‘Eiga Arts‘ (1999-2000) was a series of experimental/avant-garde film and video exhibitions I curated while living in Japan. During this period, Eiga Arts acted as an exchange between Japanese and other international film and video artists. Exhibitions were held monthly in Saga city during 1999, including a publicly sponsored two-day film festival with invited Japanese and American film artists (1999). The festival subsequently toured film venues throughout Japan and a selection were invited for presentation at the Rotterdam International Film Festival (2000). A further two touring exhibitions of contemporary Japanese experimental film were curated for venues in Europe and the USA (2000), including the LUX, London, Pacific Film Archives, Berkley, and the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema, NYC.
A rich archive of documentation, brochures and correspondence is available to researchers of Japanese avant-garde and amateur film. Some of the material is certainly unique and very difficult to come by outside of Japan. Please contact me if you would like to use or even take responsibility for this material.
Mosfilm’sYouTube channel includes pristine 1080 HD, English subtitled versions of five of Andrei Tarkovsky’s films, including Mirror, which is perhaps the most beautiful film I have seen in twenty years. 1
Mirror is noted for its loose and nonlinear narrative. It unfolds as an organic flow of memories recalled by a dying poet (based on Tarkovsky’s own father Arseny, who in reality would outlive his son by three years) of key moments in his life both with respect to his immediate family as well as that of the Russian people as a whole during the tumultuous events of the twentieth century. In an effort to represent these themes visually, the film combines contemporary scenes with childhood memories, dreams, and newsreel footage; its cinematography slips, often unpredictably, between color, black-and-white, and sepia. The film’s loose flow of visually oneiric images, combined with its rich – and often symbolic – imagery has been compared with the stream of consciousness technique in modernist literature.
Around 14 minutes in, Heinrich, a Prof. of Economics, talks about a Marx’s work as a “scientific revolution in the history of science”. This revolution was characterised as a questioning of concepts that were taken for granted, so much so that those concepts had been naturalised and were no longer discussed. Marx criticised not only particular theories in political economy but the whole approach to political economy. In summary, he made a scientific break with the following four classical assumptions:
Human essence. In modern economics, the human is always seen as a utility maximiser. Marx argued there is no human essence.
Individualism. Marx argued against methodological individualism i.e. starting from the individual from whom you construct social relations.
Empiricism. Marx was a forerunner of using empirical data but argued that scientific understanding of political economy requires much more. Society is not a transparent thing that data alone can reveal. There are mystifications, fetishism, and so on.
Historicism. Mainstream economics is still an ahistorical science. Neo-classical economics see problems the same across time. Marx argues there are very different historical logics of society and economy.
All of this was (and is still) taken for granted but was put into question by Marx.
I have recently finished Peter Hudis’ book, ‘Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism‘. It is one of the most interesting and useful books that I’ve read in some time. Below, he discusses the topic of the book with reference to Occupy, worker co-ops and other contemporary responses to capital.
The audio significantly improves from one minute into the talk and his talk ends at 55 minutes when he takes questions.
Of particular interest to me is the outline his gives (around 36 mins in) of what Marx deemed necessary to eliminate the conditions of alienating value production i.e. freely associated, non-alienated labour.
Extend democracy into the economic sphere, into the workplace.
Workers’ co-operatives. Direct ownership stake and control of the workplace.
Eliminate the social division of labour between ownership and non-ownership. Workers have a direct stake in the outcome of labour.
In control of the workplace, workers would make work less alienating, less harmful.
Co-ordination between co-operatives is needed, nationally and internationally. Democratically elected planning authority, subject to recall.
Update 29th April 2014: Here’s another talk by Hudis:
Update 16th June 2014: Another good talk to the Workers and Punks University (discusses coops and councils from around 40min onwards)