today and on tuesday i took the train to kaohsiung. today i went to the kaohsiung museum of fine arts. it’s a wonderfully spacious museum with friendly staff(even the security people would smile and nod at you). the main show was french paintings from the 1800s. some really gorgeous use of light on quite a few of them. oddly enough the tags on the paintings had info in english but the big write up on the show was only in chinese and french. there was a lot of local art(the naieve art being my favourite) and also a show of swiss comics in the basement. the museum also has a sculpture park. i planned to go take pictures there, but by the time i finished looking at all the art inside – it was pouring down rain outside.
on tuesday i went to the kaohsiung film archives. the staff were super friendly. not sure how much english they knew, but they new some simple words. i became a member(free!) which gives me the benefit of being able to watch things from their dvd collection on site as well as peruse their library of books and periodicals. they have a room full of monitors where people can watch what is in the collection. i watched most of charlie chaplain in modern times. looking over their collection – it was kind of funny – i’d seen most of what was in it, and owned a great deal of it myself. i was hoping for some experimental work, but i didn’t see anything in the collection. i also didn’t see any films that were in chinese, but i suspect the chinese films were listed, but just not in english(the western films were listed in english and chinese). i doubt i’ll be going back just to watch movies, but i probably will go back to read some of the magazines and see what books they have in english.
speaking of film, before cindy and ryan left for berkely, they gave me their copy of the dotmov festival 2004 dvd. i’m happy to have it as there are some interesting things on it, but some of it just feels too slick. i’m not sure if that is because of the background of those involved(sometimes when someone comes from a design/advertising background – their work tends to still look somewhat like a commercial) or if it’s just because so much is done on computers these days that that rawness gets softened up too much. i wish there would have been more of an effort to put things in a historical context. the write up in the book covers those who created the work, but mainly talks about their background, but not who influenced them. maybe i’m expecting too much, but often times when you don’t include such information it can give the misleading idea that what is being done is groundbreaking or completely new when in reality it is not so. despite my misgivings i’m happy to have it as there are some things on it that i’ll be going back to watch again.
speaking of going back to watch things again, i’ve been re-watching the derek jarman super 8 films. the texture and the grain in some ways reminds me of 110 still photography film. you get this nice grain that can really alter an image and give it a nice painterly texture. the same thing is apparent in jarman’s super 8 work. it’s made me want to experiment with super 8 myself, but i suspect the cost of doing it right(especially if i decide to have any of it blown up to a larger film size) would soon change my mind towards attempting it.