Category Archives: Film and Music

The Enduring Allure of Utopian Communities

By Sarah Davidson desertutopia7 Arcosanti is best described as a never-realized utopia. Dreamed up by architect Paolo Soleri in 1970, the (self-described) despot imagined a thriving city of 5000 in the middle of the Arizona desert. Soleri’s uncompromising vision doomed his ambitions, but Arcology, Soleri’s benevolent if deeply quixotic philosophy, persists in attracting thousands of visitors and a few dozen transient residents each year.

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Hidden in Plain Sight: Alan Sekula and Noel Burch’s The Forgotten Space

By June Lee

sekula 1

Out of sight, out of mind is an unfortunate yet true adage about the reality of our global economy. But, what are the forces behind the movement of goods from one continent to the next? And what happens to the local environment in the process? These are questions which directors Alan Sekula and Noel Burch explore in their documentary The Forgotten Space (2010). Sekula narrates the film and includes the perspectives of local residents, truck drivers, homeless people, corporate staff, factory workers and ship crew members, who speak on camera. The effects of the global trade system on these people reveal lives that are very far from the utopian promise of capitalism. These are the lives hidden amongst the maze of shipyard containers.

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Adrift: Matthew Buckingham’s Obscure Moorings at Satellite

by Sarah Davidson


Matthew Buckingham’s show, on now at Satellite, situates viewers in a strange position relative to his wandering film. Viewers are implicated in the act of understanding the film, and this is highlighted most immediately by the artist’s spatial intervention in the gallery: a gigantic wave-shaped viewing platform, covered in carpet. Buckingham often takes history and narrative as his subjects, and this work is no exception. In Obscure Moorings, based on an obscure character sketch by Herman Melville, a defunct sailor meanders unhappily through modern-day Liverpool and eventually dies.

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The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes

by Alex Southey

Ed Atkins, A Primer for Cadavers, 2011 Video still

Ed Atkins, A Primer for Cadavers, 2011 (video still)

The title of this article is also the title of Contemporary Art Gallery’s current exhibition that I just attended. The gallery’s lobby is fairly plain and although BC Binning Gallery one hallway over is as well, it is artistic in itself. Rugs are laid out across a black floor, and the only light in the room comes from the screen consistently showing one video submission after another. There are chairs on the left and right side of the room, and a long couch at the back. Continue reading

Another Godzilla Movie

by Alex Southey


Despite the number of existing Godzilla movies, yet another has been released in to the world by Warner Bros this May. This Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards, is a retelling of the origin story. I found that though this film was void of genuine substance, doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun to watch. Continue reading

Nepotism in Film

by Alexander Southey

ffandsofiacoppolaNepotism is, loosely, favoritism. Favoritism can be found everywhere in cinema, be it between family or friends, and, though it can end in bumbling stupidity and a waste of film time, it has also produced genius. Here, I’ll explore two great cases of nepotism—the Coppola and Reitman Families. Continue reading

Mad Sublime: Why Mad Men is Art

by Jason Smythe

Mad Men

I have a confession to make: I am an addict. My addiction: Mad Men. And with the show on hiatus until 2015 I am suffering from serious withdrawals. I thought I had experienced pain but I was mistaken, for there is no pain greater than a Mad Men detoxification. But in-between the jags of immense soul-crushing pain I had an epiphany, and it was that Mad Men is more than a TV show – it is art. What is my definition of art and how Mad Men reaches such lofty heights? Read more to find out. Continue reading

Bound 2: Kanye West as a Disaster Artist

by Jason Smythe

bound 2 2

If you haven’t seen the music video for Kanye West’s ‘Bound 2’ yet then please stop what you are doing and go watch it. It is utterly atrocious, and has to be one of the worst music videos of all time. However, as awful as it is it is still an important video, because it reminds us that even a great artist like Kanye West can momentarily become a ‘disaster artist’—an artist that produces a work or works that are so awful that they end up gaining massive popularity because of it. But there is one question that I want to know the answer to: what caused Kanye to produce a piece of disaster art? By analyzing the video I have come to the conclusion that this occurred because his narcissism has become completely out of control. To explain how this video reveals Kanye’s insane narcissism I will do a scene by scene analysis. Enjoy. Continue reading

I Am A God: Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ and the Birth of Art Hip-Hop

by Jason Smythe

Yeezus #1

Every now and then we are blessed with an album that changes our perception on where the limits of a particular genre exist. But what is even rarer is an album that shows us that a genre has no limits. Artists such as Pink Floyd and David Bowie were the champions of art rock back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and since then we have never questioned that rock music can also be avant-garde. But is the same true for hip-hop? Can hip-hop also be experimental in nature? The answer is yes, and Kanye West’s latest album, Yeezus, is the proof. The result is the beginning of a new sub-genre: art hip-hop. Continue reading

Real Housewives of Vancouver Meet Modern Art

by Jason Smythe

Real Housewives (P) PNG0130E-RHOV-0142

When asked by Karen, the esteemed editor of this blog, to watch an episode of The Real Housewives of Vancouver that briefly deals with modern art, I was skeptical. Two thoughts immediately popped into my head: 1) How can such a low-brow show deliver any kind of intelligent commentary on modern art? and 2) What can a group of vapid gold-diggers who are more plastic than human possibly know about modern art? The answer to the latter: absolutely nothing. But in regards to the former, this low-brow extravaganza succeeds in revealing two truths about modern art: that it is made strange within popular culture, and that it is often collected as a tool of status. Continue reading