Monday, April 25, 2011


+ re-mixed for your reading pleasure:

collage by Patrick Kennelly

Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen is the beginning and end of circle that connects this cinematic rendering of the epic (and since "Nazi-ized") German myth with Achim Freyer's own Gesatheumneskraht-ready production of Wagner's operatic remake.  The standoff between the Nibelungen's and the Huns was transmuted to feudal Japan by Akira Kurosawa as the climax for a feudal pageant of Shakepseare's King Lear.  The Kurosawa homages and direct lifts of George Lucas via his Star Wars films is well-documented.  In his LA Opera commission, Freyer paid homage to Lucas and his ILM (who were originally commissioned for a sci-fi heavy production) with his obscure, hypnotic transference of myth both ancient, future, and the magical. 

Art really only exists as a re-contextualization.  Either by investigating, illuminating, condensing, or expanding does it find its ground.  Origins existed to be obscured - Only then can they truly see the light of day.


The Tumblr blog, Movie Barcode compresses every frame of a film into a single image.

Rear Window

Speed Racer
As these two examples testify, this work bridges the supposed divide which popular belief would set between the world of visual art and the cinema.  The movie-going experience is best taken in fragments.  Narrative tableux set in visual motion, we overlook the individual components which give it life.  There is poetry in it all _ whether in the form of a stanza or a lyric series.  Speed Racer is an example of this, pulsing with the "aliveness" missing from the Wachowski's canonical (at least in the pop sense) Matrix triptych.


And then there's this wonderful occurence which took place a few weeks back.  For some unfathomable reason Duran Duran decided to hire David Lynch to direct a Los Angeles concert for live broadcast via the VEVO service.  What at first seems another hipster gimmick (as when The Arcade Fire tapped Terry Gilliam to direct the live broadcast of their Madison Square Garden concert) falls down the rabbit hole into an obscene backwards absurd landscape.  This "Stranger in a Strange Land" scenario ends up being fairly logical on a second pass.  The idea of a dinosaur attempting to re-invent itself to increasingly desperate lengths at the mercy of an artist constantly in a trickster form of de-evolution evolution, is the type of relevance no artist branding firm could ever even begin to conceptualize.  The smoky layers of superimposition upon superimposition conjures the Miami Vice dream recall better than album producer Mark Ronson's ineffective vintage star worship.  There's some elegant cool breeze on the new album, but it's 90% due to the sexiest voice of the 80s.  Simon Le Bon's croon IS the pink suit.

Here's Kelis voiced by a chorus of groundhogs.

Lynch's artistic voice is one perpetually in a state of "re-contextualization," so this old school YouTube homage is apropos.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The All Stars of NonViolet Communication

Patrick Kennelly (photo by Leo Garcia)
Patrick Kennelly (photo by Leo Garcia)

Some pics from Asher Hartman's blue vaudevillian poem I performed in this past Thursday @ Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions as part of the curated series "So Funny It Hurts."  It unleashed the vitriol of four dead, underappreciated gay entertainers of the 1970s in a seething round of comedy and complaint (or, as one friend put it, enacted a "faggot jihad").


Patrick Kennelly / U-N-M-A-R-K-E-D
This article in the LA Times from last week got my goat (does anybody still use that phrase?) by again latching onto those retro hip "art" terms - particularly "inter-disciplinary."  For a minute now, I've been espousing something I call "outer-disciplinary."  This is both conceptually contemptuous and perhaps another useless container.  By believing in it, my process as somebody who does work (I don't like to consider myself an "artist," mostly because I don't know what that means anymore), has become scarce, fragmented, and of an ambition that is ultimately futile.  But I'm hoping to instigate a fluid, open conversation, something that is increasingly rare in the development, creation, and presentation of new work today......

When I say “outer” disciplinary, I am specifically addressing the complications I have discovered in using the word “inter” in regards to work that brings together artists, tools and methodologies from different disciplines.  In the extensive curation I have done over the past number of years, I have come to feel how abused this term - "inter-disciplinary" - has become.

Rauschenberg / Cunningham / Cag
When Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, and John Cage came together in the 1960s, unexpected convergences of content and form were enacted in a critical dialogue within the performance itself.  The unexpected possibilities of what would result were expansive.  Now, anyone can decide to employ video or music to their work and call it inter-disciplinary.   This allows them to stay in their comfort zones, while creating an illusion of true collaboration.  It eschews the foreign, unexpected, and potentially dangerous nature of its actual reality.

With my conceptual project U-N-M-A-R-K-E-D,  I'm always seeking to interrogate, exploit, question, and subvert what it means to have a conversation between dance and video, sound and performance, storytelling and fashion design.  Inevitably, the artists and the tools move out from the “inter” in opposing directions.  The work becomes less gravitationally bound and more like a constellation of ideas, occasionally glimmering or bouncing off each other - much like the work of Rauschenberg, Cunningham, and Cage.

Rauschenberg / Cunningham / Cage

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Alien Occurences

Downtown Los Angeles' Million Dollar Theater, one of the first movie palaces built in the United States, is the site this weekend to the indescribable extra-terrestrial theatrical-hybrid event Tempest: Without a Body.  The theater is not unfamiliar with apocalyptic sci-fi (which Tempest both embodies and transcends), as it's exterior was featured prominently in Blade Runner (another site for two of the films most memorable set pieces, the Bradbury Building, is directly across the street), but this stormy meditation on not only Shakespeare's haunting drama of institutional enslavement, the ravages of history (both personal and political), and the corruption of power (and its sustaining abuse) explodes its ghostly history.  This is a work that unleashes tableux of Goya-esque human horrors (approps of the building's Spanish heritage) and then offers, in shafts of bright light, the possibility of an utopian beyond.  It is activist theater of the Pure kind - reaching deep inside the witness, and forcing them to contemplate history from not only a political point of view, but a personal, spiritual one.  

The auteur behind this, Lemi Ponifasio, a New Zealand choreographer, director, and designated high priest, asserts Tempest is "a theatrical meditation on life after 9/11."   Its avoidance of any specific metaphors or allusion we may attach to that concept, renders it reflection of the "state of things" more urgently vital and ultimately, timeless - much like Shakespeare.  Growing out of ancient, Oceanic mythology, it takes the viewer to a realm of beings whose inner landscapes take on grotesque physical form, as in one of the most stunning images - a man who emerges from the dark with an impossible physicality that reminds one of something out of the most terrifying alien invasion scenario.  Using a "miracle theater" aesthetic against a subtle but effective mix of new technology, it lingers with an unshakeable furor, and there will be much more to comment upon...


Eduardo Soto de Moura won the Pritzer Prize this past week (architecture's Academy Award of sorts).
He may be best known for this defiant stadium structure that abuts a rock quarry in Spain.

According to this list, it's one of the 12 Strangest Stadiums in the World.