Earthquake Bird. Eeerie

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Earthquake Bird is a movie directed and written by Wash Westmoreland. It has been released at the London Film Festival on the 10th of October this year. It tells the same story as the book Earthquake Bird, written by Susanna Jones.  In spite of its negative reviews and average rating, I found this movie inspiring and unsettling in an artistic manner. Right from the start, a heavy atmosphere, a sense of peculiar and tension floats in the air. The streets of a 1980s Tokyo, the faded colors with a tint of sepia transported me directly into the movie. Alicia Vikander’s character, Lucy Fly, is surrounded by an air of tragedy and guilt that accumulates slowly and stimulates curiosity. Her acting is excellent and throughout the movie she divulges fragments of information and secrets that build up this dramatic aura around her. In one of the scenes, where Lucy is with Teiji, a Japanese photographer that is equally as mysterious as her, she exclaims: ‘Death follows me!’. This proves to be a strong statement that defined her past, but also a prediction about the path of her relationship with Teiji.

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Lucy Fly is a complex character that has definitely not been explored enough. She is an introvert person that carries an overwhelming feeling of guilt. She escaped Sweden to forget, to start anew, but she never managed to do so. Japan was supposed to be her second chance, but bad luck followed on her footsteps to the new, faraway land. Lily, the new girl in town, vibrant, naive in a way, but also a bit mischievous, is the opposite of Lucy. She seems to be quite superficial at the beginning, and Lucy considers her a burden. However, she somehow manages to get under Lucy’s skin. She starts to reveal details about herself, but everything is cut short by a speeded up twist and her being suddenly murdered. Her character is and could have been more complex, but the director chose to keep her as a standard antagonist, a woman who simply betrays her friend in search for intense, momentary passion. During her friendship with Lily, Lucy has an amalgam of mixed emotions towards her. She starts to like her as a friend, she is intrigued by her energy, by her contrasting persona and is at the same time, subconsciously fantasizing about closer, physical touches. All these contradictory emotions are mixed in the end with unbearable envy and Lucy’s desire to kill Lily. The intolerable urge to have Lily removed from her and Teiji’s lives stems from the fact that Lucy considers Teiji to be the only person that saw her for who she really was and Lily is a threat to her connection with the photographer.

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Teiji, the photographer that documents the scenes and objects in the city and nature, maintains that he does not photograph people. He starts taking photos of Lucy and brings her back to his small studio apartment in an old, rusty, rundown building. His creativity, his silent nature, his good looks, his special enjoyment in photographing Lucy charm her. Teiji requires from the beginning that there be no pretense between them. He is a mysterious character that does not reveal much about his life. He definitely does not like small talk and is extremely private about his collection of photography. Lucy seems to be a photographic object for him, not a real person with feelings and desires. He is more stimulated by her images in the dark room, rather than by the real Lucy. He keeps all his photography in a locked drawer, which suggests that he is hiding either some dark secret or puzzle pieces from a traumatic past that he would rather dump in a locked drawer, but also in an imaginary, sealed safebox inside his mind. Teiji is a criminal and his photographs document the transformation of the victims, the paths of the murdered women and their final grimace and body posture after they have been murdered. Teiji murders Lily and only his sudden shift in passion possibly saves Lucy’s life. The movie cuts short any explanations or details of Teiji’s murderous instincts and motives.

 

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The love triangle between Lucy, Lily and Teiji is part of  a plot that blends in several spicy themes: love, shifting passion, twists of life, betrayal, guilt, death, murder, art, bad luck and peculiar circumstances. In spite of the fact that the second half of the film is rushed, and that the characters could have been developed more, the beauty of the scenes, the photographic facial expressions, the passive, faded warm colors, the eerie mystery, the build up of tension sprinkled with random, shocking exposes, the black and white photography collections, the old film camera, the rhythm and sound of the camera clicks, Lucy’s dark, timid and shaky personality, her longing for company, for love, her submissiveness to a tall, dark, mysterious and cold stranger and Lily’s unconstrained nature make up an exquisite, dreamy movie.

 

Linger

 

Words, swords, crowds

Laugh together!

And they mingle.

Drink hot coco

Sniff the roses.

They stain the porcelain cups.

Dive deep in lakes of tea

Emerge spotless.

The journey continues,

This mixture of paraphernalia

Slides down the left ear

Of a grumpy, white cat.

It’s ticklish, it makes me giggle!

Whispered the cat!

As sleepy as I ever was

Just let me linger.

Take your flight!

But it is too late,

A cultural revolution enthralled

This dusty room, this lazy cat.

Let us erase Shakespeare!

Let us forget Keats!

The fate of art is to linger!

Murder on the Orient Express

Orient Express: My dream, my fantasy, my inspiration.

 

An international affair,

Murder and le bon air,

Velvet, stockings, lace and silk,

A moral hazard,

Retro crimson shoes,

The sound of soft steps,

Tak, tak, tak, tak…

On the Orient Express.

Candlelit dinner,

La Belle Époque,

Mischief,

And a well-known thief.

Lips are sour,

The witness swallowed a flower.

From Paris to Constantinople

Mystery, my dear sire!

The truth shall never transpire!

Silence is woe,

Secrets and snow,

Dwell in the shadow.

Spring emerges

 Crime, it purges!

Yayoi Kusama: All about love speaks forever

As a lover of art, I am still a beginner. I am a person who does not know the latest, the most trendy art currents or the most avantgarde painters, the most creative urban artists or the darkest, most mysterious sculptors. That is because I like to enjoy the art itself and not the name behind it. In exceptional cases, when I am emotionally touched by art, I make an effort to know the person behind the piece.

I always appreciated art and considered it one of the most amazing and worthwhile human endeavours on Earth. When it comes to art I lose every bit of realism I might have and all I want is the realm of pure creativity, dreams, obscene thoughts and provoking feelings. I love art so much that I can always discover parts of myself inside most pieces of art. The hard part is to find the most relevant parts of your being in other people’s art. Art speaks to me, but to be honest, I only remember or try to engrave on my brain the names/ figures that impress me the most. And they are, but a few. 

Last week, I stumbled upon an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama. I knew nothing about her, but after wandering through the exhibition ‘All about love speaks forever’, I wanted to know everything. I discovered a quite well-known Japanese artist, whose art pieces communicated directly to the realms of my dreams and connected to the various life forms of my fantastic kingdoms. 

Who is Yayoi Kusama? She is a 90-year-old contemporary artist, who was born and raised in Matsumoto, Japan. For a period of time she lived in the US and exhibited her pieces of art all over the world. She received various prizes in Japan and the US and played around with distinct forms of art, from sculpture, painting, to film, fashion and poetry. Her name seems to weigh a lot in the contemporary world of art. But fame matters nought to me. I decided to get to know the woman behind the art because my curiosity got the best of me and my interest was stimulated by the vivid colors she used in her paintings and by the intersection of a multitude of art forms in her installations. 

 

Personal Interpretation of her artwork:

1.The colors she used in her paintings and installations remind me of animations and make me feel like I am walking or living inside a dream become reality. The similar face shapes that predominantly appear in the paintings remind me of lucid dreams and somehow of the multiplicity of beings I experience in life, of my alter egos.  

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2. The world of the ocean combined with the terranean world. The strong yellow of sun, the light, the force of life with the deep, strong blue of the sea, the night, the dream. A fantastic cohabitation of terranean creatures with sea creatures and mushrooms. Yayoi Kusama’s paintings made me think of hallucinations at first. I seem to be right since I read that she played around different magic mushrooms and all sorts of drugs to produce her artwork. 

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3. A recurring theme in movies based on fantastic lands and in animations is the land of giant flowers. These colorful, breathtaking plants appear as a piece of heaven on Earth. That is until these giant flowers open up and reveal themselves to be a threat to humanity because they are carnivorous flowers. 

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4. An enormous octopus-like creature extends its dotted tentacles to form a labyrinth of imagination in a yellow world. What if the world was a giant octopus and survival meant meandering and running through the constantly moving tentacles? Sounds like a horror movie created by a Pointillist artist. 

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5. Reflections of lights and self in a never-ending mirror room. The mirror room is a finite space, quite small actually, but creates the illusion of infinity of selves and space. Quite like the inside of a human being. 

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6. The human brain on drugs or the realm of optical illusions or a 90s’ music disco club after unusual mixes of strong alcohol. Reflection of lights and self, mirrors and dots are signature marks of Yayoi Kusama. 

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7. The artist singing a poem composed by herself. It is a performance created and curated by Yayoi Kusama. The stage presence of the artist, strong colors, dots, the orange wig, the playful mixture of song, poem and non-verbal gestures, brings us to a world of fantasy tainted by the recurring sadness of reality (sadness creeps into Kusama’s world through the title: A Manhattan suicide addict)

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8. Reflections characterized by a fisheye effect. The multitude of selves and others, various dimensions of reality exposed in mirror-like dots. Theme: You only see yourself as reflected in the eyes of others and of the environment around you. 

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