inter |inˈtər| verb ( -terred , -terring ) [ trans. ] (usu. be interred) place (a corpse) in a grave or tomb, typically with funeral rites
active |ˈaktiv| adjective (of a person) engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits
(The above definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary)
A touch of housekeeping again. Just wanted to say a very quick congratulations to Built Dublin, winners of the Best Arts/Culture blog at the 2012 Blog Awards Ireland. Moon Under Water picked up a beautiful certificate for the blog’s listing as a finalist, and I enjoyed a terrific night at the awards ceremony. A new page of recommended blogs is under development – watch this space.
The term ‘interactive’ has become synonymous with technology that allows for user engagement. This includes video games, websites, mobile phone applications and other digitally-based media. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that “interactivity” is perhaps more than it seems (see the definition above), that it is the undead media-manipulated masses of dancing a morose merengue.
Consider for a moment the interactivity of the daily commute. Most people who will be reading this will have used trains, trams, subways and buses as modes of transport in recent times. However, what the average reader may not have noticed is the growing tendency for the undead to meander among them on a daily basis. Every morning coffee-deprived, bleary-eyed commuters board their local public transport contraptions, staring down into their hands at hidden devices that keep them pacified. Continue reading “Inter Active – Zombies in the machine”
I come from a nation that spends quite a large proportion of its time running from its visual history. Irish people often disregard the “Celtic” roots, the patterns and spirals and the ancient mythic tales of wars, magic and nature as fodder for American tourists. There is an unspoken desire to “move forward”, to reflect Ireland as the technological centre of western Europe, to emphasise how we have “caught up” and become part of the modern world. “We’re not pagan bog people anymore!” we shout emphatically at anyone who will listen, “We’ve built motorways and tall buildings so Intel and Facebook and Google would come!”
There is sometimes a lack of pride in the magic and runes of the ancient history and folklore in our country. Contemporary Irish art and design often analyse global themes and use global methods. Our current artists take pride in being well-travelled and educated in the artwork of Europe and America. Irish film is polished and masked with an international professionalism. Yet regardless of our motivation the island itself has trapped our ancient culture within, and the influence of the visual arts of our country is inescapable.
Culture is endlessly intertwined with place and history. While watching modern English cinema I often think of JMW Turner and his use of muted colours and sprawling compositions. Turner’s paintings are fastidious in the foreground, containing detail and narrative. These foregrounds are often overshadowed by bleak and near-colourless skies and background imagery that consume most of the space on the canvas.
Imagine taking the last known copy of a precious book, ripping it to pieces, spitting on it and throwing it on the floor, then reading the bits that you can see. That is what rehashed, “long-awaited” Hollywood sequels do to the artistic process.
Artistic ideas are fantastic because they are original. They can be chopped and shaped to the will of the imagination of the artist. In movies characters can be formed and situations developed, all to the specifications of one or a few creative individuals. So when, in the interest of nothing other than profit, companies vie to pump out sequel after sequel of half-baked hogswash just to vacuum up the pretty green it gets frustrating. It kills the unique idea that went before, and hurls any beauty of the original predecessor into the dank and murky mires of forgotten film.
For any who have ever experienced caving, you will remember unsure footing, tight squeezes and low-hanging rocks and the claustrophobic feeling that can come in the moist earthy air. You will be aware of how extraordinarily dark it can be in the gloomy underground. It can be stifling and unsettling in the depths of a cave, but with light to guide the way, the experience can instead be extremely fulfilling. Continue reading “Illuminating the Grotesque: Crawling into political satire”
The future is coming, or so they say. And as it approaches us head-on, we can do little to avoid collision with its impending certainty. I for one am looking forward to the invention of hoverboards in 2015, but am still nervous every time I turn on my computer of the day when robots rule the earth.
The festive season at the end of 2011 seems to be pounding home an unstoppable onslaught of good old fashioned film nostalgia. From the late-year release of Tintin, a fun spectacle bringing back memories of the intrepid, investigative comic book star from my own youth, to JJ Abrams’ Spielberg-ish romp Super 8 (which I have previously reviewed on Moon Under Water here). Not that Spielberg controls the nostalgia market (I am watching The Goonies out of the corner of my eye as I write this…) but the emphasis is not lacking.
Nostalgia is an uncontrollable thing at the best of times. I recently sat down to re-watch Ghostbusters 2 – a sequel that was critically slammed and a movie that I had not watched since I was pre-teen. Ghostbusters 2 is certainly nothing to smile about too broadly, a hack sequel that is as cynical as anything that Hollywood churns out these days with little in the way of character, script or plotline to shout about. Essentially it is just a remake of the first film with a new bad-guy, the creepy Vigo the Carpathian trapped inside a painting and looking to get free.
It’s a strange thing to get taken back to an earlier point in life with some overpowering twinge of nostalgia taking you over, but for it to be a wholly enjoyable experience. This is precisely what happened when I watched Super 8.
First, it ought to be noted, you are not moving into some field of untrodden soil when you turn on this film. Do not expect an original and insightful plotline Continue reading “Super 8 (2011 film)”