Monday we went to a screening of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 3, the fifth (and longest) of his five-film series. Richard Serra (co-)stars. Using Barney’s favored medium, Vaseline, he re-enacts his Splash series (from 1968-70)–where he threw molted lead against the juncture of floor and wall (actually, against what looks like a small Prop piece, a series of precariously balanced metal slabs he also started around that time). Here is Serra’s bio on the Guggenheim site.Here is an image of a 1992 Splash work, although you may have to go to the DePont main site and work your way down to it. These pieces date from right around Barney’s birth. Or, more precisely, the start of Serra’s career dates from right around Barney’s birth. There’s more where that came from, if you’re interested.
All in all, I was glad to see at least half of it. It was certainly well produced. Marvell didn’t write “If we had world enough and budget” for a reason. Knowing that you’re going to sell your props for mid-six figure sums no doubt liberates a director from some concerns. But it’s the same dilemma that comes from digital filmmaking: now there’s no reason you can’t see your vision realized on the screen. Or as Abbas Kiarostami said it in the interview I linked to yesterday:
Now, this digital camera makes it possible for everybody to pick it up, like a pen. If you have the right vision, and you think you’re an instinctive filmmaker, there’s no hindrance anymore. You just pick it up, like a pen, and work with it. I predict that, in the next century, there will be an explosion of interest in filmmaking, and that will be the impact of the digital camera.
I just now noticed that Kiarostami doesn’t necessarily predict an explosion of interest in seeing these untethered visions, just in making them. I worry that Barney may face a similar situation.