Secession

Rule of Three

 
 

Beethoven Frieze

by Gustav Klimt
Painting

View an image of a detail from the artwork

In the depths of a basement lies the Beethoven Frieze, a monumental work that interprets the composer’s Ninth Symphony as an epic narrative of humankind’s eternal struggle for fulfilment. Extending sideways across three panels, the frieze plays with the contrast between blank space and density. A central section is filled with dark, looming, mythical creatures and intricate patterns, intended to represent the immense challenge that must be overcome in order to find joy in life. In the final section, the work reveals itself to be not only a celebration of the lauded composer, but of art in all its forms, as a light that has the power to guide us from darkness.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate


Gomorrah

directed by Matteo Garrone
Feature film

View a still from the film

A drive-by shooting causes a car to career off the road, colliding with a yard of plaster sculptures, shattering them into tiny pieces. This may be Gomorrah’s most violent scene, but it is typical of the destruction that saturates the film. Matteo Garrone traces the fallout of the Camorra, a splintering Neapolitan mob, through five disparate stories. The narrative darts erratically between the different strands, channelling chaos and disruption. There are no heroes here, only victims. Denied cinematic gangster glamour, we are left instead with the sobering image of fragmentation and fear.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate


BioShock Infinite

developed by Irrational Games
Video game

View a promotional image for the game

Columbia, 1912. An airborne metropolis designed as a world fair exhibit has risen to the clouds to become an autonomous theocracy. Somewhere in this floating dystopia, a young woman is held captive. It is our task to find her. As we navigate the city, we become aware of institutionalised classism and racism, enforced by law. Tears in the space-time continuum deepen the tension, as alternate universes are mined for knowledge and futuristic technologies. Exploring this vast world, we may stumble upon sunny, anachronistic wisps of Beach Boys or Cyndi Lauper songs, distracting us from the shadows of palpable unrest.

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

Beethoven Frieze: You can find out more about the artwork by visiting the artist's official website here, by reading an article about the artwork by Kat Sark for Suites Culturelles, and by watching a video by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker for Khan Academy.

Gomorrah: You can view a trailer for the film here. Jonah Weiner has written about the film for Slate, as has Carlota Larrea for Senses of Cinema.

BioShock Infinite: You can view the trailer for the game here. Articles available online include: Scott Juster on BioShock Infinite's imagery, for PopMatters; Chelsea Stark on the game's music, for Mashable; and Gerald Voorhees on fatherhood, for Ada.


Today's connection

Klimt's Beethoven Frieze is on permanent display in the Vienna Secession Building, the turf war in Gomorrah is referred to as a 'secession', and Columbia secedes from the United States in BioShock Infinite.


Question of the day

Which secession-related artworks would you recommend?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Kirche am Steinhof, a building designed by Otto Wagner. Wagner, like Klimt, was a member of the Vienna Secession group. (→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)


Also on Silent Frame

Braid

Perspectives

 
 

Braid

developed by Number None, Inc.
Video game

View a still from the game

Braid’s first level is conspicuously titled ‘World 2’, inviting the player to wonder where that missing number one went. Subverting its many platform precedents, from Donkey Kong to Sonic the Hedgehog, it adds mind-bending mechanics to the mix, allowing us to toy with time and undo any ill-fated leaps. Its side-scrolling gameplay seems initially intuitive, only for our assumption of linear progression to be torn apart. A save-the-princess plot, knowingly copied and pasted from the Super Mario series, is complicated by references to a more lifelike break-up scenario. The temporal oddities and cryptic story, we realise, are inextricably linked.

As the player moves towards the game’s end, the prospect of closure disintegrates, along with the protagonist’s presumed heroism. A gulf emerges between the outlooks of the princess and the wannabe knight in shining armour, leaving us suspicious of the ‘damsel in distress’ trope. In the starry-skied background of the game’s brief prelude, we can see the constellation of Andromeda, a mythical woman chained to a rock to be sacrificed. It may be easily missed at the time, but comes to act as a striking metaphor, denouncing the use of simplistic stereotypes and the restriction of female agency.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe


The doors dotted around Tim’s house lead to fantastical realms, filled with brainteasers and beasts. Each room is separated from its related world by a corridor, clustered with cumulus clouds and lined with lecterns. As we walk past hefty books, they flick open to share exposition and excerpts from a broken relationship. Words hang in the air above us, bloated with meaning. Some of the connectives and flowery adjectives appear to be superfluous but, picking at the semantics, we begin to wonder whether the prose is more carefully considered than first thought.

We read our way from left to right, giving us a familiar sense of direction that is rarely afforded here. Scattered jigsaw pieces welcome our grasp, but some float out of reach. Time becomes a plaything; however long we rack our brains for a solution, we are sometimes required to give up and backtrack later. All the while, we must climb ladders, hop over pits of spikes, and jump onto golem-goomba hybrids that send us bounding higher still. Braid presents us with a deconstructed puzzle and asks us to reassemble it. In doing so, it provides a platform from which ideas can spring.

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

You can watch the trailer for Braid here, see a playthrough here, and download a free demo of the game on SteamChris Dahlen has interviewed Jonathan Blow (the game's designer) for The A.V. Club, as has Taylor Clark for The Atlantic. David Hellman (the game's artist) has written about Braid's painterly visual style for Gamasutra.


Question of the day

Can art turn back time?
Share your thoughts on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

No, but it’s all we’ve got: in the absence of time travel, I don’t know any other way to escape our contingent moment.

– Emma Donoghue, author of The Wonder, Frog Music, and Room (via The Brief →)

Yes. Our past can only be grasped through our own subjective perspective, and few things can influence that like art.

– Hugh Maloney, Silent Frame Sub-Editor (via Patreon →)


Also on Silent Frame

Wonderland (1971)

Collected Works: Literature

 
 

Wonderland

by Joyce Carol Oates
Novel

View the book cover

Somewhere off the highway outside Hilsinger, Wisconsin stands a row of ugly cabins. Inside are plastic curtains and dead flies on windowsills. A man stares at the ‘opaque feverish form’ in the yellowish mirror above his sink. He must prepare himself for the woman he desires, but can only find a razor blade and a sliver of soap. His hands slip and blood spurts from his cheek, forming an unstoppable, mesmeric stream. He draws the blade down again, on his other cheek, chest, stomach, shoulder, and pubic hair.

Written for all ‘who pursue the phantasmagoria of personality’, Wonderland chronicles the shifting identity of Jesse Vogel. Jesse’s life is recounted to us: the loss of his family to extreme violence; the gluttonous patriarch who takes him on; and his subsequent, abrupt disownment. Alone once more, he works himself to the bone as a medical intern. Jesse eventually becomes a husband, father, and eminent brain surgeon, lecturing in New York and writing papers on retrograde amnesia, but his own traumatic memories lurk.

Just as the novel’s protagonist is haunted by the ghosts of his past, Joyce Carol Oates conjures a life so vivid that it refuses to leave us. Jesse takes hold of the reader, as he seeks to possess those who he loves. His wife is being ‘destroyed’ by him; the woman who he pursues an affair with says he will ‘suffocate’ her. Jesse is part of a generation rife with misogyny, with women viewed as inferior and unfathomable. The book often dips into the consciousness of the female characters, illuminating their realities.

Such fluctuations of perspective underscore misconceptions, suggesting that we are all unknowable. Jesse has dedicated his life to the brain, yet people remain frustratingly enigmatic to him. No amount of ‘testing, analysing, diagnosing, correcting, curing’ will clear the murkiness of the mind. Although Jesse’s hands expertly incise and stitch, he scratches only the soul’s ‘living surface’. As blood drains away, the scarlet fluid flows like a storyline, the chaos of human existence sustained by the life force at its centre.

Words by Emma McKinlay


More to discover

You can read an excerpt of Wonderland here. Robert Phillips has interviewed Joyce Carol Oates for The Paris Review, as have Stuart Spencer for BOMB Magazine, Hermione Hoby for The Guardian, and Jessica Grose for The Telegraph. Melissa Chadburn has written about growing up with the Wonderland Quartet for Buzzfeed.


Question of the day

Who is your favourite fictional doctor, and why?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.


Also on Silent Frame

Smith Henderson

The Brief

 
 

Smith Henderson is a fiction writer. His debut novel, Fourth of July Creek, was longlisted for the Folio Prize and the 2016 International DUBLIN Literary Award, and was named as one of the best books of 2014 by Entertainment Weekly and The Washington Post. His short-form fiction has been anthologised and published in American Short Fiction and Best American Short Stories. He received a Pushcart Prize for his story ‘Number Stations’. Henderson contributed to Wieden+Kennedy’s Emmy-nominated advertisement ‘Halftime in America’, and co-wrote the film Dance with the One, a finalist for the 2010 SXSW Narrative Prize. He is also a staff writer for the television series The Son, which aired on AMC in 2017. 


Which book would you recommend to our readers?
A High Wind in Jamaica
by Richard Hughes, in which a group of children are kidnapped by pirates. You soon pity the pirates. Chilling, hilarious, and indelible.

Which album would you recommend to our readers?
Bullhead
by the Melvins, recorded for Boner Records for just $600. Its sludge metal grind is the musical equivalent of a logging truck’s Jake brake.
     
Which television episode would you recommend to our readers?

Episode 6 of The Young Pope, directed by Paolo Sorrentino. The music video for Kendrick Lamar’s ‘HUMBLE.’ is good but it’s not, as many suggested, what The Young Pope ‘should have been’. TYP isn't boring – you are.

Which video game would you recommend to our readers?
The Civilization series, created by Sid Meier. Six iterations in, it’s still a blast. Vital, emotional preparation for the end of Pax Americana.

Which Jamaican artwork would you recommend to our readers?
A Brief History of Seven Killings
, a novel by Marlon James. So many voices and valences. There were times when I got lost, but I never felt abandoned.

Which Mexican artwork would you recommend to our readers?
Down the Rabbit Hole
, a novel by Juan Pablo Villalobos. Seventy pages of ruminations by a drug lord’s ten-year-old son. Circumscribed, perverse, touching.

Are educational curricula a form of violence? 
The question comes from a crisis in education. Teachers doubt the nobility of the profession, students are in debt, and jobs are being automated away. There are no answers.

Does narrative film rely upon empathy?
It relies only on objective, obstacle and uncertainty. It is more interesting to watch someone try to cross a creek than save the world. Empathy is optional.

Is dreaming a form of creativity?
Dreams are narrative. You are always solving a problem or negotiating a conflict. Sometimes they are interesting; usually they are mundane.

Must an art form’s future be shaped by its past structures?
Really great art supersedes its antecedents and sometimes seems to have influenced the past, making the old derivative and cribbed.

For you, is artistic discovery a private or shared experience?
Wholly private. I have my enthusiasms and sharing them is just an economic necessity, a way of continuing to make them.

What question would you like to ask other Silent Frame interviewees?
Which emotion gets you in the most trouble?


More to discover

Smith Henderson: You can visit Smith Henderson's website here, follow him on Twitter @smith_henderson, and read an excerpt from Fourth of July Creek here.

Marie-Helene Bertino has interviewed the author for One Story (including an excerpt of his short story, 'Number Stations'), as has Anne Caldwell for American Booksellers Association, Connie Ogle for the Miami Herald, and Michael Noll for Read to Write Stories.

Today's recommendations: A High Wind in Jamaica (excerpt), 'Boris' (the opening track from the Melvins' album Bullhead), The Young Pope (trailer), Civilization IV (gameplay), A Brief History of Seven Killings (excerpt), Down the Rabbit Hole (excerpt).


Also on Silent Frame

Ukraine

States of the Arts

 
 

May That Nuclear War Be Cursed!

by Maria Prymachenko
Painting

View an image of the artwork →

We see a fantastical creature, swollen to fill the canvas, its skin lurid pink with orange and yellow spots and stripes. Within a drooping womb, a clutch of missile-like eggs gestate, emerging from its mouth in the form of green, scaly snakes. The beast may be a clawed, fanged abomination, but it seems pained, its face twisted into an expression of suffering. It gazes outwards and upwards into the empty, black void that surrounds it, hoping that its distress will end. Maria Prymachenko makes it clear that this monster, a creator of destruction and violence, is ultimately a victim too.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe


Man with a Movie Camera

directed by Dziga Vertov
Documentary

View a still from the film →

Dziga Vertov’s documentary opens with the image of a man filming atop a giant camera, and closes with a dizzying montage of accelerated crowds, carriages, clocks, and clouds. The cameraman-protagonist is an observer and an actor, appearing onscreen via the reflections of windows, mirrors, and lenses. The film silently paints a portrait of contemporary culture, as Vertov presents a futuristic city of his own invention, celebrating labour and industrialisation. Using various post-production techniques to intercut and reverse his footage, he creates wonder from the mundane.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe


Requiem

by Anna Akhmátova
Poem

View an image of the poet →

'Requiem' eschews any clear succession of events or ideas. Instead, it launches us into a disturbing chain of images devoid of explanation, expressed with brutal simplicity and directness: ‘On your lips, the chill of a cross / On your brow a deathly pall.’ A poem in ten sections, the work is the writer’s response to the terrors experienced during the Stalinist regime. The evasion of narrative logic mirrors the senselessness of the Great Purge, eased only by a few precious moments of empathy and warmth glimpsed beneath the surface.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe


Concerto for Orchestra No. 3 (‘Holosinnya’)

by Ivan Karabits
Composition

View an image of the composer →

The ‘Holosinnya’ Concerto grows out of distant bells and sighing strings, with a few wisps of melody teased out by various soloists. Its colourful orchestration is spatially conceived, creating the effect of simultaneous distance and proximity. But the calmness of the work’s opening is short-lived. Propelled by rhythmic forcefulness, it builds to a series of shuddering climaxes, which in turn collapse into a terrifying, percussive toccata. As the lamentation nears its end, the musicians lay down their instruments to sing a simple, descending phrase, repeating and overlapping, fading into silence.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe


More to discover

May This Nuclear War Be Cursed!: You can visit Maria Prymachenko's official website here, and watch a video compilation of her works here.

Man with a Movie Camera: You can watch the film here. Brian Winstonhas written about the film for Sight & Sound, as have Ben Nicholson for Sight & Sound, Jonathan Dawson for Senses of Cinema, and Roger Ebert (linked here).

Requiem: You can read 'Requiem', along with other poems by Anna Akhmátova, here. You can listen to a spoken version of 'Requiem' here. Other resources include a biography for the poet on Encyclopaedia Britannica, and an analysis of 'Requiem' by Anaya M. Baker for LetterPile.

Concerto for Orchestra No. 3: You can listen to the 'Holosinnya' Concerto here, visit the official website of Ivan Karabits here, and read a review of the Naxos CD release by The Classical Reviewer.


Question of the day

Which Ukrainian artworks would you recommend, and why?
Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

The Tribe, directed by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy. A film about organised crime set in a boarding school for deaf children, told through sign language. No subtitles or concessions are given. (→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)


Also on Silent Frame

Belleville Rendez-vous (2003)

Collected Works: Film

 
 

Belleville Rendez-vous

directed by Sylvain Chomet
Feature film

View a still from the film

A group of heavyset women waddle into a vaudeville theatre, their scrawny partners trailing behind. Once they have taken their seats, a series of oddities is presented. A guitar virtuoso plays his instrument with his toes. A tap dancer is devoured by his own shoes. The stars of the show, a vocal trio called the Triplets of Belleville, sing the swing song that gives the film its title, shuffling and scooting across the stage in exaggerated synchronicity. As their act comes to a close, the camera zooms out to reveal a small girl watching the footage on a grainy television set.

Belleville Rendez-vous tells the tale of an elderly woman, once the girl of the prologue. We watch as she helps her gaunt grandson to prepare for the Tour de France, only for him to fall foul of a mafia kidnapping plot during the race. With her loyal mutt for company, she journeys to the gang’s headquarters to free him, and bumps into the Triplets along the way. Now washed-up crones who feast on swamp frogs, the sisters invite the grandmother to join their band, entertaining grotty clubs by plucking and pattering on household goods, from bicycle spokes to refrigerators.

The film’s storyline is ably supported by a roster of inventive supporting characters. A remarkably flexible restaurant waiter bends over backwards to please his criminal customers. Henchmen connect and separate like stickle bricks, their shoulders hunched, marching as perfectly rectangular shadows. Zoomorphism abounds. A mechanic who is seen scurrying beneath various contraptions has the features of a mouse. The long-faced cyclists come to resemble horses, parched and wheezing, are guided into trailers in a manner that foreshadows their fate.

All but absent of dialogue, the running time is crammed with instances of silent-era slapstick, the dark humour complementing the murky visuals. We view the peculiar, piled-up city of Belleville as if filtered through a grubby lens, shades of browns and greys permeating its steampunk sprawl. It may take a few scenes for viewers to grow accustomed to the fantastical universe and idiosyncratic aesthetic of Belleville Rendez-vous, but those who stick around are in for an offbeat treat.

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

You can watch the trailer here, see the prologue here, and listen to the soundtrack here. Note that Belleville Rendez-vous is the film's UK title. In the US, it was released as The Triplets of Belleville. You can also read an interview with the director by Philippe Moins for the Animation World Network (AWN). Articles about the film available online include this post about its satirical elements by Jay Scott.


Question of the day

Which animated films would you recommend, and why?
Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Persepolis, directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Persepolis has changed my life in many ways. It has taught me about the importance of integrity in art, family, and storytelling. (→)

– Leah Hayes, bestselling graphic novelist and musician (via The Brief →)


Also on Silent Frame

Palindrome

Rule of Three

 
P1.png
 

In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni

by Cerith Wyn Evans
Sculpture

View an image of the artwork

Upon seeing Cerith Wyn Evans suspended sculpture, we become entranced and advance, like a moth fluttering towards a flame, to the glow of neon lettering. The halo-like structure gently encourages us to wander about the dim space, first one way, then back the other, as we attempt to decipher the writing that wraps itself around the curved glass panels. The use of fluorescent materials, associated with showy signage, comforts us when confronted with the unfamiliar Latin text. Rather than obsessing over unpicking the phrase’s meaning, dicing with declensions and dative cases, we may be content to simply enter this mystical circle under cover of darkness, consumed by its fire.

by Katherine Fieldgate


The Poisonwood Bible

by Barbara Kingsolver
Novel

View the book cover

Cooped up indoors during Kilanga’s rainy season, Adah Price is left with only words for company. She makes a plaything of sentence and syntax, scattering them across the page like loose marbles. She sends spherical syllables on a collision course, verbs reverberating, clauses clinking at the touch. But for all her inner loquacity, the missionary’s daughter meets the outside world with a steady silence. Perceived by most as a kook, she has no wish to attract the tuts of further detractors. Privy as we are to the chatter of her thoughts, we may use them to guide our own reading, allowing them to lead the book’s narrative in a different direction.

Words by Elizabeth Brown


Variations for Piano

by Anton Webern
Composition

View an image of the composer

Webern’s Variations for Piano inverts the musical form at its core: it is a theme and variations composition in which the theme is unheard. The piece begins with fragmentary gestures, every balanced phrase building then subsiding. Each segment is distinguished from its predecessor by presenting a new mood, colour, or texture, but is clearly connected to what has come before. The result is a dream-like collage of fragile, alien utterances that hesitate on the brink of silence. Sounds overflow with significance in the moment, but their meaning vanishes and decays in retrospect, ghostly visions without a concrete foundation to rest upon.

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni: You can read more information about the artwork on the Tate website.

The Poisonwood Bible: You can read an excerpt from the novel here, and an article by Barbara Kingsolver for The Guardian. The novel has been discussed on an episode of 'A Good Read' for BBC Radio 4.

Variations for Piano: You can listen to the composition here.


Today's connection

In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni is a palindrome, the protagonist of The Poisonwood Bible is a keen creator of palindromes, and there are many musical palindromes in Variations for Piano.


Question of the day

What palindrome-related artworks would you recommend?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Lulu, an opera by Alban Berg, the interlude of which is palindromic. (→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)


Also on Silent Frame

Two Cars, One Night

Perspectives

 
 

Two Cars, One Night

directed by Taika Waititi
Short film

View a still from the film

It is night-time. Two young boys are seated in the front of a car, parked outside of a rural pub. They seem at ease with the situation; no doubt it has all happened many times before. One reads a book, perhaps brought along in the knowledge that it would be a lengthy wait. Shimmering music and old-fashioned monochrome give the scene a sense of self-conscious seriousness, a soundtrack and lens against which the children can play at being grown-ups, trialling a maturity beyond their years.

For most of the film, we watch from close by, the camera zooming in slowly to rest by the protagonists’ faces. Only the opening and closing shots provide us with a wider view. The vehicle stays stationary; we observe time through the fast-motion arrivals and departures of other pub-goers. They flash past, blinking headlights, as the boys glare into the darkness outside their windows. Adult lives may be accelerated by alcohol and company, but for these kids the evenings are an unwelcome brake.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou


A boy rests in the passenger seat of a parked car, nose in a book. His fidgety brother takes a place alongside him, mimicking the revving of an engine as he pretends to drive. A girl waits patiently in another vehicle, a few spaces down. After a failed attempt to hide himself from view, the wannabe motorist catches her attention the only way he knows how: with yelled insults and lewd hand gestures. She turns back to face the windshield, seemingly ignoring his raised middle finger, before calling for his attention and offering one of her own.

Two Cars, One Night is an homage to fleeting meetings, those episodes that punctuate the passing of time, some forgotten, some never lost. Smokers congregate and disband, leaving a smouldering spiderweb etched into the screen. The louder brother watches a ‘sweet’ ride with admiration, nodding in respect to the tattoo-faced driver. The girl offers the boy a diamond ring, perhaps to slide onto the finger next to the one that first bonded them. Then her parents arrive and she departs, leaving him standing in the car park with nothing but a hopeful murmur: ‘Probably see you later.’

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

You can watch Two Cars, One Night here, and see a TEDx Talk on 'The Art of Creativity' by Taika Waititi here.


Question of the day

Do some art forms capture fleeting moments better than others?
Share your thoughts on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

I think music does in pop culture, in that it reflects the current consciousness of humans in three minutes. Music changes quickly.

– Deradoorian, musician (via The Brief →)

I think poetry has fleeting moments down. It luxuriates in them. In poetry, the fleeting moment becomes expansive.

– Emma McKinlay, Silent Frame Sub-Editor (via Patreon →)


Also on Silent Frame

Inasmuch As It Is Always Already Taking Place (1990)

Collected Works: Art

 
 

Inasmuch As It Is Always Already Taking Place

by Gary Hill
Video art

View an image of the artwork

Within a five-foot recess lies a fragmented human body, its parts scattered across sixteen video monitors of various sizes. The screens are connected by twisting, nerve-like wires, but there seems to be no logical ordering: a foot, an ear, and a groin lie side by side. The disconnected ends of the wiring disappear from sight into the back wall of the niche, implying that the core of the human is neither visible nor fleshy, but something rather less tangible.

The alcove in which the monitors lie is positioned below eye level, drawing our gaze downwards and prompting comparisons to a morgue, or perhaps a digital grave. If death is depicted here, though, it is through the remove of the body’s scrambled arrangement and its physical absence, stored as if within a scrapheap and recounted as if via television footage. The artist, Gary Hill, has called the collection of monitors ‘a kind of debris’, inviting us to consider these screens as the tombstones of detached, late-twentieth-century modernity.

Hill is interested, in his own words, in ‘very sculptural notions coming out of sound, the body, utterance and speaking’. For the artist, the production of language cannot be separated from the guttural and the corporeal, the vibration of the voice box and the secretion of saliva. Barely audible whispers can sporadically be heard through speakers: ‘I couldn’t say it any other way.’ One screen shows Hill’s thumb on the page of a book; another shows illegible writing.

The body parts are Hill’s own, but his features are distorted beyond recognition. Rather than a reproduction of the human whole, we are offered its constituent elements in isolation. The writing and speech both act to draw us closer to individual screens, squinting and straining, at the expense of experiencing the work in its entirety. With Inasmuch As It Is Always Already Taking Place, the self is deconstructed, the artist’s physical form torn limb from limb.

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

You can visit Gary Hill's official website here. Ana Beatriz Duarte has interviewed the artist for Studio International, as has Lucinda Furlong for Afterimage (reproduced on Experimental TV Center).


Question of the day

Which works of video art would you recommend, and why?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii by Nam June Paik. A neon giant composed of ever-flickering screens, foreshadowing the impact of the information age. (→)

– Katherine Fieldgate, Silent Frame Sub-Editor (via Patreon →)

The Anatomy of The Flock, a video artwork by Eszter Szabó. A looping video that draws you into the minutiae of everyday life for a series of animated Sim-like characters. (→)

– Katherine Fieldgate, Silent Frame Sub-Editor (via Patreon →)

 


Also on Silent Frame

Amber Arcades

The Brief

 
 

Amber Arcades is the alias of dream pop musician Annelotte de Graaf. Her debut album, Fading Lines, was recorded with members of Real Estate and Quilt, and released on Heavenly Recordings in 2016. It was met with high acclaim, receiving five-star reviews from Drowned In Sound and The Skinny. Her latest EP, Cannonball, includes a reworking of Nick Drake’s ‘Which Will’, along with the singles ‘It Changes’ and ‘Can’t Say That We Tried’.


Which book would you recommend to our readers?
The Evenings
by Gerard Reve. The ultimate portrayal of the dullness and humour of Dutch culture.

Which film would you recommend to our readers?
Bad Education by Pedro Almodóvar. So many plot twists your mind will start to spin – it’s intriguing from start to end.

Which architectural work would you recommend to our readers?
New Babylon, designed by Constant Nieuwenhuys. His concept for a borderless world in which homo ludens builds his own surroundings is truly special.

[NB: Nieuwenhuys’s use of the term ‘homo ludens’, or ‘man at play’, is a reference to Johan Huizinga’s book of the same name, which emphasises the societal importance of play.]

Which television episode would you recommend to our readers?
‘Chris Martin’ from Extras, directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. I’m not a fan of Coldplay’s music, but this episode gave me a newfound appreciation of Chris Martin, the band’s frontman.

Which Chilean artwork would you recommend to our readers?
Moonlust, an album by The Holydrug Couple, is sublime in its psychedelic, dreamy haziness.

Which New Zealand artworks would you recommend to our readers?
What We Do in the Shadows, a film directed by Taika Waititi. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been made to laugh so loud by a movie.

Can art help us to understand death?
Understand, no. Accept, maybe. Art can also make death less daunting for creators as they know they ‘leave something behind’.

Can colours portray information as effectively as speech?
No. We need language to even be able to see colours. Ancient Greeks couldn’t see blue because they didn’t have a word for it.

[NB: This phenomenon is discussed in an episode of Radiolab, ‘Colors’, which you can listen to here.]

Can we empathise with inanimate objects?
I just saw Westworld and I cried a lot so I’m going to say yes. People tend to humanise everything, like seeing a face in a picture of a sink.

Should critics assess art based on their personal likes and dislikes?
Ideally, no, but I think it’s impossible. It can also be fulfilling to read a biased teardown review of an artwork that you dislike.

Where do you go to discover new art, and why?
To friends who know a lot about art, because I am lazy and like getting personal recommendations from people who know me.

What question would you like to ask other Silent Frame interviewees?
Do you believe there is such a thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in terms of the quality of art?


More to discover

Amber Arcades: You can visit Amber Arcades' website here, along with her Bandcamp, Instagram, Soundcloud, and YouTube pages. You can follow her on Twitter @AmberArcades. Her latest EP, Cannonball, is available here.

Katy Blackwood has interviewed Amber Arcades for Feisty, as have Andrew Trendell for Gigwise, Michael Hann for The Guardian, Ed Nash for The Line of Best Fit, London On the Inside, and Patrick Clarke for The Quietus.

Today's recommendations: The Evenings (excerpt), Bad Education (trailer), New Babylon (information on the Fondation Constant website), Extras (clips), 'Atlantic Postcard' (song from Moonlust), What We Do in the Shadows (trailer), Westworld (trailer).


Also on Silent Frame

Kyrgyzstan

States of the Arts

 
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A New Silk Road: Racing

by Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev
Photograph

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A lorry advances, hauling a heavy cargo. The inky silhouette of a slender horse follows in the foreground, transporting a red-shirted rider through the historic Silk Road trade route. If there is a race being run here, the victor is secondary to the track upon which the sprint plays out. The surrounds resemble a geological cross-section, comprising tiers of silver sky, swooping hills, and well-trod earth. The layers of landscape have stood as a constant backdrop to the path’s travellers, past and present. Cutting through an indigo haze of road dust, though, the crimson equestrian draws our focus firmly to the contemporary.

Words by Elizabeth Brown


Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains

directed by Sadyk Sher-Niyaz
Feature film

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Two figures race across mountainous terrain on horseback. Kurmanjan, wife of the local Datka, is in desperate flight. Her husband has been killed only moments earlier, following failed attempts to bring together the disparate communities of the region. The horseman in pursuit seeks to deal a second fatal blow. Cymbals crash and strings pace in furious cycles, while lush slopes, steep cliffs, and dark conifers mark the path of the relentless chase. As the fate of many hangs in balance, Kurmanjan gallops headlong towards unification, leadership, and legend.

Words by Hugh Maloney


Jamila

by Chingiz Aitmatov
Novel

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A portrait is described in meticulous detail, though the work’s significance is not immediately apparent. The observer, Seit, halts his analysis, acknowledging its digressive nature, and turns to the focus of his story: his sister-in-law, Jamila. Seit divulges how, neglected as her husband fought on the front line, Jamila became infatuated with Daniyar, her friend and lover. Meanwhile, inspired by the beauty of their relationship, Seit took to painting. As the love he witnesses burns brighter, his abilities transform and his colours grow ever more vivid.

Words by Hugh Maloney


Kökötöidün Ashy

by Tengir-Too
Song

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The Epic of Manas is woven into Kyrgyzstan’s national identity, having been passed on orally for centuries by nomadic singers and poets. Tengir-Too, a musical ensemble named after a towering mountain range, have also left their mark on the tale. Repeated, meditative phrases are played on flutes and mouth harp, forming a sombre, marching prelude to the story of Kökötöi’s memorial banquet. The recitation unfolds over a bowed drone, characterised by strident rhythms. The vocal theatrics befit this dramatic account of the rise of Manas, its hero.

Words by Hugh Maloney


More to discover

A New Silk Road: Racing: You can read more about this series of photographs on the Winkleman Gallery website here. Lisa Dorin has written about Kasmalieva and Djumaliev for Nafas Art Magazine, as has an unknown author for ARTMargins

Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains: You can view the trailer here, and watch the full film (with English subtitles) here. Carlos Aguilar has interviewed the director for IndieWire, and Bakyt Ibraimov has written about the film's funding for The Guardian.

Jamila: You can read an excerpt on Amazon here, and read an analysis of the novel by Iraj Bashiri here.

Kökötöidün Ashy: Articles about Tengir-Too include one written by Michael Church for The Independent, and another on the Aga Khan Trust for Culture website.


Question of the day

Which Kyrgyzstani artworks would you recommend, and why?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Sham, a work of visual art by Shaarbek Amankul. This Bishkek-based artist documents intriguing fragments of events through video; Sham is hypnotic and unnerving.

– Emma McKinlay, Silent Frame Sub-Editor (via Patreon →)


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