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05 DECEMBER 2015

Life Smartphone: a commentary on smartphone dependence

"Min Alxe, a student at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, created 'Life Smartphone,' a darkly funny commentary on our culture's smartphone dependence. It shows different characters moving through the world and dying gruesome deaths while not paying attention to what's around them."

(Max Plenke, 08 May 2015)

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TAGS

20152D animationaddiction • adverse health effects • animated short filmbehavioral addictionblack humour • China Central Academy of Fine Arts • compulsive behaviourcultural commentarydystopian futureengrossing activityepisodic structure • extended phone use • Life Smartphone (2015) • Min Alxe • morbidnasty mishapsour relationship with technologyout of controlparody • poor posture • prolonged phone use • selfiesmartphone dependencespectacular society • text neck • textingtxtingunhealthy behaviourvignette

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 JULY 2014

Once upon a time in a town called Merryville

"Once upon a time in a town called Merryville... comes the story of Grumpleton. This black comedy short in centred around the grumpiest man in the world, who just so happens to be living in the happiest place on Earth. It's fun, it's humorous, it's weird, and it looks amazing! It is Grumpleton."

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TAGS

Andrew Dehnert • animated short filmAustralian short filmbathbathtubblack humour • Callan Woolcock • car exhaust • carbon monoxide • carbon monoxide poisoning • communications design agency • contemplating mortalityelectrocutionepisodic narrativeepisodic structurefantasy about deathfrustration • gas explosion • Grumpleton • grumpy • guillotine • hanging • jumping off a bridge • Kane Rowlingson • lawnmower • lightning strike • Luke Saunders • Merryville • Mike Lomas • morbidold man • once upon a time • shark attack • Stephanie McLaren • Steve Bradshaw • suicide • suicide bridge

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 MARCH 2011

Returning to Michael Powell's Peeping Tom after 15 years

"Peeping Tom has been widely celebrated as one of the great films about looking, about consumption, about cinema, about art, about the artist, about the relation between the artist, the artwork and the audience, about the relation between looking and pleasure, looking and desire, looking and death, and so on. All very familiar stuff from Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis and film studies (the film's tailor–made for film studies – bring in some Freud here, some Bataille and de Sade there, add a little Lacan and Virillio, etc). The aggressive and violating camera, as Scorsese put it. And this is partly the problem with Peeping Tom. Like the films of Peter Greenaway or David Cronenberg, Peeping Tom is more like an academic essay about voyeurism and scopophilia, a join–the–dots lecture on the pleasures, risks and dangers of art. Plus, Peeping Tom employs the most stereotypical, cliched thriller/ murder mystery plot you can imagine: a young man, a loner, a misfit, introspective, morbid, an outsider figure, abused as a child, etc etc etc, who murders sexualized women (prostitutes and actresses), and is befriended by an innocent he cannot bring himself to corrupt or kill.

Powell attacks the subject of voyeurism and murder aggressively in the opening scenes: the close–ups on cameras, projectors and eyes, the mirrors and reflections, exaggerated sounds (the rattle of a projector, a dripping tap, a heartbeat, whispered voiceover), and his love of visual rhymes and puns (eyes, drinks, sticks and tripods). You can see Powell having a ball in orchestrating his elaborate camera moves, his erotic, sleazy mise–en–abyme, his film–within–a–film tropes (Powell playing the murderer's father and torturer in home movies which he shot himself), the multiple reflections, mirrors, lenses, cameras, projections and screens (every shot in Peeping Tom seems to have been lit by a raking, unfiltered, unflattering horizontal light). It's not that Powell isn't at the top of his game in Peeping Tom – in its way, Peeping Tom is every bit as inventive as Powell's best work – it's that the plot, the characters, the situations are so cheesy, predictable, and shallow.

Despite all this, though, Peeping Tom does have bite and a nastiness which age hasn't dimmed. Peeping Tom also still feels 'contemporary' in its psychoanalytic treatment of a serial killer plot which draws on prostitution, cinema, acting, and pornography. And the conceit of having a murder in the opening shots which's replayed a moment later over the credits is a tour–de–force (one of the film's best cinematic ideas, this says everything necessary, and economically, in the first five minutes)."

(Jeremy Robinson)

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TAGS

1960abuseaggressionartartistartworkaudienceBritish directorBritish film directorcameracinemaclicheclose-upconsumptionDavid Cronenbergdeathdesire • Emeric Pressburger • erotic • essayfilmfilm studies • film-within-a-film • Freudian • Georges Bataille • innocenceintrospectionJacques Lacan • join-the-dots • Leo Marks • loner • looking • Marquis de Sade • Martin ScorseseMichael Powellmirrormise-en-abymemisfitmorbidmurdermurder mysteryoutsider • Paul Virilio • Peeping Tom (film) • Peter Greenawaypleasurepornographyprojectorprostitutionpsychoanalysis • pun • reflectionscopophilia • scoptophilia • serial killer • sexualised • sleazy • stereotypethrillerUKviolation • visual rhyme • voyeurism

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
10 MARCH 2009

Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine

"The Science Museum of London is launching an ambitious and amazing sounding website this March [2009] entitled Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine. The website will present images of, and details about, 2,500 fantastic objects illustrating centuries of medical history from around the world. Many of these objects have never been on public view; others are on display in the (wonderful) health and medicine galleries of the museum. The project is supported by the Wellcome Trust, and the website will feature access to items from the Wellcome Trust collection held by the Science Museum."
(Joanna Ebenstein, Morbid Anatomy)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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