Emile Zile — Mining the Cloud

And another performance. You’re not in Moscow for Isabelle; you’re in Collingwood for Emile Zile and Desktops! Part of the Mining the Cloud: a series of desktop documentaries performances put on by Interval Projects.

Desktops
Disembodied voices. Home Altar eternally altered. You wont believe what happens next.

Building on the recent body of work Desktops, Emile Zile’s performance creates narratives from computer screen captures, search term collages and algorithmic portraiture to explore human mediated communication and the circulation of digital images.

Emile Zile

Emile Zile: Desktops — 1
Emile Zile: Desktops — 1
Emile Zile: Desktops — 2
Emile Zile: Desktops — 2

Reading: Paul French – Through the Looking Glass, China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao

It took a while to arrive … I’m not even sure now what prompted me to decide I wanted to read this, given it was published in 2009, and I tend to be on a “Want now! Why must I wait until published?” bender lately. But something in the previous months must have made me decide it was more important than the other hundred on my want list, and so it duly arrived last week.

Admittedly, I’m in much more of a fiction mood at the moment, and after finishing Stonemouth, did the rounds of my Iain Banks collection and somehow romped through a mass of Charles Stross also. Predictable of me, yes.

Paul French is one of those China bloggers I’ve been reading since I first wandered to the orient, or at least it seems that way. Being once again incoherent, it took a while for me to realize Through the Looking Glass, China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao was written by him – I mean ‘through the introduction and into Chapter II’ a while.

It’s from Hong Kong University Press, so that means it’s very nicely bound and has a suitably academic-sized typeface, with plenty of margin for both thumbs and (for those so inclined) notes. It also dwells satisfyingly on Guangzhou (yes, I am tired reading books about China that are really about Beijing and/or Shanghai), and covers the periods – Qing Dynasty and Opium Wars through to the end of the Republican Era – I’ve been reading regularly of late.

Thus far in, Paul manages to combine the ‘ripping good yarn’ approach to Far East writing of the likes of Peter Hopkirk with the serious academic detail of Hershatter, Mann and others I’ve been holding up lately as exemplars of scholarship. Which is to say, I’m inhaling it every night until I fall asleep and it bonks me on my face.

Paul French – Through the Looking Glass
Paul French – Through the Looking Glass

parsipress? pressifal?

More? More! Continuing on from when Castellucci was a criminal … Words and Pictures!. I was planning on making an addendum to the previous post, but …

(For those who would like copies of the embedded video and audio (with no easy or obvious download links) on some of these sites, I’ve downloaded it all. And for those who want any of this once the links expire, I have all the pages saved as they originally appeared as .pdf.)

Press & Print Media

[OPERA] Parsifal un enchantement musical – Culture – Nouvelobs.com
Avui+ – Notícia El camí solitari
BELGIENINFO.net Urenkelin Nike interpretiert Wagners “Parsifal”
Drammaturgia.it – Parsifal
Opéra Romeo Castellucci met en scène un “Parsifal” hallucinatoire – LeMonde.fr
FT.com – Arts – Parsifal, La Monnaie, Brussels
Review – Wagner’s ‘Parsifal’ at the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels – NYTimes.com
Rue du théâtre – Le roi Richard ! – Parsifal
Sind wir nicht alle ein bisschen Parsifal? – Nachrichten Print – DIE WELT – Kultur – WELT ONLINE

Blogs

Ars Super Omnia Parsifal em Bruxelas
Hadrian est où? Richard Wagner’s Parsifal @ De Munt 15-02
Ionarts Parsifal with Ropes
Leidmotief Lezingen rond Parsifal in Brussel
Leidmotief Parsifal in De Munt een recensie (3)
Leidmotief Parsifal in De Munt een recensie (4)
Leidmotief Parsifal in De Munt perscommentaren
Opera Cake Castellucci’s Parsifal in Brussels
Opera Today Parsifal in Brussels
Parsifal (Richard-Larsson-Haenchen-Castellucci) La Monnaie – Histoire de l’Opéra et vie culturelle parisienne pour fervents lecteurs
Recensie en foto’s Parsifal De Munt Brussel
recortes y periodismo Parsifal en Bruselas bajo “brillante trabajo” del director Romeo Castellucci
Richard Wagners Parsifal à la Castellucci in De Munt | Dupslog

Video & Audio

“Parsifal”, de Wagner, à Bruxelles – videos.arte.tv
VIDEO Romeo Castellucci Parsifal – Richard Wagner – Bruxelles | FILMS7 MUSIC

castellucci is a criminal

After the fourth performance, an emotionally tough night for us, we stand outside the stage door. A woman in beret, black and white clothes (as I remember) tap-dancing with apoplexy. “It is shit!” she is saying, “Castellucci is a Criminal!” … “All shit!” Even the bondage (and it seems by extension us as people) are “Shit!”

On that note, in no particular order (nah, actually mostly alphabetically), and in several languages … Reviews!

(For those who would like copies of the embedded video and audio (with no easy or obvious download links) on some of these sites, I’ve downloaded it all. And for those who want any of this once the links expire, I have all the pages saved as they originally appeared as .pdf.)

Press & Print Media

“Parsifal” in Brüssel Gefesselt im Aquarium | Kultur | ZEIT ONLINE
”Parsifal” – DN.SE
Albino Snake, Bondage Enliven Lush Brussels ‘Parsifal’ Review – Bloomberg
Bizarre Parsifal uit Brussel – Lekker even uit! Alle evenementen op Film en Uitgaan van De Telegraaf. [Muziek]
BRF online – “Parsifal” in Brüssel Ein großartiger Opernabend
Controversiële Parsifal in De Munt – Cutting Edge
de opera van romeo castellucci
deredactie.be Castellucci bewerkt “Parsifal” in De Munt
Deutschlandfunk – Kultur heute – Opernferne junge Leute beleben “Parsifal”
ICA – International Classical Artists | Hartmut Haenchen conducts Parsifal
Il Parsifal di Romeo Castellucci
Lalibre.be – Camou flage, bondage, images
Lalibre.be – Parsifal et le secret des fem mes ligotées
Les Inrocks Opéra la beauté inouïe du “Parsifal” de Castellucci
Leute von heute (Kultur, Bühne und Konzert, NZZ Online)
Nordbayerischer-Kurier.de » Romeo Castellucci nähert sich in Brüssel Richard Wagners „Parsifal“ als reiner Tor
Oper Brüssel Ein Mensch im Wald | Musik – Frankfurter Rundschau
Parsifal secondo Romeo Castellucci – DelTeatro.it
Tiezzi e Castellucci un “Parsifal” per due- LASTAMPA.it
Un serpent chez Wagner – ROMEO CASTELLUCCI, Hartmut Haenchen – mouvement.net – l’indisciplinaire des arts vivants
Wagner réinventé – OPERA
Journal La Terrasse Classique – Opéra – Romeo Castellucci – numéro 184 – JANVIER – 2011
lesoir.be: Castellucci en quête du graal
lesoir.be: Les figurants au-devant de la scène
lesoir.be: Parsifal, humain, trop humain ?

Blogs

Opera Rocks: Castellucci Parsifal — From the 2011 La Monnaie production
Alles over Kunst Opera – De Munt Parsifal
Il Grand’ Inquisitor – Parsifal in de Munt
Intermezzo Parsifal – La Monnaie does it Romeo Castellucci’s way
international loner Long-awaited opera, Parsifal by Romeo Castellucci at the Royal Theatre La Monnaie in Brussels
La Monnaie Reviews | Parsifal | January 2011 | from The Opera Critic
Leidmotief: Parsifal in De Munt: een recensie (2)
Opera Cake La Monnaie Parsifal – and now for something completely different
Parsifal (Wagner-Haenchen-Castellucci)
Romeo Castellucci’s ‘Parsifal’ premieres tonight; first images « Utopia Parkway
Leidmotief: Parsifal in De Munt een recensie (1)
Leidmotief: Romeo Castellucci over Parsifal in De Munt
Leidmotief: De zwarte magie van Wagner

Video & Audio

Cobra.be — PARSIFAL À LA CASTELLUCCI IN DE MUNT
Castellucci herschept Parsifal voor De Munt | tvbrussel
De hand van Guido Parsifal in Brussel hoe een emmer cultuurfilosofie wordt leeggekieperd
Oper: Wagners “Parsifal” in Brüssels – videos.arte.tv
PARSIFAL IN BRUSSELS
Cobra.be: ROMEO CASTELLUCCI OVER ZIJN PARSIFAL

on science and ethics

Many of you who read my blog or know me personally know I am a bit of a lush for science. The astrophysics of monadologie came from my residency at Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, which in itself is part of a lifelong interest in astronomy in particular and other natural sciences.

My love of physics naturally leads into astrophysics at one end and particle physics, quantum physics and so on at the other, and to a slew of scientists and philosophers from Leibniz to Michel Serres, Isabelle Stengers, others… Geology and geophysics take me into my love of climbing, mountains and so into Central Asia and China, geography, culture, history, maps and topography… anthropology… names keep recurring in different disciplines, braids between the disciplines inside and out of science–the arts, philosophy are twisted upon themselves over and over; ah and the joy is the same.

Some people might find through religion some sense of marvel in the universe. I do not. To me, looking at the stars or the earth and forcing interpretation through faith is perhaps at best an elegant metaphor or story to be studied through anthropology (I do find of course the pantheon of demons in all religions quite fascinating), but mostly craven superstition that is no different to a perverse choice in favour of the detritus littering the floor, when a banquet lies upon the table above.

Over the years of blogging and reading blogs, many of the ones in the sciences had coalesced around Discover Magazine Blogs and the Scienceblogs communities, which of course has led me to new blogs, furthering my wanderings through the sciences. Volcanology and deep sea oceanography with excellent blogs written by passionate working scientists are two of the fields I currently have a fascination for.

Yes, there is a but.

Mostly I don’t reblog. As much as I’d like to–and have tried in the past to make weekly reading lists of whatever has really grabbed my attention, the most obvious place where my love of science is displayed is in the sidebar (yes, needs updating…). But the last couple of days have brought some troubling developments.

Scienceblogs allows their writers complete freedom, in exchange for advertising in the right column and above the banner–most of which I don’t see because I use adblocking. This division allowed for an integrity in the science bloggers’ often coupled with disclosures either by naming themselves or when anonymous listing where their funding comes from.

As a non-scientist and being aware of the deluge of pseudo-science — homeopathy, new age therapies and so on under the misleading guise and banner of ‘alternative medicine’, the constant misrepresentation of climate science by the media, corporate manipulation of public perception and outright lies, or just simple things like why would a volcano cause air traffic across europe to shut down – all these things in small ways I find myself talking about.

But when a community such as Scienceblogs provides a platform to a corporate entity under the guise of a blog like others, when it is patently advertorial, massaging of public image, when it is Pepsi given space to write a blog (I use that in the very loosest of senses) on nutrition science and how they are making the world a better place through their foodstuffs research…

Yes, the science blog world is in an uproar. It is a crucial issue of ethics, impartiality and most importantly authenticity and integrity. When science is routinely denigrated, used against the wishes of scientists for political manipulation, misrepresented in the media, when vital issues for the our immediate future are at stake, it is imperative scientists are able to be seen as trustworthy and respected.

Many of the science blogs I read are in the process of leaving Scienceblogs. Funnily enough it has also introduced me to new blogs–which are also leaving. The story in itself is worth an afternoon’s reading, but summarised at The Loom, along with a list of blogs on the move, and by GrrlScientist in Sucking Corporate Dick (read the comments to enjoy scientists enraged).

Maybe this is also to say for those of you who get as much pleasure as I do in reading and in reading science, there is a wealth of extraordinarily talented writers in many fields who I’m sure you’ll greatly enjoy. And perhaps too, this diaspora is a good thing. Blogs and blog communities have progressed to the point – thanks to the code they run on – where ad hoc communities are simple to set up and there is no real need to belong to somewhere like Scienceblogs if they fail to meet the requirements of their bloggers.

I shall update my links in due course.

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence – it’s a war crime

This letter of attorneys and academics appeared in the Times of London on Sunday. I suggest that all bloggers who agree with it just reprint it so that it is everywhere in the blogosphere. It is a succinct and cogent refutation of the reigning right-Zionist talking points that have dominated American media reporting on this atrocity.

January 11, 2009

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence – it’s a war crime

ISRAEL has sought to justify its military attacks on Gaza by stating that it amounts to an act of “self-defence” as recognised by Article 51, United Nations Charter. We categorically reject this contention.

The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defence. Under international law self-defence is an act of last resort and is subject to the customary rules of proportionality and necessity.

The killing of almost 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 3,000 injuries, accompanied by the destruction of schools, mosques, houses, UN compounds and government buildings, which Israel has a responsibility to protect under the Fourth Geneva Convention, is not commensurate to the deaths caused by Hamas rocket fire.

For 18 months Israel had imposed an unlawful blockade on the coastal strip that brought Gazan society to the brink of collapse. In the three years after Israel’s redeployment from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. And yet in 2005-8, according to the UN, the Israeli army killed about 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. Throughout this time the Gaza Strip remained occupied territory under international law because Israel maintained effective control over it.

Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defence, not least because its assault on Gaza was unnecessary. Israel could have agreed to renew the truce with Hamas. Instead it killed 225 Palestinians on the first day of its attack. As things stand, its invasion and bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5m inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law. In addition, the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes.

We condemn the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and suicide bombings which are also contrary to international humanitarian law and are war crimes. Israel has a right to take reasonable and proportionate means to protect its civilian population from such attacks. However, the manner and scale of its operations in Gaza amount to an act of aggression and is contrary to international law, notwithstanding the rocket attacks by Hamas.

Ian Brownlie QC, Blackstone Chambers
Mark Muller QC, Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
Michael Mansfield QC and Joel Bennathan QC, Tooks Chambers
Sir Geoffrey Bindman, University College, London
Professor Richard Falk, Princeton University
Professor M Cherif Bassiouni, DePaul University, Chicago
Professor Christine Chinkin, LSE
Professor John B Quigley, Ohio State University
Professor Iain Scobbie and Victor Kattan, School of Oriental and African Studies
Professor Vera Gowlland-Debbas, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
Professor Said Mahmoudi, Stockholm University
Professor Max du Plessis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban
Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College
Professor Joshua Castellino, Middlesex University
Professor Thomas Skouteris and Professor Michael Kagan, American University of Cairo
Professor Javaid Rehman, Brunel University
Daniel Machover, Chairman, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights
Dr Phoebe Okawa, Queen Mary University
John Strawson, University of East London
Dr Nisrine Abiad, British Institute of International and Comparative Law
Dr Michael Kearney, University of York
Dr Shane Darcy, National University of Ireland, Galway
Dr Michelle Burgis, University of St Andrews
Dr Niaz Shah, University of Hull
Liz Davies, Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyer
Prof Michael Lynk, The University of Western Ontario
Steve Kamlish QC and Michael Topolski QC, Tooks Chambers

— Informed Content

Top Ten (Plus 1) Good News Stories in the Muslim World, 2008 (That Nobody Noticed)

Cheerful Saturday morning reading I thought I’d post in its entirety, though I do think anyone who has the slightest interest in the Middle-East and Central Asia should make a habit of reading Juan Cole. Wish that I hadn’t missed number 8 though…

We all too often focus only on negative developments, and while it is understandable for people to keep their eyes on impending calamities, obsessing about the bad sometimes causes us to miss good news. We see a lot of that even with regard to the US. For instance, there has been a 23% decline in violent crime over the past twenty years in the US, but people who watch a lot of television (especially, I presume, police procedurals) tell pollsters they think crime has gotten worse.

I see significant positive stories in the Muslim world in 2008 that don’t get a lot of press in the US, but which will be important for the incoming Obama administration.

1. The Pakistani public, led by its attorneys, judges and civilian politicians, conducted a peaceful, constitutional overthrow of the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf in 2008. Last February, the Pakistani public gave the largest number of seats in parliament to the left of center, secular Pakistan People’s Party. The fundamentalist religious parties took a bath at the polls. In August, the elected parliament initiated impeachment proceedings against Musharraf, who resigned. A civilian president, Asaf Ali Zardari, was elected. George W. Bush is reported to have been the last man in Washington to relinquish support for Musharraf, who had rampaged around sacking supreme court justices, censoring the press, and imprisoning political enemies on a whim. Pakistan faces an insurgency in the northwestern tribal areas, and problems of terrorism rooted in past military training of guerrillas to fight India in Kashmir. But the civilian parties have a much better chance of curbing such military excesses than does a leader dependent solely on the military for support. True, the new political leadership is widely viewed as corrupt, but South Korean politics was corrupt and that country nevertheless made progress. Besides, after Madoff/Blagojevich, who are we to talk? The triumph of parliamentary democracy over military dictatorship in Pakistan during the past year is good news that Washington-centered US media seldom could appreciate because of Bush’s narrative about military dictatorship equalling stability and a reliable ally in the war on terror. In reality? Not so much.

2. The Iraqi government succeeded in imposing on the Bush administration a military withdrawal from Iraq by 2011. The hard negotiations showed a new confidence on the part of the Iraqi political class that they can stand on their own feet militarily. The relative success of PM Nuri al-Maliki’s Basra campaign last spring was part of the mix here. But so too was the absolute insistence by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani that any Status of Forces Agreement not infringe on Iraqi sovereignty. The Sadr Movement resorted to street politics, aiming to thwart any agreement at all, thus providing cover to al-Maliki as he pushed back against Bush’s imperial demands. The Iraqi success in getting a withdrawal agreement has paved the way for President-elect Obama to fulfill his pledge to withdraw from Iraq on a short timetable.

3. Syria has secretly been conducting peace negotiations with Israel, using the Turkish Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan as the intermediary. There are few more fraught relationships between countries in the world than the Israel-Syrian divide, but obviously Bashar al-Asad and Ehud Olmert felt that there were things they could fruitfully talk about. Ironically, the clueless George W. Bush went to Israel last spring and condemned talking to the enemy as a form of appeasement. While he got polite applause, the Israeli mainstream is far more realistic than the silly Neocons who write Bush’s speeches, and Olmert went on talking to al-Asad. Unfortunately, the Israeli attack on Gaza has caused Syria to call off the talks for now. It should be a high priority of the Obama administration to start them back up.

4. There has been a “near strategic defeat for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.” “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” conducted numerous bombings and shootings in the period 2003-2006, during which the Saudi authorities got serious about taking it on. Saudi Arabia produces on the order of 11 percent of the world’s petroleum, and instability there threatens the whole world. The dramatic subsiding of terrorism there in 2008 is good news for every one. Opinion polls show support for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia plummeting, and determination to fight terrorism is overwhelming. In polling, a solid majority of Saudis say they want better relations with the United States. Yes. The Wahhabis are saying that. And their number one prerequisite for better relations? A US withdrawal from Iraq. (See above).

5. The crisis of state in Lebanon was patched up late last spring by the Doha agreement. Qatar’s King Hamad Al-Thani showed himself a canny negotiator. Hizbullah came into the government and received support as a national guard for the south as long as it pledged not to drag the country into any more wars unilaterally. Lebanese politics is always fragile, but this is the best things have been for years. Lebanese economic conservatism allowed its banks and real estate to avoid the global crash, and hotel occupancy rates are up 25% over 2007, with a 2008 economic growth rate of 6%. The new president, Michel Suleiman, has also pursued responsible diplomacy with Syria, and the two countries are normalizing relations after years of bitterness. For all the potential dangers ahead, 2008 was a success story of major proportions in Lebanon.

6. [pdf] Indonesia’s transition to democracy that began in 1998 has been ‘consolidated’ and it has regained its economic health, paying back $43 billion in loans to the International Monetary Fund. Indonesia is the world fourth most populous country and the world’s largest Muslim country, comprising something like 16 percent or more of all Muslims. It faces many challenges, as do all young democracies, but when 245 million Muslims have kept democracy going for 10 years, the thesis that Islam is somehow incompatible with democracy is clearly fallacious.

7. Turkey avoided a major constitutional crisis in 2008 when the constitutional court declined to find the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) guilty of undermining the official ideology of secularism. AKP is mildly Muslim in orientation, in contrast to the militantly secular military. The verdict gave Turks an opportunity to work on bridging the secular-religious divide. Turkey, a country of 70 million the size of Texas, is a linchpin of stability in the Middle East, and it survived a crisis here.

8. Major Arab pop singers jointly performed an anti-war opera that called for co-existence among the region’s Christians, Muslims and Jews and an end to the senseless slaughter. It ran on 15 Arab satellite channels,and one satellite channel ran it nonstop for days. It was the Woodstock of this generation in the Arab world and it got no international press at all.

9. King Abdullah II of Jordan pledged an end to press censorship in Jordan. Tim Sebastian reports,

‘The man at the center of this event was King Abdullah of Jordan, who last month gathered together the chief editors of Jordan’s main newspapers and told them that from now on there would be big changes in the country’s media environment. Specifically, no more jailing of reporters for writing the wrong thing and a new mechanism would be created to protect the rights of journalists, including their access to information. “Detention of journalists is prohibited,” he said. “I do not see a reason for detaining a journalist because he/she wrote something or for expressing a view.”‘

It is legitimate to take all this with a grain of salt, to be skeptical, to wait and see. But Sebastian is right that if the king means it, it is big news for Jordan and the Middle East, and the court in Amman should be pressured to stand by the new procedures.

10. The United Arab Emirates is creating the first carbon-free city, “Masdar,” as a demonstration project. That the Oil Gulf, a major source of the fossil fuels that, when burned, are causing climate change and rising sea levels, has become concerned about these problems, it is a very good sign.

— Informed Comment

And the eleventh, from the comments:

Anonymous said…

Not surprising that you forgot, but for millions in South Asia recently, there was very good news: Bangladesh just had free, fair, and peaceful elections. In a nation of 160 million (90% of whom are Muslim), a secularist party was elected with landslide mandate. Bangladesh is now the second largest Muslim democracy (after Indonesia) and the 6th largest democracy in the world.

http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/560410

Shayer said…

Don’t forget Bangladesh, the 4th largest Muslim country in the world just had their largely peaceful, free, and fair elections in 7 years with the secularists capturing 230 of 300 seats in the Parliament and Jamaat-i-Islami (the Islamist party)went from 20 seats in the 2001 election to only 2 seats effectively wiping them out and showing a great rejection of islamist ideologies.

The Awami League, the winners in this election, offers to share power with the losing parties and the losing party BNP conceded defeat showing a change from part politics where the oppostion would always take to the streets and protest.

The good news shows the Bangladeshis commitment to democracy and the resilience of a moderate Islam that renounces violence.

emile zile mediakunst am berlin

Emile has been living in an old convent in Rotterdam for a while now, in residence at Het Wilde Weten, and yes I am experiencing envy and similar emotions over his being in Europe.

He has a solo exhibition at Spielraum in Berlin opening next week (yeah I know I blogged it before but here’s all the details, and anyway it’s my blog). You can watch the trailer for the show too, all fun planes crashing, protecting Australia from terrorism, Anton Enus and other famous news anchors, animated gifs, heavy metal. Bits of Apocalypse PRD 岭南启示录 too. Go to Berlin. Art.

Emile Zile: Die Kunst und die Veränderung der Massenmedien

Vom 16. März bis 1. April 2007

Eröffnung am 16. März 2007 um 20 Uhr
Performance Emile Zile um 22 Uhr
www.emilezile.com

Eröffnung am 23. März 2007 um 20 Uhr
Pixel-Pirat II: Angriff des Astro Elvis Videoklon Die Abschirmung
Preview Trailer: www.sodajerk.com.au/sj/ppii.html

Dispose. contemporary in association with SpielRaum Berlin is pleased to present a pivotal guide to Australian artist Emile Zile and The Art of Mass Media Mutation. Zile’s critical relationship to the destruction and re-creation of the mass media for a spiritual renewal reinforces his potentiality to liberate minds from the notions of mass media culture.

Emile Zile is an Australian-Latvian artist working in single-channel video, live video, installation and performance. Using the mass-media as raw material to be sculpted, re-staged, mutated and shifted, Zile’s work attempts to locate the poetic in a barrage of popular culture. Embracing broadcast banalities and inhabiting the media to make comment upon it, he has appeared on Australian national television to up-stage a gameshow host, installed photographic portraits of Jerry Springer Show audience members in a gallery and performed live video for a hybrid performance work in Guangzhou, China; appropriating 15th century Chinese erotic illustrations, ‘Apocalypse Now’ the film and contemporary American death metal.

Zile’s socio-political stagings, interventions, video and installations have been receiving recognition both nationally and internationally in a diverse range of festivals and galleries including UrbanDrift Berlin, Rotterdam VHS Festival, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and the Multimedia Art Asia Pacific Triennial. He is currently resident studio artist at Het Wilde Weten, Rotterdam.

More information: www.disposeonline.co.uk

— Speilraum Berlin

venus flytrap – visa for love

It’s been about three months since I first mentioned Venus Flytrap, the ultra-tranny manufactured pop group from Thailand, signed to Sony Records, and something of a cash-in on the success of Korean tranny group Lady who first appeared some two years ago, and now seem kinda quiet. Like all good manufactured pop commodities, they have a mountain of publicists behind, and are no slouches at self-promotion, as their high-content blog shows.

But allow me a moment of smugness (or maybe despair) as once again something I stumbled on courtesy my insatiable consumption of media goes mental (and give me a job as a trend-spotter). I can understand why a group like this could get huge in Asia, where for a few years someone like Harisu is a mainstream icon, and from personal experience (and making a generalisation here based on my time in China and Taiwan), the cultural attitudes to sex and gender are quite different from English speaking countries and Europe.

I’m not so sure of the media push for Venus Flytrap into Europe though. Dana International was the Eurovision winner back in 1998, but this is single-capital-letter-pop, as in J-pop, or Canto-pop, which besides oddly socially awkward geeks like myself, westerners tend to look down on with a good blizzard of colonial disdain. Still, stealing candy from babies and all…

Anyway who cares? Venus Flytrap. They look hot, they sing ok-lah, they’re trannies and they are getting spread over european press like crazy. In no particular order, Metro in UK wonders Thai ladyboys next Spice Girls? (no, Spice Girls were a crap 90s record company stunt, Venus are actually human, and are probably only given Spice Girl names because westerners are generally too thick to pronounce any names not in Queen’s English), and have their video Visa for Love. Gay.com attempts something like an interview. Reuters has a a video report filled with lots of Venus looking smutty for the camera. Gay.tv in Italy has more pictures and video. Plus a few others that do the one paragraph plus photo filler thing. They also have one of those revolting MySpace pages now: www.myspace.com/venusflytrapfan.

Dana International proved that gender reassignment need not be a block to Eurovision success. The UK showed its fleeting love for transsexuals when Nadia Almada won Big Brother in 2004.

Coming our way, and to possible success is Thailand’s first ladyboys band called Venus Flytrap. to The five members were picked from over 200 applicants and have already signed to Sony BMG the global music joint venture with a roster of artists such as George Michael, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera.

The ‘girls’ wore white bridal corsets for their debut public performance last November. They weren’t introduced as sex-change starlets, they merely took the stage like any other girl band

In the middle of performing their debut single, ‘Cause I’m Your Lady’, the 10,000 audience at the Virgin Hitz Radio concert in Bangkok started murmuring, ever since then, they’ve proved quite a sensation.

— Gay.com UK

venus flytrap – bobo, sasha, taya, gina and amy
venus flytrap – bobo, sasha, taya, gina and amy
venus flytrap in performance
venus flytrap in performance

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