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Voom Portraits
October 5, 2010 10:18 PM   Subscribe

Voom Portraits
Robert Downey Jr. | Johnny Depp | Winona Ryder
Ivory | Willem Dafoe | Princess Caroline of Monaco
Isabella Rossellini | Kool | Steve Buscemi | Samson
Boris | Brad Pitt | William Pope L.
posted by carsonb (46 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite

 
[favorite added ...hard]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:21 PM on October 5, 2010


...what are the objects on Mount Winona that look like speculums wed to corkscrews? No matter, I need to go make a speculum wed to a corkscrew...
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:24 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


willem dafoe scared me, scared me bad
posted by Danila at 10:40 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going to find a way to make a loop of the Steve Buscemi one as my screen saver. That will keep people out of my office when I'm away from the computer. Or maybe I'll just leave it running behind me when I'm advising students and eventually free up my office hours.
posted by bibliowench at 10:44 PM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Robert Wilson was also involved in the great Black Rider musical, with Tom Waits and William S. Burroughs.
posted by benzenedream at 11:49 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not smart enough to have an emotional reaction to this stuff.
posted by Ritchie at 12:06 AM on October 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I'm with you, Ritchie.
posted by crunchland at 3:29 AM on October 6, 2010


Oh, look, there I am. The one with no patience to sit through these on the off chance that something interesting will happen.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:12 AM on October 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Who knew "crazy homeless guys" had personal trainers? And Robert Downey, Jr. was way scarier than Willem Dafoe.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:16 AM on October 6, 2010


Or maybe I'll just leave it running behind me when I'm advising students and eventually free up my office hours.

Can't wait to see how many hot peppers that one gets on ratemyprofessors.com.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:18 AM on October 6, 2010


I kind of want to take all of them and splice them into one video to play on my TV as background for my Halloween party. They don't seem like something that should actually be watched for 4-10 minutes straight, but are perfect as creepy mood setters.
posted by explosion at 4:36 AM on October 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, look, there I am. The one with no patience to sit through these on the off chance that something interesting will happen.

Oh, you're not the only one.
posted by marxchivist at 4:40 AM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, I really miss Voom. Monsters HD was probably the greatest cable channel ever.

Also, holy hell, these are creepy.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:27 AM on October 6, 2010


Does anything happen?
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 5:37 AM on October 6, 2010


Haha you guys are funny. It's right there in the title: Portrait.
posted by muddgirl at 6:05 AM on October 6, 2010


explosion, that was *exactly* what I thought.
(and surely, there must be a way....)
posted by squasha at 6:16 AM on October 6, 2010


I'm not cool enough to enjoy these.
posted by bardophile at 6:16 AM on October 6, 2010


Yeah, what the fuck is this art stuff anyway? Something for nerds and four-eyes I bet is what I saw on a cable programming sitcom in the early 1990s.

Does anything happen?

I love when little kids say that looking at a sunset.
posted by setanor at 6:16 AM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not too cool enough to enjoy these.
posted by setanor at 6:17 AM on October 6, 2010


Wait if I'm too cool to enjoy these does that make me a hipster?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:46 AM on October 6, 2010


I think Monty Python said it best:

"Client (Cleese): Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.

(pause)

Owner (Palin): Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that bird down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent 'em apart with its beak, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Client: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!"

posted by Mike D at 7:15 AM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Pretentio-Vision!
posted by w0mbat at 7:51 AM on October 6, 2010


These are like the portraits at hogwarts.
posted by pwally at 8:01 AM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, look, there I am. The one with no patience to sit through these on the off chance that something interesting will happen.

How long have you been on the web that you don't know how to click ahead on the time bar of a video player?

Wait if I'm too cool to enjoy these does that make me a hipster?

A hipster with ADD, perhaps.
posted by aught at 8:31 AM on October 6, 2010


I didn't care for them much either. I'll admit Dita Van Teese diverted my attention.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:39 AM on October 6, 2010


Von
posted by mrgrimm at 8:39 AM on October 6, 2010


Reminds me of Clayton Cubitt's "Long Portraits".
posted by ColdChef at 8:55 AM on October 6, 2010


Gods, I have a crush on Isabella Rossellini.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:29 AM on October 6, 2010


These are creepy as all hell.
posted by duvatney at 9:29 AM on October 6, 2010


Why are people so proud that they can't be bothered to think about art? Are this many people really that used to having explicit meaning handed to them constantly? Do this many people really think that explicit meaning exists in everything?

Doesn't anyone remember Andy? Spoiler: He eats the hamburger.

These are pretty awesome. Some of them (Defoe) are just sort of totally inexplicable to me, but at the same time the ones where I've got a sort of conceptual foothold (in particular, Johnny Depp is posed in reference to the Man Ray photograph of Duchamp as Rrose Selavy) the foothold makes everything else that much more inexplicable. Is Depp's public persona the same sort of semi-sensical facade? Maybe... Buscemi's portrait is definitely playing on his public persona. Is this whole thing in response to Duchamp's (now known to be) custom made readymades? Is he just fucking with me? I don't know, but that's the point.
posted by cmoj at 9:34 AM on October 6, 2010


Why are people so proud that they can't be bothered to think about art?

Your 2010, ladies and gentlemen.
posted by setanor at 9:41 AM on October 6, 2010


Well, I was all set to be a-hating on these and to snarkily declare myself a mystified philistine and then something strange happened. I full-screened 'em, tuned my snark gland out and just watched. And I started to like how it felt. A touch of Lynch - especially with the music on the Buscemi one - and that odd sense of mildly acid-tinged minor disturbances in the perception. A few disturbing suggestions here and there. Nothing too obvious. Almost hypnotic. And so I, a scientifically-minded, artistically club-footed artistic ignoramus declare these videos worthy things.

I had a similar reaction when I saw a Bill Viola video instillation.. thing... whatever... at the Guggenheim a few years ago. The transition from "Oh fuck, here comes 'Art'" to "Wow... cool" is very pleasant.
posted by Decani at 11:02 AM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Years ago, my friends and I went to a performance at Wolf Trap that featured the music of Phillip Glass and digital art projected on the screen up by the stage. At first glance, the images appeared to be static, but if you allowed your mind to wander, and then looked back again after a few minutes, you realized that the images changed ever so slowly, like the things in these links. (I just did a google search to remind me of some of the details... the name of the performance was "Monsters of Grace.")

Two details of the performance stand out in my memory. One was that as we were wandering around the park-like grounds of Wolf Trap, near the concession stands, we actually crossed paths with the maestro Phillip Glass himself, but were either too shy, too starstruck, or too stoned to actually speak with the man. The other was the number of oldsters in the audience who must have been expecting something resembling a real concert-like experience that created a constant stream up the aisles, leaving the auditorium all throughout the performance, sometimes shouting expletives as they left.

The saddest part of it all is that looking at the links on this post, I suddenly realize what all the cursing was about.
posted by crunchland at 11:23 AM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


April Fools!
posted by carsonb at 12:57 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


O_o
posted by not_on_display at 3:31 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


crunchland, I saw that same show (albeit in Fort Worth). That was also Robert Wilson, but wasn't a very good example of either his nor Glass' work. My most distinct memory of that show was the giant bare foot that came stomping down at one point. I couldn't help but think of Monty Python. Maybe that was the point, but I hope not.
posted by nushustu at 3:38 PM on October 6, 2010


This and Bill Viola have in common their ability to evoke our sense of the passage of time, rather than distract from it. (which is probably unbearable to those accustomed to escapism.)
posted by KITTYFLOWER at 8:29 PM on October 6, 2010


Yeah, that's a good way to put it KITTYFLOWER. I liked the portraits in part because it felt like I was spending some time with the subjects (even through the staging presented in the human portraits). I wondered if they had felt the same way knowing they'd be stared at calmly, if the idea of the viewer there, watching, had crossed their mind while they posed.
posted by carsonb at 8:58 PM on October 6, 2010


which is probably unbearable to those accustomed to escapism

I am not accustomed to escapism and am fully prepared to spend some time to engage with a work of art. I still don't like these portraits.
posted by marxchivist at 3:48 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what is more unusual: these videos or that someone would develop a crush on Isabella Rosselini based on that clip.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:20 PM on October 7, 2010


Also: I desperately want a Rod Serling intro over that Boris clip.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:21 PM on October 7, 2010


if the idea of the viewer there, watching, had crossed their mind while they posed.

Ummm...they're all actors. Is that enough of a clue?

I actually liked what I saw of these, I'm just not going to sit through 8 minutes of near motionlessness accompanied by almost-music. Because I want a punch line. And I can tell there isn't one already, just by watching for a minute.

If I saw these as an installation, I'd be willing to spend the time to sink into them. Here at home? Not so much.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 8:31 PM on October 7, 2010


Ummm...they're all actors. Is that enough of a clue?

Ummm... why the 'ummm...'? Frankly I don't like your tone of type, young man.

I'm not gonna tell you why you should like these, only what I find engaging about them. If you're going to fault me for what I feel and how I react to art, then it only comes down to a matter of taste and there's not much to say about that except every one's but mine is shitty and offensive.

Acting is different than posing. Posing for one of these is different than posing for a still portrait. It's this weird space between familiar milieux. The subjects are there like they normally are on screen—visibly alive—but also like they'd be memorialized in a still, in a magazine, in their yearbook, wherever. But not just for the subject—the posing is different for the audience too. You get all of the nonverbal subconscious cues that humans exhibit and interpret; the rise and fall of breath, blinking & other eye movement, all of the little things that make face to face interaction so intricate and intimate (and good actors... good). And sure, yeah, that's one thing and fairly easy to set aside when you're strolling a gallery and looking forward to dessert, but another level of weird and awkward when you're sitting at home in front of the computer in boxer shorts. If that crossed any of the subjects' minds, I hope I can share that with them through a flicker of their gaze or a quickening of breath or some other aspect of the portraits. Even if I wind up imagining it, that level of shared intimacy makes these portraits fascinating to me.

Oh, and animals are just fun to watch. How do they keep that panther looking at the camera the whole time?
posted by carsonb at 10:15 PM on October 7, 2010


I'm sort of sorry you took offense, but the question, "Does an actor in front of a camera ever consider the idea that someone will look at what he's doing?" seemed as absurd to me as "Does a cook in a kitchen ever consider the idea that someone will eat the food?"

I liked your answer, so I'm not really sorry I offended you. I just said that for effect.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:03 PM on October 7, 2010


I think Monty Python said it best

Monty Python always says it best. Even if it's just a giant animated hand bitch-slapping a slightly perplexed cow.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:04 PM on October 10, 2010


There were, in part, to show off the quality of high-definition television, so it's kinda weird that the YouTube clips aren't in HD.
posted by nbergus at 10:26 PM on October 10, 2010


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