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Venus Castina

Last night, buoyed with a tub of vanilla ice cream and post-ride fuzzies, I finally got around to watching the last, movie-length episode of the gloriously weird Sense8. Yes, I cried.

I stuck around for the credits, and post all of that deep emotion, saw the logo for Venus Castina Productions, the company of Lana Wachowski and her wife, Karin Winslow, and thought, “I know that arse. I’d recognise that arse anywhere. I saw that arse in the Louvre.” I didn’t photograph her from that side though, but she was on my ticket when I visited, and I spent a long time with her, five hours into my nine-hours of getting done by the Louvre. Hermaphrodite endormi, 2nd century Rome with the bedding done in the 17th century when the fashion was to go all Baroque on Classic sculpture.

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A Rest Area Film

One of the very rare times Rest Area has had a camera inside the truck. Me with iPhone and hand-held theatre lamp; S.J bringing the ruckus.

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Icarus Tree Suspension Shoot

One of the three suspensions for which my climbing skills have been useful, the cliff-top tree above the gouged out bay where waves hit tide-line caves like the sound of distant artillery. Tree-climbing though isn’t one of my skills. It feels treacherous and slippery, especially with the apparently un-Majorca-like rain we’ve had every day but the first.

So I make myself useful with clambering around the boughs, covering Dasniya with clay, variously organising things like a good assistant on set, and taking what photos I can. I particularly liked the silhouetted trees and Dasniya forward of the grey clouds, and also found something funny – in a Dutch Masters or some such style – of the composition of Bernard and Eric talking together, with Antonie on obscured on camera and Dasniya grappling with the tree.

Later I enjoyed myself setting up anchors around a tree and then hanging over the side above still-turbulent waves and killingly sharp rocks.

Last Day, & at Caló des Moro

The last day of Majorca, (written when I’m back in Berlin). More rain. It’s highly improbable to have so many days of greyness and rain in a row, and still more so a storm of the size we had, of which the effects linger. We went to Cala Mondragó (I think), to shoot Dasniya coming out of the ocean. Arriving, the beach was destroyed, detritus strewn up well past the sand, and where once was a beach was now a pile of seaweed and other decomposing things.

Back to Caló des Moro then, the beautiful cove we were in on the first day. Post-storm, the beach is also missing, which perhaps is the natural state, as the limestone is cut by the tides all the way to the end of the bay, well above where the sand was, suggesting any sandiness is of the ‘dumped by dredgers’ kind.

Setting up the anchor was a lot quicker today, with all the changes in how it would be shot – these were basically test shoots, as there are plans to return later in the year to get them when the ocean has returned to its pristine clarity. I spent most of the afternoon squatting far above the water, enjoying the view, while Dasniya and François the diver slogged through the cold water. It was a little like Parsifal: most of a day of setting up for 20 minutes of action.

The evening was eating the remainders in the fridge – Majorcan cheese is delectable, and the wine also – the usual night viewing of the day’s rushes, accompanied by a friend of Bernard who is a real estater in Santanyí. The last night in that beautiful studio bedroom, and then 5am darkness arising for the homeward-bound leg.

Majorca Road Near Santanyí
Majorca Road Near Santanyí
Dasniya & Bernard
Dasniya & Bernard
Caló des Moro Panorama
Caló des Moro Panorama

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Night Pool Shoot

We have a pool also, which I have yet to dip more than fingers in. Dasniya has been swimming around in it most nights, with François the scuba-diving cameraman. Last night the blanketing grey cleared around an almost-full moon, which lit the ocean as bright as a false dawn. Sufficient lack of light to make it possible to do long exposures without them burning out. Dasniya thinks it looks like kitch-y postcards. Rather impressed with new camera discoveries, I made a 60 second exposure pointing directly up, kind of my Hubble Deep Field attempt. Expecting blackness, I was well-pleased to see a sprinkling of stars. Some chroma noise to remove (and one minute arc of motion blur I have no idea how to compensate), and also not an especially interesting part of the sky, just to one side of the Big Dipper, but still, my first attempt as astrophotography.

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Nyon

A not-too early flight from the stupidest airport in the world besides Heathrow: Flughafen Schönefeld. Dasniya and I packed till late on Monday, so not-too early nonetheless meant barely five hours sleep. Still, a taxi to the airport (definitely not as fast as the train) kept stupidity to a minimum (somehow getting half-way to the plane before someone realised Dasniya was trying to board with a pass from the last time she went to Geneva not included), and getting on easyJet with 23kg of checkin junk thanks to a very nice woman relieved us of the near-expected suitcase-contents-shuffle.

Sleep. Apparently with my mouth open. And, Geneva! The last time I was over this side of Switzerland was late-summer, 2005, staying in Vevey with Victoria, and hanging out with Roland and the other dancers there. We didn’t even touch Geneva proper, driving instead along the coast Lausanne-wards to a town called Nyon. “Lyon?” says I, “No, Nnneee-on,” says Dasniya.

Bernard picks us up, and we drive to his wonderful studio, a babbling stream below the windows, trees everywhere, and the A-line factory roof letting in light everywhere. Eric is already there, the musician from Lyon. Lunch and going through the old town, set on a hill with a castle (of course), and the huge sky, lake, mountains (Mount Blanc somewhere there in the haze), vineyards, like a deranged circle of excess landscape and scenery. Just like Vevey, really, and also the unique and specific Suisse opulence. Money. Money everywhere until it’s normal, just like in Berlin the lack of is normal and life adapts to both.

Dasniya and Bernard try out some tying things with slings we pick up from a sail-maker’s workshop, me filming and photographing, the sun setting over the rail-lines. Then dinner, eating and drinking, of course plenty of Suisse chocolate (Belgian is better, harhar – though in truth they are not so much to be compared; the milk giving a unique taste and feel to cheese and chocolate).

Packing, Un-, re-, and, well there isn’t really an english word like there is in german for ‘moving-around-packing’, like you can make by prefixing um- to a word, so umpacking it is (unless of course I’ve forgotten the english word). We have to be up and breakfasting at 4am for a 0645 flight to Paloma. I make some yoga, which now has become a mix of my old Melbourne teacher, Dasniya, Isabelle (no, she didn’t do yoga, but I’ve adapted it), Pilates, my own sacro-psoas inventions … returning to proper sun salutes recently because I want to build some upper-body strength (I still delude myself that one day I’ll bash out a proper press-up), Then to bed, where I have horrible dreams my teeth are loose and spongy and falling like rubble out of my gums while I wait for a bus.

An aside here, or addendum, coda, to the teeth: We have no internet in the house in Majorca, so I write this approximately on the day of the events, and have / will blog once internet is reattained. To be honest, not having internet is deliciously pleasurable.)

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jute disintegration video

There were three — no, four cameras around me on Sunday. One video camera which I forgot to push ‘record’ on, my own beloved LX3 (and having seen the LX7 seriously thinking of upgrading because I can’t yet afford a GX1), a Canon EOS 600D (I think), and the quite sublime Panasonic G5 with the power zoom lens, which I ended up using the most, and shot the video on. There was 15 minutes or so of video on my camera, but I didn’t want to deal with either rendering it to fit in with the G5 video, or doing any colour grading to get it to match, so from a bit over an hour of footage of a 3 hour 15 minute performance installation, I spent two days reducing it to 20 minutes.

I almost want to write separately about the camera, but shall avoid as I have enough to write and do already, though … It does suffer from the usual low-light problems, which could be somewhat ameliorated with a faster lens, though for video this wasn’t an issue. Slightly more irritating is that in quiet spaces, the stereo microphones pick up even light breathing if you’re using the viewfinder — and the lack of an external mic jack, especially as there is a TASCAM to play with is peinlich.

So, twenty minutes of rope anarchy, unshibari, proto-baroque, H.P. Lawrence recitaling, sleeping bags, and other things of the jute disintegration, attempt 2 kind.

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Hartmut, Dasniya Thomas Brasch Fesseln

Last week I was helping Hartmut and Dasniya, filming along the Spree around the Berliner Ensemble, for a project on the Berlin writer, Thomas Brasch. We met again this morning (after a surprisingly fast training ride through Tegelwald), to photograph and film some more. Tying up piles of manuscript, including Mädchenmörder Brunke, something about 2000 pages being sent by fax … well, they did the tying and stacking, I just messed around with camera and ended up with 15 minutes of hopefully useful footage and another gig of images.