In the music video for Strangefruit's "Sea of Fog", husband-wife duo Laura Clarke and Matthew Oaten weave together visual cues from David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, and Mikhail Bahktin, as well as incorporating themes of sexuality and visceral natures. The result is a morbid, eye-catching and initially misleading feast of fools. We spoke with both the video artists and the band below, on the process of shooting the music video, as well as its deeper philosophical context.

Strangefruit (Musician)

"Ghosts" and "Tell Me" come from Strangefruit's debut EP, Between The Earth and Sea, which is out now. "Tell Me" was recorded and produced at Abbey Road with Greg Wells (Adele/Rufus Wainwright/Pharrell Williams/Katy Perry), and "Ghosts" was produced by (The Killers, Goldfrapp, White Lies). Stream both tracks below.   "Ghosts" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Strangefruit-Ghosts.mp3|titles=Strangefruit -- Ghosts] "Tell Me" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Strangefruit-Tell-Me-Abby-Road.mp3|titles=Strangefruit -- Tell Me (Abbey Road Version)]

Laura Clarke (Director) & Matthew Oaten (DoP)

Laura Clarke: "Matthew and I have collaborated on several films over the years, but the film I am most proud of to date is a film I made in 2010 called Punctum. Punctum has been screened all over the world, most recently the Brighton Fringe Festival, but also the Young persons Moscow Biennale, the London Short Film Festival and a show called Screen in Barcelona. It follows a young girl's journey from innocence to experience, exploring the liminal space of puberty."

Strangefruit -- "Sea of Fog" Music Video

Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the music video.
"The original concept was that the music video would become almost like an art film. Something powerful, dramatic and theatrical, drawing on my research into psychoanalytical theories revolving around the origins of desire, sexuality and power. Exploring gender roles, the uncanny, the macabre, and Freudian theories of death and sex. I loved the idea of a banqueting table that looked opulent and decadent at first glance, and then upon closer inspection, was a decaying, rotting mess. The vulnerable, naked woman in the center of the feast, being devoured not only by the men, but by women too. The idea being that a feast is always a precursor to either death, violence or sex." - Laura Clarke
 
Imagine the possibilities of world revolution – an upheaval of design, and distribution of resources lighting the path to global peace and (relative) happiness. The largesse of this task is daunting, and has throughout history been commandeered by a few ambitious individuals. Thoughts like these swirled about in a small man with coke-bottle glasses: the inimitable R. Buckminster Fuller. Inventor, engineer, architect, theorist, orator, among many other things, Fuller was first and foremost a futurist – an optimistic man bent on improving his social, political, psychic and physical world with radical thought. His unique life and lifestyle have created an altogether compelling character of sizeable proportion, comprised of all the quirks, hiccups, and gemstone moments worthy of a Wes Anderson-inspired montage. And certainly, director Sam Green’s treatment of Fuller and his life work is admirable in The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, a live documentary collaboration with indie rock veterans Yo La Tengo.
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At the start, I am paired with a stranger. We are the only two participants for this iteration of the piece. An assistant equips each of us with headphones and an iPod Nano. We follow her up Multnomah County Central Library’s grand staircase. She motions for us to take our seats at a table in a public reading room. Before us lay twin stacks of three books: Blindness by José Saramago, The Notebook, The Proof, and The Third Lie by Agota Kristof, and When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro. We sit in silence for two minutes. Then a hushed voice with a British accent comes through the headphones and reveals the library to be “dedicated to the collection of sounds.”
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Andrew Dickson is neither licensed nor experienced as a life coach. He simply believes that no one is broken or requires fixing; everyone just needs a little help to bring their own answers out. He encourages us to see the life coaching process as a catalyst for working on our own lives. Dickson humorously launches each Life Coach session with a disclaimer reminding his audience they didn’t pay anything to attend, so they shouldn’t be too judgmental if they’re not terribly entertained. Life Coach lacks the energy and humor of Dickson’s previous TBA performances. Yet while not particularly amusing, Life Coach may be one of TBA’s most genuine and truly interactive offerings.
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In Family Portrait In Black And White, middle-aged single mother Olga Nenya decides to brave social stigmas to foster 17 orphans, many of whom are Ukranian-African. As the film opens, one sees third-party interviews with Ukranian skinheads that immediately couch the film in a setting of acial discrimination. Given the film's title, its synopsis, and these opening sequences, one expects the entire film to be about the struggles of foster parenting in a mixed race family -- but this expectation would be wrong. Nenya and her seventeen foster children live and work on a farm, slightly removed from the mainstay of Ukranian society. Through the use of minor anecdotes, the film asserts time and time again that racism and discrimination are wildly prevalent in Ukraine -- but this narrative is not the primary focus. The film is, in fact, less sociological than it is an intimate look at the psychology of foster family life and the complexities of motherhood both outwardly inflected upon Nenya, and self-inflicted and self-perpetuated.

 

Directed by Julia Ivanova

 

Human trafficking is one of those things that it seems the world overall turns a blind eye to. Minus a few well-to-do NGOs and agencies desperately trying to create awareness, each year hundreds of thousands of individuals are illegally trafficked across the globe.  Some are sent for labor, some are...

Chicago-based illustrator and artist Jacob Van Loon has recently taken inspiration from the films of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. Two of Van Loon's latest pieces, The Moguls (Stalker) and Let Alone A Planet (Solaris) -- named after two Tarkovsky films of the same name -- are chaotic and multi-layered mixed media works inspired by the content, moods, and color palettes of those films. "I can't think of a director who has done more with film as a medium," says Van Loon of Tarkovsky. "I was dealing with the assignment of dense conceptual material during the painting process. I found it easier to speculate on the latent aspects of both films; the psychological confrontations posed by the pace, sound, and color." Though Van Loon readily admits that both films felt initially inaccessible to him, the Q&A below will show how repeat viewings led to the gelling of his artistic style with philosophical and psychological interpretations of Tarkovsky's themes.

(TOP) The Moguls (Stalker) Diptych 24"x40"; (BOTTOM) The Moguls (Stalker) Detail - Watercolor, graphite View entire Stalker Series On Jacob Van Loon's Website

 

Like a whale call bubbling forth from oceanic depths, Sister Crayon's 2011 release on Manimal Vinyl, Bellow, is an album dense with emotional weight. "When I think of someone bellowing, I just see a sad, really powerful thing coming out of someone," explains vocalist Terra Lopez. "Years of an... exhausting type of feeling." Bellow is an aural manifestation of such exhaustion -- a collective "bellow" from a group of Nothern California musicians who do not shy away from the fascinations which arise from darkness. Filled with trip-hop beats, soaring operatic vocals, distorted guitars, and delicate synth lines, the sonic universe of Sister Crayon is a varied and complex one. What holds consistent, though, is the band's fortitude, as they explore parallel emotional states through individualized experiences.
Our Hands Will Eventually Destroy Everything Beautiful, a new body of work by Japanese illustrator Fumi Nakamura, is the result of a personal period of growth. After a mental breakdown and a year of hiatus from art, Nakamura realized that she needed to leave behind a past of pain and suffering to grow into the person she is now becoming. "I was chasing after unrealistic thoughts and hopes during that year... Then one day, something inside of me snapped and I came to the realization that I need to move on and get rid of my 'problems' -- beautiful memories with someone I loved, childhood trauma, pains of growing up and literally everything since they were the core source of my regrets and grudges..." Nakamura says in an interview with Thinkspace Gallery. "... I had (and still do have) a problem with holding onto the past heavily to the point where it was making me so miserable. I wanted to change and stop running away from reality -- in order to do that, I decided to "destroy." So I can maintain pieces of life together, survive in a place called "life." I became honest, out-spoken and decided to cut all the things out that are affecting me and my life negatively." These new pieces by Nakamura use negative space and delicate graphite and colored pencil drawings to accentuate the"intense but fragile," and ultimately, serve as captive reminders of human fragility. Though these images are beautiful, there is a darkness to them; animals are shot straight through by arrows, eyeballs are held in hands, and symbols of death are given significant attention.

Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is upon us again, and we have whittled down their list of 100+ international shorts and full-length films to pick what we have determined to be the best and most interesting of the bunch. Portland International Film Festival 2012 runs from February 9th through the 25th,...

If you live in NYC or are visiting it soon, get to New Museum by the end of the month if you know what's good for ya! Closing January 2nd is this amazing, amazing enveloping psychedelic sculptural Experience, presented by Germany's Carsten Höller (now living and working in Sweden). Where else will you see giant life-size multi-colored hippos? Nowhere. Where else will you be presented with giant tri-shroom composites? Nowhere.
new museum carsten holler This is, according to the New Museum website, "the most comprehensive US exhibition to date of the artist’s engaging work." They continue by saying:
"The current show gathers together a number of the artist’s signature works in an arrangement that transforms the viewer’s experience of time and space. Originally trained as a scientist, Höller is frequently inspired by research and experiments from scientific history and deploys these studies in works that alter the audience’s physical and psychological sensations, inspiring doubt and uncertainty about the world around them. His work often draws on social spaces outside of the museum such as the amusement park, zoo, or playground, but the experiences they provide are always far from our usual expectations of these activities. Höller’s art takes the form of proposals for radical, new ways of living by creating sculptures and diagrams for visionary architecture as well as transportation alternatives, such as his renowned slide installations. These concepts may seem impossible in the present day, but suggest new models for the future."