Light Artifacts

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Three Lamentations

This video was shot on Brighton beach on Wednesday September 22, 2010, the day after the autumnal equinox.

The summer was over, but it was a beautiful, warm day, most likely the last such day of the year. This was the first lamentation.

The sun was beginning to set over the remains of the fire and tide-ravaged West Pier. There are plans to rebuild it, but this seems less and less likely. Each time I see it there is a little less of it. This was the second lamentation.

The third lamentation is what brought me to the beach that day to contemplate the sun, the end of the summer, and the barely fixable ruins.

My aim was that, for each of the shots in the loop, I had to stare through my camera viewfinder directly at the sunlight for as long as I could, so that I could see nothing else and until I could bear it no longer. And then I started again. Until I couldn't bear it any longer.

I had come across the music -- Alfonso Ferrabosco's "Lamentations III", sung by The Tudor Consort -- earlier that day for the first time, and was listening to it while I recorded my unbearable contemplations.

The music is available at the Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Nine Saxons

Playing. Reality.

[Music Credit: James Blackshaw, 'Cross', from Live at WFMU on The Long Rally 2/2/10 Downloaded from The Free Music Archive, February 2010, with a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.

Also see: James Blackshaw's page at MySpace]

Saturday, 24 October 2009


Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Mark Shivas interviewed Claude Chabrol for Movie, No. 10, published in June 1963.

MS: Les Bonnes femmes is perhaps your most "symmetrical" film.

CC: Symmetrical? From the symmetrical point of view it's symmetrical!

MS: In the montage or what?

CC: In my last version there was a final quarter of an hour of flashes of people in the street leaving their work between six and seven. That was cut. At the outset it was more symmetrical. The whole thing came full circle.

MS: Most people either think that Les Bonnes femmes is a masterpiece, or they're violently against it.

CC: I wanted to make a film about stupid people that was very vulgar and deeply stupid. From that moment on I can hardly be reproached for making a film that is about stupid people. I don't think that it's a pessimistic film. I'm not pessimistic about people in general, but only about the way they live. When we wrote the film the people were, for Gégauff, fools. It was a film about fools. But at the same time we could see little by little that if they were foolish, it was mainly because they were unable to express themselves, establish contact with each other. The result of naïvety, or a too great vulgarity.

People have said that I didn't like the people I was showing, because they believe that you have to ennoble them to like them. That's not true. Quite the opposite: only the types who don't like their fellows have to ennoble them.

MS: But the cinema is an art of identification and that makes it annoying for the spectator. And that is perhaps the reason for the film's failure commercially.

CC: As the film shows vulgar people, who explain themselves instinctively without any kind of mask, so spectators and critics talk about "excess." But the girls aren't shown as idiots. They're just brutalized by the way they live. They're simple girls who are impressed by savoir-faire, by people who do things, tricks and conjurors for example. Maids and shop girls love this sort of thing. The poetical side doesn't really interest them. You see much more grotesque things going on every day than you do in Les Bonnes femmes. Actually it wasn't a group of girls in the film. In effect it was one.

Les Bonnes femmes is the one I like best of all my films. I like Ophelia too, but I prefer Les Bonnes femmes.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Charney on Benjamin's 'Now of Recognizability'

Leo Charney, 'In a moment: film and the philosophy of modernity', in Leo Charney and Vanessa R Schwartz (eds), Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), pp. 279-295 , p. 284

Charles Shiro Tashiro on datedness

Charles Shiro Tashiro, Pretty Pictures: production design and the history film (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998), p. 56

Richard Allen on pastness

Richard Allen, Projecting illusion: film spectatorship and the impression of reality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 110