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December 10, 2009

Man leaves wife = boring. Man leaves wife because… = interesting. This post is all about compelling stories. Sometimes they’re funny, shocking and maybe even lies. And sometimes the story is getting the story out there.

Big River Man
Martin Strel cuts an unusual figure as an endurance swimmer. This barrel-chested Slovenian with a thirst for red wine (two bottles a day as he swims), has conquered some of the world’s toughest rivers – braving dead bodies in the Yangtze and covering 3,885km in 68 days to swim the entire length of the Mississippi.

It was only natural he should have a go at the Amazon and this film, made by his son Borut, follows his progress.

Fatal Farm
According to their website, Fatal Farm is “two guys, Zach and Jeffrey. They live in Los Angeles and do videos for the internet.” They’ve done some ads, but their best stuff is their own work. When it works, it’s absurd and playful in equal measure.

Lasagne Cat is a lurid live action remake of a whole load of Garfield strips. Apparently they’ve performed a stage show of it too.

Their latest series was to remake classic television show intros. Some, such as Alf, are a bit near the knuckle, but the Knight Rider is spot on. Daft and played straight, just like the show.

They did some intros for the MTV 2009 Movie Awards. Most of them were rejected, I wonder why?

This collective has been around for ages. Originally everything was published on videocassettes (there’s one on the cover of Cold Cut’s Let Us Play), but now it’s all gone digital.

Aside from the music, I really like this clip. It sweetly captures the simple everyday life of people at a protest. Just how do you feed strikers under siege from security?

I really wanted to show a clip I saw at a lecture once. It was taken at a Newbury bypass protest just as the police and security clashed with protesters. All of a sudden, a white horse appeared in the middle. It wasn’t a police horse, nor did it have anything to do with anyone else. It was just there among the chaos. Everyone in the shot stopped hitting each other and watched it prance around. It was spiritual man. Anyway…

Elena Filatova

On 26 April 1986 the worst nuclear accident in history happened when the number four reactor at Chernobyl exploded. Four hundred times more fallout than the bombing of Hiroshima was released, creating a 30km ‘dead zone’ around the plant. Nobody lives there officially and nobody goes in without a good reason, although one of those reasons could be tourism as you can take a day tour of Chernobyl from nearby Kiev.

However, Elena Filatova, took a motorcycle around the zone in 2004

It’s never been revealed quite how Elena managed to get her Kawasaki Ninja past security, or if in fact she even did at all (a Kiev tour guide reckons Elena took his tour like every other visitor). All she reveals is that her father is a nuclear scientist – handy because he told her the cardinal rule of travel in the zone, ‘stick to the concrete.’

There’s a lot to read on the site, but as Elena travels towards Chernobyl, she reveals what happened during and after the disaster in her dry, downbeat style:

Time to go for a ride. This is our road. There won’t be many cars on those roads. This place has ill fame and people try not to settle here. The farther we go, the cheaper the land, the less the people and more beautiful nature… quite the reverse of everywhere else in the world – and a forecast of things to come.

Whether it’s true or not, it’s a good story.

Frederick Wiseman
Frederick doesn’t care for the idea, ‘a good documentary is finding a character and staying with them’. Frederick likes to turn up, find out who wants to be in his film and who doesn’t and then starts shooting. He asks no questions, there are no voiceovers or captions. The film is essentially scripted in edit.

Here’s a great interview where he reveals why it took over 27 years and the death of a Superior Court judge before his controversial documentary, Titicut Follies could be shown.

Frederick has shot films about basic training, parks and public housing. Here’s a clip:

Jeremy Deller & Nick Abrahams

Jeremy won the 2004 Turner Prize with an exhibit, featuring the Battle of Orgreave, a recreation of a riot between miners and police during the miners’ strike in 1984. Here’s a clip from a documentary about the work:

His most recent work is The Posters Came From the Walls, a collaboration with the film maker Nick Abrahams. Here’s a clip, which is a bit like Deller’s work with the Williams Fairey Brass Band, where he got them to cover acid house and Detroit techno.

Pierre Huyghe

This French artist’s work is all about how we tell stories and why. That’s a pretty broad definition, but aptly sums up The Third Memory, where the artist filmed John Wojtowicz re-enacting the bank robbery he committed and which was later the basis of the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon.

the third memory, (huyghe),
Uploaded by zohilof. – Watch feature films and entire TV shows.

It seems, despite Hollywood’s apparent bad treatment of Wojtowicz, his memory has been irrevocably altered by the film.

In the Streamside Day Follies, Huyghe wanted to move public celebration away from the commercialism of Halloween and Christmas. So he flipped the idea on its head and created a decidedly homemade carnival for the residents of a new housing development in New York State. Set around the sales home, this event (which Huyghe planned – right down to the cop car disco lights), was a chance for everyone who lived there to celebrate their new home.

Uploaded by Video_Blog_REWF. – Independent web videos.


This Austrailian artist readily admits he got into performance and body art, ‘because he was a bad painter’, but don’t let his genial manner and David Jason laugh fool you. Stelarc is committed to finding out how just how augmented the human body can be. He’s hung from cranes with hooks through his skin, let people control his limbs over the internet and actually had a human ear grown on his arm. But not just any old ear, one you can access via the web to listen through. But why stop with an ear? If you’re having surgery, why not have a speaker put inside your mouth so when you open your gob, someone else’s words from over the internet come out? Yeah, that’ll be great.

Mind how you go, there’s gruesome nudity ahead.

Brief introduction

The Robodock

The Man With Three Ears
Scroll to between 9 and 12.30 minute mark to find out how Stelarc met his current girlfriend

Uploaded by saigonick. – Independent web videos.

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