A minimalist film by Tony Conrad

Tony Conrad explains his work 'Yellow Movie 2/28/73' during 'The Language of Less' exhibition at the MCA in Chicago in December 2011:

"I wanted to push the frame, and I didn't know exactly how to push the framework, except to do things like this, so I could imagine you see that it would be possible to actually to get very close and then manufacture the material, to manufacture the actual emulsion material somehow and this would enable a completely different understanding of what film would be like and what it would do and I thought in terms of long durations...  and so I should make a film that just beggars Andy Warhol's 24 hour long film.  I'll make one that'll last fifty years.  But how..."

"...and so in that way it's sort of also revealing something about the relationship between paint and architecture, that paint is a movie record of what goes on in the space..."

The clip was shown at S1 Artspace in Sheffield on Saturday 10. March 2012 during the discussion between the artist Jennifer West and Gregory Kurcewicz.  Jennifer West's exhibition 'Aloe Vera and Butter', which consists of two large scale video triptychs, is showing there until 17. March. 2012.

Further material can be found on Tony Conrad's website, which includes his essay 'Duration' from 2004.

Street art in Rome, 2

A selection of street art from the Ostiense district of Rome. The area also houses the extension to the Capitoline Museum at Centrale Montemartini, where classical sculpture can be seen against the industrial backdrop of a former power station.

The distinctive stencil work of the Rome based artist Sten Lex.

A recent piece by Ludo, who currently has an exhibition in the city.

Sheffield's Kid Acne, who participated in the recent Outdoor Festival

Herbert Baglione (part of Outdoor)

Agostino Lacurci (also part of Outdoor)

Other pieces by unknown artists.

(all photos © Russell Light, January 2012)

For a more information on the Outdoor Urban Art Festival, see my earlier post.


As part of our recent Studio One trip to Rome, we visited the film studios at Cinecittà. The studios are the largest in Europe, with 22 stages and covering an area of 40 hectares.

Opened by Mussolini in 1937, Cinecittà contrasts with the grand monumentality of EUR, which developed at the same time. Whilst the permanent buildings of Cinecittà share a similar formal layout, they are much more simple, functional buildings, aligned more closely with the modernist tradition.

Early design drawing by Gino Peressutti.

The studios have a permanent public exhibition 'Cinecittà Shows Off'. In addition they offer guided tours of several of the sets, which are also available to be hired for corporate functions and weddings.

The Main Street set, used in Scorsese's 'Gangs of New York' (2002). The buildings on the right are currently being adapted to look more Roman for a different production.

The wafer thin veneer exposed.

The set of the HBO/BBC production 'Rome' (2004-07). Parts of this set were re-used by the BBC in 2008 for an episode of Dr Who located in Pompei.

A view of the inside of a building on the 'Rome' set, showing the translucence of the fibreglass.

Aerial photo showing the 'Rome' set, with streets and alleys above and forum below.  The area to the upper right was destroyed in a fire in 2007. (photo © Google Maps)

The 7,000 square metre (2.7 million gallon) outdoor tank with blue screen backdrop, used for the waterfront scenes in the 'Gangs of New York'.

The medieval Tuscan town set.

An annotated detail drawing explaining the construction of a set. A practical balcony is one that can support the weight of an actor (or crew). A non-practical balcony cannot.

The sculpture workshop.

A design model of the monastery and library tower for Annaud's 'The Name of the Rose' (1986).

Set builders working on a Byzantine church interior for a future production.  The construction principle is formally very similar to the effect of Gae Aulenti's exhibition space at the Museo Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona, where carefully conserved wall paintings from Romanesque churches are displayed on timber formwork.

(all photos © Russell Light, January 2012)

More information is available on the Cinecittà website (in Italian and English).

Street art in Rome

Sheffield's Kid Acne represents Britain at the 'Outdoor - Urban Art Festival' in Rome, October 2011

(photo © Russell Light, January 2012)

(video part in English and part Italian)

See also: Outdoor Urban Art Festival and out-door.it (Italian)

A map showing the location of the pieces can be found on NU Factory.

How to direct a film...

The Girl Chewing Gum - John Smith (1976)

"The films of John Smith create a world from the ‘simple’ experiences of living, breathing and being a filmmaker or artist in a particular place and time. Smith's often humorous films produced over the last 30 years have inventively documented and probed his immediate surroundings, often not even moving much beyond the front door of his various abodes in a small area of East London."

Adrian Danks (2003)

Adrian Danks analysis 'On the Street where You Live: The Films of John Smith', can be found on the Senses of Cinema website.

Steele's glaziers that features in the film is now Scooter Den. The building at the junction of Stamford Road and Kingsfield Road has lost its clock and sprouted an additional floor. The Dalston Odeon was demolished in 1984. The University of London van was used as a getaway vehicle in an armed robbery and was written off when it crashed into an electricity pylon...

Still from 'Leading Light' (1975)

Further details and video clips can be found on johnsmithfilms.com

Thanks to Lukas Barry for pointing me in the direction of this.

The Dormitorium: The Brothers Quay

Some photos from the exhibition of the work of the Brothers Quay that is currently showing at the crypt of the Town Hall in Leeds...

(all photos © Russell Light, October 2011)

Further details of the exhibition can be downloaded here.

There is also a suitably eccentric interview with the Quay Brothers from when the Dormitorium exhibition premiered in Philadelphia in 2009...

Interestingly, particularly given the comments that the Brothers Quay make about lighting in this interview, the exhibition in Philadelphia took place in a brightly lit, white walled gallery space, with the 'décors' mounted on plain white plinths. In the crypt at Leeds Town Hall a very contrasting approach was taken, which has resulted in a much more atmospheric exhibition. The crypt was only lit by the lighting that was necessary to illuminate the interior worlds of the 'décors' and the exhibits' shipping crates were themselves used as raw plinths.

An entry about the Brothers Quay's film on anamorphosis can be found on my perspective resources site.