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11 JULY 2014

The Phantom of Liberty: humorous critique of bourgeois conventions

"Luis Buñuel's The Phantom of Liberty was quickly dismissed upon its release in 1974. Not only did it have to contend with the lingering success of 1972's similarly themed but significantly less abstract The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, but it was quickly followed by the dreamlike, bi–polar romantic entanglement of the director's last film, That Obscure Object of Desire. Like Discreet Charm, the plot–free Phantom of Liberty is a patchwork of comedic sketches and sight gags through which Buñuel ravages a complacent European culture and the various sexual hang–ups and historical and cultural disconnects of its inhabitants. This heady, almost off–putting masterwork isn't particularly easy to decipher (maybe we aren't meant to), which is why it's best to approach it as a literal comedy of manners.

Films structured around daisy chains of dysfunction are a dime a dozen; most, though, are as tiresomely long–winded as they are content with their own strained circularity. This isn't the case with Phantom of Liberty, which begins with a shot of Goya's 1808 masterpiece 'The Third of May.' The painting depicts Napoleon's army executing a group of faceless Spaniards, and via a reenactment of this struggle, Buñuel depicts how one of Napoleon's captains tries to defile the monument of Doña Elvira only to be smacked on the head by the moving arm of the statue of the woman's husband. (He later intends to sleep with the woman's corpse, and when he opens her coffin, he's amazed by how her beauty has been preserved.) It's the first of many sight gags in the film, each and every one as startling as they are perversely funny. All these moments are possessed by a sense of shocked wonderment and discovery, and they all more or less evoke fragile pasts and characters trying to reconcile their historical detachments."

(Ed Gonzalez, 13 September 2003, Slant Magazine)

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TAGS

1974absurd situationsabsurdist humourabsurdity • Adolfo Celi • Adriana Asti • Anne-Marie Deschott • apparition • Arch de Triomphe • archaic rules • Bernard Verley • black humour • bourgeois • bourgeoise societycancer • chance encounter • cigarettes • Claude Pieplu • coffin • comedic sketches • comedycomedy of mannerscorpsecritiquecultural conventionscultural pastdaughterdining practicesdinner tabledisappearancedoctor • Dona Elvira • eatingepisodic structureetiquetteEuropean cinema • European culture • faith • Francois Maistre • girl • Goya • Helene Perdriere • hotel • housemaid • humour • impulses • internal logic • intrusion • Jean Rochefort • Jean-Claude Brialy • Julien Bertheau • Le Fantome de la Liberte (1974) • Luis Bunuel • mailman • masterwork • Michael Lonsdale • Michel Piccoli • Milena Vukotic • Monica Vitti • Montparnasse • morality • nanny • narrative preconceptions • obscene • ostrich • parodypatchwork • Paul Frankeur • phallicphallic symbol • Philippe Brigaud • Pierre Maguelon • policepolite societypostcard • postman • psychoanalysisritual • rooster • rulesschool • schoolchildren • Serge Silberman • sexual hang-ups • sexual taboo • sight gag • sketch comedy • sniper • social behavioursocial conventionsSpanish filmsubconscioussurrealist cinemasurrealist filmmakertaboo • That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) • The Phantom of Liberty (1974) • The Third of May (1808) • toilettriptych • vanished • visual gagzoo

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
10 APRIL 2014

David Hockney Joiner Photography

"British artist David Hockney talks of his photographic work and its relationship to painting. Beside the pool at his Los Angeles home, he demonstrates the visual and mental processes behind the construction of a 'joiner' photograph, a compilation of colour photographs collaged together to reconstruct as one image, a sequence of simple events. Also shown are images of the paintings Los Angeles has inspired, interlaced with Hockney's commentary on the city's character."

"David Hockney Joiner Photography" London Weekend Television [production company], 1983.

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198335mmBritish artistcamera positioncollaged togethercolour photographs • colour prints • contemplative moments • cubist conceptionscut-upDavid Hockney • Don Featherstone • draughtsman • edited together • English painter • figures in spacefragmentsframed momentsfrozen in the momentfrozen momentin media resITV • joiner photograph • joiner photography • joiners (collage) • juxtaposed imagesjuxtaposition • London Weekend Television • Los Angeles • LWT • Melvyn Braggmultifacetedmultiple viewpoints • Nick Evans • patchworkperceptual organisationphotocollagephotographerpicture fragmentspoint of viewPolaroidpoolscene reconstructionsimultaneity • South Bank Show • stitched imagesstitched togethersuture • The South Bank Show • Trove • videorecording

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 AUGUST 2013

Sonia Delaunay and the Art Simultané

"Together, the Delaunay [Sonia and Robert Delaunay] start a research on color that will be the essence, the content and the form but also the line of a new painting for a non–figurative art. Influenced by the Fauvism, she first presents works whose subjects and models are marked, slashed by the brutality of the shades. Creative perfection to aim at, the music offers to the artists, at this time, the philosophical assessment that will underlie their respective works. Powerful associations of rhythms and melodies, the compositions gather in the idea of 'simultaneous' what makes a new challenge for poets and painters. Sonia Delaunay then progressively develops a lyrical use and signification of the color, close from cubism, between rhythm and shade. Repetitions of forms, structures but also colors, her paintings take a direction all her artistic propositions will follow."

(Ozarts Etc, 3 December 2011)

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abstract artabstract artists • art and fashion • art simultanecar • Citroen • colour • colour and fashion • colour and light • colour blocking • contrasting colour • costume designcubist and abstract artcubist conceptionsdesign formalismdesignerfabricfashion design • Fauvism • female artistgeometric designsmodern artmodern womanmodernist aestheticsmodernist paintingmosaicmovement-imagemulti-disciplinary • multi-disciplinary artist • mural • non-figurative art • paintingpatchworkpatchwork quiltpatternrepetitionRobert DelaunaysimultaneismsimultaneitySonia Delaunaytextile design • textiles design • theatrical stage design • theatrical staging • Tissus Delaunay • vibrant colourvisual abstractionvisual artistvisual contrastvorticismwomen artistswomen in art and designzig-zag

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 JANUARY 2009

Barack Obama: our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non–believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 NOVEMBER 2008

Dynamics of Plurilingual Interaction in Chat Rooms

"If we conceive of 'chats' as virtual conversations with a variable number of interlocutors with more or less opaque and changeable identities and whose almost total contextual opacity facilitates ambiguity and doubt in the production and reception of exchanges, we can conclude that many non–verbal contextual clues at a vocal level (paralinguistic, intonation, etc.) as well as a visual level (gestures, expressions, etc.) are absent in chats due to the textual nature of the conversations carried out within them, which in turn means a significant reduction in the possible interpretations of utterances. (Yus, 2001: 86, our translation) However, the absence of these characteristics is not perceived as a real barrier to communication, but rather as a challenge, since chat participants find ways to create contextual conditions in order to clarify the meanings they want to transmit. These conditions reveal an effort to optimise the only means they can access – the computer – with all its possibilities: capitalisation, punctuation, special characters and so on. With these resources, smiles are produced, cries and laughs are visualised (as if they wanted to become sounds and be heard!) and gazes and gestures are mimed. In fact, we can observe multiple ways of alternative meaning–making, which are signs of participants' creativity and interactional involvement on three levels: (1) the use of technology, (2) the use of communicative language(s) and (3) the way technology and language(s) merge into a visual plurilingual patchwork."
(Maria Helena Ara´ujo e S´a and S´ılvia Melo)

0965–8416/07/01 007–14 2007 M. H. Ara´ ujo e S´a & S.Melo
LANGUAGE AWARENESS Vol. 16, No. 1, 2007

TAGS

chatcollaborationcommunicationconversationICTinformationinteractive mediainterpretation • involvement • meaning makingparticipatory learningpatchwork • plurilingual interaction • social interactionvirtual

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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