99 Feelings

Since as a young girl, I have been attracted to Russian dolls. I remember the feeling of amazement as one doll opens up to reveal another. Again and again. One doll, then two, then three, until you reach the littlest one. If anyone has any theories about people who like Matryoshka, do please send in your thoughts.

Here’s a ceramic artist, Mitsy Sleurs, whose 99 feelings project featured these lovely dolls.

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Keith Haring’s journals

Every day from 16 March to 8 July, a page from Keith Haring’s journals will be posted online. The blog is created in conjunction with the exhibition Keith Haring: 1978 – 1982.

His journal writings reveal the thinking behind the man; passionate and driven to make the world a better place.

Here, I’ve transcribed a tiny snippet.

If we resign ourselves to the fact that we need a computer to sort through all the intricate workings of our society of human beings, is not the computer the most important?

Are we controlling computers or are we merely helping them to control us? This is 1984 and it has been for the last 10 years. If the computer continues to make the important decisions, store information beyond our mental capabilities, and program physical things (machine), what is the role of the human being?
To service our computer?

What, also, is the role of an artist who is aware of this fact?
Should it be resisted or accepted?

The value of art at this time in history is going to be questioned more than at any other time in history. It is the most important quality of human beings in this machine world. The role of the arts in human existence is going to be tested and tried. It is possible the most important time for art, the world has ever seen. The artist of this time of computers is creating under a constant realization that he is being pursued by the computer. We are threatened. Our existence, our individuality, our creativity, our lives are threatened by this coming machine aesthetic. It is going to be up to us to establish a lasting position of the arts in our daily lives, in human existence.

Max Hattler shows us poetry in motion

I went down to Tenderpixel gallery a few weeks ago to have a look at Max Hattler‘s first solo London exhibition. It’s called Shift and combines science-fiction themes abstracted and explored through colour, movement and shape. The stop-motion animation doesn’t run for very long but so worth taking time out to catch it. I sat through three loops of it at the gallery; each time, through its sound, music and moving image, it brought on a heightened level of intensity as the film went on.

So intrigued was I that I caught up with Max over email.

1. Why did you go into filmmaking and animation? What was your childhood like?
I think I ended up working with moving image as a result of an affinity to both visual and sonic media – rather than it stemming from an interest in cinema and storytelling. My father is a musician, my mother used to work as a graphic designer, and my godfather is an abstract painter. I went to a Waldorf School – they encourage creative expression through a wide range of methods such as sculpture, gardening and knitting. They pretty much despise television, and by extension, film. All of this might have something to do with how I ended up here.

2. Why are you drawn to abstraction?
I’m not so much interested in abstraction per se. It’s more about using abstraction and abstractedness, about fluctuating between abstraction and figurative representation, to enable a different kind of viewer engagement that is more open-ended. I am interested in how graphic shapes, patterns and loops can be used as a way of storytelling, which can be layered, parallel, disjointed, or cyclical.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
In no particular order: physics and metaphysics, wallpapers and carpets, mosaics and mandalas, painting and photography, sculpture and architecture, lights and shadows. Abstract film, slow motion, motion graphics, graphic design, designer drugs, food, fashion, friends and people in general. Also minerals, stones, planets, geometry, geography, microscopy, war and religion. As well as books, boredom, excitement, stress, panic, music, sound, noise, silence and, of course, travelling.

4. Tell me a little more about Shift. Where and how did you get the idea for it?
The theme of a dimensional shift is a progression of sorts from my works Heaven & Hell and Sync. They all deal with metaphysics and ideas on the overlap between sacred geometry and spirituality, looking at existence, physics, time and universe as a multi-dimensional machine that can be represented in an abstracted way. Animate Projects approached me about making a film for Channel 4 with them on the subject of 2012 Apocalypse, and I immediately jumped at the chance. After the Tenderpixel show, Shift will be broadcast on Channel 4, and then shown online at randomacts.channel4.com and www.animateprojects.org.

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