Hip Priest

A diary that people only read when they're down and gone to seed...
~ Saturday, August 18 ~
Permalink Tags: Film Marina Abramović The Artist Is Present Hyde Park Picture House Sheffield Doc/Fest
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~ Thursday, August 16 ~
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Koert Van Mensvoort’s Next Nature Baby (2008) was one of my favourite exhibits in the Niet Normaal: Difference on Display exhibition at the Bluecoat, Liverpool.
The exhibition itself considers the issue of normality, especially in relation to bodies and technology. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen in my home town for quite a while.

Koert Van Mensvoort’s Next Nature Baby (2008) was one of my favourite exhibits in the Niet Normaal: Difference on Display exhibition at the Bluecoat, Liverpool.

The exhibition itself considers the issue of normality, especially in relation to bodies and technology. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen in my home town for quite a while.

(Source: dadafest.co.uk)

Tags: Koert Van Mensvoort Next Nature Baby Niet Normaal Bluecoat Visual Art Difference Technology
~ Wednesday, August 15 ~
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It’s exactly a month since my last post, so I thought I’d better get on to the backlog of draft posts on here. Always looking for an excuse to update an old post, the fact that Reykjavik Mayor Jon Gnarr hit the news this week for turning up to his city’s Pride dressed in a bright pink dress and matching balaclava in support of Pussy Riot had me thinking back to the excellent documentary charting his campaign which I saw at the Leeds International Film Festival last autumn.
Unlike its compatriot in LIFF’s Underground Voices programme Happy People, Gaukur Úlfarsson’s (anti)political documentary Gnarr (2010) really surprised me. It was poignant and thought-provoking, but most of all it was completely hilarious.
LIFF described this documentary charting the campaign of ‘iconoclastic comedian turned Reykjavik’s mayoral candidate’ Jon Gnarr as ‘stranger-than-fiction’. In terms of good humour, I’ve rarely been so impressed. And further, I must keep an eye on the progress of his Best Party, whose strategy could be worth seriously emulating by those interested in radical politics.

It’s exactly a month since my last post, so I thought I’d better get on to the backlog of draft posts on here. Always looking for an excuse to update an old post, the fact that Reykjavik Mayor Jon Gnarr hit the news this week for turning up to his city’s Pride dressed in a bright pink dress and matching balaclava in support of Pussy Riot had me thinking back to the excellent documentary charting his campaign which I saw at the Leeds International Film Festival last autumn.

Unlike its compatriot in LIFF’s Underground Voices programme Happy People, Gaukur Úlfarsson’s (anti)political documentary Gnarr (2010) really surprised me. It was poignant and thought-provoking, but most of all it was completely hilarious.

LIFF described this documentary charting the campaign of ‘iconoclastic comedian turned Reykjavik’s mayoral candidate’ Jon Gnarr as ‘stranger-than-fiction’. In terms of good humour, I’ve rarely been so impressed. And further, I must keep an eye on the progress of his Best Party, whose strategy could be worth seriously emulating by those interested in radical politics.

Tags: Film Reykjavik Jon Gnarr LIFF Gaukur Úlfarsson Politics Comedy Best Party
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~ Sunday, July 15 ~
Permalink Tags: Festival Leeds Student Music Politics Press Germany
~ Saturday, July 14 ~
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Happy 100th Birthday to Woody Guthrie.

Good to see that Nora is using this to stress his contribution to politics as well as music. Contemporary artists could learn a lot from listening to his lyrics.

Tags: Woody Guthrie WoodyGuthrie100 Music Politics
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~ Tuesday, July 10 ~
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Exit (2011) Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin.
Visited Berlin again last week but never managed to leave Neukölln. Ah well, I did so much touristy stuff last time that I still have photos to share.

Exit (2011) Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin.

Visited Berlin again last week but never managed to leave Neukölln. Ah well, I did so much touristy stuff last time that I still have photos to share.

Tags: Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin Travel Photography
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~ Monday, July 9 ~
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Werner Herzog starring in Harmony Korine’s awesome Julien Donkey-Boy (1999). He loves shoes.

Werner Herzog starring in Harmony Korine’s awesome Julien Donkey-Boy (1999). He loves shoes.

Tags: Werner Herzog Film Harmony Korine Julien Donkey-Boy Dogma 95
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reblogged via quietpepsi
~ Sunday, July 8 ~
Permalink Tags: Politics Press Leeds Student Big Society Good Society Labour Jon Cruddas David Cameron
~ Thursday, June 28 ~
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Today:
Far away from the daily life there will be created a parallel society. It will happen in Mecklenburg, for four days there will be the very special kind of music, theatre, performance art and cinema to installation, interaction and communication.

Today:

Far away from the daily life there will be created a parallel society. It will happen in Mecklenburg, for four days there will be the very special kind of music, theatre, performance art and cinema to installation, interaction and communication.

(Source: fusion-festival.de)

Tags: Fusion Music Festival Germany
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~ Sunday, June 24 ~
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Gay Marriage

I’ve been saying I’d share my views gay marriage for ages. It’s taken me so long that the Government consultation has even closed. So basically my views are now irrelevant. No change there then. What has changed is that summer’s arrived and I’m bored. Moreover, the Guardian yesterday ran a story that a right-wing lobby group has created a pamphlet that suggests that legalising gay marriage could ‘open the door to polygamy & incest’. This was just the excuse I needed.

It’s strange in these debates how right-wingers occasionally manage to get to the heart of the issues almost in spite of themselves. Some explain this by reference to the old horseshoe theory that was used by teachers in school to warn us of the dangers of radicalism. Others might call it political correctness. Either way mainstream political discourse on this matter has stagnated. It’s reduced itself to binary decisions on rights claims: freedom of religion v freedom to marry; conservatism v liberalism.

Although the Keep Marriage Special campaign hardly intends to flatter to deceive by alluding specifically to issues of polygamy and incest, they offer unwitting insight in their consideration of alternative modes of living. But where I first disagree is with their conception of the workings of the law.

In my experience, legislators are particularly wary of ‘slippery-slope’ arguments. We all come across them in every day moral discussions. Occasionally they make sense, especially when they are linked to capital flows (so we are wary of increased privatisation of the NHS, because we have seen what has happened to our railways and utilities). But in issues of citizenship and family law for example, the opposite can be the case. I would suggest that the legalisation of gay marriage will most likely constitute a step not towards, but away from, alternative modes of living.

By ‘alternative modes of living’ I’m not trying to advocate incest. Nor am I saying that polygamy is great (though I’m told that polyamory can be very emotionally fulfilling). I’d rather not get bogged down trying to play the philosophical imaginary. Suffice it to say that people lead different lives. What I am wary of is progressive people falling into a centrist trap. Words are prone to unproductive associations. Think humanitarian intervention. Or compassionate conservatism. It shouldn’t work but it does. The first world works as a distraction, precluding a proper investigation of the second.

Gay marriage is a perfect example. We’re so used to fighting for ‘gay’ reform that we can forget what we’re fighting for. As has been noted by legal Professor Rosemary Auchmuty, marriage is an institution in decline across the western world. The potential boost from gay and lesbian couples, she suggests, could be the very antidote marriage needs to keep it alive. David Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values and former staunch critic of gay marriage, shocked many by accepting as much on Friday.

Why is marriage on the decline? For Auchmuty, the second-wave feminist critique attacked marriage’s patriarchal heritage not just for the presence of men: ‘Other targets for criticism were the privileged status of the institution over all other lifestyles and statuses (especially for women), its role in the privatisation of care, the relentless cult of love and romance, so often followed by disappointment and disempowerment, and […] the extent and seriousness of domestic violence within marriage’. Heterosexuality and masculinity were reprieved as other psycho-social factors come to the fore. Also exposed as problematic were belief in ‘the one’, economic dependency, privacy, property, power.

To credit second-wave feminists with undermining marriage in the general public consciousness would be an overstatement. And whilst some feminists may have had a clear vision - to abolish marriage - former University of Leeds Professor Carol Smart acknowledged in the ’80s that as a policy this was as unrealistic as it would be unpopular. Instead, strategically, she called for progressive legislation to ‘undermine the social and legal need and support for the marriage contract’.

In many areas, her call has been answered. According to Auchmuty, unmarried UK cohabitants (homo- or heterosexual) have in most cases the same recognition as married couples; ‘many of the rights’, she explains ‘that marriage confers in the US, such as transferable health benefits, are simply not relevant here’ (thanks NHS). Though that is not not to suggest that those that are, such as inheritance tax, should be forgotten. They are just more bourgeois, and not nearly as pressing.

What we should be wary of is what Auchmuty describes as a ‘turning back of the clock’ in terms of the Government re-defining marriage so that it can regain its privileged position in terms of UK policy. I’m proposing to make this my starting point in opposing gay marriage. As a nod to the Keep Marriage Special campaign, my blogging series will be called ‘Keep Marriage Irrelevant’. Let’s add another dimension to a debate that’s growing stale.

Tags: Carol Smart Gay Marriage Keep Marriage Irrelevant LGBT Law Politics Rosemary Auchmuty UK
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~ Saturday, June 23 ~
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So the Hyde Park Picture House are showing Béla Tarr ridiculous, excellent, The Turin Horse (2010) again tomorrow. After seeing it during Leeds International Film Festival last Autumn, I would advise anyone who considers themselves even slightly mad to go and see it.
There’s a horse. Something about Nietzsche that doesn’t really develop into anything. A man, and a woman (his daughter?). Not a lot of talking. Some potatoes. Some talking (wow!). Some water-fetching (see above). Oh and long takes. There’s loads of them.
Hardly even worth a spoiler alert. And yet it’s beautiful, wonderful, poignant cinema at its most self-indulgent. 146 minutes that you’ll never get back, nor would you want to.

So the Hyde Park Picture House are showing Béla Tarr ridiculous, excellent, The Turin Horse (2010) again tomorrow. After seeing it during Leeds International Film Festival last Autumn, I would advise anyone who considers themselves even slightly mad to go and see it.

There’s a horse. Something about Nietzsche that doesn’t really develop into anything. A man, and a woman (his daughter?). Not a lot of talking. Some potatoes. Some talking (wow!). Some water-fetching (see above). Oh and long takes. There’s loads of them.

Hardly even worth a spoiler alert. And yet it’s beautiful, wonderful, poignant cinema at its most self-indulgent. 146 minutes that you’ll never get back, nor would you want to.

Tags: Béla Tarr Film The Turin Horse Hyde Park Picture House LIFF Friedrich Nietzsche Long Takes
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Jaume Plensa’s Irma-Nuria (2010), Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The one place I didn’t make it to on my Yorkshire day-trips. Back in Liverpool and back on Tumblr (for a bit).

Jaume Plensa’s Irma-Nuria (2010), Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The one place I didn’t make it to on my Yorkshire day-trips. Back in Liverpool and back on Tumblr (for a bit).

Tags: Irma-Nuria Jaume Plensa Visual Art Yorkshire Sculpture Park Summer? Photography
~ Sunday, May 20 ~
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As though watching Roman Abramovich and John Terry celebrating Chelsea’s European Cup win was not stomach-churning enough…

As though watching Roman Abramovich and John Terry celebrating Chelsea’s European Cup win was not stomach-churning enough

Tags: Football? Sport David Cameron Chelsea John Terry Roman Abramovich Politics G8
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~ Thursday, May 17 ~
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I doubt this will ever get old. RIP.

Tags: Music Donna Summer Giorgio Moroder I Feel Love RIP Disco
~ Friday, May 11 ~
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Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (2010) just destroyed me. So devastatingly raw and ideologically cutting, it perfectly complemented the critique of marriage I recently wrote for a module on gender and the law.
When I last wrote about Ryan Gosling I described his performance as ‘expressionless’. I’ve since read a little into posthumanism, and think that may perhaps have been exactly what he was going for. Not in this film though: though he was clearly aggressive, I sympathised with his hopeless attempts to go down with the sinking ship.
Certainly, whilst feminist critiques of marriage resonated with Blue Valentine, the ‘future suite’ in motel (above) reminded me more of Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto (1985). Exciting, enticing, and ultimately depressing.

Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (2010) just destroyed me. So devastatingly raw and ideologically cutting, it perfectly complemented the critique of marriage I recently wrote for a module on gender and the law.

When I last wrote about Ryan Gosling I described his performance as ‘expressionless’. I’ve since read a little into posthumanism, and think that may perhaps have been exactly what he was going for. Not in this film though: though he was clearly aggressive, I sympathised with his hopeless attempts to go down with the sinking ship.

Certainly, whilst feminist critiques of marriage resonated with Blue Valentine, the ‘future suite’ in motel (above) reminded me more of Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto (1985). Exciting, enticing, and ultimately depressing.

(Source: sipsoftheuniverse.blogspot.co.uk)

Tags: Derek Cianfrance Film Blue Valentine Donna Haraway A Cyborg Manifesto Feminism Posthumanism Cyberfeminism Ryan Gosling Theory Gender Marriage
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