Sunday, January 31, 2010

The xx

The xx has so many good songs that I had trouble deciding which song to post. But after knowing that Stars hasn't been released as a single (Crystalised, Basic Space, Islands, VCR have been released as singles), I think it's quite worth the recommendation.

Stars is slightly slower in beat than all the other singles and is perhaps the moodiest of all the songs in the album.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Love-Hate Relationship with my Lomo

I love my Lomo camera for its dramatic colors, lighting, and its old feel. The photos that come out seem to have been taken during another era or developed ages ago.

I hate my Lomo camera for its cost and surprises. It costs around $3 for each roll of film and another $4 to develop the film onto a CD. A couple times the films came out blank probably because I did not set up the film correctly. While in Europe, I had the wrong ISO setting on for a couple of my ISO 100 films. Sometime during my use, the ISO setting was turned to ISO 800 for my ISO 100 films. As a result, too little light went into the camera. A lot of times I would forget to set up the manual focus resulting in many wasted frames.

But sometimes the Lomo produces phenomenal photos that are incomparable to unedited digital photos or even heavily edited digital photos. There is just something pure and real about film photography.

London Eye, London

Louvre, Paris

Helsinki Central Railway Station, Helsinki

Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen

Bascilia of St. Mary of Health, Venice

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Auteur Theory

A few people have asked me what does the name of my blog mean. Auteur's Theories is a play on the film term auteur theory (auteur means author in French). Auteur theory came about in the 1960s when American film critic Andrew Sarris translated the following idea into English:

"The German term Autorenfilm is, however, also associated with a more polemical issue regarding questions of authorship. In this respect, some writers for the screen started campaigning for their rights to these so-called Autorenfilm. That is, they staked their claim not just to the script but to the film itself. In other words, the film was to be judged as the work of the author rather than the person responsible for directing it. In France the concept of auteur (in the 1920s) comes from the other direction, namely that the filmmaker is the auteur--irrespective of the origin of the script." -- Susan Hayward, Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts

I initially started this blog as a way for me to review, recommend, and document the films I watch. Thus, I wanted the name to be related to cinema. Having heard and learned a little bit of the term--auteur theory--I tried to make it my own. I made auteur possessive and theory plural. To me, the title of my blog means that the things I write are my theories whether it is about films or not. And as the author of this blog, I am also the auteur. I think the title fits comfortably today at the top of my blog as my blog has evolved to encompass much more than just about film. My theories now touches upon art, traveling, and life.

Helsinki, December 2009

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cai Guo-Qiang

If we have ever talked about the type of art I like, I have probably said Asian art is inferior to Western art. Asian art, to me, is inferior because Asian artists lack individuality. Chinese paintings (you know those ink, scroll paintings) all look the same; they all seem to be painted by the same person or produced from a factory. In a way, Chinese paintings are like the manuscripts of the Middle Ages. The only Asian artist that I can name off the top of my head is probably Hiroshige who I know from studying Western art.

Last week, however, I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. They are currently exhibiting the work of Cai Guo-Qiang who I had never heard, but should have, before last week. Cai Guo-Qiang has exhibited at the Solomon Guggenheim, Tate Modern, Sackler Gallery, the Met, and won at the Venice Biennale. His large-scale installation works are unusual, provocative, and expressively beautiful. I got the same feeling at Cai's exhibition as when I visited the Saatchi Gallery.

Inopportune: Stage One