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Yesterday, perhaps in a fit of digital dissonance, running against my own hard-earned knowledge and understanding of computer wisdom, I decided to enlarge the OS partition on my computer, to make room for some more software.  On the other partition sat the full edit of SWIMMING IN NEBRASKA.  I momentarily thought I shouldn’t do it, and should wait until the film was all done.  Then instead I loaded up Partition Magic, and commenced.  And of course, in process it hung-up, and I was forced to close down the brutal way, just turning it off.  On opening the partition with Swimming on it wasn’t recognized, though I used some software to sort that, but….   but on attempting to open up the Swimming project I got a “appears to be damaged” notice.  On all of them.  My guess being that in effect the partition is no longer really recognized, at least not by Explorer, so the prproj doesn’t know where it is, and is hence, “damaged.”  So far attempted solutions haven’t solved anything and I am in process of laboriously transferring 300 and some gigabytes to another disk, which for some reason is going very slowly and will take days to finish – all the Swimming files.  Once that is done if I am lucky the project will open up, but I am skeptical.  Meantime I’ll fish around on the net looking for a solution.  Otherwise I will have the distinct pleasure of reconstructing a very technically complex and long film more or less from scratch.  Fortunately I rendered most of the complex things, so I have them, though if I want to change things (which I do) I’ll have to reconstruct the underlying material, effects, etc.     If anyone has any suggestions on how to get the partition which the project is on properly tagged and recognized so I can open it up where it is, I am eager to have them.

No, that is not me burning up the PC, but rather Chinese burning papers for the gods of fortune, a 5th day of Lunar New Year ritual.

In a week we’re off to Singapore, then Malaysia, in part to check out and be checked out at a university there.  Talk and show, some inquiries and maybe a move coming up.  Will go to Kuala Lumpur to visit a filmmaker friend there, and if we can a jaunt into the countryside and/or perhaps an island beach.  Then back for next term here.

But then a bit of cinema.  The other day, at a friend’s apartment, we watched for the first time in 4 decades or so, Godard’s Le Mépris (Contempt).  I vaguely recall it, and it had not been a favorite of my Godard films – I preferred (and still prefer) Vivre Sa Vie, and some of the other earlier, grittier ones.  But this time around I was quite taken with the audacious long simple/complex takes in the apartment, where as in some other films around then, he used architectural space in shots which orchestrate themselves in movements, as in music, breaking the content (bitter exchanges) into passages as a figure disappears into one door, and another materializes elsewhere.  The effect is to have a kind of cutting within a single shot.   The story (thoughts from Phillip Lopate, Rosenbaum, Charles Taylor) typically revolves around filmmaking – in my view Godard’s Achille’s heel – but as usual he uses this as a springboard for a kind of philosophical investigation.  Despite the 60’s decor and clothing, the film is more “contemporary” than the drivel which emits from Hollywood today.

The same evening, for the first time, I got to see Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood, which proved a lovely film, and showed right at the outset the various Tarkovsky cinematic tropes, from long “abstract” tracking shots of floors and other grounded surfaces, to his choice in camera angles and movements.  This packaged in a glorious war movie !  The ending got a bit saccharine for me, and looked perhaps tacked on for the authorities.   Watching such films I find myself jealous, as I do with Japanese ones – for the actors, actors who use their whole being as vehicles for expression, rather than our pathetic Americans who generally fail to do so – all face and hands and voice.

To round out a “cultural” week we went with a few friends a bit out of Seoul to the Nam June Paik Museum.  It’s housed in a handsome very contemporary building, a rather sizable place.   There were inside a good fistful of Paik pieces, all of which merely underlined for me the fraudulence of a good sector of the arts world.  I never thought much of Paik, and nothing here changed my view, but rather reinforced it.  The rest of the museum’s displays seemed intended to make Paik appear more than his work, by showing him with various luminaries of the 1950-1980’s arts firmament, and hence rubbing their glory off onto him: Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Josef Beuys and other lesser lights, Otto Muehle, the Fluxus grup.  There were pictures and video tapes of these, doing happenings and otherwise acting arty.  I didn’t like this back then, and the passage of some decades has not put any gloss on it.   Rather the opposite.

Josef Beuys “art”

There were a few things that were of interest, though I wouldn’t call them “art.”   One was a delay TV of yourself coming up a stairway, run through a “warp” so your own figure wobbled or acted otherwise distorted according to the speed at which you went.  This was amusing.  The other was a very long piece of something like audio tape in an enclosed space with strong fans in the center blowing outwardly – the tape floated and dipped with the wind, held aloft for a dance some 20 feet or so wide.  You could dip under and go inside.  This too was amusing and delightful.  But “art?”  Not in my book.



  1. Sorry about your harddrive troubles. That is the worst. I’m not sure I can offer anything other than saying there are some (mildy expensive) programs you might be able to get to help you recover your drive, or you can send it away/go to some “experts” who might be able to get at it, although this will be much more expensive. But you probably know all that From the stills you shared a while back, I’m definetly anticipating Nebraska, so I hope you can pull it back out of the rubble.

    • Well it was my own damn fault for trying to do a partition expansion while I had this project sitting on one of the partitions. I know I shouldn’t do things like that but this new software was tempting, so… I am laboriously transferring all the project to another disk – for some reason it is very very slow going – and then will try a few tricks I’ve been told might help open the project. As you can see from the pics of SWIMMING it is devilishly complex – and all that stuff moves. I would hate to have to go back through all that again, but I might have to. Fingers x’d I can re-open it. Live and learn (the same lessons again and again….)

  2. Noting to add on teh hardware disaster front, but on Godard Film Forum has just concluded a run of Made in USA, lovingly restored. This is the one I’d never seen. Wow, what a workout. Blunt, discursive, poetic, frustrating, hilarious, sexy, I need a dvd version so that I can study it at leisure. It puts shame to “indie” filmmaking and their earnest habits. Snap out of it, people! Make some noise!

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