Friday, June 19, 2009

Drawings (4)

Finally, “Architectural Degeneration” is an abstract design incorporating various architectural elements from buildings in Prague. The upper left hand corner’s design is based off the envelopes seen in the Castle Town in Prague. As they move diagonally down the page, the envelopes lose their 3-D illusion as the dark triangle changes position, just like one of the buildings in Castle Town. In the middle left-hand side the design is based off the “Renaissance style” window grates that were everywhere in Castle Town. Below that is a building which we saw on Architecture tour, and in the bottom middle is another building that I took a picture of. On the right hand side is the curvy sidewalk patterns that were everywhere. In the upper left hand corner are abstracted roof tiles in the style that were on a lot of the buildings. See the pictures below for specific illustrations.

Drawings (3)

“The dress” is a Mucha-style drawing of a woman wearing a wedding dress from the Communist Era that was in the Decorative Arts Museum (see picture below). The dark alter is representative of the repressive communist regime and difficult times. The bright background in contrast is meant to represent resistance and hope. The picture below is of the dress in the Decorative Arts Museum.

~ Ana Keck

Drawings (2)

“Golem” is a montage of pictures from various Golem tales drawn in the style of Max Beckmann’s lithographs. The three times Golem appears, I drew him in three different ways people have imagined him. The words aysch (fire), mayim (water), ruach (air), and aphar (earth) are included in the top because these are the four elements that Rabbi Loew used to create Golem. The words “Ato Bra Golem Devuk Hakhomer V’tigzar Zedim Chevel Torfe Yistoel” are included at the bottom because this is the commandment to create Golem that Rabbi Loew received. In the upper left hand side there is a scene of Rabbi Loew bringing Golem to life. In the bottom center Golem holds overflowing buckets of water with Rabbi Loew’s wife behind him gasping, which comes from the story when Rabbi Loew’s wife asks Golem to bring in water, but he doesn’t know when to stop and floods the streets. The bottom left corner is meant to represent Golem’s remains after he is melted down by the Rabbi. Above that, Golem holds out two baskets that Rabbi Loew asked him to fetch in one of the stories. The baskets contain the remains of a little girl and thirty vials of blood which are represented in the top of the picture. The sorcerer in the middle right-hand side is Thaddeus who plotted against the Jews and who murdered the little girl.

~ Ana Keck

Drawings (Part 1)

Each of these drawings was completed either on the trip or on the way home and are based off specific portions of the trip. I'm doing separate posts for each just because it makes it clearer. The rest of my project will be coming.

“Anonymous Death” is a drawing I did in response to seeing Auschwitz. The river where the emancipated and ghost-like figure is standing is meant to represent the Vistula River, where many of the ashes of the Nazi’s victims were dumped. The trees are each made up of objects the Nazi took from their victims during processing and which we saw piles of in the museum. In addition to the shoes, glasses, and hair trees and suitcase columns, the tree in front is made up of the left-over cans of gas used in gas chambers. The ground is made up of ashes and the trees and figure are enclosed in a towering barbed-wire fence, the top of which cannot be seen. There is no top to the barbed-wire fence and there is no clear horizon line to represent the out-of-time feeling of being imprisoned in Auschwitz.

~ Ana Keck

Sunday, June 14, 2009

words of wisdom

According to Polina, our only "chance in life to turn into decent human beings" is to read myths on the odd days, the Bible on even days, and Homer on the weekends.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chaos Reigns: a highly serious and academic film review

Perhaps some of you have heard about the film "Anti-Christ", a film to which some of our number were lucky enough to go a few days ago in Krakow. It is directed by someone, this much is highly evident, but his name escapes me, and I don't really feel like opening up another browser window and finding it out. It stars Willem Defoe as a somewhat condescending psychiatrist and Charlotte Gainsbourg as his completely batshit insane wife. As I recall, they have no names in the film, but this could be a result of my attempt to psychologically block out everything connected with this film. By which I mean to say, it was a masterpiece of grotesque cinema and everyone should go see it as soon as possible. Mortgage your house, miss class, do anything you possibly can, but see this film. The people sitting next to me in the lobby instruct me to say 'hi' to Finland. Anyway...
The film begins with a highly explicit sex scene in which a toddler falls to his death. I would be hard-pressed to make this up. Anyway, afterwards the wife goes on medication for depression (men not being affected very much by the deaths of their children, it would seem) and the husband, in a stroke of genius, tells her to flush her pills and go under his treatment, which, as any psychotherapist will tell you, is exactly what you're supposed to do, since husbands usually have sufficient emotional distance from thier wives to give them sound treatment.
The two go on a retreat to the woods to a cabin wherein the wife made a failed attempt to write some kind of thesis on cynocide or gynocide (the scribbly text being siutable for hip audiences, but not so much for comprehension), which basically means violence against women (I think), specifically witch-burning.
From hereon in, it gets slightly murky as to the 'why' of things, but the 'what' of things is only too clear. Basically, the wife goes absolutely crazy and does all kinds of stereotypical horror movie things to her hubby (notably, she drills a hole through his leg and attached a grindstone to it) until he frees himself from said parenthetical grindstone and chokes her to death with his bare hands. The final scene is just him walking away from the cabin and being followed by a bunch of people who had no other roles in the film, the only cast other than the happy family being a bunch of trained animals.
The most enjoyable moment in the film is undoubtedly when the husband is having a trippy dream in which he sees a fox tearing its own insides out. Justifiably mystified by this whole ordeal, the man stops and stares at it. It turns to him, and in a voice rivalling the cheesiest thing you've ever heard in your entire life, it says only "Chaos Reigns".
All in all, the film was kind of... strange. Think "Blair Witch Project" meets "Saw III". There is more sex and incredibly painful-looking violence than I've seen in any three other films, and the whole message of the film seems to be that women are crazy.
Lars von Trier (the director) has apparently made other movies, many of them apparently very good, but "Antichrist" fails on quite a few levels. The film makes some apparent attempt to identify itself with some of Herzog and Bergman's work, but not very convincingly, and it relies a bit too much on fairly cheap shock tactics.
I say all of this not as a student of film (I am not one) but simply as a member of the viewing public.
And, to wrap it all up, "Chaos Reigns".

Sunday, May 31, 2009