Every move you make...

The above strip is from Boy on a Stick and Slither.

Reminds me of a conversation in J.G. Ballard's novel Super-Cannes:
"People are so immersed in their work they wouldn't recognize the end of the world. It explains why no one saw anything unusual about Greenwood. There's no civic sense here."

"There is." Halder pointed to a nearby surveillance camera. "Think of it as a new kind of togetherness."


Love and Photography (not Rockets)

I am glad I came across Madi Ju and Patrick Tsai's online project "My Little Dead Dick". The collection of images, which serve as a visual diary of the two photographers' brief relationship, is a powerful reminder of how evocative the photographic narrative can be.

By isolating some very beautiful, personal moments of their lives, Madi and Patrick (who have since separated) let us in on a private narrative that seamlessly slides from personal documentary to fiction and back again. The loose, snapshot aesthetic keeps it fresh and I found myself clicking through the entire project in one sitting effortlessly.

It reminded me of how effectively appearances can cohere. Photography and memory work together in curious, circuitous ways -- constantly referencing each other. While viewing their little love diary, it is hard not to be reminded of one's own life; of love past and pending.

Do check out the personal work both have done since.


He wants YOU...

...to join his side for the perpetual war. Nobody today remembers the reason for fighting it and no side has actually won.


I just stumbled across Chet Zar's work recently via io9 and somehow it had me thinking about the war. His "Ugly American" series, is being exhibited at the Strychnin Gallery in London. The images, which are unabashedly lowbrow, are an equal dose of horror and political commentary. I quite liked some of it.

The work reminds me of Gerald Scarfe's apocalyptic animation in The Wall, which haunted me when I first saw it as a kid. It still scares the shit out of me, and yet, leads me to contemplate on the futility of the perpetual war(s):

In 2002, George W. Bush said:

"I want to thank the choir for coming, the youngsters for being here. I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace. We want there to be peace. We want people to live in peace all around the world."

In 1981, Phillip K. Dick (read this also) wrote,
"It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane."


My Portfolio Website

My photography portfolio website is finally up and running.

Please visit: http://www.zubinpastakia.com (if the link from blogger doesn't take you there just type out the address)

Many, many thanks to Varun Gupta at Morphus Designs.

© Zubin Pastakia 2008


Lawrence Weschler's Convergences

I’ve been reading Lawrence Weschler’s “Everything That Rises: A Book on Convergences”, which is a fascinating rumination on the associations between images, through time and geography. In the introduction, Weschler playfully asks us to "make what we will" of these “uncanny moments of convergence, bizarre associations, eerie rhymes, whispered recollections—sometimes in the weirdest places.”

To site one such intriguing convergence: in a chapter titled "Expressions of an Absolute: Pollock/Galaxies/Rothko/Moon" Weschler draws a powerful–and not merely compositional, but almost metaphysical–parallel between looking at a Rothko painting made in 1969,

and at a picture from the moon landing from the summer of 1969,

About the Rothko, Weschler writes:

"...the canvas poised neatly between self-possession and self-divulgence: it draws you out and gives Nothing back. Its presence, like that of a black hole, is of such density that you might lose your Self there... There is a moment in looking at those paintings when we stop looking at them and they start looking at us--at, and if we are not careful, if there is not enough of us there, straight through us."
And about the moon landing picture:
"A Giant Leap for Mankind? Godlike, unprecedented, Man had vaulted forth into the heavens, a mammoth enterprise, a stunning achievement: a man on the moon. And yet on the moon, there was nothing there (what-in-God's-name-else had we been expecting?). A vast interminable emptiness: a howling, airless silence. A vacuum of meaning: absolute solitude."
I don't think I've ever read it put better than that. An illustration of Camus' famous line: "The absurd of life is born of the confrontation between the human call and the unreasonable silence of the universe." Art, most good art, demands equally that the viewer or reader of the work step up to the challenge and infuse meaning to the work in front of him, just as one attempts to (every now and then, mostly in vain) search for meaning in life. Often, we have to create our own meaning, and if nothing else: at least attempt to engage. That failing, we perhaps should just take delight in the absurdity of it all.

What is brilliant about the book is that though most of the convergences start with common compositional motifs (the horizon lines and colour contrasts in the above two images), Weschler rarely gets redundant on you with his convergences. Drawing parallels between Joel Meyerowitz's pictures of "Ground Zero" and the landscape paintings of Vermeer and Caspar David Friedrich; landscapes and bodyscapes; the photograph of the dead Che and a Rembrandt painting, (hat-tip to John Berger, my favourite); the mapping of the internet and the human brain... I could go on.

This book is essential.

If you can't find it in stores, check out the site, its fantastic as well.


Imaginal Disc: Science & Film

Don't miss what Alexis Gambis is doing over at Imaginal Disc: Science and Film Productions... From the website:

"Imaginal Disc Productions is a film and video production company which specializes in the making of films around, with and about science/scientists. The objective is to break the stereotypes of the “scientists”, initiate scientists to the process of science film-making and show the creative aspect of woman and men scientists at the bench."

Check out his little 16mm gem Dr. Funque and His Petri Dish. Wonderful "small form" cinema that Jonas Mekas celebrated in his Anti-100 Years of Cinema Manifesto.