Sunday, December 22, 2013


Going to make a comeback soon I think.

Mainly because I'm becoming too easily drawn into opinion based scuffles on Facebook and those skirmishes always seem to leave me in a state of "and another thing!!" at 2AM...

Need a venue where my thoughts have time to breathe/fester and then re-emerge without a need for constant re-edits and adjustments in fleeting and bait-laden comment threads.

This way, I can keep track of my thoughts and amend and review in a place that is less prone to sudden out-lashings... maybe.

Does depend who takes the time to read and post anything longer than 200 words in response, which at least requires some effort and desire which I find more worthy of a reply and discussion.

What kicked this off you ask? Watching my Quickflix queue tick over without 'real' concrete recollection for one. Every movie I watch gives me some thought or moment of inspiration and often when the return strip is peeled and the lid shuts, so do my ideas go into the mail box.

Some have stuck hard like Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. But others I find myself grasping at knowing there was something in the moment worth jotting down.

First category then is Quickflix. Starting with Side Effects and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and maybe a backtrack to Safe Haven and Jonah Hex.

It's funny that it's these two. The first was one of the movies that I knew if I didn't write about it in the moment that sensation of feeling the empathy shift and the point that Filmspotting's Adam could only most certainly have been talking about would whistle away once a new pair came in the mail "Ooo Only God Forgives!" swoooooosh.

More soon.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Final Reflection

Must say i have enjoyed this aspect of the course, despite taking a while to get used to the format and being somewhat put out by everything being online. Something that is the future i guess, but i would happily settle for a set reader every time. However the freedom to react to whatever happens in class, or on the street or on television, online was empowering somewhat. Wish i had thought it through and like those other savvy students had my (or a) laptop in class in order to react to ideas instantly or right after class as that would have proved more cnduciev t o the spirit of reactionary blogging i feel. But as i have mixed sport on monday nights the drive to come home and contribute media related ideas had been dialled down a notch after two straight games of netball.

The shift in class structures this semester suited the shifting structures of the whole university and my life in general somewhat. My script development class was very creatively focused with no real analytical work required, and Noir as well had a very free structure centered around choice and responisibility to get the work done as one saw fit. Also the restructuring of the library took expected norms and threw them into flux in terms of level access and other things i had begun to take for granted after two and a half years at Latrobe.

DMC proved the culmination of new challenges in terms of balancing what was relevant academically with what was noise, and having read NEW MODEL ARMY on the cusp of the new semester i was impressed with the scope of the subject's prescience to include science fiction as part of its accepted directions. This subject comes at a crucial point in the development and of my own development in terms of technological acceptance of new forms and old that i still staunchly (and perhaps unreasonably) rely on. The recall to Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom also helped bring the evolution that i needed to personally undertake into sharp focus. Like kismet too games i was playing (Demon Souls) and shows i was just beginnning to watch (The Gruen Transfer) slowly began to inform each blog and shape the direction of my essay and overall interest in the subject.

I have certainly been lucky in terms of the subjects i have chosen being initially skeptical before they fulfill a certain void in my own understanding by symbiotically realting to things i enjoy deeply all along. Will try to maintain this blog as often as i can, but it will probably go the way of film and or game commentary as that has been my field of interest but also hope o use it to flseh out ideas for my (maybe) coming thesis and future academic endeavours. In that sense it has been inspirational and satisfying.

Thanks for reading.


One last quick one before the final reflection came to me as i was editing the YOUTUBE entries and remembered back to the class discussion we had regarding the short attention span, clip obsessed culture who by way of access to choice get more and more emboldened to enforce their choices and/or impose their tastes upon others. I have had the argument many a time with all sorts of different folks about the nature of personal choice versus something that serves the group dynamic. I have very eclectic tastes and realise that when i play music for people it should have a degree of universality, well the attempt is made, like its hard to miss with the BEATLES.

Reminds me of when a friend of mine obsessed with punk and alternative music was dragged practically kicking and screaming one night to a hip-hop club and brought his ipod with him.

In defiance of the group and selfishly proud of his own convictions he played his music while everyone esle respected the DJ (who was a fiend of both me and ipod man by the way) and the atmoshpere of the place. This was a while back but sticks with me because i have seen it reccur in the form of mobile phones that project like old ghettoblasters, as people obnoxiously assume their musical tastes gel with all around them on public transport. Now i like 2PAC as much as the next hip-hop fan but the grandmother taking her two kids shopping may not so much appreciate 'bitches aint shit' to the same degree.

Sounds like a rant but there is a point that comes from a story my brother wrote (IMAGINE ANNIE) which relates to an evolution of this idea but on a more discreet level. The idea was that people while their music is playing in their headphones overtly project the music they are listening to onto a sort of digital billboard that others can see or access, tune into like a radio station. So ultimately everyone within set radius becomes a kind of insular DJ and people can opt in or out based on their tastes. The connection is one made by tastes and inclinations and certainly has a future i feel as i always wonder what the person who really is enjoying their music is listening to and personally can't help but bop when i get a track i really love pop on.

NEXT: Final Reflection...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

YOU TUBE part.2 - Art versus Noise + EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP

Continued on from the last entry where the question became whether or not YOU TUBE could produce a star worthy of becoming a Hollywood director and we have a pseudo example in the form of Thierry Guetta. This self procalimed video artist goes everywhere with his video camera and proceeds to get caught up in the street art movement wherein Banksy and Shepherd Fairy become his subjects and subsequently his inspirations as he proceeds to test his ability within their medium of choice.

This is the basic setup or plot of the film setup if you believe the whole thing isn't just another elaborate stunt by mischievous raconteur of subversion, Banksy. And it is plot if you take a more cynical approach to the elaborate and startling journey of Thierry and his graffiti mentor from Bristol. As mentioned in the previous entry (see below) the pehnomenon of YOU TUBE and what it encourages can be gauged in different ways. I treid to suggest that the evolution of production of quality art and fiction is emboldened by a medium (which is what YOUTUBE has become essentially) which allows anyone to upload their work or art. Within this the art of pastiche and parody has reached a critical mass as we see both brilliant attempts to compliment and subvert existing mythologies as well as humour and attract those who would formerly not take an interest due to the short clip like nature of the stuff on show. It thus becomes easier to digest and like fast food is an attractive, non time consuming way to indulge previously rejected forms or art. This penetrtation i think is the strongest aspect of what YOUTUBE provides but as with all social media that is open to and enjoyed by all it has a flip side.

With all the brilliance there is an endless dirge of what i will refer to as junk or 'noise'. That doesn't really forward the medium and fits the analogy of a dog eating its own tale, a cannibalisation of the freedom given to create something great and meaningful becomes a vehicle for base desires and pointless regurgitation. But who am i to say what constitues art and noise. Indeed who is ever qualified to make this judgement? This is the challenge raised in EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, whether it is an elaborate and staged attempt to address this issue or truth, the films argument is compelling regardless.

With Bansky you have an endlessly creative and gifted artist whose installations and stencils represent a brazen form of social media that takes shape in his street art. His works are distinctive and bold in their attempt to challenge normalist thought, political and confronting but educational in their conveyance of meaning and challenge to the shroud of shit fed to us by advertising and the establishment. His message is that anyone can create art and the judgement should be left to the audience, but then after experiencing his friend Thierry transform into Mr.Brainwash says paradoxically and forebodingly "I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore" (

He reaches the nexus point where he maybe realises that he has created this monster without ever knowing what manner of 'artist' sat perched under his wing. If you haven't seen the film SPOILERS are coming.

Mr Brainwash has no capacity for original thought, well at least his work/street art doesn't. Like a transparent photocopy of Andy Warhol he is gifted only in taking what others do or create and coluroing over it, inking someone elses creation into oblivion and passing it off as commentary or homage. Hollow and disapointing it is shocking within the construct of the film as he is heralded by an art world who fall for his associations with Banksy and Shepherd Fairy and/or the latest phenomenon that is street art. A vapid world happy to champion anyone within it for the sake of trumpeting what everyone else seems to be caught up in, without judging it alongside greater, more poignant forms.

There is a story that George Lucas when preparing to write and film his now infamous STAR WARS prequels that he went to Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola and said yeah i think i should bring people in to help me bring these new films forth. Spielberg and Coppola replied with 'No' going on to say, and im paraphrasing, this is your chance to give the world George Lucas unfiltered, pure if you will, you will never have more control than you do right now embrace it and give the world the STAR WARS that's inside you'. Well we all saw how that worked out.

To some degree you can never tell someone what is good and bad, art or noise because it comes from a persoanl and subversive place of taste and cultural understanding. YOU TUBE has that filter built in somehwhat as people vote and view, subscibe to favorite producers etc. But the negaive space of that equation still frightens me somewhat. Should maybe do an entry on IDIOCRACY next ....

NEXT: Final Reflections

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

YOU TUBE part.1 - The "Prosumer"

During the week spent discussing Youtube i found sticking to the genertaion of potential survey questions tough as the phenomenon of viewing, producing and uploading videos proved far more conducive to a discussion about the evolution of fan to filmmaker, and what constitutes a quality production on the site. Having given it some more thought in relation to my two favorite mediums of film and comics it occurred to me that the gerenration of remakes, parody and post-modern pastiche fuels sites such as Youtube. With its digital toolbox anyone can dub over their favorite film clips or dress up and renact, reinterpret favorite scenes etc purely out of earnest fandom or to add to the mythologies of their favorite shows/characters in various instances. Here is a high budget example of those inspired by the Dark Knight (

In a moment of revelation or late to the party realisation i came to the conclusion that nearly all the major genre wunderkinds of the day (see JJ Abrams or Geoff Johns) began as fans within their particularly select mediums. Technically we all carry some degree of fandom but these men represent the pinnacle somewhat in terms of the audience they can reach by way of the quality of their work. It made me think back to filmamkers who earned their way up through vision but also pastiche and playing on existing properties in order to forward their personal visions. Tim Burton began as an animator at Disney before having his singular vision accepted into the mainstream. His quirky style infusing the early Batman films with a personal flourish all his own.

James Carmeron on Piranha 2 worked as a special effects tehincian before taking the directorial reigns but was no doubt a fan of the genre form as his subsequent films have gone on to prove. This years revamped Piranha 3d was a reworking with nods to JAWS and the original films. Alexandre Aja putting his own gore tinged spin on a fracnhise he grew up with, like he had done previously with The Hill Have Eyes remake and the adaptation of japanese horror tale MIRRORS. These are big budget examples and when brought back to the short form viral type we have Robot Chicken. A mash up of star wars parody using action figures of every kind and again a cast of voice actors who grew up with the mythology and have done a good enough job to become part of the accepted Star Wars universe.

The concern comes from what the next generation will embrace when all that is popular is parody and mashed together forms of previous incarnations. I still go to the store to read new Batman stories from new creators every week but my real joy comes form experiencing books like CASANOVA (bottom) and SCARLET (top).

As while they are the culmination of their creator's aristic influences into imperatives they have the spirit of an attempt to move the form forward, the creator as fan and producer of new indulgences melded holds a strong sense of hope. The enjoyment of Youtube for me comes in the discovery of creators like this, and while i enjoy the parodies they never resonate with the same artisitc hum as the the attempts which take the sum of their parts infused with something new. Though had YOUTUBE existed back when all these aforementioned artists and creators existed would it have been their platform of choice en route to greater things? and when will we see a Hollywood director born of the YOUTUBE, anyone-can-produce phenomenon?

More soon - YOU TUBE part2 - art vs noise and EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


In addition to reading NEW MODEL ARMY this semester and in keeeping with the cyberculture impetus of the DMC subject I went back to discover the novel that many place alongside NEUROMANCER as one that defines cyberpunk culture most effectively in science fiction. Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel centres around the ironically named Hiro Protagonist who is a hacker, samurai, and Pizza Delivery expert for the mafia (Just the Pizza Delivery part).

He also as a freelance hacker gathers information and makes cash on the side selling it to CIC, the latest incarnation of the CIA no doubt, which in it's new coroprate (that's the C replacing the A) model hires and co-opts the public into gathering intel in any form that may prove useful into a grand database. This information is then graded and the procurer is paid accordingly based on the pertinance of the information logged. Kind of like a clandestine digital paparrazzi.

Early in the novel the Metaverse (like NEUROMANCER's Matrix) is introduced and the notion of virtual avatars within it as Hiro proceeds to a bar inside this world, called the Black Sun. One of his fellow hacker friends partakes in a business card which when handled in the metaverse transfers data into the avatar and host computer/terminal simultaneously. What Hiro's friend doesn't realise is that he has accepted a data card which contains the SNOW CRASH drug/virus of the title and his digital self being linked to his physical self causes severe, perhaps irreparable damage for both his bodies metaversion and physical self in reality.

The notion struck me as one that has become an all too real possibilty in reality. Something that is dangerous or harmful in the digital sense has become an occurence that through anxiety and stress manifestation can affect one's physical state. The idea of someones bank details being vacuumed is an obvious problem, but so reliant are we on our digital caches of data, that monetary issues seem quite reparable in comparison to theft of ideas and the disappearance of whole bodies of intellectual work, things that are build profit and go beyond just a singular score.

Also the statement that was made in class around the idea of a digital footprint that we all leave and how something being floated digitally can never be scooped out of the pool. A horrible analogy is made in the book about Herpes and the idea that once it is caught it manifests itself in your biology form then on recurs, with varying degrees of seriousness, but there is no shedding it completely. SNOW CRASH heightens these ideas to a degree making them part of an entertaining and humourous adventure story, but the portentous nature of what has become an all pervasive system riddled with potential disease among all the coolness is quite powerful and allows the novel to earn its place alongside Gibson's masterpiece quite cosily.  

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Yet to play this game, but recently read a review about it in SFX magazine (issue #198) that made me go out and purchase it immediately. The game establishes itself as a standard dungeon crawler of sorts with the player choosing to customise and generate his or her warrior in whatever way they wish before seeting out to slay enumerable beasts with the end result no doubt helping you save a particular kingdom from prophesized peril.

Pretty standard fare then it would seem... with one interesting twist. The creatures and beasts are in fact so devious and challenging to overcome that the game allows players to leave behind hints for other players on the playstation network via ghostly scribe written in blood among other things. The game also utilizes its very own wiki ( wherby players can update and read how to beat certain areas of the game in a dynamic sense with better ways and techniques being added and valued as much as the standard strategy guide published by the company itself, encouraging players ot interact and 'grind' their way further into the game.

this player has discovered the fallen ghost of another who no doubt has some infromation on what lies ahead

This kind of networking based strategy guide seems very intriguing and i plan to play the game a little before i can report back on how effective and well implemented this social network aspect within the game is.