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Saturday, July 29, 2006

More Art at the MCA

Last Saturday Julia and I went back to the 2006 Sydney Biennale. Here is some of the notes I wrote after the event about some the pieces I had seen. I am enjoying the Biennale a lot - it is a mind expander!

Călin Dan the MCA

The man with the door is made and set in Bucharest. A video, watched on ‘sag-bags’ with a soundtrack listened to through headphones. The film is about a man walking through the streets with a door strapped to his back and the faces of the people he meets along the way. The music is a bit like how I would imagine Turkish drum and bass to sound [nasal clarinet sounds] like. The screen is sometimes split into four bits (with some clever camera stuff, so that on occasion the door-man crosses from one screen to another. It is filmed in lots of different angles. The nice bit is the feeling of a back-story. There is a reason for the man walking about with a door strapped to his back; it is just that you never find out what it is - He could be delivering it and got lost or it could be a bet or something …There is a bit where he walks down a steep slope by the side of a motor way (gray concrete everywhere) to where a family live in a yurt (?) – a large gypsy’s tent. This made me laugh because the tent clearly has no need for a large wooden door. The man’s face never moves. His purpose is to carry the door about.

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On the other side of the room from the video about the door-man was another Călin Dan piece where he describes how he likes [not his word] the Egyptian Pyramids, Mayan temples (think of big steps and so on) that sort of thing. This piece does not stick in my head so much except the last couple of minutes. There is an opera sound track playing while a camera waves madly about whilst showing generals. As the opera rises the camera moves quicker until everything is a blur. The final scene is of a large concrete staircase that just leads up; the way the camera is positioned there is nothing to be seen except sky. People walk up the steps and disappear, or re appear and walk down the steps. This reminded me of an Odysseus story (the title escapes me now) with a similar idea. Julia and I watched the short film on beanbags again, a good position because of the way the film was short – being so low on the floor gave the images in the film more depth (i.e. if felt like I was in the picture, evening if only fleetingly). Had we being sitting on the seats provided, the film may not have worked as well. Bits of the film gave the impression of being on a very old ocean liner.

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Finally, a film of a man with a camera strapped to his head, and saucepans strapped to his waist, spinning round and round so that that the saucepans rattled and banged. There were no seats this time, so we were looking down at a video down near the floor. The film was short on two cameras: one of the man spinning and one shot by the man. The soundtrack was called “Swamp blues” by Sleepy John Esties. There was no story for this!

Raqs Media Collective: Jeebash Bagchi/Monica Narula/Shuddhabrata Sengupta at the MCA

Transit Lounge

A short story about people stuck in an airport transit lounge, behind chicken wire. I asked the lady minding the room if the chicken wire was because the glass got smashed. She laughed and said it was part of the exhibit. Julia liked that one.

Interesting links:

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