Category: The Arts & Design

A thread for Serbia

Posted by Guessedworker on Sunday, 18 December 2011 01:23.

The publicity machine for Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, has cranked into gear.  The line is that this love story across the ethnic and religious divide of the Bosnian war is stirring passions among those who lived through its three pitiless years.

Murat Tahirovic, who heads an association of ex-prisoners of war, added: “This film is deeply moving for the victims who experienced all of these things.

“It is completely objective and it really tells the facts of what happened during the war. She succeeded in telling the story of the whole war in her film and to show… situations that detainees faced - mass executions, rapes, [being used as] human shields and all the other horrors.”

But Branislav Djukic, who heads the Bosnian Serb Association of Camp Prisoners, had a very different reaction after seeing a trailer. He said that the film “is showing lies” as it depicts only Serbs as rapists during the war and called for it to be barred from cinemas in the autonomous Serbian half of Bosnia. “We’ll do our best to ban the film,” he said.

A commenter on the (at present, very short) thread writes:

A Croatian friend said something that made me think when I was over in Zagreb this summer, whilst discussing the conflicts he said “There are no good guys in this region.”

There is a sense in which the appreciation of the Serb role in the conflict as “no-good guys” but also as victims marks the break-down of the Establishment narrative.  Jolie is still telling it, of course, and she will win all the usual plaudits and probably an Oscar or two.  Coincidentally, another false narrative had an airing on BBC2 this evening.  But the “evil Serb” may not prove as enduring as the “evil Nazi”, and one small light on that may be thrown by the Telegraph comment thread.  So far, it’s hearteningly balanced.  I shall watch it with interest.


The Trade-In

Posted by Guest Blogger on Thursday, 30 September 2010 01:03.

a sonnet by Alexander Baron

Tear down a forest, pulp its wood to print,
And spend your paper money while you may,
Dig up the Earth, and smelt its ores to mint,
Then stash your precious Krugerrands away.
Drain marsh and swamp: rich reservoirs of life,
Build your apartments where trees used to stand,
Give the lynx to the taxidermist’s knife,
And turn meadow and glade to dust and sand.
Let profit be your aim, and your excuse
Be progress, write that on your balance sheet,
Convince yourself such treasures are no use,
And, when the desolation is complete,
Sit back contentedly to count the cost
Of worthless booty for what’s ever lost.


Music, freedom, revolution

Posted by Guessedworker on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 18:51.

Cadenza – the decorated cadence at the climax of a classical concerto movement; the dramatic penultimate pause which ruminates in freedom beyond the constraints of the classical form’s skeleton.

So begins a recent Telegraph piece by the pianist Stephen Hough on a (then) forthcoming performance by Paul Lewis of Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto, The Emporer, which closed his series of Proms performances of all five concertos.

“Rumination in freedom” has been part of our musical tradition for centuries.  I would like to think that there is a reason for this, that our beguilement by, and openness to, the freedom of the emotions which these special passages afford has its roots in our psychology, and the roots runs deep.  Where they ought to run, of course, is to a kind of permanent interest in standing against the external enforcement of rule and order.  For that is our heritage as stubbornly independent and, I think, particularly northern Europeans, and its something that we, as nationalists thinking at the collective level, have to incorporate in our ideas and not attempt to disavow.

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Maggots feeding on the body of art

Posted by Guest Blogger on Monday, 07 July 2008 19:43.

By David Hamilton

An entry for the 2003 Turner Prize was a sculpture depicting bodies being picked at by maggots. Entitled “Sex”, it was by Jake and Dinos Chapman, who duly made the headlines as the most shocking nominees.

Maggots feeding off a body is a fitting out picture of contemporary artists.  They are corrupt, degraded, unimaginative and parasitic as they feed off our great artistic traditions and try to destroy them. Their aim is to destroy our values and something that gives meaning to our lives. Is a urinal, say, an artistic subject? No, it is intrinsically unartistic, even though it might have pleasing curves, and to write about it as such does not make it artistic but conceptually separates artistic form from subject

Contemporary art is not really art at all and should be called something else. But it is a financial asset for the global elites who buy and sell it and run the Arts Councils that manage artistic creativity.

Sotheby’s contemporary art auction in July 2008 raised more than $1 billion which shows how the global elites are investing in art regardless of economic predictions. Their evening contemporary art sale raised 95 million pounds ($189 million), the highest total for a summer contemporary auction held in Europe and just below the overall regional record set in February.  Francis Bacon’s “Study for Head of George Dyer”, the artist’s lover, fetched $27.4 million, including commission; Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled”, was sold by rock band U2 for $10.1 million. Competitors Christie’s sold art worth $172 million at its sale. Only the less important Sotheby’s contemporary day sale is left and the two main auctioneers have sold works worth just over $1 billion during the summer season, which includes impressionist, modern, post-war and contemporary art. Christie’s raised around $552 million and Sotheby’s about $449 million so far.

Senior executives are confidant that the art market will sustain soaring values in spite of falling stocks and house prices with rising oil costs. Russian elites have been a big factor in booming art sales, there is worry they may inflate impressionist prices in the same way Japanese money did around 20 years ago then disappeared causing the market to crash.

image
“Sex” by the Chapman Brothers

image
“Study for Head of George Dyer” by Francis Bacon

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The true face of Leonardo?

Posted by Guessedworker on Saturday, 12 April 2008 10:39.

Well, maybe.  Here’s something I picked up off the IHR circular, and thought might be worth posting if the advertising content on the original could be pruned.  It could.

So here is a four-minute presentation by Siegfried Woldhek, a newspaper illustrator with a sideline as a Third World techno do-gooder, on his research into “the true face” of Leonardo de Vinci.

 


Film review - This is England (2006)

Posted by Guest Blogger on Wednesday, 06 June 2007 00:21.

They don’t make big budget films about the far right in Britain.  In fact, it’s rare for any film to be made about it.  But one was made last year based on the personal experiences of its director, Shane Meadows.  These are my impressions of it.

IT’S 1983, the first day of the school summer holidays.  We open with a couple of minutes of genuine archive footage.  Mrs Thatcher appears, tearful crowds see the Falklands fleet out of harbour, then follow shots from some inane TV show – not really a contrast, as all these scenes are part of the same “spectacle”.  Next come some disturbing shots of dead and wounded soldiers being hurriedly ferried away from a Falklands battlefield, and it’s these last that implicitly form a backdrop for the film itself.

Shaun, played by Thomas Turgoose, is a severely undersized 13-year-old North-country boy (the scene-setting is reminiscent of that in Ken Loach’s Kes).  He has lost his father in the Falklands War.  His mum (Jo Hartley) just doesn’t possess the inner resources to help him get over it, and he’s scoffed at and bullied at school.

One day he’s befriended by a gang of older kids - rather patronisingly, perhaps they want him as a mascot.  They are punk/skinhead types, not political, indeed on the verge of criminality.  Membership of the gang (which has one black member, a friendly and gentle boy called “Milky”) takes Shaun out of himself.  The boys play fantasy/hunting games in derelict buildings: - a waste of time perhaps, but now Shaun feels that he’s needed and has a purpose.

But then an older member named Combo (Stephen Graham), whom we haven’t met before, rejoins the gang.  He’s been in prison, manfully taking the rap, it seems, for one of the other members.  He quickly re-establishes himself as the feared leader, and preaches a programme of white supremacy.  A pivotal moment in the film has been reached, and the mood of the action changes.

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From a second Promethean Sunic ...

Posted by Guest Blogger on Friday, 02 February 2007 18:45.

image


Oh, tell me the pale Moon

Where has the joyous beat of the heart gone?

In the veinless, bloodless, joyless machine,

Illusion of our time.

Like a sunless gothic cathedral among the skyscrapers,

Without its chime - lost in the yawning heights of time.

Divine heart, you have slept too long in your primeval grave,

Waiting for the thunder to wake you up in your deep sleep!

But all that clamour couldn’t move you

You were falling deeper in your dream.

Until in the darkest darkness of my human heart,

I dreamt of the mysterious sun-ray that has come to wake you up,

Before the delightful dawn of time –from the coldest depths of

Unknown Life; from forgotten timeless spheres,

As soft as the white flower petals in warm summer nights

Comes the unknown delight!

The lost feeling - the old Eros; reborn out of time immemorial,

Deeper and warmer than all those passionate fires of cold modernity.


by Xenia Sunic, wife of Tom and a Croatian poet dedicated to the Promethean spirit.  She lives and works in Zagreb.


There Lie Forgotten Men

Posted by Guessedworker on Thursday, 09 November 2006 15:12.

The poem I reproduce below was penned by a schoolgirl, Rebecca Sullivan as a (probably rather tiresome) homework assignment.  Her subject matter was Remembrance Day: the 11th of the 11th.  To continue with the BBC News report:-

Her teacher was so moved by the poem - which describes a world in which war dead are all but forgotten - she sent it to the Royal British Legion.

Officials decided to include it in a service at Trafalgar Square after deciding that it stood out from the hundreds of poems the Legion receives each year.

Rebecca wrote her piece after being moved by the poems of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon which she read as part of a school project.

Here then, with apologies for any excessive lugubriousness, is the poem - which I found myself forced to read from a slightly different but no less poignant perspective.


There Lie Forgotten Men

They lie there in their thousands
The last rays of sunlight
Catching the white of the gravestones
Lending a poignancy to the moment
Numbering in their thousands they lay
Deserving remembrance
And yet the scarred green fields are empty
Nothing remains here
The processions of people vanished with the years
Their sacrifice all but forgotten

She stands there alone
At the edge of the silent place
And she is shocked
New wars brew and these forgotten men
Will play no part in them
The dead silence warn no ears but hers
In great halls in moments of great decision
What they fought for is forsaken
And by days end new gravestones
Appear on the blood red ground

She finds what she seeks
‘Sgt John Malley Age 27’
His life brutally ended
And she stands by his grave
But he can give no answers
And she weeps for him
For the empty hole he left behind
And for the new emptiness
Soon to join the black chasm
And her tears join the flood


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