I have long admired the way in which artist Joshua Sofaer approaches the participatory aspect of his practice. It is always very considered whatever mood it invokes – philosophical, humorous, inventive, bold, reflective, excavatory. Or cheekily clever, as in this nugget of a film below where he explains the term ‘Live Art’ on London’s Oxford Street. It’s clear to see that people on the street are engaging with him. But why? You’ll need to watch until the end of the film to find out.
In fact, it’s a real creature of the deep with Latin name Rossia pacifica and not a true squid even though it looks like a cross between that and an octopus. In fact, it’s more along the lines of a cuttlefish. Stubby squid? A purple, googly-eyed stubby squid?
Stubby squid. That everyday name doesn’t sound like it belongs to a grown-up kind of animal. Or like an animal that wants its dignity to be taken seriously.
I’m so glad God has a sense of humour. Find out more at Time Magazine.
A breakdown of what everyone working on a $200 million movie makes, that is.
This falls firmly in the box containing: things you might have wondered about at some point but haven’t been curious enough to investigate. Or things you didn’t think you wanted to know until someone very thoughtfully did all the legwork and presented it in a neat little video that just plopped into your inbox.
It goes on a bit but I suppose a budget that blockbuster huge takes a correspondinly substantial army of people to bust those blocks.
I like to promenade (and promenading is what I do in this location and for a very specific type of relaxation. Bite me!) along the south bank of the river sometimes. That’s the river Thames in London. One of my favourite walks is to get off the tube at Waterloo and stroll along the waterfront from that part of town to London Bridge. Sometimes, I’ll cross the bridge at Tate Modern and walk across to St Paul’s, checking out the anciently curious names on the buildings and street signs like Bloody Mary Yard or the Worshipful Company of Basket Makers. One time, I went round the back of the building that houses Oxo Tower only to find a huge art exhibition space and the names of several Greek muses high up on the walls. The discovery had something of kismet about it. After all, the Muses are supposed to provide inspiration for creativity. Shame only five of them were there though.
The wonderful Radio 4 programme In Our Time does a comprehensive breakdown of how they originated, how they were regarded and in what shaped they have survived to modern day.
Oh yes, didn’t you realise that toilet roll IS an object of desire? And I don’t mean anything scatological. In the hands of artist Nina Katchadourian it takes on properties that seem that I’d never have thought of but seem obvious now that I’ve seen what she can do with it. And I just love all the expression she manages to rinse out of each pose.
Here’s something that really puts the ‘small’ in Small Objects of Desire. The name of it might sound playfully hyperbolic but this museum aggrandises the small, inconsequential things that gain the heft of importance for some people. It’s curious stuff. Witness the “Small Desert Crumb” entry. Nina Simone’s chewing gum. A swallow necklace. Angelina Jolie’s ancient Nokia phone from the film A Mighty Heart from someone who collects celebrity mobile phones (Who knew?). A wind up toy dinosaur. One man’s shrine to the musician Nick Cave whose documentary 20,000 On Earth is linked to this and who had an hand in curating the museum.
It’s mostly a bunch of crap, the flotsam and jetsam that gathers into people’s lives but a curiosity nonetheless. All of human life is here. I’m going to use it as a repository for making fictional characters. It’s ready made tool for that kind of application.
Sometimes, when I feel the need to pray, I watch a film like this. It’s absorbing, riveting, meditative. All that fascination doesn’t preclude me from asking why anyone would try to push through physical, mental and yes, emotional boundaries to do this sort of thing. And how do you first discover that this kind of thing gives you a buzz? What does it achieve? I am curious about what makes people do the things they do.
I hyperventilate even before my head goes underwater when I have a mask and snorkel on. It’s something to do with the constriction, I think. I can’t even use swimming goggles. And my ears feel fit to burst a mere 3 feet underwater. The very idea of with the possibility of the bends gives me the heebie jeebies. So there’s a certain amount of envy on my part when I see something like Narcose, the film. Spending a lot of time deep under the sea is something I’ll never get to do. But mostly I feel awe, admiration and astonishment.
Deep water freediving exposes its practitioners to a form of narcosis, which induces several symptoms, among which a feeling of euphoria and levity that earned this phenomenon its nickname of “raptures of the deep”. The short film relates the interior journey of Guillaume Néry, the apnea world champion, during one of his deep water dives. It draws its inspiration from his physical experience and the narrative of his hallucinations.