— O.M.

Out of the whole wide world, it’s sometimes the most remote places that are the most remarkable. I have spent the last week on the eastern coasts of the great Australian island of Tasmania, and it’s probably not too far-fetched when I say, that it’s one of the most amazing places on the “small blue dot”, that I have ever been to.

The Bay of Fires

We were welcomed by a rainy grey sky, which nonetheless suited the windy shores of Dolphin Sands, that we were headed to from Launceston airport. We were staying directly on the 9-mile beach, which dominates the Great Oyster Bay and the landscape of the eastern Tasmanian shores.

The surroundings are without a doubt breathtaking, and to anyone who hasn’t been interested in this area before, it will come as a pleasant surprise.
The atmosphere obviously varies depending on the weather. While the windy & rainy days supplied the Oyster bay and it’s dramatic sand dunes with a impeccably poetic feel, the strong shining Tasmanian sun revealed the full beauty of the island.

We took the “Great Eastern Drive”, that stretches from Hobart all the way to St. Helens point in the north-east corner. The sights on the way were incredible: The black swans roaming the lagoons of the Scamander conservation area, the incredible windy beaches – including the stunning Lagoons Beach and the Binalong Bay of Fires. All of them absolutely unforgettable.
On the way back, one can stop at the Devil’s Corner cellar door and enjoy the “once-in-a-lifetime” grand view of the Great Oyster Bay and the surrounding lagoons.

I cannot stress enough, how incredibly beautiful these natural wonders are. It seems as if Tasmania was forgotten for a while and is now being slowly discovered again. While there is always a slight worry hovering over this land, that is could be subject to a destructive touristic invasion, it is evident, that the people of Tasmania have taken good care of this land, and that (so far) it has been greatly preserved for the future generations to see.

When you walk up the Hazzards – the mountains overviewing the Wineglass bay – you get to witness one of the great reveals of this forgotten gem. Catching glimpses of the Oyster bay through the trees, you ultimately mount to a lookout that reveals the wonderful panorama of the Wineglass bay, Mt. Freycinet, the lagoons and the striking beauty of the Tasman Sea. A truly special treat.

Tasman based British writer Nicholas Shakespeare quoted the 19the century premiere ruler of Iceland, Jorgen Jorgensen, whou could’t contain himself upon arrival to Tasmania: “Views impossible for the most luxuriant imagination to conceive  more lovely within the whole circle of the creation”

Shakespeare himself was amazed by the incredible nature, and decided to settle in the magnificent Dolphin Sands. Describing so in this witty & entertaining paragraph:

“…but what I saw defined me. It was where I wanted to be.
When my father learned that I intended to sink my savings in a two-bedroomed beach-house at the end of the world, he flew 14.000 miles from England to restrain me. Not long afterwards, I discovered him on the sand. His eyes were nailed to the horizon and there tears in them.
‘I. Have. Never. Been. Anywhere. More. Beautiful”

There is no way I could disagree with Shakespeare’s father. It is without a doubt, that Tasmania is home to such natural beauties, that only the human eye can truly capture. No technology, not the cleanest lens, can ever transcend the stunning theatrics of the Tasmanian land.
The land and the shores, the oceans and the seas. The stunning mountains and the unique scenes.

It’s a hidden gem, worth discovering.

 

 

 

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The "1984" commercial for "Macintosh". Directed by Ridley Scott.

I have just got off a 13-hour long direct flight from Dubai to Sydney. Together with the connecting 6-hour flight, it was an excruciatingly long experience, but luckily it was operated by a high-quality airline which, of course, is a good companion for a long-haul like this. However, this short elaboration will not be about airliners. It will be about people and their expectations on what “being entertained” actually means.

The reason I am even stopping to type these words is only a side-effect of this homeland journey. On a long flight like these, every seat of the enormous airplane is equipped with an in-seat entertainment centre,  usually offering a variety of movies, tv shows, video games and etc. I looked around, just to observe the other passengers in the cabin, and I discovered (rather unsurprisingly) that all these people were obsessively drooling over the screens in front of them, being fed with a huge portion of new-age passive entertainment. Practically everyone, apart from the lovely gentleman next to me (who was happy with only his little book, an occasional bite and some coffee – a very fine man, I must say), everyone was hypnotically attached to their screens. Quite an orwellian sight, one could say.

There were families with children, old & young travellers, and many others. I was most interested in a family sitting right in front of me – a father, mother and a teenage son – they barely exchanged any words during the flight. They were all stuck to their screens, reenacting the classic “couch & TV” family scene. The american dream, where all you need to do is just sit down and let the media force-feed content down your throat. One then seems to slowly lose certain values, and transcend to a screen-induced “vegetative state of existence”. The brain leaves the body, as it seems no longer needed.

That’s what modern entertainment does. It effects our consciousness and limits our independence. Social guidelines and conventions are no longer implemented and passed through education and institutions, but rather through mass-medial forms such as television and social media. We are no longer encouraged to think and be challenged while being entertained. An intelectual challenge is no longer a desired effect for the modern man.

Ultimately it was a single observation that struck the core: The father of this family was watching a cartoon. A cartoon that was probably only intended for five-year-old children. That, indeed, shows a prime example of what we are facing:
There obviously & unfortunately is no more need for intellectual challenges. We have given up. We are no longer looking to exceed ourselves – and that, in any case, is critical.

People are becoming helpless hordes and yet America still sees the television as a holy altar. Where do we go from here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The start of 2016 is proving to be a very unpleasant rollercoaster ride for the world of music. After the passings of Scott Weiland, Natalie Cole and Lemmy Kilmister, yet another great legend has joined the great gig in the sky: The Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, Spaceman, the pioneer of creativity and imagination David Bowie has passed following an 18-month lasting battle with cancer.

 

I was only just unlocking my eyes to a rainy morning in Prague, when my phone alerts me with a breaking news message: “Music legend David Bowie has died”. A shock runs through my body and suddenly the world has gone dark.

You see, David Bowie had a special place in me – being an older soul amongst my millenial friends I would listen to quite an amount of “older” music. Let it be The Beatles, Elton John, my piano idol Billy Joel or Tom Waits, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and others. Amongst them the most important music influence in my coming of age must have been Velvet Underground (their album with Nico) and the duke himself David Bowie. When you’re a teen-something running around a medieval city like Prague, born on the other side of the world and seeking creative excitement in this peculiar society, you will probably take inspiration from something that clearly counter-acts the world around you. Even though that would be definition of a rebelious teenager anywhere around the world, in a country like this the impact is even larger and nontheless important.

I grew up in artistic surroundings – my mother an actress and my father a former theater critic and director. The world was an exciting place to discover, and I was always taught to stay unique and not to fall before the negative factors that surround the modern world. “Don’t expect anything from anyone. You yourself, your personality and character is the greatest gift you could ever have” – those were the words I heard so often, and helped me through an upbringing in the cold, closed and envious enviroment of a central European nation.

You probably know, by now, where Bowie comes in. When I first discovered Ziggy Stardust, when I first heard “Life on Mars” or “Heroes” and when I first saw “Velvet Goldmine”, I was amazed. A whole new world opened, and I soon realised why the kids of the 70s idolised this persona so massively. He was the prince of curiosity, the rebelious character that showed a whole following of outsiders that you can be whatever you ever wanted to be. The infinite amount of invention was transpiring. He showed the world a gentle side of irreverance that was so sought for by anyone who ever found themselves lost in identity or in how to stay true to their dreams in a world that never favoured the outcasts.

Bowie’s artistic freedom, passion, invention and timeless beauty will never fade. His legacy lives inside many souls and can never die. I feel incredibly lucky to say, that I witnessed the life of a legend. An absolute, unforgettable and incredibly inspiring legend.

My love cannot express how much you ment to me. Thank you for everything, Ziggy.

Farewell.

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DJ Tom Lodge in the tiny Caroline studio on board the Mi Amigo in 1966.It’s been a great year for music. Selecting a collection of the best albums, in an objective manner, would probably be too much of a task for a single person, although music magazines call them out every year – While Rolling Stone and Pitchfork selected Kendrick Lamar’s  “To Pimp A Butterfly”, NME and Stereogum called out Grimes’s “Art Angels” as the record of the year. But at least a very subjective list is called for. Just or the sake of sorting this year out – here is my top 10 albums of 2015:

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James Bay Chaos and the CalmThe new-age UK songwriter wonderboy James Bay seems to be breaking grounds with his 2015 debut album “Chaos and the Calm”. The critic’s choice at the 2015 BRIT Awards has scooped 3 Grammy nominations fro 2016 and his heading high after supporting Taylor Swift and Hozier on their 2014 and 2015 tours. That’s what you call kickstarting a career.

But most importantly, there definitely is reason to why this record is so anticipated. You don’t need much time to realise that you’re listening to an unusually crafted piece of music; James Bay’s “Chaos and the Calm” includes a number phenomenal tunes and potential indie-pop and fold-rock anthems. Some of then incredibly catchy, especially the Nutini-style “If You Ever Want To Be In Love” and the hit single “Hold Back The River”. And some of them just pure beauty – the folky melancholic “Move Together” and “Need The Sun To Break” – both great pieces of songwriting, the latter following a dynamic signature of the likes of Biffy Clyro or early Coldplay.

↸ James Bay – “If You Ever Want To Be In Love”

 

James Bay is great representative of the long tradition of great British songwriters – his influences are evident and he has made the perfect step towards taking over and extending the great run. The record also has producer Jaquire King to thank for the success – King has worked with the likes of Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, Editors or the modern radio matadors Of Monsters & Men and City and Colour. He is responsible for some of the best albums of the 21st century – KoL’s “Only by The Night” or Editors’ “The Weight Of Love”. His signature is strongly engraved, and the way he portrays the emotion in James Bay is extraordinary. Overall they have created a wonderful piece of music, and quite possibly started a journey that can catapult Bay to stardom, the only question remaining is if this record can hit enough notes amongst the general audience. The unhealthy modern music industry hasn’t been too kind to these kinds of musicians, but times are slowly changing and one could maybe hope, that this could be the next big thing.

There is no other way then strongly recommending this album – you won’t need to listen twice, but if you don’t listen at all you may end up missing out on one of the best albums of 2015.

5*

↸ James Bay – “Need The Sun To Break”

 

 

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TheLobsterIn a near future, the world may not be such a single-friendly place; Having a partner & living in a relationship may become an absolute mandatory social appearance, and anybody that does not comply may be prosecuted. Eventually be sentenced to life in a body of an animal.

Do you think that escalated quickly? Then you haven’t sen The Lobster yet.
This multi-award winning masterpiece, directed by a talented Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, Alps), takes us to a dystopian future where all singles are transported to a certain “Hotel” where they have 45 days to find a partner, otherwise they are transformed into animals and sent off to the woods.
David (Colin Farell), a middle aged gentleman, that has recently parted ways with his wife and is slowly entering his mid-life crisis, has been placed in the hotel and is starting his journey towards a new relationship. The absurd functionalities, rules and orders of this establishment leave him bemused; he finds himself amongst individuals not looking for love, but rather trying avoid each other as much as possible. The woods surrounding the Hotel are filled with “loners” – single people on the run – and if you manage to shoot one, you get an extra day of love-seeking. David flees the hotel, runs to the woods and becomes one of the “loners”, only to discover that this peculiar group of individuals is run by a set of even more absurd and bizarre rules than the feared hotel…

The Lobster is a movie about love, but created in such an unusual, bizarre and humorous way that no-one has ever done before. It’s dark, shady and absurd but still incredibly funny and entertaining.
The Lobster will make you laugh, but will make you think very hard. But when you understand the dark-humurous nature of this film, you will be amazed at how much this experience has to offer.

Oh, and p.s.: it looks absolutely beautiful.

 

 

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↑ Jeffrey Shaw: PLACE – a user’s manual | 1995 | Linz, Austria
(video credit: jeffreyshawcompendium.com )

“The user interface in this work is a modified video camera. By rotating this camera and using its Zoom and Play buttons, the viewer controls his forwards, backwards and rotational movements through the virtual scene, as well as the rotation of the platform and of the projected image around the circular screen. The projected scenery displays a computer environment with eleven cylinders showing panoramic landscape photographs shot in various locations, including Australia, Japan, La Palma, Bali, France and Germany.”

“These panoramic cylinders are positioned on ground marked with a diagram of the Hebraic ‘Tree of Life’. The placement of each panorama connects the visual identity of its scenery with the connotation of its symbolic location in this diagram. The viewfinder on the camera interface shows an aerial view of the diagram, which is centred dynamically on the viewer’s actual position in the landscape.”

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The way we limit the world’s access to our inner affairs in times of solitude creates a peculiar moment of introspection. We become an unexplored terrain, that is opening it’s gates to a lonely wanderer.

That is for ourselves, lonely explorers, but for the outside world we remain hidden. We become inaccessible.

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stanford_prison_experimentCo se stane, když do provizorního vězení na 2 týdny umístíte 24 vysokoškolských studentů a přidělíte jim role vězňů a vězeňských strážců? Na kolik si své nové role přisvojí? Na kolik budou schopni zneužít moc, která jim byla dána? Nakolik se jedni stanou tyrany, a nakolik se druzí stanou submisivními otroky?
To vše byly otázky, které si pokládal tzv. “Stanfordský vězeňský experiment”.

“Stanfordský vězeňský experiment” se odehrál v srpnu roku 1971 v podzemí chodeb Psychologické fakulty Stanfordské univerzity. Vedl jej doktor Philip Zimbardo, a jeho výsledky byly skutečně neuvěřitelné. Nikdo asi nečekal jak rychle mohou nastalé situace eskalovat, či jak rychle mohou subjekty svým rolím propadat…. 

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Že je Harmony Korine jedním z nejpodivnějších filmových tvůrců této generace, již asi není pochyb. Ale co by tak mohlo vzniknout, když spojíme Korina s producenty VICE a zadaným tématem, které je jen s těží uchopitelné, a které je zkrátka z “jiné dimenze”?

V roce 2012 vydal VICE film s názvem “The Fourth Dimension” – koláž krátkometrážních filmů, jehož ústředním tématem zdá se být objevování “vyšších rovin bytí”, existence “čtvrté dimenze”.
Režiséři, kteří se do projektu zapojili, se řídili podle 50-ti bodového tvůrčího “briefu”, který sepsal producent Eddy Moretti. Žádá v něm režiséry, aby zkoumali podstatu “čtvrté dimenze” prostřednictvím excentrického hrdiny (který se ale nesmí jevit jako hrdina), a předkládá několik jednoduchých, za to velmi zvláštních, instrukcí jako např.: Ve filmu se musí objevit vycpané zvíře; Režisér musí jednu ze svých scén odrežírovat s páskou přes oči; Někdo by na sobě měl mít stepařské boty; Musí tam být hudba; Musí tam být láska; Musí to být nejlepší film, co jste kdy udělali; Vaši diváci musí odcházet transformováni, změněni, vzrušeni ale i zděšeni potenciálem svého vlastního bytí.

↑ Behind the scenes: Lotus Community Workshop

Do projektu se zapojili tři režiséři: Harmony Korine, Aleksei Fedorchenko a Jan Kwiecinski.
Korinův segment zobrazuje motivačního “speakera”, který přijel do Nashvillu aby inspiroval lidi kolem sebe a poradil jim kam směřovat dále. Hraje ho Val Kilmer, a shodou okolností se jmenuje Val Kilmer.
Jako “speaker” je ale samozřejmě příšerný, a veškeré jeho rady se skládají z paranoidních výkladů vyššího bytí a jiných dimenzí. Lidé mu ale chtějí naslouchat a věří v jakési znovuzrození a posun do dalších míst.

Tato “performance” Vala Kilmera probíhala naživo s najatými komparsisty, kteří ovšem nevěděli co a jak se bude odehrávat, a tak jsou jejich reakce nefalšované, překvapené a pro diváka mnohdy složité a nepochopitelné. Korine tak možná splnil další bod, který Eddy Moretti vytyčil: Tento film musí rozmazávat hranici reálného a falešného.

Lotus Community Workshop je klasickým Korinovským dílem, ve kterém nemůžeme chtít hledat přílišné filozofické ani narativní tendence.  Korine si zde jen hraje s konceptem, hraje si se svou postavou, hraje si s lidmi, hraje si s mentalitou – hraje si tak trochu se světem. A díky tomu snad ani nemůžeme mít pochyb, že do týmu hledající čtvrtou dimenzi Harmony Korine perfektně zapadá.

⇩  Lotus Community Workshop | 26 min. | Dir. Harmony Korine |
Segment from “The Fourth Dimension” (prod. Eddy Moretti, VICE Media Intl.) | Grolsch Film Works

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