May 2008


Finished the article for the Rose Bruford College of Theatre. I was quite pleased with it and I hope that they like it. The prose is quite dense because as usual I was trying to pack a lot into it. Link to article.

I heard back from Steve Clark from the Hayward Gallery. I wanted to know if the Rodchenko Exhibition was going to be shown in any other venues. He didn’t know the answer to that question but he will try and find out. He informed me that all the DVD copies of Rodchenko and the Russian Avant-garde sold out so he was very satisfied. It shows that there is a good market for the film if placed in the right direction.

I have spent some time working on the Japanese film. Have made a certain amount of progress and feel as if I know roughly where it is going now. This is a completely new departure for me so it does feel as if I am feeling my way tentatively though the editing process. As background I am reading quite a few books about Japanese culture. Basho’s writing especially his prose are particularly worthwhile in this process. For more information about the shooting of this film it is worth looking at the section “Japanese Days” on this site

07/05/2008 Wed

Spent most of yesterday finishing the article about Meyerhold and it is now on line on the Rose Bruford College site – Performance Promt

I spent a great deal of time refining the article and editing it down so I was never quite sure if it would work out. Have received a request from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki to show the Architecture and the Russian avant-garde. The showing is on a non-profit basis but I have requested the maximum publicity as a compensation for waiving a fee. In touch with other organisations about selling the other films through them.

09/05/2008 Friday

Found out some more about the Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki. The main bulk of the exhibits is from the collection of Costaki who I think was a Russian of Greek extraction who went all around Europe collecting Russian Avant-garde masterpieces from exiled avant-garde artists some times for the price of a bottle of wine legend has it. He amassed a unique collection of avant-garde art from the 20s and 30s. Strangely enough the first film I wanted to make was about Costaki but in the end I went for a film about Alexander Rodchenko. Then I made the film about Russian Avant-garde Architecture which will be shown today at the museum. Reading the information from their web site the film is a perfect compliment to the exhibition. To quote their publicity:

The Director of the State Museum of Contemporary Art, Ms. Maria Tsantsanoglou -who is the co-curator along with David Sarkisyan (Director of the Moscow State Museum of Architecture) and Hercules Papaioannou (curator of the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography) noted: “The exhibition presents for the first time in Greece the history and reception of Russian constructivist architecture as well as the correlation of painting and architecture through the prism of new visual aesthetics, aiming at its application to architecture. Thus, the artists’ drawings fit organically in their natural urban environment. The first part of the exhibition “Lost” consists of documentary material from the Moscow State Museum of Architecture.


Yesterday I carried on with the Japanese film, editing and organising material for further editing. Making better progress than I expected but still much research and development required. Also I received a request from an organisation which is involved in researching “Fin de Siecle” art. They call themselves the Oscholars. They are tryng to find out about a film that Meyerhold made of Oscar Wilde’s “A Portrait of Dorian Gray”. I will try and get some information about whether there is a print in existence in Russia.

12/05/2008 Monday

Bogged down in a Bureaucratic quagmire both here in Moscow and almost everywhere else. I hate writing about negative experiences but there seems nothing else to do at the moment. Most of yesterday I spent on revisions to the script for the Japanese film. I’m still not able to reveal what it is about as yet, except to say that it is about Japanese art. Today I telephoned the Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki to see if they wish to sell the architecture films as part of the exhibition. They can’t make a decision yet as the Director is away for a week, however the response was generally positive. I am toying with the idea of compiling all the material we shot in shadows for the Meyerhold Film and releasing it on DVD. I still haven’t decided if it can stand alone as an independent project. Generally I feel that it can but I’m still some way off in making a final decision.

13/05/2008 Tuesday

After yesterdays negativeness things have improved somewhat. The weather however has turned awful again. Here in Moscow storm sheets of rain and hail swept through the city, drenching anyone and everything caught out in the open. I was on my way across the embankment opposite the Ukraine hotel when a fierce wind blew up a rain storm. Fortunately I was able to dodge into a doorway just past the White House (Putins new office as of yesterday) until the worst of the storm passed by. The cold has returned as it always does in May in Moscow after a bright warm spell. As I sit writing this I am looking out from my window at the view across Moscow in the growing dusk as the wind whips around the trees in the yard down below.. There is no one about in this weather, no movement at all in fact except the pin pricks of moving light in the far distance as cars crawl along Moscow’s third ring road.

Would like to read a bit this evening but I’m even too tired for that. Strange however, that I’m not to tired to write this.

The main debate for some reason at the moment is the state of architectural development in Moscow. Discussions going on everywhere, in the papers and on TV, as if they have just discovered the subject or it has been hidden away in a dark cupboard and someone has accidentally opened the door and all the items have come tumbling out onto our heads. Everyone knows its a mess but nobody seems to know what to do. Our local parks and green spaces are being eaten up by developers.

15/05/2008 Thursday

Weather continues to be cold and rainy in Moscow – grey angry skies drift overhead alternating with clear blue patches which are then replaced by more dark clouds. Last night, as dusk fell I watched the steam billowing out from the distant factories and power stations of which there are many within view of our apartment. Against the dim sky the clouds of smoke and steam looked like black silhouettes and blended with the clouds which were also silhouetted against the darkening sky. It reminded me of a painting by a French artist of the late 19th century who painted an industrial port in France with factory smoke and clouds blending to form a new kind of landscape against the dark blaze of the setting sun but a landscape far away from the idyllic pastoral scenes which had gone before. It was all part of the fauvist movement, dynamic with all the energy and movement of the beginning of the 20th century and its emotional promise and uncertainty which many must have felt at the time.

Today I have been doing very little. This morning cleared up outstanding bank and financial business and then got down to editing the text which I have been writing for the Japanese film. I keep calling it the Japanese film but at the moment it is too early to reveal the full extent of the subject. As background I have been reading “The Tale of the Genji” in Russian. I find the Russian translations of Japanese classics more satisfying than the English translations whose prose tends to be a bit clinical and wooden. There is also a lot of phonetically similarities between the two languages as many Japanese would agree, so that for someone like me who doesn’t know Japanese it gives the prose an added ingredient.

30/05/2008 Friday

The last week or so have been working on Japanese film which is gradually coming together. I hope to get a first draft ready in a few weeks time. The whole piece is tending to sprawl at the moment but it it is too early to try and draw all the pieces together so its best to just carry on until there is an overall structure contained in a first draft. It often feels like the sands are shifting beneath your feet as the script changes and morphs as you progress with the edit. And then the editing at this stage feels sloppy and loose so that the whole thing seems to lack tangibility. The whole script needs to be completely tightened up. I know this will change as I go forward with the editing but its always an uncomfortable feeling. I was talking with Natasha a few days ago about the send part of the project which will be a completely seperarte film but connected thematically with the first Japanese film. To anybody reading this it probably sounds like double Dutch but thats the way it is at the moment. Future notes will make everything clear.

Museum in Berlin which is putting on Rodchenko exhibition is interested in showing the film as part of their exhibition. Negotiating with them at the moment. Received an answer back from the Lenbachaus in Munich. They are only interested in selling the Kandinsky film in their shop. In the meantime they have decided to make a film of their own about Kandinsky. Its not something I expected but I should have been ready for such a development.

There is an Irish film festival (The First Irish Film Festival in Moscow) on at the moment in Moscow. The opening was on Wednesday evening and Johnny O’Reilly one of the organisers invited us to the opening film which was “The Butcher Boy”. I am not sure what the Russians would have made of it although it seemed to go down very well.

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