Jerusalem Pink, Maeve Brennan, 2016, 41 min 10 sec
"The Dome of the Rock is alive – almost in the same sense that a man is alive. It changes its tissues and it renews its structure in order to maintain power to enshrine the soul that is in it." Written in 1924 by Maeve’s great-grandfather — the architect in charge of The Dome’s restoration — these words describe how material things are transformed at once by human history and geological time; by religion and tectonic plates, by decoration and erosion. Through her encounters in Jerusalem with an architect, an archeologist, a stone worker and a geologist, Maeve traces the relationships around the site. It becomes increasingly clear that the subject can not be the stone itself, but only all the practices that extract, maintain, preserve, understand, exchange, neglect, and value it. The panning observations unfold slowly and reveal that responsibility is taken upon will and exercised through a long labour of care.
The Blushing Valley, Gery Georgieva, 2017, 3 min 45 sec
A woman dressed in elaborate costume dances alone across a field of roses before abruptly disappearing from sight. She is not the artist, but perhaps the Great Mother-Goddess, on whom depends “the fresh spring renewal”, or The Rose Queen, crowned as the winner of a beauty pageant in Bulgaria for the ceremonies of the rose-picking season. In this single long scene beginning with the original crowning speech, the beautiful valley and the dancing body get conflated with nationalist belonging and consumerism. Yet as the sun lowers, the sounds die away and the movement is rid of all voice-over, something remains in the silence — a glimpse of youth outside identity, prosperity outside the nation state and collectivity outside popular culture.
Self Portrait, Other Portraits and Things, Özden Demir, 2017, 17 min 28 sec
We see so many beautiful photographs of sunsets. They were taken on business trips by Mehmet Bey, the engineer in charge of demolishing the block of flats across Özden’s family house, and received exchange for the footage she has accidentally captured of the demolition crane breaking down (enabling Mehmet Bey to make an insurance claim to the manufacturers). This is only one complex chain of relations in a short film full of many, proving the impossibility of a self portrait not to become other portraits and things — tattoos, a 19th century elevator, an upstairs neighbour who is also a lawyer, 13 flights of stairs, a heart surgery for Mother, an admiration for home-produce guns, and the HMO (Heavy Machinery Operators Association). What connects all the disparate elements is a shared life, amongst political tensions and frustrating systems.
Desktop Composition #5, Holly Márie Parnell, 2018-2020, 13 min 32 sec
1) “The limits of growth are inscribed in the affective body of cognitive work” and 2) “The full deployment of the general intellect falls beyond the sphere of capitalism.”* To the minds exhausted from accelerated and precarious cognitive labour, Holly offers a new exhaustion — this one at peace with itself and back in touch with the flesh of life. The floating clips, sounds, states, images and moments come together in a rhythm that produces more emotion than information. This emotion is then turned into a critical call for a new temporality, a renewed consideration in our movements, a post-capitalist “savoir-faire”.
*Franco “Bifo” Berardi, The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance (Los Angeles: Semiotexte, 2012), p. 77, p.142.
“Henceforth, it is the ways of living on this planet that are in question”, Felix Guattari begins the third paragraph of The Three Ecologies. This question of living that he poses on behalf of a collective subjectivity extends across the environment, the socius and the mind; across the weeds, the sun, the salaries, the friendships, the ambition, the respite. Within his ecosophy, the labours of tending to a garden, tending to a togetherness and tending to an intelligence all constitute one big labour — which should come to replace the blind late-capitalist value systems. This bigger activity is not composed of individuals in an additive arithmetics, but it exceeds the sum of its amorphous parts, where the excess is a new field of possibility. A single rupture, accident or detail can open this field to reorganisation. Perhaps it would seem inconsiderate in the face of an approaching global crisis to pose the virus as such an event, yet as we become more sensitive to inhabiting and relating, the observation that change surrounds us can be a caring companion borrowed from a dearer future. In cultivating new human praxes, “we will have to consider … incidents outside the norm as indices of a potential labour of subjectification.”* Now, when we have a new kind of time on our hands — not free, not empty, but present — this webpage extends one possible gesture. What is found here is not intended to be a new veneer for a highly adaptable cultural capital, but an assemblage of sensibilities. They are extended by the filmmakers to their worlds, and by the films to ours. They do not dissect life into the social, the emotional and the material, but think them all at once through many scales; from the most intimate (a friend’s knees, a slight confusion, one’s own voice) to the most institutional (a beauty pageant, a court-case, a sacred site). And thus they conspire new affinities. That is simply to say, the vectors of subjectification open to us now are different than those of last month. Aesthetics can yet again be the thing to make them palpable. For now, see these scenes fill your rooms with their odours.
*Felix Guattari, The Three Ecologies (London: Athlone Press, 200) p.34