“If you’ve been paying attention in Chicago lately, you’ve probably found white, pre-stamped and pre-addressed postcards scattered throughout the city—in bookshops, record stores and anywhere they can find a place to hide. The postcards have one prompt on them and a code in the bottom right corner. The prompt is always the same: “Tell me one thing you dream of doing before you die. Use this card as your canvas.” You’ve probably figured out is that this is part of something artsy. But what you may not have known is that the postcards are part of a huge, city-wide art exhibition by Jenny Lam, one of Chicago’s most impressive independent curators and a self-described “troublemaker and all-around nerd.” For months now, Lam has been collecting the postcards you send in, reading your answers, and tracking where you obtained your postcard by the code in the bottom right corner. The evidence she compiles will be part of her project, Dreams of a City, which will include a book of the postcards, a large exhibition, and site-specific installations around Chicago. Collecting postcards from every Chicagoan who is willing to send one in might seem like a daunting amount of work, but Lam has actually done this before: in New York City in 2008. Lam’s current Dreams of a City in Chicago, however, promises to be bigger in scale and better than ever. Lam, who’s most recent exhibition I CAN DO THAT won audience choice for “Best Art Exhibit” in the 20th anniversary edition of NewCity’s Best of Chicago issue, is a pioneer of art that is interactive, collaborative and as much fun for viewers as it is for artists. She sat down to talk with me about her exciting and mysterious Chicago postcard venture.” —>Click for more
-Caitlin Bergh via @gapersblock
hommedelamachine asked: I loved what you wrote about Upstream Color, I just saw it last night, I didn't even think about the violence against women topic, which is really rare for me because I am always looking out for things like that. Great stuff!
Appreciate the kind words!
You can force your story’s shape, but the color will always bloom upstream.
What does that mean? What does it mean. What is Shane Carruth trying to tell me? What is he saying?
These kind of questions typically run through my mind when seeing a film. While watching Carruth’s debut film, Primer, the questions were more like “What is going on?” Despite years of acclaim, I felt underwhelmed by a film that, to me, appeared guarded and amateur; insular. Watching Primer, I felt that Carruth could care less whether or not I was watching his film.
That may be true of Upstream Color, as well. On a basic level, the story is thus: A woman is kidnapped, drugged, hypnotized, systematically robbed, awakens, and then must put her life back together, completely unaware of what has taken place under hypnosis. She falls in love with a man who has had a similar experience. Together, they discover what has happened to them.
While watching this film, I was often equal parts frustrated and wowed. The film is gorgeous. It leads with a taut visual and aural logic that is a wonder to behold. I was constantly left frustrated by the film’s less controlled narrative. The film appears to exploding with ideas at every corner, unsure of how to hold it all in. It wasn’t making sense to me. I was as frustrated as I was watching Primer.
Suddenly it hit me. The film made sense for me. Synapses in my brain started firing. I felt chills all over. My heart started racing. My eyes went huge and I had to hold on to the person I was seeing the film with. This was big. This was something I had never experienced watching a film before. All of the confusion seemed worth it.
The further I am from this film, I continue to question if what the film gave me, personally, can be given to others. Reading all of the praise this film has received, it appears possible. However, the person I held on to when I was awash in emotions did not feel anything for this film. “It was cryptic,” she told me. “It felt like I wasn’t even supposed to figure it out, I was just supposed to know, and I hate that.”
We angrily debated the film. I could not defend my like for Upstream Color. Outside of a filmic logic, I’m not sure if anything that takes place in this film really makes sense. The tagline really feels as if it goes against whatever Carruth is trying to tell us. Distancing myself from the film, I can only speak to how I love a subplot of the film involving what appears to be aural transcendence, perhaps a partner to what Maya Deren was trying to tell us about the possibilities of cinema.
I will say that I take issue with the violence in this film. The violence committed to Amy Seimetz’s character feels like a particular violence against women that is all too pervasive in cinema, a type of violence that filmmakers believe is necessary for character development. I don’t believe it speaks to or enhances any conversation about violence against women in our world.
I do think that this film, unlike Primer, is attempting to speak about our world and the way we communicate. However, it is insular. I normally wouldn’t recommend a film like Upstream Color, but I felt things seeing this film that I have never felt watching any other film. I hope this film, or some film down the road, can do that for you, too.
The Toronto based Images Festival is the largest festival in North America for experimental and independent moving image culture, and starting this Thursday until April 20th MUBI will be presenting over 20 short films from this years Festival worldwide – for free!
At the beginning of a letter my mom wrote me this afternoon:
Yes I heard on the way home today about roger ebert. I had just heard that he was not doing well, but didn’t expect this type of news so quickly. Your dream was to have a film rated by him, mine was to have you become a critic as well known as he.
Talk about feelings. (Talk about my mom still not directly saying she supports my particular path.)
“What in the world is a leave of presence? It means I am not going away. […] I’ll see you at the movies.” (x)
I, personally, have many anxieties. One is of death. Not necessarily a fear of my own passing, but a fear of others dying. Fear that I will not lean what I need to from them.
I’ve been bracing myself for Roger’s passing ever since he was diagnosed with cancer. I grew up reading movie reviews. Before I could say I really valued movies (at least, the way that I do now), I valued criticism.
As I matured, I grew into a deeper appreciation for Ebert’s reviews. There are few people I read consistently for their take on what’s in theatres. I read Ebert every Friday (sometimes Thursdays. His reviews went live online Thursday afternoons, typically).
I have a list of things that I want to accomplish in my life. On that list, I dreamt of having a film reviewed by Roger. Even if he panned it, I knew I would learn from his thoughts.
I may have not always agreed with Ebert, but I valued his opinion. We may have seen different things in movies, but we were often looking for was the same; new voices and perspectives, beauty. He wasn’t often looking for realism, but authenticity.
I recall his passionate review of Blue Velvet. His note about the truthfulness of the sexual passion, and sexuality, in Y Tu Mama Tambien. I remember these specifically because his concerns with these films were mine. The apparatus and sexism, presenting imagery that is not condemning the human experience, but embracing it.
When I saw the headline about his passing, I wasn’t surprised. Still, there was a lump in my throat. The kind of lump reserved for the passing of close family.
See you at the movies.
Oh, hey! If you’re in Metro-Detroit, check this out! Julie Dash is showing a film about Film Preservation and Archiving. I actually don’t know much about it, but I’m assuming if Julie Dash is involved, it’s going to be worthwhile.
This is the full version of the song Micah Smith wrote for “Sharing of the Domestic Burden.” It is perfect.
Micah is also in a band with one of my roommates and collaborator, Taylor Normington. They call themselves Perfect Families.
Don’t give me that look! Sharing of the Domestic Burden, the 2nd of 2 films I shot a year ago, is finally done, and for the time being, since vimeo is giving me SOOOO much trouble, you can view it at youtube.
So many people with tumblrs helped out on this one, and I thank them all for their efforts.
EDIT- So sorry, everyone! I have to take down the video momentarily. I’ll have it back up as soon as I humanly can, ya’ll.
Edit 2- Here it is! Back and better!
The dog changed my volume settings.
She’s really, really interested in computers.
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1. Had a good time
2. Met cool people
3. Watched Emily be the most adorable drunk girl
4. Felt like a good, normal...