Chinese Puzzle : A Film Review

imageDirector Cedric Klapisch. France/USA/Belgium 2013 Cert,15 . 1hr 57mins.
Following 2002 Pot Luck and 2005 Russian Dolls.

Riveting Romantic Comedy
If you see this third component in the lives of the people who met up on an exchange apartment share back then, 2002, in Barcelona you will want to see those earlier ones to feel linked to the still complex story of the characters we meet and engage with in Chinese Puzzle.
The earlier ones are a shade over two hours long so this is a breeze at slightly under. It actually is so well made and engrossing with scene after scene beautifully spoiling us in its visual spree and with us quickly taking in the subtitles;often hindering a complex story for some, it shines as great cinema should, given the portrayal by the whole ensemble is clever, strong and emotionally convincing throughout. There are no dips no summits of pivotal story quenching incident but it travels at a pace with a barely visible weave of the approaching story delivering keynotes subtly and without bombast or fussy cinema.
Third part a Chinese Puzzle
This is 2013 and this shows the development of the cast in their lives and a return for the actors to a significant pin on the CV each having grown strongly through it is reward we witness.
I have not seen the previous ones yet and now intend to.
Seeing this one thus, is for reviewing purposes, therefore a bit premature but I can report that this film can be fully satisfying entirely on its own. As a stand alone it is as wonderful without too much dependency on the past. It happened and has bearing but the trick all can see is to delight in the actions and lives interacting in the present tense. The act of living, of embracing consciousness is even more distinct and valuable than a slight looking over the shoulder at other moments. One of the films lessons and directors motivating intentions of which it is clear in word and vivid in light.

What happened is gone and gone is gone.
Every so often Director Cedric Klapisch positions a philosopher – Schonberg is one or Mengel, – in a scene. They enter someone’s bedroom, living room and sit to recollect their writing, leaving suddenly on the wisp of one of their famous bon mots received by us comedically as a Bon marche.
This simultaneously questioning of the philosophers art and their period of life discovery reflects on how they functioned as writers particularly as our eponymous central friend Xavier, Romain Duris is cast as a writer, a successful one with the pen and less so in sustaining relationships with a beautiful cast of women.
My own phrase then or borrowed somewhere is apt “How you arrived here is not what will takes you there”. He relies on his writing to the detriment of self awareness. The relevance of the past is a writers relevance, full of recorded anecdote and nuances of less value than he realises when life comes to shove.
The fundamental things apply but the hoarding of memories for all these people, these friends, is mostly an obstacle to their current selfs meeting again as recorded portraits that clearly have altered inside and out.
Each belongs to a maturity not held back then.
Xavier is not self obsessed rather he is blinded to those around him and their needs. This youthfulness is now for him disappearing as the lives of others become solidified, become deeper and more intuitive.
Where he has been is a formidable array of experiences without which he is not Xavier. The aged Xavieris accomplishing reconciliation with the lives parallel, alongside his and the narrative of his story is told partly now through the directors chosen optic of the philosophers as bedrocks, treated with optimistic naivety as a kind of reflection on Xavier. It acts as a go-between device but is overcast by other film elements. It diminishes his character though or undermines it slightly in filmatic terms. Besides philosophers put rocks to trip over occasionally I contend and this is one way of showing it I suppose.

New Block for the Kids
The film begins with a new encounter with Isabelle, Cecile de France who appeared as a gay before and here she is energised, hot – I confess I don’t know what the ‘testosterone’ on the SRY gene front, equivalent is for you women, (has it an antonym!?) – she has lots of it and is still as kooky as ever having a proposition for Xavier which is itself a bit outside the box for him than his liberal mind might accept. Ju is Isabelle’s partner and a good catch. Such is the strength of the cast this works out for all concerned. Ju does the go-between angel bit constantly with no sides to her and is like a cool mistress to all.

Xavier likes propositions as it fuels his writing genes and fatherhood genes. This melting pot is his life and you might say his creation.
This proposition kind of acts as a catalyst for the breakdown of his marriage.
For ten years and having brought up two lovely kids, (other kids are available as screwed up by their parents!) so his lover Wendy, Kelly Reilly decides its over as she confesses to having found an alternative on a trip to NYC.

His editor who appears in the film via. Skype frequently often has meaningful conversations on the novel development technique while conceiving in Xavier’s mind a confused reality of fact and fiction somewhat cumbersomely filmwise.
Actually his editor reminds Xavier of this at a significant point underpinning the films philosophy. Natural, moral, metaphysical you choose, and we all embrace the sentiment though some earlier than others.

Above us only Sky
Xavier understandably is distraught and he decides to follow his kids and exploratory gene by following Wendy to New York and to sort out his life.
The Up town, Down town vibe kicks in and this NYC world of contrasts provides visually stunning filmic opportunities. You would have to be pretty dumb not to be able to feast on this tapestry of life visually. So we get it framed beautiful most times. The NYC is the new safe NYC so the ease of life fits into the cradle of the kids and they make new friends as does Xavier.

The philosopher in Xavier discovers the city streets and when his estranged father makes a visit they walking jointly find the ones that baulked the pattern. Xavier finds himself of the downtown with everyone seeking the uptown and has visions of the people wanting to live closer to the sky. Cedric Klapisch takes time to show us the NY real estate growing and the avenues like well turned pages in a book.

Xavier gets almost biblical in adoring this concept. Inside it is as if he is citing “I cried to The Lord with my voice and he heard me from His Holy hill “
A good point to mention All Souls New York 1163 Lexington Avenue, New York where you are as likely to find true faith and meet acceptance as anywhere in New York. The Church the L’Wren Scott funeral took place from is St Bartholomew’s and fitted the Anglican doctrine of Jagger it seems, is also in Manhattan.
New York Mix
Martine, Audrey Tatou has hit it big in France and having upset her apple cart, left with two kids, with ambition fueling her drive for business, succeeds and we see her met Xavier after Skype conversations, catch ups when she comes to New York but clearly works as Xavier creates great material. out the jewel in the China Tea crown.
Her modus operandi brings one of the funniest and brilliantly absurdities of East mets West in the West in a boardroom to the widescreen. It is I hope going down well with the Chinese.
Their custom, another aside, when assigning you a dining table is to place you according to their assumptions of your status. Is it suit, clothing, dress, cleavage, clean shaven, demeanour, what is being scrutinised?
So if you do not go up as many floors as the building has dining rooms then you not número uno.
We see Martine high up in the city skyline. No connection but it is also the place where Wendy has homed in on by finding herself a sweet John who happens to be rich. Goldman Sachs anyone? PWC? Credit Suisse?

Xavier needs and wants New York as his kids are everything and they adore him despite this landfall change. Resilient as they come. He perhaps, as he realises at times, looses out through engaging his mind in a fantasy fictional form. By meeting with so many women from his past he also gets a run down from each and in concert they prescribe remedy..
The whole menagerie of relationships becomes more complex, a mention by Martine of “You haven’t been to China” true, summons in me a what does she mean moment, as she addresses the complexity question. On reflection since the Ming period nothing is more complex than China. When Xavier has on his journey as a cycle courier around the city streets found his mojo he then using a taxi for once and helps out boldly a Chineseman who is very, along with his family, very grateful. This brings on board more insane slapstick and some very endearing episodes in which Cedric Klapisch brings us the kaliedescope of the world in all three films. Martine brings her kids on a trip which has them loving the place and they befriend the Wendy, Xavier children. This is the colour and breadth of the film. Showing all the itinerant lives, no matter how so fixed, interweave and respond evaluate and coalesce into the strange bewildering motes of life.
It is as though the nomad mind is one of a pastoral wayfarer.
Be on time
There is a cameo for product, some aforementioned but I wish to give a big Hello to the Airport bus from Chinatown. It sits patiently awaiting various hellos, Goodbyes and is itself a focus of our vision of NYC. It goes by the name of FUNG WAH BUS. There it is in bold caps.
It is a nice friendly character that bus and driver.
If you run you might catch it and it cements itself in our hearts every time or is it just me who knows the cut off buses often mean.

Conclusion. 4 ####.
Having seen only this one so far it materializes as 4/5 but it may be stubborn and grow and grow if it happens to summon emotions quickly repeatedly and heartfelt as it must for many.
The players are great, some you may not fully be struck with as characters but they lift the directors vision of our nonalleic genes predisposing all of our kind to this kaladescopic life – achieved in 6hrs 8mins. Often I wonder if this includes the titles. Even the score is brilliant as it is the proper sometimes funky soundscape while only a few things in my mind don’t exactly make it, the early use of cartoonish shorthand and graphic indulgences, meaningful as they depict the present era but in time possibly an irritant.
Cedric Klapisch gets 5/5 for direction and realising this decade + long project and the casts commitment truly pays all dividends.
Being called a Riveting Romantic Comedy, my first para. simply does not do it Justice.
See it and be enteralled.

In fact see ALLthree.

A way of doing this is to see the following screenings

Pot Luck on QFT Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June 2014
Russian Dolls on QFT. Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June 2014


Chinese Puzzle on QFT Friday 4 July through to Thursday 10 July 2014

John Graham

25 June 2014


Cold in July : A Film Review

image Film Directed by Jim Mickle co-written with Nick Damici  Set in East Texas 1989

Guns make people bleed

Michael C. Hall takes the role of an East Texas small business owner who in this re-telling of a 1989 novel of the same name by Joe R. Lansdale goes by the name of Richard Dane in what is know in cinema lore as a neo noir film. He is a married man with a young son and one summer night at home they hear a noise which gets him up and armed with lethal effect as he sort of accidentally spreads the organs of the intruder over his sofa. Enter some musical homage later as the clean up commences. You would be a changed man (or woman) if something of that order happened to you and what bits is that , the metamorphic hyper sensation of the chemical change brought about in his veins and cerebral cortex.

The People

The Everyman is altered and some hobos come along for the ride though a you shouldn’t call Sam – take me seriously – Shepard that nor should you call Melanie Griffiths ex, coincidently recently split with Desperadoes Antonio Banderos. the early ex (twice over) Don Johnson hobos but character actors with leather soles and weathered hangdog hobo looks. This time Johnson either wants to upstage the other two dudes with a crimson Cadillac plated red bitch, as he strides around on his well kept frame like an Austin actor free on the road which in fact is a disguise for him as a private detective based in Houston. He turns in a gritty well thought performance only occasionally getting his jeans and rodeo shirt marked. Once a bit painfully but he often gets the best lines and is fastest to the point ensuring his own safety and that of anyone he takes into his confidence. The saving each other’s ass is a bit hokum, later in the film they have to look out for each other. For an atmosphere of parallel worlds and second identities this cosy ness is a bit fake given the dark arts, the violence which will unleash the more they uncover. The co writer takes a cosy role of bent trusty (not) cop. They also hook a few jokes into the works as, in common with this sort of movie replet with the bigger names they try a little comedy to ease our guilt in consuming this tarnished and grotesque unreality. The real world being vein rich in its gruesome violence.

The Unlikely Connections

Shepard is the father of the ‘apparent’ wasted human life taken by Hall. Suspenseful it is, as this narrative plays out and the hateful character of the apparent wasteful ones dad makes the Everyman’s family life a misery and his misplaced mission; the usual tale – I failed you in life son but I won’t fail you in death – is a kind of twisted logic given in many cinematic sorties.

Trio come together

Johnson, goes by the name Jim Bob, is called upon by his long time friend and fellow war veteran Ben when it occurs to Ben at Rich’s insistence. The story is plausible to Jim Bob and after a couple of days he returns with the wise shrewd head neither of the other two possess and marshals a plan. The three are thoroughly now into a whole different ball game and this crucial change targets us to figure each’s motives. The closeness of the Two veterans is obvious and underlined in the script.


The whole Everyman character is the stick or twist fish out of water Rich persona. While making up the odd tale for Vinnessa who gets to act, shamefully for this consummate Everywoman Actor, who displays all the heartfelt emotion Rich keeps internalized and out of her view. she plays the role as one none the wiser but cutting him a bit of slack because Rich has become part of the man she hoped was inside. This due as earlier events were clearly real and close to terminal. She does know the cost just yet except reminds Rich of the ironmongery bill for the added house security!

Role supplanted

It shades out the lovely Vinnesa Shaw whose bit role as wife to the now differently mental used Rich. She could have had a thing or two to tell us about Richard that he didn’t know about himself. Richard happens to inwardly see fault in himself, not a proper male maybe, as this reality of killing someone has for him brought out the maleness and a violent side which both sexes are required to suppress and do so successfully as it is what progresses society and is the wish of God who empowers us to be peaceful human beings if only were able to.

Nature of violence

So many make contact with this vengance filled hysteria and irrationality. Of the nations the dangerous destroy the peace keepers. Look at the new fueled sectarian hatred created by the inflicted separatism brought about by Britain and the US in Iraq whose plan of maintaining separation was one Iraq was (like Northern Ireland) never going to solve with false representational Government and no strategic talking and restitution. The petrol cowboy claimants now at the forefront already with many stolen cash filled war chests have enough to start a new fascist regime. These people are the same as the Wests directors of Wars and they destroy their peoples futures, the future of Everyman, and Woman. They have taken myth as Northern Ireland, religiousity, and forgotten the truth claiming for their ‘people’ this revenge seen in this film as a pattern of deranged minds.


Without being too theologian it reminds me that Jesus in the Gospel found HIS knowledge of God the Father, HIS Father held not the flesh as the source but the knowledge within. This lesson even learnt by no less than Leo Tolstoy but left aside by the religiously reformed and well placed Karl Marx whose interpretation left narrow paths of forgiveness and no read consciousness implicit in the Word of God. History of … Vinessa would say he is very normal and a bit broody. His emotions are suppressed most of the time and yes I suppose he would be susceptible to auto suggestion if fearful and challenged since he doesn’t communicate that well with me (Vinessa) so it plays out as a neo noir with nods to Cronenberg and Tarintino.

Parallel Worlds and Words

It uncomfortably recalls Cronenburgs The History of Violence in terms of originality. The similarity begins with the Everyman figure Michael, in The History of Violence, Tom Stall played by Viggo Mortensen and his quiet life, living with lawyer wife played by Maria Bello and their two children in the town of Millbrook, Indiana. In self defence one night at his diner he kills two would be robbers. See any similarities so far? He becomes the hero as he has also saved lives and this turns around his own sense of self and his outward identity. Instead of taking on the enforcer role he is challenged by another hobo, this time replace Sam Shepard with menacing mysterious almost lookalikey Ed Harris. The psychology is the same if the responses somewhat different but it is a shoehorn half baked tale of immersive pandering to violence and this time it goes so far as to assert itself as being A HISTORY it is oven cooked rougher to the boil cold blooded derangement fulfilled for our sakes as a fictional tale. A fairly mediocre one at that as mister everyman (good cinema name) which has not moved the noir on to become a neo noir and is a thriller with frames cut and sprayed into disembodiment for effective squirm making from the safety of a cinema seat. We even have the change in directorial nudge courteously of the darkened night shots, well shot and framed detail, cinema period referencing and the new Motorola brick paying Jim Bob as a hokum in wonder of this great toy, the Cell. The director sets out to project cinema gore as tangible stuff, he lays on the second half what is tenderly acknowledged as ‘the truth’ in a video. Another branch of film making unacknowledged as fodder a skin away from the B movie genre. This in fact is tasteful sycophancy if not yet appreciated by the participants. One role is the appreciation. The three are therefore in a bind with the uncomfortable knowledge this other cinema fodder brings. This pivotal point is one of the memorable strikes hit by the actors. Michael C. Hall consistently the best actor, creating what is a superb role despite the neo noir imaginings, he has arrived in a new world which is familiar as deep down awareness now surfaces; he after all has been there himself and lightbulb moment, realises he has rejected the violence. This however is just the same and while trying to curtail any more premature deaths. Being in possession of this video knowledge is not a stroll in a mini cab around the A to Z of London’s streets but a perilous encounter with the Everyman village in East Texas. Life in the time of ghosts appearing in your life re-shaping Richs soul, unaccountably taking control but in a destructive way.

Two films

What we make of the early Ben father character who was in incarceration and having been released, visits the graveyard for the funeral and makes insinuations. “Nice family” kind of thing, with face pulling cartoon trigger happy go lucky kind of fellow, a bit of a hawk is not in the scope of the film anyway convincing despite it taking up the early cop chase (god forbid any suggestion the co-writer wanted frame time under trees in the pouring rain, shop visits, home visits – as he writes nothing in the later part nor explains, given his excursion what his shtik is) The Ben part is due to the script patchy but up Sams current wages street. Certainly the Ben character is the missing link which triggers Michael but need it have been so lingering on the (disappearing) cops antics. Join the mad and bad. Be resourceful and protective even if it hasn’t actually come across yet.

Pernickety Valley Finaghy East Texas

People in East Texas must get a bit browned off at this sort of caper and it is hot in summer, especially in July and dusty. There is also water and green gorgeous pastures peacefully flourishing there as a thing of beauty. Wise guys write songs and tend horses and talk hinges out in sweltering heat firing up refrigeration and air conditioning in a manner likely to cause mini climate changes but hell it blows over. It kind of is a straight jacket place with few visible sides. That is cinemas and media stereotyping denying other pioneering insights. A conspiracy can be sorted with jail or an electric chair or winging at democrats.

Conclusion 4####

This is a brave attempt at creating compelling narrative and drama around the neo noir crime and thriller Everyman through American eyes. It has pace, complexity, just believable connections, Hyde outcomes and straight jacketed stereotyping for the modern day B movie addictive movie goer. It is hot in July as we know and this film can be watched from the comfort of an air conditioned cinema. The QFT air conditioning works brilliantly, can be taken as July evening shock factor form as the outside evening cools and the evening lights near their on time. It is synthed with a modern score not overplayed and keeps your attention throughout and the Everyman character is carried off triumphantly by the abundance of nuanced and not so nuanced demands of this role. Of the others there is a lot to like about the Vinnessa Shaw character and the son even plays his part very well but it will be quite a few years before it is made known to him, we hope that the content is relatively cheerless violent provocative cinema.

At QFT. Friday 27 June through to Thursday 10 July 2014.

Enjoy summer cinema wherever you are.

John Graham

18 June 2014




July is interesting I found out from a woman who is 87 this week. She has ambitions to last beyond 100 which she tells me is quite possible if you were born around July, she stresses this important wisdom, as she knows three old – her words not mine – biddies knocking on all about 103, 104 and having a good laugh at their joint good fortune. How many replacement parts they have I didn’t ask.

East Texas is not as tough as Finaghy so the old folk must be OK out there if born into Julys cold heat. Now it is cold bloc here referred to I take it. A pun in use I surmise.

Just when the business of film making is making headway in Northern Ireland our little backwater is described by Game of Thrones executives as a Game of Thorns with a prickly undercurrent of lameness at the cosmopolitan heart so the spiel from the likes of Arlene Foster as Director of Tourism and other spin topics is not convincing.

They are destroying the arts – a massive break for Northern Ireland Screen is one thing – but the actually cultural heart of this place is being choked at its creative springs. Along with Fracking, wrecking Lough Neagh, our coastline and the destruction of our city by more demolition of cosmopolitan buildings other cities would cry out for, the Assembly is without a currency of ideas.

It seems the Film industry is embracing the unreality as much as Everyman is aware and happy to elect such careerists. There is every prospect of Golf saving everything apparently and to have a British Open Golf tournament, no sooner than 2018!!! will only cost the loss of the last two holes, as they do not accommodate the grandstands on both sides as they are. The alternative is to, of course, no pun intended, make holes one and two the last two holes and keep the topography of the idiosyncrasy unsuitable final holes into the future we hope.

The course is precisely such an acclaimed one due to its foibles and a mulligan save is needed. Don’t be putting any money on Rory McIlroy to win it as he insists he is not a Links Golfer

Revised World Cup view. Brazil will come good and win beating Germany.

Happy days.

Arts : First Thursdays

imageThe Evening Opening Routine

On the first Thursday of each month the ‘non – commercial’ galleries open on the late night shopping day, to attract the regulars and newcomers to what usually turn out to be very decent curated works. Some of it is evolving, some matured and most often it is radically opposed to the diet normally found in commercial galleries. While the commercial world has high end expenses and favoured locations with a recurring rota of artists with new ones added carefully and well highlighted work the task of providing the significant, challenging, experimental approaches, present mutation of ideas, imagination driven art is left to the so called fringe Galleries whose emphasis wish new work and practices and who tend to be heavily reliant on public support through Council delivery programmes; City, Arts, British or as elements of larger Cultural events sometimes driven directly from the DCAL patronage.

As I raised in the previous blog on 28 May Art : Perhaps on the clearly merited exhibition so short and under resourced, it is as track contrast to the multi layered ‘commissioners’ ‘specialists’ whose salaries swallow up funds that the Chairs and Boards of Studios and Independant galleries could much better create an Arts Belfast Collective. ABC? . The wider Collective taking in the similar Bangor, Banbridge, Newry, Derry, Armagh and smaller town expectations for a lively FUNCTIONING arts community.

Presently the Arts are prisoners of the inexact measurements, assessments and projections which are so far removed from the activities of the development of arts as to find itself pigeonholing directions aspirations and returns into balderdised columns and unsuitable questionable hype, ambiquious, amphiboles essays on art which I swear must be a prerequisite to secure a post on the Arts Council.

The management and platitudes serve them retaining face in the designs constructed by Governments and political choices. In the museums Art is censored and is subjective allowing very little narrative, just is art. This is how WE define art. The F.E.McWilliams gallery debacle is another case of censorship. The closet anyone came in the media to raising the possible presence of censorship came from an opinion piece writer whose ‘article’ in the Belfast Telegraph made little attempt at asking, understanding the Ulster Museums narrow window of ‘Troubles’ Art. The article was merit less and conversely speaks a great deal of the lack of arts education and adult appreciation of this extremely important part of our civilisation. What the artists who receive the least support and assistance.

One or two well publicized announcements of scholarships, awards, bursaries are not enough and are tokenism by the Arts Council and their masters. In the Arts : Perhaps series there is clearly a misapprehension of the value of education when all the authorities are interested in are the numbers and through-put. The support once graduation ends is minimal and not in keeping with the necessity for placements and life long learning.

The film industry has through its own valuable networking reached very high through its own capacity to communicate. it is in a communications business and plot material are often bread and circuses material with again few offshoots for experimental material. More prevalent, evident in France, Poland, Serbia, Czech Republic and other less well placed film industries. The difference is there is a cultural and educational belief which is wide spread in those ‘other’ places and though blood – Game of Thrones, Dracula, The Fall etc usually sell hence the indulgence chasing the dollar if not the explanation. The Humanities face problems in Belfast and Northern Ireland as they do in other nations. Queens University Belfast is classified as a STEM university and its Humanities Institutes have taken a hit in the recent decade. The persuasive element they apparently hold is with regard to Conflict Resolution.

Despite the conflict here being unresolved with successive regimes reliant on outsiders to step in and act as caretaker without any idea of the necessity of local dialoguer only; the preferred option is to create the appearance of peace while tearing any prospect of it apart while various selfish agendas are followed. The Universities are no different and despite the Arts being a discipline which has over many lifetimes delivered despite the smallest of real inward support, it is found again at the highest education level to be considered immaterial.

Never has the lack of Arts been pushed away from the basic level of education. Its fate has been to contain its overt significance in a middle tier strategy which will receive its patronage from the middle and corporate sectors and become a toy mechanic of culture with little expect for indigenous creativity. Art Education has been reformed into a Government – Society contrived symbiotic relationship which has all the intensity of falseness. The pupils who take on any part of the Humanities are the epitome of what is best among the civilized universe.

The new artists; despite the self destructive regimes of economic partisanship the leverage they create,  is bought up and sold back to the populus in assemblages of perceived value. The ability of science to apply technologies advances are themselves shifting and becoming democracised by new generations whose expectations have splipped off the constraints Governments unwieldingly pursue in response to elections and unrepresentative mandates.

The new generations of Artists deploy and collaborate much more effectively than ever, movements of Artists are currently, for example, unifying, signing up together to secure exhibition fees whenever they are sought to put their work into the public arena as a cultural component. the days of exploitation by Cultural institutions advancing their own niche is going to change with residency programmes, pooling of post- graduate and non graduate resources which hopefully will turn around the bureaucracy, the extremely inefficient, underachieving quasi political dinasors of the Arts Council and its relatives.

Catalyst Arts 5 – 20th June 2014

Just to relate some of the material present – the Ormston House quartet of artists from Limerick have put together a space responsive exhibition on light and sculpture.


All that remains to be seen is Jamin Keogh’s work in the side room.

In darkness 15 a4/size approx. light boxes contain transparencies each with bodily or oblique images relating to human fabric. It requires you to walk in the darkness along the line circling the room evident of other people also navigating and some stopping for periods to reflect on the images. Some sound is discern able but it is unclear. This forced engagement metaphorically speaks of the certitude death becomes which is a stimuli represented by having no choice if wanting to engage but to walk the line.


Untitled 12 x 650 amp lights, stands, sensor, 2014. by Elaine Leader


It is the first piece encountered as it is in the main front space. With it being on an open evening there is much more gained discussion wise as so many people encounter it at once. The conflicting experiences of this sensor operative piece is illuminating. That is what it is – again in darkness a necklace of studio lamps each with heavy wattage, each about five feet tall – all light up the entire space when someone or two enter the circle where at a point central they activate the lights. The he sensory overload comes to each differently and is compelling in its active destabalising or affirmation of the living experiment. Whether the number of people is influencing your response remains to be seen on another day.

Network by Paul Quast


Is a work with neodymium magnets, fluorescent tubes. A corner of the back room, again a dark space is where the above items are located. The box on the floor is the dynamic – see science box for explanation – it activates a pair of fluorescents burning off attained energy controlled by the box. The effect is strobe like and only a little disconcerting with other experience combining to loosen fear or tentative viewing. It is in fact quite neighborly and only its lack of functionality is of consequence.

Wardrobe by Lorraine Nesson Wardrobe,

Is mirrors, lights, 2012 A beautiful Mahogany Double cased Wardrobe sits off centre in the last darkened space. It is as if arriving at a dislocation of a temple as the lights wind round each space defining its back edge into which is transplanted a mirror to each ‘chamber’. The light if reflected in repeated diminished perspective into the vanishing supposed container of a deep tunnel seen through the Wardrobe. Though not referenced and no teen part of conception it nevertheless imitates The Narnia Belfast Bloomfield C.S.Lewis narration as well as the other fabled adventures. This piece does not offer adventure but describes I think other dimensioned reality. It appears cathedral like and of spiritual significance in a small way.


at Catalyst Arts from 5th – 20th June 2014

John Graham 6 June 2014 Belfast