Devil's Plantation - Elemental Films

drift two: moscow

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  • abeattie - 29 July 10 - Reply

    as usual a stupendous piece of writing……..look forward to the next posting

  • May Miles Thomas - 17 June 10 - Reply

    Thanks Donna,

    One of the best things I took away from Moscow was the generosity of the people. Maybe it’s just the exoticism that goes with the unfamiliar but my impression is that Moscow is not – yet – a major tourist destination. Like any major city, the showpiece architecture is an assertion of confidence. But unlike, say, in London, where commuters tend to step over corpses on the tube, if you stand on a Moscow Metro station looking remotely confused, people readily approach you to try to help. In a cafe, confronted with the Cyrillic menu, a couple of guys sitting next to us were happy to translate. Between them and the waitress, we were able to order – even the vegetarian option! That’s what makes a city great.

  • Donna Coomer - 16 June 10 - Reply

    May….Thanks for taking us along for the ride. Wild stuff compared with the stark images that almost have a ‘stage set’ feel to them. Glad you were able to see their request through and leave a little bit of Glasgow in Moscow. Cheers for another insightful piece….Donna

  • May Miles Thomas - 16 June 10 - Reply

    Couldn’t agree more, Ed. It’s increasingly hard to mine the gold out of the downright dross. Engagement matters but whenever I involve myself in say, a new peer-reviewed book or the latest gallery show, it’s not so much the PR gloss I object to but the mutually-assured hyperbole of writers and artists in a bid to elevate the mediocre.

  • Ed - 15 June 10 - Reply

    It was always so. I take solace in Francoise Gilot’s Life of Picasso – the banality of groupthink and “Strathclyde Regional Council” quickly falls away! As does psychogeography and its anorak offshoot “deep topography”. The labels mean nothing, it’s engagement that counts. Even Betjeman and Piper are better than the book of dave/ludheat.

    Do we have a Tarkovsky, a Solzhenitsyn, a Grass, a Wenders in glasgow?

    The best things are always done by individuals, never corporately.

    Create, create, create, May.

  • May Miles Thomas - 15 June 10 - Reply

    Thanks Ed,

    The Moscow adventure came as a surprise. Even Heyden admitted he was perplexed by Strelka’s invite but we both agreed that it was an opportunity not to be missed. Plainly Strelka has the means to invite speakers from all over, even if they were evasive over the details.

    The practice of psychogeography is modish in Moscow right now so I can only assume they felt my project fitted their remit. I later learned that their film curator had seen a pirated copy of my first feature and that’s how I ended up on their radar. But all the time I was there I realised I was addressing a young and very privileged slice of the demographic – never have I seen so many iPhones and Macbooks in one venue.

    There was an air of unreality to the whole event. In spite of my nerves – it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been front of an audience – I think my talk went down well, being non-academic or theoretical and more about the nature of storytelling. In the end I just summoned my brass neck. The one good thing to come out of it is I have the entire text of the DP translated into Russian, so I’m launching a Russian version of the site.

    The most galling thing about the episode was the total apathy of the cultural agencies here. Several people contacted the SAC on my behalf and they didn’t get their calls answered either. I wasn’t even looking for money though it might have helped cover my visa and food. No point in whinging about it. I’m just glad to have had the chance to go.

    I’d love to do a similar thing in Glasgow/Edinburgh, but it sadly it seems unlikely. And here’s me living round the corner from the Tramway which would be a great venue to put on a show. Maybe if I kid on I’m Russian I might get a shot…


  • Ed - 14 June 10 - Reply

    Hi May saw your intro and hayden lorimers on strelkas vimeo – will you be posting the full thing sometime? Complex place to have done a talk, would be really interesting to hear you; mono images tantalising as well.


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