Sunday, 12 February 2012

my website got a new face.
its for design, film and illustration folio stuff. but it has links to all of my websites

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Blog about Sexism. EB games, Deep Seated ignorance and Wrestling

Well fuck me dead, its been a few days since this 'EB games is sexist' debacle and ive been pondering the consequences of my actions. In the course of a day we saw the fickle relationship between rage, outrage, and censorship trodden out for us to yet again debate. Ultimately this is a real world example of how pervasive and ingrain sexism still is. The tendency to immediately discredit and shutdown any argument related to feminism is a reaction symptomatic of the greater issue.

For those of you who missed it, the story starts with a usual 9 to 5 at EB
I head into work on Wednesday morning. Turned on the work rotation tape. An in house EB TV type deal that spurts advertisements and information at people. During my opening procedures I hear tsimilar theme music used in Always Sunny in Philadelphia, curious I look up to see EB games has made its own mock 1950s ‘mans guide to trading’ using Sirkian, melodramatic convention. The add sees a ‘perpetual man-child’ husband having a charlie brown style zone out while his ‘bitch wife’ complains to him that he spends too much money on games. She pops off to the supermarket, because that is what women do. While he pops into EB games, because men play games you see. The clerk states that he overheard their argument, because he is a cunning salesman using everything to his advantage to increase store profits and his KPI. He suggests man-child trades his old games instead of using money. Brilliant thinks the man-child, he does as promoted by the clerk and then uses the money he didn’t spend that day at EB on dinner for bitch-wife. Because women are interested in eating at nice restaurants and not playing games remember. Then the final kicker of a scene sees man-child on a couch playing batman, while bitch-wife dusts behind him. When he asks if he can help at all, bitch-wife replies totally in awe of her generous provider of a man-child that he has already done so much, he should relax. Man-child beams like a cunning hyena into the camera before the weak excuse for a satire comes to an end.

So. I get a little hot under my white shirt and neckerchief (which i'm told to wear because it is more feminine than the tie) I post to my own facebook that

God damn EB you have really outdone yourselves with provided negative representations of gender roles, you cunts. Then I mentioned the contents of the video, and swore some more.

I want to clarify, I do work at EB games. The staff at my store and for the most part all the stores are lovely. This is not about the people at EB, nor even the higher management, this video is simply an anecdotal reason to discuss sexism and how it very much does exist and that it very much does matter. I was asked to take down the status. It was censored, I did sign an agreement not to call EB games cunts while I worked for them. Which, for a business is standard. However I do feel in anger people call other people / entities cunts, and I stand by my outrage.

A facebook friend who writes for a gaming mag posted it on twitter. EB games picks up on it, games media picks up on it. Kotaku posts an article on it and people go a bit nuts with opinions ranging from ‘but Mad Men does it’ to people agreeing to people dismissing it as an overreaction and as if any woman who finds this offensive is too sensitive. Which as a reaction almost proves the compensatory device most people who align with the majority use for fear of being given this exact treatment .I agree this video is mild, this video is a poor excuse for humour, I understand so fully the concept of satire, homage and how it tried and failed to use (like Mad Men) the historical understanding of 1950s Western sexism as basis for a lighthearted MEN ARE DIFFERENT TO WOMAN LET THE HUMEROUS EXCHANGES BEGIN type advertisement for a company. But I feel the outrage at the tape is symptomatic of a much larger issue with sexism in general.

The representation of both male and female in this video is dismal, I've had both male and female employees of EB tell me they find it disgusting and lame. There is no doubt that for some this video is laughable as newsworthy, and for some it is completely offensive. Obviously we don’t need to dwell on the fact that we are individuals who react to situations based on biological and learned rational. Yet something has struck a chord. I know for myself as a female employed in a perceivably male dominated field I have found gendered reactions to my service. Now no one here is saying that men and women are the same, in fact the very structure of our neural pathways ensures that information flows differently. It's a given. Yet the gendering of service, items, the self as a woman or girl is not binary, gender is fluid, sex for the most part is not. (of course not forgetting everyone under the transexual rainbow but for the sake of this argument which is looking at gender binaries, the matter of sex can be left for another day)

I get to work an in environment where some men will immediately ask the male at the counter what they thought of the game they are buying, even if i'm serving them and standing right there. I work in a place where in I pick up the phone and the man on the other end has a technical question they will ask if ‘anyone else is there’ as if to assume my my high pitched voice, a female, I could not possibly help them. I work for a company which prefers it when I wear the feminine version of the uniform. I am allowed to wear pants and a tie, but it is ‘preferred’- almost as loaded as the Machiavellian necessity that I wear the feminine. I even had a man once tell me after I answered he questions about over-clocking and his graphics card that he was surprised I could help. I have been in very tense situations where a man who was so offensively sexist towards me, saying I couldn't possibly understand games or that the representation of females in games is not sometimes sexist that a manager had to step in. Again, this is not all men or all of anyone, if we eradicate generalisations in favour of individualism then we are left with anecdotal experience of the opinion giver.

In this environment feminism is a dirty word. To align yourself with that is to find yourself berated with all the negative stereotypes that come with it. To face all the predetermined arguments from people unwilling to see that there is any issue at all with being made to feel a second class citizen. I wouldn’t be surprised if the reaction to this piece is that Im being overly sensitive, that I’m not experiencing the worst of sexism, that I should wipe my arse with my arts degree and that I should cry elsewhere.Which again would ultimately prove my point that the immediate reaction of those who dismiss claims of sexism do so because of their unwillingness to be separated from the group. The desire to remain in the majority is subconsciously an attempt to remain safe, easily categorised and definable. Its innate, its natural and its often the root of many of humanities flaws.

And you are right, this is not the worst case of sexism in the world. Myself alone, a woman of 22 and a lower middle class upbringing I’ve had my arse slapped, pinched, grabbed at, Ive been called a whore, a slut a dumb bitch, I've been abused and hurt and taunted and teased and i’m not fucking complaining. I’m stating that sexism is so ubiquitous and pervasive that only the most extreme cases are taken seriously, and the status of the victim is paramount to how much anyone will listen to you. How many men out there have been raped in a taxi? In the common language of my friends, everyone has been raped, what else you got? And if you are thinking, this is a tangent far from EB games having a mildly offensive tape then you are forgetting how inextricably connected everything is.

The issue with this tape is that in my workplace I have outdated, unfunny, tired excuses for gender roles playing above my head. While I work just that little bit harder to prove myself as 'one of the boys' to men who are unaware of their preconceive bias. The tape, intentional or not enforces disgusting but ubiquitous examples of gender roles for both male and female which should not be encouraged in any work place. We can not control the mind of the individual, we can be annoyed when a large company that employes and targets a female demographic as much as they do male subverts any attempt at females being intrinsically gamers too. You are either a mother or a girlfriend buying games for your male counterpart. If you are a man, you too are supposed to fulfil the EB man-child ideal where you are for some reason married and are at the mercy of your wife who plays the whore, the mother and now the catalyst for trading games. Those of you who say this does not matter are confirming the ignorant and pervasive nature of sexism. These opinions and stereotypes of gender do exist for a reason, that reason being centuries of historical and biological misunderstandings creating gendered lifestyles that are so pervasive that most people are not even aware that they are constructs. Having a tape at your place of work which enforces and reconfirms these roles is so utterly disillusioning I wonder how it past anyones stamp of approval. Im sufficiently sure that this article will provoke further backlash from people who disagree. But what evs, Im going to paint my nails and play Batman Arkam City.

Further reading 
The Video:

EB TWITTER: Word on the street is we're not very funny.. we wanna give you the chance to give us a better idea! We'll make a vid of the best idea next:)

  Like I said, there is a woman's guide to trading on it's way out.. feel free to check it out when its uploaded:)

img credit

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Week 12: The end

I half expected to be watching battleship Potemkin for the Russian Cinema week

as a history major nerd, the contextual climate in which films are made always interests me

I remember sitting in the subject allocation suite (more like a dungeon) uming and ahing about the choice between Russian and Asian cinema subject, unable to decide I went with the sexuality stream of subjects (or 'French and avant guard as it was colloquially known') and like that, the very concept of learning about russian cinema as whisked away from me, all that left was the experience in first year was with Battleship Potemkin (1926). I think we watched it between the effortlessly cool breathless(1960) and Prices' boys dont cry (1999)respectively. In first year broad overview classic course curriculum we brushed over Russian cinema in our hour long lecture, touching on Eisenstein's use of jump  cuts and historical significance as a piece of propaganda.
I just rememberer thinking about the Odessa steps scene, oh yeah, they did that in the Untouchables. Cool.

so now, 4 years later here we are again touching the tip of the iceberg that is Russian national cinema. a brief wikipedian study tells me the Lumière brothers first brought film into Russia during the days of the empire. During the revolution there were many anti-tsarist films and then during the SSR films were heavily censored. It was not until the late 60s and early 70s that the film industry was recognized and gained international attention.Tarkovsky is the director of this weeks film, Ivans childhood (1962) and his first feature film after school. It struck me (and probably everyone) as a beautiful film. You could turn it down and have it playing as the backdrop for something melodramatic.
Continuing this courses 'through the eyes of a child' theme (which makes me think of the paranoid schizophrenic methood, as if being a child is that interesting, pft, pretend to be mad and then look at the world) the film works through the eyes of Ivan, an little orphan who is enlisted to work as a spy for the Russian army during WW2
kinda blows my mind that this was commercially successful at the time, and perhaps that is because it is accessible from its child perspective. but this makes me wonder, if a film like this was released now, would it be successful? It does have explosions, but it also has a strong moral conscious, a subversion of childhood and adulthood and a whole shit tonne of subtext to boot.

watch out Ivan, artful framing is coming t o get you!

Ivan oh no! there is use of shadow in the background, its illuminating menacing feelings Ivan!  

Christian symbolism was touched upon in class. Im pretty thankful any time a film maker considers their audience smart enough to not have to shove symbolism in their faces. (IE modern times, what!? the workers are like cattle you say? I see what you have done there) This film uses the subtle symbol to its advantage, I guess this works because those who are looking can find them, but everyone else is not going to miss the story because they don't understand what the hell a chalice represents (WOOOOOMBS ) or a boy and girl being offered up the forbidden fruit (APPPPLEES) Ceci n'est pas une pipe! after all, it is not real- it is a representation of real, it is film. You can just tape a bunch of cats together. Reality in the cinema, truth, keepin' it real is often strived for in the cinema, as if it of all the art forms can show truth. In objective science there is no truth, in philosophy there is no absolutes, why the shit would film be able to achieve this if reality can't even show truth. 
I always say this of Games, and I figured film had moved past that teething period where people could no accept a populist movement as a serious intellectual movement. But now I think about it, how far has film really come. 
No wonder film theory continuously shows and talks about the same examples and gives adulation to the same people over and over, the expanse is too great, if you sat down to watch all those listed films on IMDB, then (even averaging them to a low 120 minutes) it would take 59 years to watch all those movies. And that is without breaks.

I feel like some sort of summary would be appropriate here for the final blog. But there is no thread I could find besides that of the child's view that ties these weeks together. Oh wait, they are all films- adding to the collective body of work in cinema. IMDB says there are about 260,000 feature films that are listed. Not to mention the TV shows, games, youtube, home movies, and things that are lost to the world, never released and left on the cutting room floor. That is quite the body of work.

Battleship Potemkin (1925) Sergei Eisenstein 
Boys dont cry (1999) Kimberly Peirce 
Breathless (1960) Jean-Luc Godard 
Ivans Child (1962) Andrey Tarkovsky 
Modern times (1936) Charles Chaplin 

Bibliography and reading

Peter Wollen's Signs and meaning in the Cinema
on eisensteins aesthetics

The truth of science


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Week 11: Auteurs, American Gothic and allll the ladies!

This week in class we were looking at stylized artifice, madness, ambiguity and desire. Also the contemporary gothic, and auteur theory. Well god damn, that is 20 essays right there. But since I just finished the baby 1000 word essay (with15 sources mind you) I think im done with academic writing for the minute.

When I think of the contemporary gothic I can’t help but think of American Gothic parodies (mm you know, that painting of the man and his daughter lady standing in front of their gothic revival house) Everyone from the Muppets to Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie have appropriated the painting.

Nothing more nothing less, styalized artifice seems to be a dirty thing. Not at all in my opinion. We would we be without Burton, Copola, Gillium, Visconti, Araki, Argento, Brooks, Fellini, De palma- and, the filmic example of the week goes to Campion’s ‘The Piano’
What a rapturous film. I want to discuss her in terms of auteur theory, but first the notion of previous knowledge. So the Piano has a wonderful score by Michael Nyman, one that I have had on my ipod for years. But ive never seen the film till this week. Im curious as to the impact for individuals and how different the emotion elicited can be for different people. I knew the song, i used to use it to write to, on repeat. Now I think about it it does elicit a silent sadness, but I never would have thought about it in such a cold,  heartfelt context until I saw the film.
Back to auteur theory and stylized artifice which is a glorious thing. Campion as we were privy to in class has much of her stamp marked on her films. We saw from her early examples Girls own Story (1984) and the later Sweety (1989) the inclusion of many of the same themes from later films. The silent woman, their is something in silence. The focus on female, femaleness and femininity- brutality, causation and fate. The visual similarities which transcend her films seem to be a dichotomous, almost idiosyncratic use of repression and desire and feminine sexuality, lace, long flowing hair, flowing, cold water and silence. But then tightly wound, buttoned up, stiff silence. There is something in the silence.  
I thought the themes in the Piano were tip top. The idea of what it is to be civilized, your own concept of civility and the savage is questioned as the gentleman becomes the savage and the natives are the most harmonious and civil to one another. Campion also brings up the idea of barriers, language, literal, sexual barriers all working towards some kind of release. As  Ada (Holy Hunter) describes at the end of the film that she dreams of her pianos watery grave and she like to pretend to be drifting above it, which lulls her into a sleep.

I think since the lack of female directors was also mentioned in class, the material which was handled by a female can not be ignored. So post feminism would have you deny this distinction between man and woman, but I think the innate difference bioligcally makes for interesting comparison. Would a man have been as likely to get Ada to be somewhat dressed down (frumpish?) for the majority of the film, surely the gaze was exquisite, the hole in her legging, the barrier even through Adas repressive clothing is visual stimulus. Im not sure a man would have shown the same restraint with the sex scenes, nor with the delicate revealing of Adas sexuality.  Though that is undoubtedly a generalization.

Personally I’m a great fan of the idea that a directors themes and motifs can be traces throughout their work. Tarintino and feet, Minneli and frames, Argento and having his daughter raped in every movie- we do the same literary appreciation with fine art, literature and music, so film to is legitimised by critical theory.

(Dario Argentos auteur stamps include having his daughter Asia as pictured, raped) 

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Week 10: bicycle thieves and being behind

So now im running a week behind. which is great, cause this entry is about neo realism, and if there is a genre which reflects the human condition in greater detail then ill be damned.

Neo Realism and in particular Italian genre films known as Italian neo realism refer to a genre of films that are characterized by:
being about the working class or poor people
set during the 1940s and early 1950s
dealing with post war life
a reflection and reaction against american studio films
an honest and somewhat jarring depiction of life
themes surrounding poverty, moral considerations of post war life and the conditions of the every day human being.
They often used non actors in supporting  role.

The most intriguing part of the idea of 'neo realism' is that of truth and reality in the cinema. Generally if we study history for a moment, realism tends to be reactionary against things like romanticism, rococo, baroque and other opulent movements. As Levin puts it 'Realism is a recurrent response to the conventions and artifices of an earlier style' or, an oscillation between illusion and disillusionment 1

Neo realists called for a cinema of realism. This meant making films free from artifice, inspired by real life subjects. But there was no one agreed upon aesthetic code. unlike the new wave film makers in france, the neo realists are not an aesthetically defined genre, though certainly some aesthetic qualities penetrated the movement. Yet these were based in the aproach to film making (on location, smaller budget ect) rather than an effort to garner that design though artifice.

Neo realism has inextricable ties to the realist movement in literature. The neorealist considers themselves part of the world they records- and that they can change the present to effect the future. 2

By looking at earlier Italian films, from the silent and fascist era we gain a sense of the burgeoning neorealism movement. Visconti's Ossessione (Obsession) based on 'The postman always rings twice' preempted the neorealist themes. The use of the first person subjective character was ignored by Visconti, who opted for a move objective, omniscient camera view. 3

L.A noir comes out this week.
its a noir game for 360 and ps3
I gauge peoples reactions from working in a video game store. It seems aparent that there are two types of people who are excited about this game. Those who can't wait to play a game that claims smart, genre driven savvy narrative and themes taken right out of a brian del pama movie. Or those who are just excited to play another game with guns. I wonder how much will be lost on people who play this game without any prior knowledge of the genre. For example, Mafia 2, a game which I found to be a blatant  copy of DePalmas' 1987 film 'The Untouchables' (Based on memoirs written by Eliot Ness published in 1957)  but others loved being led by the nose down a typical mafia film/ prohibition era film storyline occasionally having to shoot something when prompted.

Rockstar, the games publisher promises something different. They say "Amid the post-war boom of Hollywood's Golden Age, Cole Phelps is an LAPD detective thrown headfirst into a city drowning in its own success. Corruption is rampant, the drug trade is exploding, and murder rates are at an all-time high. In his fight to climb the ranks and do what’s right, Phelps must unravel the truth behind a string of arson attacks, racketeering conspiracies and brutal murders, battling the L.A. underworld and even members of his own department to uncover a secret that could shake the city to its rotten core.
Using groundbreaking new animation technology that captures every nuance of an actor's facial performance in astonishing detail, L.A. Noire is a violent crime thriller that blends breathtaking action with true detective work to deliver an unprecedented interactive experience. Search for clues, chase down suspects and interrogate witnesses as you struggle to find the truth in a city where everyone has something to hide." 

but will it fly with gamers, not a film savvy viewership. I hope so, at 109.95 a pop, this better be good. It was the first game to be selected as part of the Tribecca film festival.

1943, Ossessione, Luchino Visconti

1 Levin, Gates, p. 48
2 Marcus, Italian Flm in the light of Neorealism, introduction, princeton university press
3 Bondanella, Italian Cinema: from neorealism to present. Continuum international publishing group,la-noire-gets-a-nod-from-the-tribeca-film-festival.aspx

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Week 9: Cinema Verite, Zombies and Dead Space

Life is slow, life has bits you wish you could skip. Reality settles in and time is relative. There is nothing you can do. So when the great escape films (and books and art before) move past the point where they are comfortable to be realistic representations of time we are left with cinema verite. Or cinema of truth. (dead space) Obviously there can never be an objective truth, it is impossible,  above is an example, a short film I made of the walk I had to take every day from school to home. It was a boring walk, in my small home town. I sped it up almost 200% and left out the sound, putting some classical score over the top.
The point here is although I just filmed exactly what I did, walking home- which is boring for most people but shouldn't that be truth. There is no edits, its just pov. Well of course, the lense itself is a choice, what I focus on what is being filmed and for how long. There is no escaping that all film, because it is filmed is contrived, set out to be and created with intent. Even if there is no edits, no apparent editing there is intent with what has been filmed. And thus it is not objective truth, but perhaps there can be some semblance of an individuals perception of truth. 

My housemates have been watching Dead Set. A TV show I now can appreciate which uses elements which reference and convert the techniques of Verite to television. It follows housemates in the big brother house, after a zombie apocalypse.

Jeanne Hall, realism as a style in cinema verite: a critical analysis of primary, 1991, Cinema Journal


Dead set (2008) Yann Demange and Charlie Brooker, UK 

Sunday, 1 May 2011

This week was destroyed by the filming of my 90 second film. And by destroyed I mean my spare time was filled with  working on/ worrying about the impending SEXUAL SCENE in which my sister and housemate would pretend to fuck. Lesson learnt, don't film sex.
In-between the time I was working, or doing homework I managed to see Thor, download a bunch of horror films (Deep Red, Argento, Reanimator, Gorden) And watch some cartoon version of the avengers. I was reading about how dreams are perceptions of reality as opposed to deep seeded manifestations of what happened to you as a BABY, and how Freudian ideals of psychoanalysis are outdated and wrong. I remember learning that at the start of my B.A in my history major. Ironically in my film major we went ahead and read films using psychoanalysis all the time. even I wrote an essay on Cronenberg’s ‘The Fly’ and womb envy, knowing full well the fluid shit I was spinning. I guess the disparity between what we collectively ‘know’ and objective truth (which does not exist anyway) interests me.

Euro trash films are amazing. (Very much like the shop on Chapel street which pretty much encapsulates the style) Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Andy Warhol presents Frankenstein are two which you can not look past for over the top sets, odd set-ups and bad accents. Interestingly enough the concept of what we know, that most people attribute these films to Warhol, despite the truth, that they were made by Paul Morrissey or Antionio Margheriti (depending on Italian or English prints) Critics note Warhols name is not even in the credits, nor did Morrisey do anything more that aid the films creation. It is believed that Antionio Margheriti is the author of the film, and Warhol who receives credit merely gave the inspiration.  


David Cronenberg (1986) The Fly
Dario Argento (1975) Deep Red
Stuart Gorden (1985) Re-Animator
Morrissey/ Margheriti (1974) Blood for dracula/ andy warhols dracula

Joan Hawkins, Cutting Edge: Art-horror and the horrific avant-garde  2000, U of Minnesota press
Blood for dracula at E Splatter, URL: