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.
Carrowkeel (stone circles, centre) is an ancient artificial structure that causes little disruption to the natural landscape surrounding it.
What is the difference between artificial and naturally occurring?
The simple definition is that artificial objects are made by humans, naturally occurring objects are in nature already (i.e. not man-made). The idea of artificial is often regarded as sub-par – when we see man-made lakes for example.
At the end of last year I wrote a piece called Nostalgia for New York, which essentially looked at the idea of nostalgia that I was able to associate with a place that I had never been to. While writing that piece I was unaware that I would be in New York four months afterward, but circumstance and chance conspired and I found myself spending some time in the grand metropolis of the east coast of the USA recently, and this gave me the opportunity to rethink some of the topics I had originally looked at regarding New York.
It’s not that I had tried to write about New York specifically when writing the original piece – I was more tinkering with a popular culture model of the city; looking at how New York was portrayed and how this portrayal changed as I grew up. So one of the striking things I then found about actually hitting New York City was recognising all of these places that I had seen before in movies, TV shows or video games. Everything seemed bizarrely familiar – it wasn’t quite deja-vu, but more like borrowing another person’s memory to make sense of something that I was seeing Continue reading “Nostalgia for New York 2: Referencing reality”
I am currently attending a residency in Vermont Studio Center, Vermont USA. The residency invites up to 75 writers and artists to participate in their own studio practice for a predetermined amount of time in the company of other creative practitioners. During the first week, we, the aforementioned practitioners, have engaged in introductory conversations around the dinner tables etc, spouting the usual introductory dinner-table questions, e.g. “What’s your name?”, Where are you from?” etc. One recurring question has caused me an abundance of consternation time and again. That question is “What are you?” Continue reading “What Are You? – Society’s categories and labels”
Last Thursday (March 8, 2012) Occupy Dame Street, Dublin, was removed at 3.30 a.m. by the Guarda Síochána in an operation involving more than 100 people so that the plaza that they had occupied outside the central bank could be cleared for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The de-occupation mimicked the late-night move made by police on Wall Street last November, but was met with far less public outcry despite the overkill of 100+ police removing approximately 15 protestors.
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.
Caribou are an enigma. The band perform with an elaborate amount of gusto live but seem to lack impact on recording. Caribou is Canadian multi-instrumentalist David Snaith and his live stage crew (i.e. Ryan Smith, Brad Webel and John Schmersal).
The most recent album, Swim, was a catchy electronic mish-mash, but does not withstand extended listens and seems to get lost in it’s own tame mixing and recording. However, live Caribou hit hard. The full band create a wash of energy and vitality that contradicts the album completely. They played a relatively intimate show in NASA, Reykjavik in June 2011.
Halves are one of the emerging scene of outstanding Irish music acts. Alongside a host of other swirling-noisemakers, Halves stand out from the crowd with their infectious melodies and brooding compositions.
After travelling to Montreal to record their first full release a full two years after the band first broke onto the Irish music scene, Halves departed on a brief tour of Ireland. Known to the country’s music aficionados but still something of a mystery to those outside of it, they have grown in reputation thanks to a host of laudable live performances and gained notice at festival dates in recent years.
Anna Calvi has exploded onto the UK music scene over the last few years. She has seen her work nominated for the Mercury Music Awards and the Brit Awards in 2011 and 2012. Her self-titled debut album featured collaboration from Brian Eno and Dave Okumo from The Invisible, and was produced by renowned producer Rob Ellis. She had previously worked with the recent folk revival’s golden boy Johnny Flynn, and has played support to major acts Interpol and Grinderman.