“It’s like a mashup of The X-Files, Chronicle, Contact and some dopey evangelical-funded, made-for-TV movie.” (Leslie Felperin / theguardian)
timespace coordinates: New York City in 1957
Motherless Brooklyn is a 2019 American neo-noir crime film written, produced and directed by Edward Norton, based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Jonathan Lethem. Set in 1950s New York, the film follows a private investigator with Tourette syndrome, who is determined to solve the murder of his mentor. Along with Norton, the film also stars Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe.
A passion project of Norton’s ever since he read Lethem’s novel in 1999, the film took nearly 20 years to go into production. Although the book is set in contemporary times, Norton felt the plot and dialogue lent themselves more to a noir setting — moving it to the 1950s, with many added plot points inspired by The Power Broker. (wiki)
«The Romans stole the alphabeta system from the Greeks through war», explains Rammellzee. «Then, in medieval times, monks ornamented letters to hide their meaning from the people. Now, the letter is armored against further manipulation.»
New York graffiti artist and B-boy theoretician Rammellzee (the artist encases himself during gallery performances in Gasholeer, a 148-pound, gadgetry-encrusted exoskeleton inspired by an android he painted on a subway train in 1981. Four years in the making, Rammellzee’s exuberantly low-tech costume bristles with rocket launchers, nozzles that gush gouts of flame, and an all-important sound system.)
«From both wrists, I can shoot seven flames, nine flames from each sneaker’s heel, and colored flames from the throat. Two girl doll heads hanging from my waist and in front of my balls spit fire and vomit smoke… The sound system consists of a Computator, which is a system of screws with wires. These screws can be depressed when the keyboard gun is locked into it. The sound travels through the keyboard and screws, then through the Computator, then the belt, and on up to the four mid-range speakers (with tweeters). This is all balanced by a forward wheel from a jet fighter plane. I also use an echo chamber, Vocoder, and system of strobe lights. A coolant device keeps my head and chest at normal temperature. A 100-watt amp and batteries give me power.»
«slanguage» – a heavily encrypted hip-hop argot – is the linguistic equivalent of graffiti «tags» all over the mother tongue. In an essay on English as the imperial language of the Internet, the cultural critic McKenzie Wark argues for the willful, viral corruption of the lingua franca of global corporate monoculture as a political act.
timespace coordinates: Gotham City, 1981
Joker is a 2019 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Todd Phillips. The film, based on DC Comics characters, stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker. Joker provides a possible origin story for the character.
“The Universe of Keith Haring“, one of the most popular and significant artists of the 20th century, whose mantra was “Art is for everyone!” features interviews and archival footage of Fab 5 Freddy, Jeffrey Deitch, Kim Hastreiter, Grace Jones, Madonna, Yoko Ono, David LaChapelle, Kenny Scharf, Carlo McCormick, Andy Warhol, Ann Magnuson, Tony Shafrazi, and Junior Vasquez. Audio excerpts from original interviews with Keith Haring were conducted by Haring’s biographer John Gruen. (rt)
The Universe of Keith Haring is a 2008 documentary by the filmmaker Christina Clausen.
timespace coordinates: 1999, turn of the century (near-future) Los Angeles (racial war zone / New Year’s Eve party)
Strange Days is a 1995 American science fiction thriller film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, written by James Cameron and Jay Cocks, and produced by Cameron and Steven-Charles Jaffe. It stars Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, and Tom Sizemore. Set in the last two days of 1999, the film follows the story of a black marketeer of SQUID discs, recordings that allow a user to experience the recorder’s memories and physical sensations, as he attempts to uncover the truth behind the murder of a prostitute.
Blending science fiction with film noir conventions, Strange Days explores themes such as racism, abuse of power, rape, and voyeurism. Although the story was conceived by Cameron around 1986, Bigelow found inspiration after incidents such as the Lorena Bobbitt trial and the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King verdict.
Strange Days was a commercial failure and almost derailed Bigelow’s career (…) Nevertheless, the film’s critical standing has improved over the years, with many fans feeling that the film has been overlooked by a casual mass audience and misguided critics.
The scene where the crowd celebrates the turn of the new century at the end of the film was shot at the corner of the 5th and Flower streets, between the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and the Los Angeles Public Library. Over 50 off-duty police officers were hired to control an assembled crowd of 10,000 people, who had to pay $10 in advance to attend the event. The film-makers also hired rave promoters Moss Jacobs and Philip Blaine to produce performances featuring Aphex Twin, Deee-Lite, as well as “all the cyber-techno bands they could garner”.
In 2015, The Washington Post editor Sonny Bunch felt that Strange Days was still relevant, comparing the imagery captured by the SQUID units to that of first-person shooters or cellphone videos on YouTube. He added that events such as Jeriko One’s murder and the subsequent coverup of the crime contribute to activist movements like Black Lives Matter, and that their media documentation amplifies their reception and consequences. (read more: Themes)
timespace coordinates: Boston-area, 2009
(The video below may give away important plot points)