Tag Archives: Video

Contemporary Art (9) Nathalie Djurberg

Nathalie Djurberg (b. 1978 BirthLysekil, Sweden) – young multimedia artist, lives and works in Berlin. She has won the Silver Lion for a Promising Young Artist at this year’s 53rd Venice Biennale. She was awarded for her multimedia installation “Experiment” (above – first photo shows the work still in progress).

Gothic, rich, visceral and provocative work of this girl could not to leave any mark on the viewers’ collective and individual consciousness. I met people who hated it, yet still remained under its dark spell respecting the way this artist had teased their common sense of civilized, dignified beings.

Djurberg’s theater of absurd – devil’s Eden of huge, colorful wax vegetation was seasoned with caves of screens where the true drama of life, lust, violence and death went on over and over again. Sounds were those of some tribal ‘mysteria’ inter-weaved with some primordial  sub-resonance of deep earthy tones which went on creeping into one’s unconscious. Child-like fascination with this chaotic, pre-rational microcosm battled with one’s impulse to treat the entire spectacle as pure fiction, a theater performance with no or little valid reference to the ‘real’ life outside that extravaganza…

Nothing more deceptive… Djurberg’s worldview is hyper-real and indulgent in parts – indeed – yet it’s much more realistic in its portrayal of the human nature and the Nature in itself than many works of so-called ‘Realism’ in art, where polite and dull landscapes or family portraits were given to the public as the ‘truthful’ depiction of life and man…

‘It’s a strange world’ and ‘Owls are not what they seem’… Let’s Breughel’s, Goya’s, the Romantics and the Surrealists’ dreams go on …

Hans Bellmer – subverted fragility

Bellmer considered his works to be a conscious act of defiance against German fascism with its cult of “the perfect body”. He created and photographed two life-size pubescent dolls, which he distorted, dismembered, or menaced in sinister scenarios that sometimes included himself. These scenarios seemed to be nightmarish manifestations of a journey into his unconscious.

I keep wondering what was there exactly that this Polish-born (1902 Katowice), German-blooded and French-based & buried (1975 Paris) artist had been trying to mutilate and to sodomize with such a passion… One or the other part of his multi-national identity? Surreal tragedy of his paranoid, violent times? Or maybe ‘just’ the black hole of his own psyche, the Jung’s ‘shadow’ – that ‘invisible saurian tail that man drags behind him’ and dreads the confrontation more than anything in his life?

I won’t find out for sure…perhaps all the questions bear a seed of an answer in them… What I find fascinating about Bellmer’s artistic exploits is how his dolls can function ambiguously in two contrasting realms: one is the sphere of extremely wounded, violated innocence and fragility – a dismal betrayal, some bestial deeds… The other side of the same coin is these dolls’ hyper-sexual appeal as they are misogynously portrayed as alluring and dangerous man-eaters, who need to be tamed by dismantling them to pieces… Transgressive and sexist odor of this art is as important as the normality (so-called) it yearns for by subverting it.

Contempotary Art (8) Chris Marker

Chris Marker (b. Neuilly-sur-Seine, France 1921) – actual  name: Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve – multimedia artist, photographer, film director, writer. Lives in Paris and does not grant interviews. When asked for a picture of himself, he usually offers a photograph of a cat instead (so far as the gossip says). His cat is named Guillaume-en-egypte. (See more details in my previous post here: http://wp.me/p8s8b-66)

Creator of: La Jetée (1962), A Grin Without a Cat (1977), Sans Soleil (1983) and AK (1985) a documentary on Akiro Kurosawa. From the recent projects: in 2005 Marker created a multimedia piece for The Museum of Modern Art in New York titled Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men (influenced by T.S. Elliot’s poem); in 2008: Immemory – an interactive video produced  by Centre Pompidou, created out of fascination by digital technology. 

Marker is as enigmatic, brilliant and witty in his collages above as he would be behind his directorial camera viewfinder. One simply cannot get enough of this artist’s vision – it escapes one’s full comprehension and intuitive potential. It’s a one-man world-view, a singularity which resists any thorough penetration. A beauty and power of human uncanniness captured into a compelling, enthrilling  visual extravaganza. Just keep exploring…

Site about Marker’s view of the world:  Chris Marker

Human World – Sensation (1)

A term commonly used to refer to the subjective experience resulting from stimulation of a sense organ, for instance, a sensation of warm, sour, or green. As a general scientific category, the study of sensation is the study of the operation of the senses. Sense receptors are the means by which information presented as one form of energy, for example, light, is converted to information in the form used by the nervous system, that is, impulses traveling along nerve fibers.

Each sense has mechanisms and characteristics peculiar to itself, but all display the phenomena of absolute threshold, differential threshold, and adaptation. Not until sufficient stimulation impinges on a receptor can the presence of a stimulus be detected. The quantity of stimulation required is known as the absolute threshold. Not until a sufficient change occurs in some aspect of a stimulus can the change be detected. The magnitude of the change required is called the differential threshold. Under steady stimulation there is a decrease in sensitivity of the corresponding sense, as indicated by a shift in the absolute threshold and in the magnitude of sensation. After the stimulation ceases, sensitivity increases. An obvious example of visual adaptation occurs when one goes from bright to dim surroundings or vice versa.

With fairly good accuracy humans can localize visual objects, sounds, and cutaneous contacts and can discriminate the spatial orientation of the body and its members. With rather poor accuracy humans can localize many of the stimuli originating within the body.


World of human sensation popularized.

Discovery documentaries: 1st  part of 48 series. Double click to access all the material.

Human vs. Animal (3)

Captivating. Stirring. Uncanny. Bewitching. Bone-chilling.

Nature is genius even or – especially – when it goes wrong…

Materials shown for educational and inspirational purposes. Double-click on vids to access their original upload and to learn about the authors.

“The Lullabies of the World”

One of my last treasures ‘dug up’ at the You Tube (I believe the idea-giver for this service should be awarded with the Peace Nobel Price – for allowing millions of people to share audio-visual emotions). Looking for work by Paul Driessen (more about him on different occasion) I found some animations from Russia; having an immediate comparison I have to admit that I did like more the work by those completely unknown individuals (though some of them seemed to be influenced by the Dutch master). Driessen is a class in himself, with an unique sense of humour; yet, at the same time, he appears to strum self-indulging strings – being over-cynical, over-stylish (if not manneristic) and relying too much on the ‘tricks’ he’s invented… And here (above) we have a Jewish lullaby made by a Russian artist, whom I’ve never heard about- as fresh as a child’s smile and just as innocent. Above that – its imaginary is brilliant, neat and original, delivering an emotional message (“too many things put momma on her little fledgling/ her love didn’t allow me to become a bird”) in a poignantly successful, artistically pleasing way.

But, that is not all. Russian animators (with Arsen Gottlieb fathering the idea) have launched a multi-cultural project “The Lullabies of the World” (“Kolybelnye Mira”) trying to visualize what Russian, Turkish, Swedish or Jewish children may dream about hearing their mothers’ loving songs over their beds. With original lyrics and authorial (usually one particular artist is responsible for one piece) these animated visions (twenty so far, but work is in progress) are simply beautiful and quite often unusually inspiring. They tell more about the cultures presented than many documentaries do – it seems that if one wants to really meet a different civilization, one has to go to visit its graveyards and its nurseries… There is a profoundly deep connection between a cultural/national identity and the way particular nations take care of their dead ones as well as of dreams of their young ones.

I found the whole experience incredibly rewarding, if not mind-blowing – I – being fed with Disney’s and generally – “Western” monopoly on ‘telling’ fairy-tales, on carving dreams of childhood (and enjoying that too – to be honest). It’s like to discover the other side of the Moon, a completely neglected world of that ‘other’, so distinctive, yet – for god’s sake – my own, “Eastern” spirituality. That is how an innocent ‘surf’ – a virtual journey has evolved into a serious, introspective identity self-exam. I’m going, from now on – to pay much more attention to the phenomena, which make the lands East of the former Berlin wall unique as they still are.


‘Duratrub’ has uploaded the video to the youtube, together with the other animations mentioned above. Thank you. Please, double-click on the ‘screen’ to get the access to the service. You can also use the link above to find out about the project.

Studying Art – Diary (4) – ‘Enfer’

This video introduces a new term of the second year of my study. The first term has been quite an emotionally and mentally challenging period. Suddenly, all confidence I naturally possessed had vanished almost without a trace. And all due to simple questions I was expected to answer: ‘what’s the meaning?’, ‘what are you trying to convey?’. And my immediate, the most honest answer-question: ‘Do I have to communicate anything?’, ‘Is that communication really that important at all?’. Obviously, I’ve been ensured that, in order to ‘survive’ as an artist one has to have a strong, attractive idea-concept and should be able to put it eloquently in words… Just like a soldier on a mission – know your password and be ready to recite it each time of day and night to everyone asking for it.

And I’ve been grumpy consequently denying the ‘revelation’ of what I’m exactly having on my mind; sensing that I have the right to do this. I don’t want and need to be led by any concept, any cluster of words or -isms. I need freedom of balancing between different possibilities, different semiotic universes. In this very reality, being stuffed like a Christmas turkey with self-assuring, cocky and terribly empty messages I have my right to reject being communicative at all. In a fact, I can make my art an art of anti-communication playing only with popular, culturally fertile imaginary and symbols – just as I’m doing here, in this video.

“Enfer” was much easier to make than to explain, the same can be said of most of my work to date. There is a rich metaphorical layer behind it, but I haven’t invented it, I just keep on projecting my cultural/educational background which I’ve been, quite naturally, immersed in. You can read some of the clues yourself, another may be a sort of a riddle:

– the title – is meant to be ‘too big’ (Tuymans’s tutorial…); ‘Enfer’ – ‘Hell’, I’m not going to clarify what it means to you… It’s quite personal…

– the soundtrack by Z. Preisner to K. Kieslowski’s ‘La double vie de Veronique’ – abstracting from the Polish, my native-land references, the movie is a powerful elegy that can be interpreted on many ways, one possible is that of a role of an artist/creator as a puppeteer manipulating, deceiving and playing ‘god’, the shaky montage of images I’ve employed here may be read as ‘pulling the strings’ activity.

– the canary in the cage is called ‘Birdy”- a meaningful name for readers of W. Wharton’s book (actually, I named the bird having that book – ‘Birdy’ – on mind), in itself is a loud representation of a state of not-being-free, and not being truly conscious of that

– the dancing girl called Miriam – my four-years-old daughter; she is perfectly free – and again, not truly being aware of that; she looks almost the same as I used to being her age; she is an embodied innocence enjoying her dance which I’ve turned into a marionette’s performance (or – did I manage? isn’t it innocent enough to go beyond all sort of manipulation?); she’s dancing among pictures and there is a blank board by a wall – without going too esoteric – the presence of paintings in that performance is a self-ironic detail – they look dead comparing to the actual life going on, the blank space is- for me- the most perfect image

– deliberately blurred imaginary, being in some points almost completely ‘washed out’ or reduced to a negation of itself can be read as the symbol of a vanishing meaning, also as a visualization of feeling of isolation/detachment from the portrayed dilemma, from the reality in general; it can be also a mental, dreamy image being recored from the memory/imagination

– there’s a long black gap at the very end of the video; it continues for about two minutes; while I haven’t meant it it suits the overall message perfectly as ‘Enfer’ functions as a sort of a void, where there is nothing or almost nothing and life is being reduced to a caricature of itself

Blue Dream

Recently, I’ve found myself being obsessed with blue. I’m collecting blue hues, I’m mixing countless bluish secondaries. I’m reading lots about the colour history, characteristics etc.

I’m trying different media – photography, prints, dimensional work, animation to apply different language and to explore its potential.

And first of all, I’ve got a strong emotional and more generally – spiritual response. Blue means power and infinity, in China it symbolises immortality. Blue means freedom and a mystery.

This video is just another personal comment on blue.

I used the Final Cut Pro and iMovie.

One layer is that of a dreaming person (myself) and another one is that of moving butterflies (butterfly – “Papillon” as a symbol of fragile, short-living freedom, freedom of dreaming), which is basically a collage-animation edited by the means of iMovie.

If it’s not playing click here please: skonieczna-YouTube

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