Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spending some time in Mr Brooker's world

I might be feeling in a particular cynical, abrasive and intolerant mood lately but here I am sat on the 214 bus and suddenly a strong mixture of smells diverts me from my book, suddenly I cant concentrate any more and admit defeat, place the paperback in my bag and try to ignore the noxious waft of the guy who has decided to share my seat on the crowded bus. It’s the usual London public transport experience and unfortunately of all the people to share my seat with this guy is the one I am forced to endure, not for me the attractive young lady with the copy of the Guardian who I could peek glances at whilst revelling in the ability to breathe only the smell of freshly washed passenger. Also not for me the young dude with the loud but interesting sound of African music spilling from his oversized headphones, not even the chance of a random and rambling conversation with the benign, smiling, be-dredded homeless guy who probably could pass the journey with a conversation on the meaning of life or at least to jointly laugh at the suits pursuing a headlong rush into their boring office job and early blood pressure. No of course not, I get to share the immediate vicinity of the rest of my journey with a man of many odours, odours of which I can determine seem to be chainsmoked cheap cigars, a breath vaguely reminiscent of fox excrement and an overwhelming smell of freshly pissed pants. When I say freshly I don’t quite mean a toilet spillage accident about 20 minutes ago but fresher than, say, the ability for the odour of piss to nuetralise itself by drying over the course of a few weeks, this smell of piss is fresh enough to have occurred about 3 days ago but not fresh enough to disguise the fact that it has sat for those 3 days gradually cooled but still kept at body temperature to assist full festering fermentation. It is amazing what the human sense of smell can endure and I am just marvelling at this very thing when my nostrils are assaulted further by the arrival at the seat behind me of another wafting of fellow passenger, now in glorious stereo I don’t just have Mr cigarfoxdungpish my nostrils are further tormented by a fellow with the general aroma of 2 day old vindaloo which he now is metabolising back out of his sweaty pores with a mixture of curry and deoderant failure. I am guessing this guy is unsuccessful with the opposite sex, so much so that on the one occasion he managed to get laid, by a woman with permanently sealed nasal cavities, decided that this was such a strange and miraculous occurance that to wash from that day forward might break the spell and therefore the smell of his fetid coupling should remain in all its odour filled glory along with the metabolised and unwashed evidence of his limited but easily recognised eating habits.And just as I can take it no longer and feel that my sinuses are about to collapse shut rendering any message between nose and brain irrelevant we arrive at Kings Cross where both of my charming travelling companions alight leaving me free to breathe and get back to the book which is diverting me from my generally cynical, abrasive and intolerant mood. I wouldn’t say Charlie Brooker’s ‘Dawn of The Dumb’ is necessarily inspiring but it is a bloody good read.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Freedom Sound!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dizzy, Dazzled and Dissatisfied

Massimo Bartolini is a humorous and talented artist, his art takes the form of playful interventions in the existing fabric of our lives, he has a skewed, sideways and often tongue in cheek look at the world around us. In Bartolini’s subverted interventions we as viewers are pushed into reassessing and reinterpreting the familiar, we are challenged but also charmed by his art. So standing in the Frith Street gallery for his latest show I ask myself “what the hell went wrong?”, this is the moment where Bartolini steps across the line from tongue in cheek playfulness to self satisfied smugness. With Bartolini’s previous works I have been aware of an artist forcing a reaction from the viewer, in the world we share he pokes, prods and cajoles an engagement with the work and a response to it. It is with this contriving of reaction and response when Bartolini finally oversteps his mark.

In this sculptural, kinetic, video installation eight videos are projected from 2 shelving units as they rotate and revolve the projected images around the gallery surfaces, the looped sounds and images create a never-ending cycle of movement. The images depict scenes of everyday movement a series of seemingly unlinked actions, a house being demolished, moths on a disc of light, a cement truck crossing a road bridge, piano tuner tuning, window cleaners cleaning. These disparate images loop, rotate, cross and overlap occasionally disappearing or obscured by the galleries internal architecture of columns and walls and then reappearing on their relentless cycle. The images change scale, focus and perspective as they continue their journey across the various planes of the galleries surfaces, walls and ceiling.
Presumably Bartolini is showing us a world of seemingly unlinked and unknown forces and actions, movements through time briefly coexisting before becoming once more isolated everyday actions in life’s onward progression.
Life can be a beguiling and intriguing thing< unfortunately as I am once more caught annoyingly and blindingly in the eyes by a passing beam of light from the projectors and as I wheel around in a vaguely dizzying dance contrived by Bartolini I scan the passing images for some understanding and feel Bartolini has me chasing a view of life of frustrating, confusing and boringly unresolved dissatisfaction.