films of the season : CHIARA SKURA

February 27th, 2012

Spring is in the air, so the time has come to see the films of the spring-summer collections which will soon hit the stores… A little wishful thinking has never hurt, has it ?

First up: Marios Schwab and his dark yet summery, very Lana Del Rey, “Chiaroscuro” collection, starring himself alongside Amy Bailey, in Antoine Asseraf & René Habermacher’s CHIARA SKURA.

Read the rest of this entry »


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contest: beyond the wall

February 23rd, 2012

For the 27th edition of the Hyères Fashion + Photo Festival, The Stimuleye presents choreographer Lynsey Peisinger’s PILLORY, a performance/video/installation hybrid.

Submit your 30 seconds maximum video before April 1st for a chance to have it featured in the installation, which launches April 27th at the 2012 Hyères Fashion + Photo Festival,  next exhibits by  Yohji Yamamoto, Jasons Evans, and Inez van Laamswerde + Vinoodh Matadin.

The Stimuleye contest for Hyères 2012

Imagine what lies beyond the wall of the PILLORY installation.

All submitted videos must be
no more than 30 seconds long,
from one angle/point of view,
and submitted before April 1st, 2012.

Fore more info and video guidelines: contest@thestimuleye.com


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must see: guy maddin’s spiritismes

February 22nd, 2012

Damned movies, cinema legends, performance, a trance…

Guy Maddin’s new project at Centre Pompidou, featuring Ariane Labed and other stars such as Mathieu Amalric, Amira Casar, Udo Kier and Charlotte Rampling, has all the right ingredients, and best of all, is open for all to see.

The Stimuleye
Collage by Galen Johnson for SPIRITISMES.

Cult Canadian film-maker Guy Maddin invites anyone in Paris or with an internet connection to follow him and his actors live as they meditate and then shoot lost, unreleased or unfinished films by the likes of Hitchcock and Eric von Stroheim…

More info on the Pompidou Center website.

Follow the shoot live with 3 cameras on the Nouveau Festival / Spiritismes website.


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HYERES 2012, the photo selection

February 22nd, 2012

How do you reduce 782 applications into a curated selection of 10 photographers ?
Where is photography going today ?
Can the promise of future creation outweigh present output ?

I wouldn’t want to have to answer those questions, but the Hyères photo jury had to.

The Stimuleye Hyeres partner 2012
Hyères 2012 visual, featuring the work of 2011 contestant Ina Jang.

Photographers, curators and critics met under the guidance of photography director Michel Mallard and his team on January 31st to chose 10 photographers whose work would be featured at the 27th edition of the Hyères Fashion + Photo Festival, a festival which revealed in the past talents such as Sølve Sundsbø, Cédric Buchet, Robbie Rodriguez, Caroll Taveras, Linus Bill and 2011’s winner Anouk Kruithoff.

the stimuleye, antoine asseraf
The 2012 photo jury, first row from left to right: Michael Wolf, Carla Sozzani, Michel Mallard,
Second row: James Reid, Aaron Schuman, Hans Gremmen, Raphaelle Stopin, Anne-Céline Jaeger,
Back: Jason Evans.

by antoine asseraf, The Stimuleye

So first they looked.

Then they talked.
And finally they argued.
And then they questioned their choice and started the process all over.
Until at last, they had 10 photographers, from 3 continents.

Of course, come April 27th when the festival starts, these photographers will be competing for the jury’s attention, engaging in a series of one on one interviews and portfolio discussions in the Villa Noailles’ covered galleries, facing a cubist garden.

And yet the ability to spend quality time with high level professionals, to be exhibited next to the works of other 2012 exhibitions such as Inez van Laamswerde + Vinoodh Matadin and Jason Evans is a reward in itself…

The Stimuleye
Photo by 2012 contestant Olga Cafiero.
The Stimuleye
Photo by 2012 contestant Manuel Vazquez.
The Stimuleye
Photo by 2012 contestant Brea Souders.

Hyères International Fashion + Photography Festival
27th edition,
April 27-30 2012,
Villa Noailles, Hyères France.


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ariane labed

February 9th, 2012

She’s French, but she acts in Greek.
ATTENBERG was her first film, but it won her a Lion at Venice in 2010 for Best Actress,
and the admiration of Quentin Tarantino and Sofia Coppola.
She loved the shooting, but hated the fame which followed.

Introducing Ariane Labed in
ARIANE
an exclusive film by Justin Anderson,
in collaboration with THE STIMULEYE and Giorgio Armani,
and original pictures by René Habermacher.

 ARIANE, directed by Justin Anderson. Clothes - Giorgio Armani. Furniture - Armani Casa. Commissioned by THE STIMULEYE. 

Antoine Asseraf : Bonjour!

Ariane Labed:  Bonjour!

Are you currently in London ?

Yes, finally! I was supposed to move to London last September, but I’ve been moving around nonstop!

Do you often go back to Greece ?

I was in Greece in November to play with my troup VASISTAS, but now I’m more between Paris and London.

When did you first come to Greece, and what was your impression of the country at the time ?

I arrived in Greece 3 years ago, for a 9-month project of my troup with the National Theater of Athens, to put on a Faust.
I was born in Greece, lived there until I was 6, and I think I left part of my childhood there.

I dreamt of returning. When I met Argyro Chioti in college, a Greek theater director with whom we created the troup VASISTAS, I jumped onto the opportunity of going.

So instead of 9 months, I stayed for 3 years, meeting Athina [Rachel Tsangari] and Yorgos [Lanthimos] had something to do with hit.  Beyond a purely sentimental attachment to this country, I was impressed by all the artists I met and their urgent need to create. Without expectations of getting anything in return, beyond any judgement to which they could be subjected, beyond thinking about breaking even.

If I have just left, it’s only because I need to live in a country where I feel foreign, where I lose myself in the streets. That’s what I’m doing in London. The day where I won’t lose myself anymore, I will leave again.

But I will always return to Greece.

Ariane Labed by René Habermacher

 Ariane Labed by René Habermacher.

The films of Yorgos Lanthimos and Athina Rachel Tsangari in which you starred have universal resonance, but we can nevertheless imagine that they come in a context, in reaction to precise things happening in Greek society: the influence of the Orthodox church (the impossibility of cremation), the need to break the myth of Greece as a postcard-perfect location (the desolate landscapes of Attenberg)…

As you said yourself the Greek audience doesn’t really support these films, and when reading the article in THE GUARDIAN regarding New Greek Cinema I found the comments left by the Greeks to be very virulent – do you think the films play a role in questioning Greek society ?

If Greeks have a difficulties situating themselves in films such as Dogtooth or Attenberg, it may be because they carry a truth about their country which hurts.

This young generation carries with them the failure of the previous generation, a generation who thought they offering through a notion of “progress”, and after the military dictatorship, a better life, without taking into account the contradictions of orthodox culture and the desire for revenge after several centuries of hardship when the Greek people were a strange gate to the East.

Being French, I love all these contradictions about Greece, but that is also where the complexity lies, and these are facets which the new generation denies or which the previous cannot accept.

What I also love in Greece is that it’s non-colonial, as luckily they could never afford to be colonial, but it is painful to see and hear the Greek racism against the recent wave of immigration. I think the Greeks are overwhelmed by a lot of things today, and it’s evidently linked to the government which “enjoyed” European aid for decades, including the Olympics of 2004.

Though all this is probably only the beginning of what is slowly happening all over Europe.

ATTENBERG by Rachel Athina Tsangari - Trailer. Best Actress award at 2010 Venice International festival.

The beautiful thing about this chaos is that, these artists, without means, who expect nothing from the government, find the strength to meet and trust each other enought to creat together.  That’s the case for HAOS, the production company created by Athina, which led to collaborations with Yorgos Lanthimos on DOGTOOTH and ALPS, and EMBROS, a new squat which just opened and brings together theater, danse, performance, critiques, writers, etc… Greek artists have never collaborated as much as they do today.

Of course the films of Athina [Rachel Tsangrai] and Yorgos [Lanthimos] carry and will continue to be denounced by a society which closes its eyes, much like other Western socities. That may be why they are recognized abroad but considered “weird” and barely tolerated in their home country.  The taboos touched upon in Attenberg – death, cremation, incestuous desire, lesbian sexuality, are topics on which one can hardly have a dialog in Greece.

But it is difficult for me to criticize Greece… Beyond the corruption of the government and the misery into which it has dragged the people, which I can intellectually denounce, there remains for me an unspeakable element, a vibration I feel only there. A chaos which I find appeasing.

Ariane Labed by René Habermacher

 Ariane Labed by René Habermacher.

How did you live this experience of the “fashion film”, between actress and model, with Justin Anderson ?

I was quite reticent at first… but once I met Justin [Anderson] and he told me the concept, with the slow motion, I became quite excited. In the end it was a beautiful experience.

What are your current projects ? Can you tell me about your play with VASISTAS ?

The big news is that I’m about to shoot a film in France. The first film in my native tongue !

It took quite a while for people to figure out I’m French. My first 2 films, ATTENBERG and ALPS, are both in Greek, so everyone thought I was Greek. It doesn’t bother me at all, but really it’s quite a different exercise to play in a foreign tongue.

Congratulations. Are the plays with VASISTAS also in Greek ?

I’ve worked with my troup for 5 years now. We are 3 women: 1 Greek, 1 Mexican and myself. We met in college at Aix-en-Provence and created a troup. We work in different languages, centering on the body, on the impossibility of communicating with words. We don’t work from existing plays but rather from an editing of texts ranging from Deleuze to advertising… I play in French most of the time, but the text is there to relate to meaninglessness… My work is rather physical.

So it’s your own creations ?

Yes. The last show was called  “spectacle” [“show”]. www.vas.eu.com

This impossibility to communicate is also an important theme in Attenberg, your character is very physical but has difficulties communicating with others —did your theater experience push the role in this direction or was it already thought out this way ?

The writing of Attenberg didn’t change much…but it wasn’t written for a foreigner, so maybe inadvertently we pushed this Marina towards another manner of communicating. Certainly, with Athina we didn’t want to approach the character psychologically. There’s always a great deal of physicality in my approach.

Ariane Labed by René Habermacher

 Ariane Labed by René Habermacher.

Where does this physicality come from, is it because you’ve practiced ballet, or did you practice ballet because it was in you ?

I did 10 years of classical ballet. I stopped when I was 16 because I could no longer stand the way the body was dealt with. It’s a strange contradiction, I was and remain persuaded that ballet is a sublime and fair form of expression, but I can’t deal with the instrumentalised body.  In ALPS, I play the role of a competitive gymnast, it was a superb challenge to have to return to this physical condition, and yet a real nightmare !

So you keep this tension within you, between the habits of ballet, the need to express yourself physically, and the rejection of the classical dance system….

Yes, something like that.

When we spoke for the first time by email over a year ago, I wasn’t aware that you were at the time going through a “reaction”.

Reaction?

Reaction, or crisis, ou questioning ?

Was it the reaction to cinema ? to the success of Attenberg ? or to the rigors of a gymnast’s discipline ?

Yes, it was shortly after my award in Venice… I was lost.  I did not know how to deal with anything — I didn’t expect and wasn’t prepared for such a level of display. I locked myself into work (the preparation of the role in ALPS) and fled the journalists. It took me a long time to realise that it could be a gift in my life.

That’s when I decided to get an agent in Paris to continue film-making.  When I made Attenberg, I didn’t think I had a place on a screen. I’d loved the shooting, but I couldn’t picture myself fitting in.  This award led me to hope I could continue, and now I only dream of shooting again.

Before Attenberg, was there something you found repulsive in cinema, or was it an attachment to the physicality of theater ?

I didn’t think you could find the intensity you have in front of the public. That moment when you lose the notion of time.

And paradoxically what troubled you after Attenberg was the intensity of the public scrutiny !

Being exposed in a work of art has nothing to do with being exposed as yourself holding a world cup trophy.

I can be naked, raw, give myself completely for a scene or a film, but to expose myself as Ariane Labed in the press is something I find completely uninteresting.

ALPS by Yorgos Lanthimos - trailer. Best Screenplay at 2011 Venice International festival.

So it’s rather the status of the “star” that troubles you rather than shooting itself ?

Shooting is sublime. But I’m not sure of what the actress’ status is. I don’t think there’s a rule. It’s a crazy job, and I hope you can go about it your own way. At least that’s what I’m trying to do.

You returned to Venice for ALPS, which won the prize for Best Scenario, how was it this time ?

It was a holiday ! I took a lot of pleasure, and I was very happy for Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filipou [the writers].

Let’s quickly talk about ALPS – when does the film come out ?

In France I’m not sure, but in the UK in the Spring.

How was this second film for you ?

I was afraid. After the success of Attenberg, I put a lot of pressure on myself… I was telling myself again that maybe Tarantino was wrong, maybe I shouldn’t be on screens anymore….but it helped me to work even more.  It was a small role in ALPS, but which required 3 months of intense preparation, so I tried to make the most of shooting days and give my best. It was a very different experience.  Yorgos doesn’t work like Athina at all, he leaves the actors with a lot of doubt, and captures everything that slips through.


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coming soon : monsieur chypre

February 7th, 2012

an erotic fashion epic, one year in the making….

THE STIMULEYE presents MONSIEUR CHYPRE a short film with EROTOKRITOS with Vogue Italia

MONSIEUR CHYPRE
A SHORT FILM WITH EROTOKRITOS
by Antoine Asseraf Asseraf & René Habermacher
with VOGUE ITALIA


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An artist should not make himself into an idol

February 5th, 2012

Marina Abramović is everywhere lately.

A marathon performance at MoMa, another retrospective in Moscow, on the cover of POP magazine, hosting a star studded event at Jeffrey Deitch’s MOCA in LA and an exhibition at The Serpentine Gallery slated for 2012, the HBO documentary “The Artist is Present” just screened at Sundance. An ever growing list of projects that is taking her across continents…

Exclusive long form of interview first published in POP magazine FW2012
04_MARINA_ABRAMOVIC_FREJA_BEHA_RENE_HABERMACHER_THE_STIMULEYE
Marina Abramović with her "Mini Me". Photography by René Habermacher for POP magazine

Marina Abramović is everywhere lately. She has emerged from what was considered an alternative section of contemporary art, Performance Art, to finally occupy an untouchable position in the Pantheon of Pop.
A marathon performance at the MoMa, another retrospective in Moscow scheduled, and an exhibition at The Serpentine Gallery slated for 2012, day and night filming of an HBO documentary and an ever growing list of projects. Marina is known for her works in which she tests and pushes her emotional,mental and physical strength, but her schedule takes its toll: Marina is exhausted.
Broad recognition has come comparably late for Abramović, who was often categorized as some sort of Exotic Serbian Vixen. Nevertheless, she has shaped a significant slice of art history like no other.
Today, less considered for her public sexual identity, and more appreciated for her timelessness and her bravery, one could unarguably call Marina “the diva of contemporary art”, were she not so grounded.

02_MARINA_ABRAMOVIC_FREJA_BEHA_RENE_HABERMACHER_THE_STIMULEYE
Freja Beha Erichsen with her "Mini Me". A collaboration by Marina Abramović for POP magazine
Photography by René Habermacher

Our conversation takes place just after Marina’s return to New York from Manchester, England where she spent six weeks collaborating with Robert Wilson on a new biography, “The Life and Death of Marina Abramović”. The play was staged with accompanied music written and conducted by Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) and narrated by a ferocious Willem Dafoe.
The audience witnessed him meticulously rummaging through the details of her life chronologically. Marina has been clear about her lack of appreciation for theatre as a concept and this play marks a sharp departure from her concept of herself as a performance artist.

She participates in what she used to essentially despise: “To be a performance artist, you have to hate theatre. Theatre is fake: there is a black box, you pay for a ticket, and you sit in the dark and see somebody playing somebody else’s life. The knife is not real, the blood is not real, and the emotions are not real. Performance is just the opposite: the knife is real, the blood is real, and the emotions are real. It’s a very different concept. It’s about true reality.”

05_MARINA_ABRAMOVIC_FREJA_BEHA_RENE_HABERMACHER_THE_STIMULEYE
Death mask of Marina Abramović. Photography by René Habermacher

René Habermacher: With this piece you staged something that you call artificial theatre. It lacks the realness that is central to your work. How was this experience for you?

Marina Abramović: I am his material. I completely gave all the control to Bob (Robert Wilson). That is the only way to really be material for someone else, which is very interesting, because its just absolutely the opposite of what I do. This is first time that i have this really radical approach with Bob – he absolutely refused anything to do with performance. This was an amazing experience for me and very difficult, because his approach to rehearsal is like mine to performance, – but yet it’s just rehearsal! Just be there for hours and hours in order for him to fix the light. I lose my reason, I need the public, I need another kind of dialogue. This was a huge discipline not to kill him!

RH: How did this project with Bob come together? Read the rest of this entry »


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