moment (stephen dwoskin, 1969)

Stephen Dwoskin’s experimental film records in a single continuous shot a woman’s face before, during and after orgasm.

A static camera records, in one single continuous shot, a woman’s face before, during and after orgasm. The act of looking and the limits of the film frame are highlighted in this intimate sexual episode with Tina Fraser. Stephen Dwoskin presents a powerful, personal moment while maintaining a distance and resisting the viewer being subsumed into the action on screen.

Stephen Dwoskin was a highly regarded underground filmmaker who had moved from New York to London and helped to found the London Filmmakers’ Co-op in 1966. His extremely striking work quickly received critical attention and he made several feature-length works through the 1970s with support from German television and the BFI. He continued with both personal and essayistic films and documentaries, and in the 1990s began shooting on handheld video. He made collage films and explored his family’s home movies as he reflected on age, sexuality and the passing of different generations.

Info from the BFI.

homo sacer

A really clear, simplified explanation of Giorgio Agamben‘s discussion of Homo sacer: someone forcibly reduced to bare life, cf. Simone Weil’s forcible destruction of the “I”.

Read also Achille Mbembe on people reduced to being conceived of as surplus or waste:

“Perhaps to a degree hardly achieved in the rest of the Continent, the human has consistently taken on the form of waste within the peculiar trajectory race and capitalism espoused in South Africa. Traditionally, we speak of “waste” as something produced bodily or socially by humans. In this sense, “waste” is that which is other than the human. Traditionally too, we speak of the intrinsic capacity of capitalism to waste human lives. We speak of how workers are wasted under capitalism in comparable fashion to natural resources. Marx in particular characterizes capitalist production as thoroughly wasteful with what he calls “human material” just as it is with “material resources”. It squanders “human beings, living labour”, “squandering not only flesh and blood, but nerves and brain, life and health as well”, he writes. In order to grasp the particular drama of the human in the history of South Africa, we should broaden this traditional definition of “waste” and consider the human itself as a waste product at the interface of race and capitalism. Squandering and wasting black lives has been an intrinsic part of the logic of capitalism, especially in those contexts in which race is central to the simultaneous production of wealth and of superfluous people…

… One of the most brutal effects of neo-liberalism in South Africa has been the generalization and radicalization of a condition of temporariness for the poor. For many people, the struggle to be alive has taken the form of a struggle against the constant corrosion of the present, both by change and by uncertainty.

In order to reanimate the idea of “the human” in contemporary South African politics and culture, there is therefore no escape from the need to reflect on the thoroughly political and historical character of wealth and property and the extent to which wealth and property have come to be linked with bodily life.”

And HERE is another discussion, by Richard Pithouse, which further sets out the colonial history of the discourse around people in a state of exception (in the context of shack dwellers).

octavio paz – no more clichés

Beautiful face
That like a daisy opens its petals to the sun
So do you
Open your face to me as I turn the page.

Enchanting smile
Any man would be under your spell,
Oh, beauty of a magazine.
How many poems have been written to you?
How many Dantes have written to you, Beatrice?
To your obsessive illusion,
To your manufactured fantasy?

But today I won’t make one more cliché
And write this poem to you.
No, no more clichés.

This poem is dedicated to those women
Whose beauty is in their charm,
In their intelligence,
In their character,
Not in their fabricated looks.

This poem is to you women,
That like a Scheherazade wake up
Every day with a new story to tell,
A story that sings for change
That hopes for battles:
Battles for the love of the united flesh
Battles for passion aroused by a new day
Battles for neglected rights
Or just battles to survive one more night.

Yes, to you women in a world of pain
To you, bright star in this ever-spending universe
To you, fighter of a thousand-and-one fights
To you, friend of my heart.

From now on, my head won’t look down to a magazine
Rather, it will contemplate the night
And its bright stars,
And so, no more clichés.

amy leibrand

amy leibrand_03

“My name is Amy Leibrand. I reside deep in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. I am a science writer. This is just a fancy way of saying I take data and summarize it.”

Read more of this interview and see more of her work and some of her compositing techniques HERE.

Amy’s own website is also well worth checking out, HERE. This is excerpted from her artist’s statement:

“My work shifts between visceral, uncomfortable, intimate self-portraits and surreal travel narratives; by nature, I am a wanderer, both in body and in mind. Colossal legs that dwarf a desert, forest, mountain landscape reveal the discomfort I feel in my surroundings, and the endless search for satisfaction, perhaps even a nod to escape. Turning the camera on myself, self-portraits illustrate the endless conflict between internal and external dialogue: pretty versus ugly, fearless versus cowardly, and so on. Using subtle odd, dreamlike, humoristic and disturbing elements, my intent is to objectify not only my own emotions, but those of the viewer. I want the viewer to become part of my work, as their reaction has as much to do with the art as the artwork itself.”

amy leibrand_08