Editors of the (other) Times may want to consider an intervention: "The same perfectly reasonable hysteria has people all over town wondering if they should turn their bathrooms into panic rooms. I go into mine and scream from time to time, but I donít find it reassuring." [Neither do we, Tina, neither do we.]

Or at least a bit of incredulity: "A banker friend of mine on the East Side pays for two parking spaces in the garage under his apartment, so that when the next attack comes there will be no vehicle in front of him to impede his squealing getaway to his helicopter pad." [His building has self-service parking? Would that be the 60th St helicopter pad? the one you have to drive down a jammed Second Avenue to reach?]

But if she can keep lines like this coming: "to be at a fashion show at all is brunch at the apocalypse."
And she does sense a bit of 1914 in the air: "It was all vaguely Siegfried Sassoon era. Oh, Oh, Oh! Itís a Lovely War."

Maybe she can ask Gawker to take her on when/if Salon folds. It'd beat sitting between Monica Lewinsky and Donald Trump.

February 20, 2003

Style Guides

Matt Webb posted a nice collection of style guides.

An addition, while not a style guide, per se: having Netscape crash and take your in-progress post with it can help you pare down later drafts to the bare essentials.

My bad. If only I'd watched Access Hollywood before posting about Gerry. Michel Marriott has an article in the NYTimes about the convergence between video games and films. Actually, it's about Enter The Matrix, the video game.

image: enterthematrixgame.com

If anybody gets it, it's the Wachowski brothers, who wrote the game script to intertwine with their upcoming films. (Matrix sequels a-comin', get on board, li'l chill'n.) The actors and sets carry over, too, into the hour-plus of filmed scenes and cinematics. The Wachowskis are hardcore gamers themselves, and their vision of The Matrix is comprehensive, almost unnervingly so.

image: theanimatrix.com

It's expansive enough for assimilated video games, a world large enough for other directors to work freely within it. Animatrix is a collection of animated shorts from six directors (including the creators of Akira, Cowboy Bebop and Aeon Flux). The first of four to be released online is Mahiro Maeda's touching, cautionary Second Renaissance, Part 1 a/the machine creation myth, complete with circuity goddesses and mecha-Adam and Eve.

By the end of the year, The Matrix will be so pervasive, it'll give new meaning to the throwaway Hollywood line, "We'll all be working for you someday." [images: thematrix.com]

February 20, 2003

Shipping Containers, v. 3

A sporadically recurring topic here at greg.org, the non-shipping use of shipping containers. [Instigating post here, extensive post here.]

an illegal outpost named Gilad Farm, West Bank. photo: Heidi Levine, nytimes.com Shipping container used in an illegal Israeli outpost, image:nytimes.com

Samantha Shapiro's NYTimes Mag story, "The Unsettlers," profiles young, militant Israelis who pioneer illegal settlements in the West Bank.

illegal settlement in Jordan Valley, image: metropolismag.com Shipping container used in an illegal Israeli outpost in the Jordan Valley, image:metropolismag.com

Stephen Zacks' review in the Feb. 2003 Metropolis of a (cancelled) exhibit on architecture and urban planning in the West Bank, where Israeli hilltop settlements use suburban sprawl to control the surrounding territory. Architect Eyal Weizman: "It's almost like you have a model of the terrain and you cut a section at say six hundred meters, and everything that's above is Israeli. What was created was an incredible fragmentation of the terrain into two systems that work across the vertical axis." The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has published Weizman's exhaustively documented settlement map of the West Bank.

For all your settling needs, illegal or otherwise, the Shipping Container Store: passing the mountainous container landscape along the NJ Turnpike, I saw Interport Maintenance Corp., which sells shipping containers. Delivery is extra.

February 19, 2003

E+D: Phone Home

elmgreen & dragset, powerless structures, image: greg.org
Elmgreen & Dragset, a pair of artist friends, have a show up at
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, called Phone Home. Five answering machines on a pentagon-shaped table in one gallery record the conversations from five working phonebooths in another. Another friend's very cogent writing puts the piece in context.

They were nominated for the Guggenheim's Hugo Boss Prize, and just won the Hamburger Banhof Prize (from the museum in Hamburg, you see). I included a piece of theirs in a show I curated in 2000-1, but a friend jammed and bought it before I could close the deal.

Update: The artists will talk about their work Thursday evening, 2/20 at 6:30. Email me if you'd like to go.

Today's Guardian asks twelve actual historians to lend their authoritative-sounding accents on politicians' arguments that Iraq is the next [check all that apply]
1939 Germany
1956 Egypt
1967 Israel
1991 Iraq
1963 Vietnam
1899 South Africa
1936 Ethiopia
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Naboo

As someone who made a movie (S(N01)) about looking at the past (WWI) to make sense of the present (Sept. 11), I'm interested. One big lesson is best expressed by Simon Schama: "I'm allergic to lazy historical analogies. History never repeats itself, ever. That's its murderous charm."

Another: historians are almost as likely as politicians to slip from historical analogy to histrionic advocacy. For example Andrew Roberts' unsubtle derision: "The League of Nations, on the morning after Poland was invaded, had on its urgent agenda the standardisation of European railway gauges. Today's United Nations is fast shaping up to be equally ineffectual." (See if you can read between ' lines.)

And even though it would catapult S(N01) up the relevance scale, I hope Norman Davies is wrong comparing Iraq to 1914 Russia:

So what about 1914? The strongest military power in sight (Germany) is made to feel insecure by a terrorist outrage. Instead of confining its response to the known source of the terrorism (Serbia), it lashed out at one country, which it suspected of abetting the terrorists (Russia), and then at another country (France), which was linked to the first. Then it lost the plot. Worst of all, it calculated that the war would be won by Christmas.

February 18, 2003

Dirt Mattress, Shirt Basket

Gerry film still, image: viewlondon.co.uk

Watch Matt Damon and Casey Affleck stagger, scramble and trudge through the desert in Gerry to forget the snow that you staggered, scrambled and trudged through to see it. If that reasoning's too circuitous for you, though, skip the movie; it's deeply self-referential and hermetic. It's the kind of film where half of the audience got there half an hour early, all eager, and half got there three minutes early, sure they'll be the only ones there. Even with an audience pre-sorted by reviewer warnings that Gerry could be a walkout movie, the Gerrys in front of us walked out.

To hear Gus Van Sant talk about it, making Gerry's the same directorial reboot that Steven Soderbergh got from Full Frontal, questioning his way to some essence, a filmmaking stripped of its accreted editing, language and genre conventions which result in product "as uniform as a McDonaldís hamburger."

Van Sant's"real-time filmmaking" (translation: wordless seven-minute takes) references Andrei Tarkovsky and Bela Tarr, whose films, you pretend you've seen (or whose films you've actually seen and fallen asleep in). But Gerry also reveals a far more popular inspiration, one that's as meaningless to film critics as Bela Tarr comments on American Idol: computer games.

Zeus screenshot, image: sierra.com
Gerry's first extended dialogue is a fragment of Damon's story about a woman who blew it on Wheel of Fortune. And at least half the film's dialogue is Affleck's tale of conquering Thebes, only to run into trouble 'cuz there wasn't enough marble to build a sanctuary, and then Demeter blighted the crops and they couldn't train the horses and... Sounds "fraught with bogus allegorical weight," as the Times' Stephen Holden says, until you realize he's talking about Zeus: Master of Olympus!, an ancient Greek variant of SimCity. In the hermetic world of Zeus, placating Demeter isn't bogus or allegorical; it's a question of survival. In it's own world, it's as life-or-death as, say, buying a vowel. Did you gerry the mountain scoutabout and find yourself stuck on a 20' rock? Just shirt basket a dirt mattress and you're homefree.

Gerry's another example, then, of the language of videogames influencing film. Questions of character and motivation become as relevant for Gerry as they are for Mario ("But why is he trying to get past the monkey?"). It's a movie that suceeds on its own terms, and that creates an engrossing bridge between two wildly popular mediums.

February 17, 2003

Location, Location, Location

A fine parking spot in front of my house, which I gladly ceded to another car shot
Our street gets relatively little through traffic. The result: it's usually an oasis of easy parking, and it's tertiary (at best) on the snowplowing list. After opting for the garage, last night, though, this Mercedes pulled into our favorite spot (the one right in front of our house, duh) as we walked back. (That's an S-Class buried there, btw; I can't tell the make of the car being snowblown under across the street.) This morning, I'm free of the twinge of regret that comes with losing a sweet Manhattan parking spot.

Forget Rupert's minions walking in Foxstep, Code Orange, duct tape, Sadaam-huggers and cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Thanks to this one-day storm, you're gonna have to pry our SUV's from our cold, dead hands.


Like the $20 tickets for Rent, you had to get there early if you actually wanted to reach the site of today's protest rally in NYC. By the time I printed out my sign at Kinko's (above, made in Powerpoint, thank you), the rally became a march and the march came to us. We never got closer than 3rd Avenue and 55th street, and spent a crowded hour+ getting back to Bloomingdale's, five blocks away. It was like the Saturday before Christmas shopping-meets-WTO; stores were open everywhere, and full of consuming marchers. The beverage of choice for NYC peacelovers: Diet Coke. I'd have had an easier time finding a roll of duct tape in Arlington.

Our calculation of the crowd size, using Prof. Clark McPhail's technique: 250-300,000, which turns out to be low.

While exhilarating, no one really got my sign, which is fine. It means I < heart > Old Europe. But when an art world friend saw it, he first thought it meant, "I < heart > Olafur Eliasson." [Which I do, don't get me wrong, Olafur...]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

recent projects, &c.

Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99