by Richard Holland
If law school resulted in no other tangible change to my life/personality it truly cast in stone my craving for escapist entertainment. I’ve seen crime scene pictures galore, I’ve done legal aid work, I work with BAS, I’ve seen enough horror. I like my entertainment light and happy, more or less. Also, I am a complete sucker for magical realism, I admit it, I’m out of the closet, you wanna make something of it. Any of you who got excited about Harry Potter, I dare you to scoff.
I saw this movie, shortly after it’s release on the airplane back from Paris. The friend we were visiting there, Adam Jolles (now the Chair of Art History at Florida State University), between spats with his dramatic, angry and lovely French girlfriend, raved about how much he enjoyed the movie and I must see it. So when I saw it available as an option on the flight, I figured why not.
What ensued was as over the top charming a movie as one could endure without slipping into diabetic shock. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with Guillaume Laurant, I had seen Jeunet’s work before with the unique films Delicatessen and City of Lost Children (far darker films, but completely enjoyable, they are definitely on the “Brazil” pile).
The film’s protagonist is Amelie (Audrey Tautou doing an excellent personification of every straight art-boy’s dream girl) a shy, introverted waitress in Paris. Her simple life is set into upheaval by her fateful discovery of a treasure trove hidden in her apartment by a boy many years ago. After secretly returning the box to the now middle-aged man and unexpectedly changing his life, she has an epiphany and dedicates herself to elaborate attempts to aid others by giving fate a nudge (not all positive, she tortures a cruel grocer in a masterful way). At the same time she stumbles upon and finds her perfect match in a man who collects discarded photos from photo booths in Paris, who is just as much an odd-duck as she is. Wacky misadventures, misunderstandings, and tangents worthy of a Shakespeare comedy ensue.
If that wasn’t enough the Yann Tiersen soundtrack is amazing.
It is cute, yes, sappy, probably, but if you are feeling like the world is a dark evil place, no one gives a shit, everyone hates you, etc. this film can’t help but generating some happy feelings.
Morning Glories ‘aint so f-cking Glorious when they’re crawling all over your backyard, swallowing everything else up in their huge pink maws. Part of this afternoon’s checklist of things to do involves going into my backyard and peeling those tenacious pieces of shite off of all the other plants that are trying to gain a tiny foothold on our postage-stamp sized plot of land. On a related note, check out an incredible photo series by James D. Griffioen titled Feral Houses (via things magazine). Here’s what else I’ve been reading about this week (with a bit leftover from last week).
*A chair inspired by obesity, designed by Charlotte Kingsnorth. Whoah. And, ick. (Dezeen).
*Art Institute of Chicago now adding content to ArtBabble (New Curator).
*Cindy Sherman poses for Vogue’s “Age Issue” (via AO Art Observed), numerous pics of Sherman’s home are featured too. Somehow I always imagined her place would be messier.
*Most Unfortunate Headline Ever (but interesting article nonetheless): Stroke of Genius: 10 artists with abilities borne of brain damage.
*An Art Escort Service. This is a seriously good idea. Someone in Chicago should start up a company that tours out-of-town art lovers through our “underground” apartment gallery scene. Kissing on the lips verboten, of course. (via C-monster).
*Jen Graves discusses the overweening vulva that is “The Dinner Party.”
*Cloud-seeding as art (we make money not art).
*Is the University of Chicago a secret portal to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts? Oh, if only it were so! (Culture Monster).
*What it was like to grow up in Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House.
*Props to my industrious little hometown: Valley Porn (boing boing).
This week: Duncan and guest host Randall Szott talk to the fine folks from InCubate. After that interesting interview we flush the whole effing thing down the toilet by reviewing Harry Potter the Exhibition, where porno and Matthew Barney are discussed.
About InCUBATE (from their website):
In ways that have only become possible in the past few years, artist collectives and experimental institutions have begun to actively re-imagine alternate art worlds and alternative forms of curatorial practice in an attempt to disengage from the more traditional strategies governing today’s art market.
InCUBATE is a research institute dedicated to challenging current infrastructures, specifically how they affect artistic production. As art historians and arts administrators, our goal is to explore the possibility of developing financial models that could be relevant to contemporary art institutions, as well as collective or individual artist projects working outside an institution. Particularly, we are exploring financial models which are less constrained by external controls and market concerns and which are more effective, more realistic, and more relevant to both art and the everyday. Our goal is to continue to conceptualize new possible situations, document these innovations, and make this information available to everyone.
InCUBATE does not have non-profit status, instead we see our role as exploring new possibilities outside of the traditional models of 501c3 tax exempt status. We are interested in creating a network of opportunities and creative discussions, as well as sharing resources for creative urban and community planning and self-sustaining situations for art production. These activities include investigating current practices in public/private sponsorships for arts organizations, debating the pros and cons of incorporating as a non-profit, alternative means for financing ‘under-the-radar’ arts projects, and hosting exhibitions and symposiums to spark public discussion.
Centered in a storefront space adjacent to Chicago’s historic Congress Theater, we consider our location to be an integral part of our activities and mission. We are interviewing local artists, curators, organizers, and collectives whose thinking extends beyond traditional modes of production and distribution. These discussions will be made public in order to start an open source of information-sharing about processes and strategies. While exploring our own process of becoming a research institute, we will also become a resource for others, which will manifest in various on-going projects.
One of these projects aims to assist the production of future projects. Through using the open source software MediaWiki, InCUBATE plans to create a wiki that will function to collect information for projects, collect historical and contemporary data about discursive art making, as well as information directed by the wiki users. Read more