All Entries: June 2015

Provincetown International Film Festival
PIFF 2015 Provincetown, MA
Awards to established and emerging directors
JUNE 17 – 21, 2015 – Provincetown, Massachusetts
Swag (Provincetown Film Festival 2015)
Provincetown Film Festival 2015
Vivian Bresnitz
June 23, 2015
4:14 AM, Ugh. My head dropped back to the pillow while my brain ran through several possible reasons why I didn’t have to actually rise. None of the possibilities were true, not if I wanted to go to the Provincetown International Film Festival in Provincetown, MA and make it to the “PIFF Breakfast with…” series in time…..
Panelist: Michelle Boyaner (Provincetown Film Festival 2015)
Seventeen years ago,  I attended the first Provincetown Film Festival, my first festival ever. I carefully picked out a few select movies because a few were all I could afford. I also didn’t attend any of the related festivities because of the added cost. That remained true for me, still,  years later.  Joshua Selman of Artist Organized Art, recently handed me the fantastic opportunity to write about the 2015 Provincetown International Film Festival and attend it in full. I will be forever grateful. The chance to see so many films in a span of a few days was heady and an incredible treat. Definitely, Bucket List material.
Once on the road,  I arrived in Ptown, as it’s also known,  three hours later (it ordinarily takes 3+3/4 hours without traffic) at the morning event,  almost on time.  Kory Mellon, one of the Film Festival’s Publicity facilitators and Press Contact/Obscure Pictures, greeted me at the door, in order to hand me a ticket for entry.  (Kory was to be key to my peace of mind that week:  He helped with tickets,  my sometimes inane questions,  and last minute changes. I couldn’t believe how he maintained that sweet, calm persona amidst all the flurry. A special shout out goes to him.)
I quietly entered the room, put my things down on a chair and scoped out the people, the food and my first objective. Coffee. Thank God. There’s coffee.
After the Discussion ended,  I raced off to the Sage Inn & Lounge to pick up my Press badge, itinerary, etc., since there hadn’t been enough time beforehand and my heart skipped a beat at the sight. It wasn’t for a famous face: it was for the swag handed to me! And there on a side buffet was yet more food and dessert! This writer/photographer pretended to be cool and matter of fact about it but inside,  I was acknowledging the swoon.  I could get used to this.
Pro (Provincetown Film Festival 2015)
The “Breakfast with…” series occurred each morning of the festival, offering the opportunity to hear directors,  producers, and actors talked about their work, the industry and this particular venue. To quote one director, Andrea Meyerson: “I like to draw people in with humor and then make them cry.”   Michelle Boyaner said, “I can’t die without these stories being told.”  Director, Sebastian Silva expressed an astute observation about the difference between American audiences and others. To paraphrase, “American audiences seem to have higher expectations about being amused. They also have stronger expectations about a movie’s outcome and seem to be less open to surprise.”
Making sure to experience bits of all of the PIFF, a party, talks and certainly as many of the 87 feature-length and short films as I could sanely do in a few days were on the agenda. (I always make a point to see Shorts at film festivals, since they’re not bought nor distributed as “easily” as feature films.) During this 2015 festival, I must say, I saw mostly quite notable films. A few were mediocre, a few even made me wonder why they were there, but largely, I was  moved by what I viewed.
A few of the worthy films I must mention here are LEARNING TO DRIVE (USA, Directed by Isabel Coixet and HBO’s 2015 Audience Award / Best Narrative Feature winner),  RADIATOR (UK, Directed by Tom Browne), PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS (USA, Directed by Jim Strouse.) and BREATHE (France, directed by Mélanie Laurent.)
These feature films are touching, emotional, and/or funny in places, and well done. The films are both timeless and current in subject matter, and all had me shedding a tear or two.
Panelists: Andrea Meyerson, Alan Chebot, Michelle Boyaner, Howard Karren
(Provincetown Film Festival 2015)
In LEARNING TO DRIVE, a woman reluctantly challenges herself to push beyond her fears, after being left by her husband. She learns unexpected lessons by and about her teacher, in the process.
RADIATOR is a visceral and tender piece about dealing with aging parents, portraying love, obligation and innate humor.
PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS is such a sweet and ironic slice of life about a man trying to be a good father to his twin girls, navigating the breakup of his marriage and the relationship with his ex-wife.
BREATHE,  based on a best-selling French Young Adult novel, RESPIRE, should definitely come to your local Indie movie house. An iconic presence, the pains and mysteries of adolescence and the power of peer pressure, along with a surprise ending make this movie hypnotic and disturbing.  The John Schlesinger Award, presented to a first time documentary and narrative feature filmmaker went to this film.
Also, a gem of a documentary piece, PACKED IN A TRUNK, (USA, directed by Michelle Boyaner, and  HBO Audience Award / Best Documentary Feature winner)  plays part mystery/part whodunnit (sort of), offers an important missing piece to Provincetown’s rich art history and inadvertently lured me to the Provincetown Art Association Museum (PAAM) to view the discoveries. The musical score is sappy but the movie is a great, true story about love, art, family, prejudice and eery coincidences.
The chance to hear and talk with creative people in the industry ran the gamut from enticing to funny to simply… “interesting”.
Comedic Actress, Jennifer Coolidge, (American Pie, Legally Blonde, Best In Show) was in town to receive the 2015 PIFF Faith Hubley Award for Career Achievement. Faith Hubley, (1924-2001) was an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, actress, artist and animator. Past honorees include Mira Nair and and Debra Winger. In the onstage interview (and on break from theatre work in Boston), Ms.Coolidge said,”My life has gotten much simpler: dogs and friends.”
I could have passed on the Bobcat Goldthwait interview (Filmmaker, former standup comic and 2015 PIFF recipient of the Filmmaker On The Edge Award) with Provincetown  artist in resident and filmmaker, author and PIFF vital, John Waters [who’s work I love].  A bit of the Adolescent [Straight] Male thing going on there, in my opinion.
Later in the week, one of the fun, unplanned “moments” happened with a chance meet and personal discussion with Bryan Horch, a filmmaker involved with IN THE HOLLOW, (USA, Directed by Austin Lee Bunn)  Coming out from the dark room, Bryan asked a few of us who lingered afterwards, our thoughts of a plan to make this film into feature length. The lively talk went on so long the staff was eventually pushing us out the door. This Short, by the way, is a gripping piece, based on the real life case of two women, lovers, hiking the Appalachian trail, decades ago,  the terrifying encounter they experienced in the woods and the historical legislation that came of it.
Ptown pastime (Provincetown Film Festival 2015)
Perusing the Festival’s schedule initially,  I happily noticed that there were a higher number of films directed by women than I’d seen before at this [or other] film festival(s.) On reading the results for the 2015 PIFF Awards*, announced on the last day,  I estimated that about 75% of the Awards went to women filmmakers! Quite impressive and encouraging.
A side note about my assignment as a badge-wearing Press participant: The first day I attended, I took photographs with an older Canon digital camera and used my iPhone for note-taking. I was aware of the professional photographer present, moving about utilizing some of the best and latest equipment.  On my third day there,  just before I arrived at another of the Breakfast discussions,  my camera inexplicably broke down.
With no other choice,  I photographed with my iPhone for the remaining time.  I was wearing a Press badge, shooting with an iPhone in front of my face.  (Don’t get me wrong: I think iPhones are great for photography. In fact, I bought the 6plus especially for its camera. )
Wearing a Press badge and shooting with an iPhone when there’s an established Pro nearby sporting the big girls’ equipment: a humbling experience. Note to self: Always bring an extra camera body!
Great or even good films can take us away or take us inside. Inside ideas, inside of feelings, inside others, inside ourselves. We are spoken to and we, sometimes, talk back. This visual medium draws me in like a multi-sensory hypnotic stimulant; like a delicious, intoxicating drug.  Only, I remember things later.
Having been saturated and sated with four (out of five) days of the 17th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival, here’s what I learned, besides Camera Equipment 101:  If you have a passion for film,  put your pennies together and take the time to fully attend a film festival.  DO IT.  If you love movies. If you DO movies. For an aspiring filmmaker or any other kind of film/video/photography Creative, this could be as important as supporting your own [likely under-funded] work. The excitement, passion, camaraderie, talent and support are inspiring. And, it’s way fun.
Credentials (Provincetown Film Festival 2015)
The 18th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival will be held June 15-19, 2016.
*Other Award winners:
- HBO Short Documentary Award: THE FACE OF UKRAINE: CASTING OKSANA BAIUL directed by Kitty Green
- Jury Award / Best Narrative Short Film: MYRNA THE MONSTER directed by Ian Samuels
- Jury Award / Best Animated Short Film: SYMPHONY NO. 42 directed by Réka Bucsi
- Jury Award / Best New England Short Film: AWESOME_FCK directed by Isaak James
- Jury Award / Student Short Film: SHARE directed by Pippa Bianco
The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) is an annual film festival founded in 1999 and held in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The festival presents an array of American and international narrative features, documentaries and short films for five days in June of each year. With panel discussions and special programs such as Youth and Diversity and Portuguese film sidebars, the festival makes a special effort to honor and incorporate the unique cultural, historic, and artistic character of Provincetown with its thriving art colony, its large gay and lesbian population, its original Native American and Portuguese heritage, and its congenial scenic setting. In keeping with its edgy mission, the festival often presents films about countercultural figures, such as John Lennon, Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, and writer William S. Burroughs. The festival is a program of the Provincetown Film Society, the non-profit parent organization which also operates the year-round Waters Edge Cinema (formerly known as Whaler’s Wharf Cinema), a year-round Provincetown movie theater presenting what it considers the best in current independent and international cinema.
Vivian Bresnitz appears here as a correspondent for Artist Organized Art, she lives in Western Massachusetts also working as a Licensed Massage Therapist.  Vivian has been in practice for over 20 years. Her business is Well Being Therapeutic Massage.


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 6/23/15 01:58:17 PM

an Interview with Larry Miller
Frieze Art Fair, New York City 2015
May 27, 2015, New York City
The Frieze Projects 2015 Tribute to the Flux-Labyrinth (1976/2015) organized by Cecilia Alemani. The original Flux-Labyrinth, organized by George Maciunas, was realized in 1976 at the Akademie der Kunste in Berlin. This video by Clara Joy includes images by Mark Bloch and video clips by Clara Joy.
Interview: Larry Miller on the Flux-Labyrinth
By Mark Bloch
May 27, 2015
There have been only two “official” versions of the Flux-Labyrinth according to Fluxus artist Larry Miller but its history is becoming maze-like itself.
The first incarnation of the project was in writing. Fluxus founder George Maciunas’ 1974 “Preliminary Instruction Drawing for Flux-Maze” provided the overview for subsequent manifestations. A January 1975 proposal for the “Flux-Maze at Rene Block Gallery” on West Broadway in Manhattan never happened but since Block owned the rights, the Flux-Maze eventually did become the September 1976 “Flux-Labyrinth” as part of Berlin’s 26th Arts Festival at the Academie Der Kunst, designed by Maciunas and Miller. Joe Jones, Ay-O, Robert Watts, Yoshi Wada and others were also listed as collaborators. Miller has written, “From September 5 to October 17 of that year, thousands of participants made their way through the extensive maze of puzzling and obstacle-laden corridors. Based on ideas by numerous Fluxus artists, doors, walls and floors were altered to make passage very challenging.”
Two previous Fluxus projects, Ay-O’s rainbow staircase “Fluxfest Presentation” in November 1965 and “Portrait of John Lennon As A Young Cloud,” a maze with eight doors built by Maciunas for a May 1970 “Fluxfest Presentation for John Lennon & Yoko Ono” are listed as pre-cursors to the project in the “Fluxus Codex”. Also deserving of a mention was Maciunas’ “Flux-Combat between the Attorney General of New York,” an elaborate door-related installation designed to protect Maciunas’ residence from unwanted intruders in 1975-76.
Miller, who worked with Maciunas from 1969 to the latter’s death from pancreatic cancer in 1978, was asked to re-create the first Flux-Labyrinth from photographs and other documentation at the Walker Art Center in 1993 in Minneapolis for the exhibition “In the Spirit of Fluxus.” Miller has explained it “included the addition of elements from artists such as Geoffrey Hendricks and Alison Knowles, which were not realized in 1976.”
The next “unofficial” manfestation of Flux-Labyrinth was a “mini-labyrinth” at A1 Art Interactive in Cambridge, Massachusetts as part of the show “Do-It Yourself Fluxus” organized by Midori Yoshimoto. Miller created a plan for an “abbreviated” version “that replicated nearly one fourth of the 1976 installation.”
Finally, this month’s Frieze Art Fair on Randall Island in New York City featured a “re-creation” or “homage” to the original Flux-Labyrinth but due to previous commitments, Miller was unable to participate or provide guidance, so this latest Flux-Labyrinth became the first incarnation without it. It did feature input from Flux-artists Hendricks and Knowles who were in the 1993 version, and several recreations of designs by Maciunas, Nam June Paik and others by the Frieze staff who were careful to bill their labyrinth as a “tribute” as they did with other projects in previous years including FOOD, the artist-run restaurant project by Gordon Matta-Clark.
I spoke to Larry Miller by telephone with the hope of uncovering some of the ideas behind the Flux-Labyrinth. —Mark Bloch
MB: So you were involved in previous Flux-Labyrinths?
LM: Me basically doing work in the shadow of the great George Maciunas. The first was in the Berlin Flux-Labyrinth at the Academie Der Kunst in 1976. I went there about two and a half weeks before. I remade it at the Walker. I did the whole thing again in 1993 from photographs at the Walker. An approximately 900 or 1000 square foot thing.
Can you reconstruct “Relache” from photographs? You can probably do the 1942 Surrealist Exhibition with the string and the upside down umbrellas. You could do a decent version of that based on the photographs.
MB: You have said that the Flux-Labyrinth is a giant Fluxbox. You cited Maciunas’ concept of Flux-Vaudeville.
LM: The labyrinth stands for the puzzle. The puzzle, the maze is kind of a space-time translation of finding the location of where you are. Situating yourself. Where do I stand on this? Where am I?
MB: A meta-GPS system?
LM: A similar question, an archetypical question is, “What is consciousness?” Where the hell are we? They don’t even know that in the Congress of the United States. They don’t know it anywhere. The labyrinth is the most central issue of our era. Global warming. It’s raining thirty inches in Houston. Why is Putin taking over the Crimea? The labyrinth represents that which we do not know. Where the hell are we? This is what makes art so important. Art is something that tells us or gives us some clue of where we might be.
MB: So where are we?
LM: It’s never changed. That question hasn’t changed ever. It’s gotten more deep, there’s more depth and more details.
You look at TV and you see that Houston got 30 inches of rain in one night and eight people are dead. Something is going on. This constitutes the puzzle. The labyrinth is just a puzzle. That’s what consciousness is, a puzzle. Different artists through different ages have tried to physical-ize this… through hedges as a labyrinth or whatever. Taking it one step further, if you accept the idea the labyrinth or maze which has been with us since Stonehenge, if not before… the movement of the stars is a maze… hence the word “amazing….” It’s obvious that the idea of a puzzle… of “the question” idea… of questioning, itself, is a maze, in a very real sense. It is “The Question.”
MB: The age old question…
LM: We’re all wondering… the real question is… what’s going on? What’s happening? What’s at the bottom of this is the labyrinth, the maze, is one of the Jungian archetypes of art. It’s been physical-ized in many ways in history. You have it in “The Shining.” Stanley Kubrick. You have it in any number of movies. You have it in Robert Morris, one of the great artists of our era. You have it throughout the history of art. You have it in Roman times. It is extremely clear that what the labyrinth stands for is the question of “Where are we?”
Alice Aycock did a maze. Robert Morris did a maze. There’s nothing Fluxus about it. The only thing that’s interesting about the Flux-Labyrinth is that it sends it up. It makes, instead of just a mental exercise or a physical geography trip, it makes it… it expands it. If you look at the George Maciunas’ chart, his “Diagram of Historical Development of Fluxus and Other 4 Dimentional, Aural, Optic, Olfactory, Epithelial and Tactile Art Forms,” that was why I said that the Flux-Labyrinth was essentially a giant Fluxbox. Because when we did it we were trying to engage all these aspects of experience— aural, optic, olfactory, epithelial and tactile.
While I was, in the meantime, trying to mitigate the danger that George put into it, as precautions. He had no rails! He wouldn’t let anyone in because the elephant shit had been stolen! I don’t want to speak for George nor can I or should I but it was meant to be a trip through the inner sanctum of… for lack of better words… the Flux-Labyrinth was a kind of existential substitute for 20th Century experience vis a vis art. It’s that simple. It’s a giant Fluxbox of “physical experience.”
MB: An object to be played with? A game?
LM: What I think is if you look at George’s chart… the aural, optic, olfactory, epithelial and tactile—all the senses—the fundamental idea behind the Flux-Labyrinth is Maciunas was taking that essential idea of the puzzle of consciousness—in my mind, my projection—and trying to translate it in basic 20th Century terms which to me were existential. To say existential is to say concrete. To say concrete is to say physical sensation, something stimulates the senses. If you look at his chart and the title it will become clear to you. George Maciunas was basically an existentialist trying to work things out in these terms which lead to the word, “Concrete,” which was so important to him. You must experience. Concrete experience—for humana, at least—assumes consciousness, physical awareness, mind-body feedback. The mind body feedback we take for granted.
MB: Why is it a send up?
LM: The send up is essentially Buddhist. We are fools and to know that you are a fool is a send up. To know you are mocking experience, mocking phony intellectualism—a true wise person knows they are not wise. It is only that kind of person who can send up themselves to this awareness. That “C’mon, we all know this is bullshit.”
It’s laughable, I think that’s what George understood. It is, in the end, laughable. Certainly Buddhist wise men know this. Did you ever hear an interview with the Dalai Lama? You can put it in other terms: you are taking yourself too seriously… the fear of death… all these things, in the end, are reductive to the existential reality of it. It is simply what it is and there’s no more mystery than that. I think that’s what the wise men have to say: “What’s the big deal?”
MB: So is it ironic this was being presented at an art fair?
LM: Some might say the art market at its worst is seeded in an urge to simply profit on the human need for meaning. Reverence and mystery and questioning go into making serious art. There is some deep-pitted emotional urge in true art. In the end, as I keep saying in various ways, it’s all about the search for meaning. That is the prize at the end of the labyrinth, that’s the goal, that’s what drives people forward through the thorns and thickets. That’s what people want: “meaning.” Meaning is the quest of consciousness.
Elon Musk the head of Tesla Motors and CEO of Space-X and other companies and Stephen Hawkings both were recently quoted as saying the greatest danger to the human race is artificial intelligence. Like HAL in “2001” or Skynet in the “Terminator.” Ultimately what they are saying is artificial intelligence—I deduce from what they say—what people eventually want is sense and that’s what constitutes an interesting word. What makes sense? Sense means that which we feel, that which we think we know, that which computes, that which fits our intelligence such that it has evolved. I think that is why people like Musk and Hawking fear artificial intelligence: because it may not make sense anymore. It will be beyond the human experience. The Flux-Labyrinth, meanwhile, is about sense. About all the senses as George conceived of them. The totality of your physical experience, not just cognitive challenges, not just physical challenges. All of those kinds of challenges a body would encounter in a kind of gauntlet.
MB: As in “throw down the gauntlet?”
LM: The real Flux-Labyrinth is a gauntlet for the entire sensory apparatus for the human mind-body experience. In the end it’s about not just feeling in a simple sense of feeling but in the deeper sense of feeling, what is it that is the essence of our humanity? If we don’t ask ourselves that question, we’re going to go extinct. I seriously believe that. I believe that art and particularly music, art language, music are the things that define us as a species and distinguish us from even dolphins and whales, these things at the center of consciousness. Art is about, “How conscious can you get?”
Larry Miller ( is an intermedia artist whose work has been presented extensively in global venues since his initial solo exhibition in New York in 1970. He was active in the development of multi-media and performance-based works in SoHo’s earliest alternative spaces, and was associated with developing new configurations in the period that gained critical currency in being described as “installation art”. Knives (1973), his renowned installation of found objects and photographs regarding homeless men on New York’s Bowery, was included in New York ca. 1975, an exhibition of defining works from the period at David Zwirner Gallery, New York in 2001. Miller has been associated with the international Fluxus group of artists since 1969. In addition to his numerous original compositions which have joined the collective’s catalog of works , he has been active as an interpreter of the “classic” scores – bringing the group’s works to a wider public and attracting media coverage such as the worldwide CNN coverage of Off Limits exhibit at Newark Museum, 1999. Larry Miller’s work has been exhibited and performed in museums, galleries, and institutions around the world, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim Museum, The New Museum, Gallery LeLong, Stux Gallery, and Emily Harvey Gallery in New York; Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; La Biennale di Venezia; Akademie Der Kunste, Daadgalerie and Bonner Kunstverein, Germany; Ecole Nationale Des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and other venues in Europe, Korea, Japan, Australia, Canada and the USA. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections. He has published texts and videos on art and Fluxus artists — most notably, Interview With George Maciunas, the group founder, which has been screened internationally and translated into numerous languages. In 1994, he co-curated the first Fluxus Online website. Exhibitions related to genetics include: Paradise Now: Picturing the Genetic Revolution, Exit Art, NYC, 2000 (touring U.S. through 2004); From Code to Commodity: Genetics and Visual Art, New York Academy of Science, NYC, 2003; Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, 2002 to 2005), Codes and Identity, Clifford Art Gallery, Colgate University, New York, 2003, How Human: Life in the Post Genome Era, International Center of Photography, New York, 2003 and DNA[do not assume], Bowling Green State University, Ohio 2005. Miller has received individual artists fellowships and exhibition grants from the New York State Foundation for the Arts, Creative Artists Program and the National Endowment for the Arts. A native of Missouri, Miller earned his MFA degree at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1970.
Mark Bloch (American, born 1956, is recognized as being one of a handful of early converts from mail art to online communities.In 1989, Bloch began his experimental foray into the digital space when he founded Panscan, part of the Echo NYC text-based teleconferencing system, the first online art discussion group in New York City. Panscan lasted from 1990 to 1995. Following the death of Ray Johnson in 1995, Bloch left Echo and began a twenty-year research project on Communication art and Johnson, and wrote several texts on him that were among the earliest to appear online and elsewhere. Bloch and writer/editor Elizabeth Zuba brought together an exploration of Ray Johnson’s innovative interpretations of ‘the book’” at the Printed Matter New York Art Book Fair in 2014 at MoMA PS1. Bloch has since acted as a resourcefor a new generation of Johnson and Fluxus followers on fact-finding missions.

By Mark Bloch


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 6/03/15 03:11:46 PM


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