing the person's thoughts or feelings. The antique appearance of the photographs is often at odds with the sharp lines and silky shimmer of the threads. The combined media gives the effect of a dimension where history and future converge. The image used in Round Midnight is an early 20th century 'glamour shot' that at the time would have been considered titillating for both the girl's nudity and ethnicity. Anzeri's delicately stitched veil recasts the figure with an uncomfortable modesty, overlaying a past generation's cross–cultural anxieties with an allusion to our own.

'I've been collecting old photographs for a long time. A few years ago I was doing ink drawings with them and out of curiosity I stitched into one. I work a lot with threads and hand stitching, and the link to photography was a natural progression. I put tracing paper over the photo and draw on the face until it develops. Sometimes the image comes straight away, suggested by a detail on a dress or in the background, but with the majority of them I spend a lot of time drawing. Once the drawing is done, I pierce the photo with a set of needle–like tools I invented and take the paper away; the holes are obsessively paced at the same distance to convey an idea of geometry. When I begin the stitching something else happens, drawing will never do what thread will–the light changes, and at some points you can lose the face, and at others you can still see under it.'

'There's a dynamic in what happens between the photograph, the embroidery on top, and you standing in front looking at it. I try never to completely cover a face, you can always still see the face underneath. There are no rules other than I always leave one or both eyes open. Nothing is bigger in my head than a face, it's the best landscape we can look at. It's all to do with the centre, the body. Like a costume or other identity, my work reveals something that is behind the face that suddenly becomes in front. It's like a mask–not a mask you put on, but something that grows out of you. It's what the photo is telling you and what you want to read in the photos. I get my ideas from many different sources: it could be theatre, or someone dressed up on the tube, a tribe in Papua New Guinea, or Versace. It's never one specific thing.'

'Photographs from the 40s and 50s have a totally different quality from photos we're used to today. We don't recognise them as photographs now, they really look like watercolours or drawings. The images I use are anonymous, I find them everywhere; I'm really into flea markets and car boot sales, when you enter you have no idea what you're going to encounter. In everything I see there is something I am interested in, but I try to look at them as plain canvas. Art history is very important to me, it's all been done before but it's never been done by you: if you don't look into the past there is no chance to go into the future. The surrealist movement is important to my work, but I don't become obsessed by it, it's not dictating rules. I understand history in a formal respect, and think of past artists like travelling companions–making work is like going for a walk with them. At the end of the day it's about humanity.'"

(Saatchi Gallery)

Fig.1 Maurizio Anzeri, "Rita", 2011, Embroidery on photograph, 23.5 x 17.5 cm.

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TAGS

antique • antique appearance • art history • car boot sales • costumecraft nostalgia • cross-cultural anxieties • design craftdesign revisionism • elaborate costumes • embroidered patternsembroidery • embroidery on photograph • facefigures • flea markets • foundfound imagesgeometryglamour shot • hand stitching • inner thoughts • making art with recycled materialsmask • Maurizio Anzeri • modesty • needle • nostalgia • old photographs • overlaying • photographportrait • psychological aura • Saatchi Gallerysewing • sharp lines • silky shimmer • stitchedstitching • surrealist movement • textile arts • threads • travelling companions • veiledvintage

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 MAY 2012

The Exquisite Clock: dynamic selection of real-world objects

"Exquisite Clock is a clock made of numbers taken from everday life–seen, captured and uploaded by people from all over the world. The project connects time, play and visual aesthetics. It's about creativity, collaboration and exchange.

Exquisite Clock is based on the idea that time is everywhere and that people can share their vision of time. Through the website www.exquisiteclock.org, users are invited to collect and upload images of numbers that can be found in different contexts around them–objects, surfaces, landscapes, cables... anything that has a resemblance to a number.

The exquisite clock has an online database of numbers–an exquisite database–at its core. This supplies the website and interconnected physical platforms. The online database works like a feeder that provides data to different instances of clocks in the form of the website, and installations, mobile applications, designed products and urban screens.

All uploaded numbers are tagged according to a category selected by their creator, and are added to the growing database. People viewing the clock can then choose to view all types of numbers, or can make a selection to view only numbers from a specific category–a clock made of vegetables, or clouds, or garments etc."

(Joao Wilbert)

Fig.1 Exquisite Clock was created and developed Joao Henrique Wilbert at Fabrica in 2009, creative direction by Andy Cameron.

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TAGS

2009algorithmalgorithmic randomnesschronological orderclock • clock face • collaborative design • data visualisationdata-drivendynamic selectioneveryday life • Exquisite Clock • exquisite corpsefound images • growing database • image collectionimage databaseimage setsinformation aestheticsinteractive visualisationprogressive design • random images • random order • random sequence • real-world objectsthemetimetime of daytimepiece

CONTRIBUTOR

Kay Van Bellen
16 JANUARY 2010

Standard Gauge: examining the shards of the film industry frame by frame

"Standard Gauge is an autobiographical account of a few years in the film career of its maker. Such, at least, is its ostensible form and purpose. The material from which the film is composed is pieces of 35mm motion picture film, a width known in former times as standard gauge, that its maker collected while working in and around the commercial motion picture industry. The pieces are a miscellaneous assortment, and include narrative features, trailers, newsreels, commercials, and pieces of head and tail leader. ...

By examining the shards of the industry frame by frame, it discovers some of the means and themes of experimental film living, so to speak, in Hollywood. And at the same time, the film engulfs and usurps the material of the commercial motion picture industry, turning it into its subject. Thus Standard Gauge proposes a kind of mutuality or interdependence between two kinds of filmmaking that by conventional standards are thought to be divided by an unbridgeable chasm. By means of a mutual interrogation between 35mm, the gauge of the industry, and 16mm, the gauge of the independent and amateur, Standard Gauge proposes to unify film of every kind."

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TAGS

16mm198435mmartefact • China girl • commentaryephemeraexperimental filmfilmfilmmaking • forensic • found footagefound imagesframe by framegleanerHollywoodindependent cinemamaterial culturememorabilia • Morgan Fisher • scavenged • Standard Gauge • stop frametechnologyvernacular photography

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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