Now for a little bit on film.

December 11, 2007

I’ve been avoiding this subject as I find myself split on the issue. Part of me, the forever a kid part of me, loves big blockbuster films, the types of films that employ numerous special effects and great action scenes with good comedy and epic adventures. One such example of a film which ended a trilogy I find myself one of few who enjoyed all three is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. I know this film was too long for many people and for others it was just too far removed from reality, with all its supernatural elements, that it failed to live up to what the first film had created. But for me it was perfect. I loved that it went too far and was too long and even utilized elements directly from the ride to remove itself a little too much from the rest of Hollywood.


Yes, it did do that! You see when the whole team was entering that weird ghost world called World’s End, there was roughly thirty seconds of white screen with sound bites from the ride itself, having the effect of removing us from the cinematic world and dropping us back in reality, reminding us where this trilogy comes from. This very subtle use of that technique is the trend in cinema I feel has been lost in recent years.


Now enter that other part of me, that part that wants cinema to challenge conventional ideas and especially this superhuman hold that narrative has on film. Why does film have to be a narrative to be a film? The answer is it doesn’t and I’m sure there are many out there that can point me in many directions to films that don’t follow a traditional narrative, but the point I’m trying to make is that a complete removal from narrative makes film video art, and it ends up in museums rather than cinemas. So what I am really asking for is that artistic desire to challenge and push the envelope, that break from rules and traditions that is controlling film so closely these days. I think that no other medium suffers from such a financial hold as film does.


I want to be proven wrong so let the recommendations for “artsy” films start. But also I hate that they have that title, I hate that this traditional narrative form of film has become The norm. No one goes around saying I want “artsy” paintings, painting has retained itself as an art, what happened with film? I’d also suggest that this isn’t limited to film but rather that film has the larges financial hold on it. Music, theater, literature all suffer similar industrial blocks.


Now the better question is are these blocks? Are these media being controlled and suppressed in order to turn a profit and turn are into an industry or rather is the industry where art is today? Perhaps what I am complaining about is no different than someone from the turn of the century complaining about the loss of perspective in modern art, perhaps this entire complaint is no different than those who thought modern art was the end of art. Hmmm can we except that industrialized art is just as much art as those that “do it for the art and not the profit?”


That is a question I leave for the discussion to decide…



The Culture Industry, as Adorno sees it, well and Horkheimer too.

November 16, 2007

In Adorno’s essay, I mean Adorno and Horkheimer’s essay on mass culture titled “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” they outline what they think the culture industry is doing to us and how basically it interacts with us. It is one of many essays published in Dialectic of Enlightenment originally published in 1944. I want to bring this essay into the continued discussion of art because it suggests a new type of art, the art of the mass industry. This art is a business, the business of entertainment. It is not ruled by manifestos or schools but rather by the wallet. This industry holds no morals and is not tied to any tradition, it will do what ever it needs to turn over that profit, and that includes convincing you that it is about traditions and manifestos, Dali that is to you.


Let me stop here for a second and admit that I 1) don’t fully understand the inter-workings of Adorno’s arguments and 2) hold reservations against brandishing everything that has come out of the cultural factories as some subservient art, a “light” art as Adorno would like us to call it.


I bring this up though because there is something interesting in the idea of control. Are we controlled by our own industry? There is truth to it in that the industry creates need through desire that it dictates, we can easily live without all the luxuries of technology but yet we don’t and worse off we now swear by them. But is it control? Am I writing here because I am being forced to or because I want to? But is that want imposed by the industry?


I’d love some thoughts on this. Huysmans