In my Fine Arts program we have to do a bit of writing. If I was to say this without typical ‘kiwi understatement,’ we have to do crap loads of writing. The thought of a 3000 word essay might send any other scholarly types into fits of laughter – ‘a pitiful amount of words! Ha ha ha!’. But that’s the problem. Existing critical theory and philosophy is as thick as treacle, damn hard to trek through. It takes me around 8000 words to get to a draft of 3000. The quote ‘I’m sorry for writing such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one’ is appropriate. It takes ages to process the mix of taffy philosophy, caramel critical theory and the fruits of your own thoughts, blending it into something pleasant to drink.

The first piece is critical theory, so it is rudely interrupted by citations quite often. I was required to do this.


Strong, beautiful men are Princes


Bambi (left) and his stronger father  

Disney desired to become the ultimate visionary. His aim with Bambi was a stunningly accurate portrayal of nature. He built an animation superpower that still leads the movie industry on a straight and narrow path – to get rid of the screen. To immerse the viewer into a magic spell, a perfect fantasy world where everything is alright and anything that isn’t is quickly disposed of. Masculinity is just one identity that gets scooped up and moulded into an ideal perfection by Disney. It’s just one identity that is funneled unfairly into right and wrong, perfect and imperfect. Disney is essentially just a wealthy white American man with his own little world that doesn’t like 99.9% of races, sexualities of versions of gender on our world’s surface.

Soon these films will have detail that exceeds the capability of the human eye – and it still won’t be enough

Consider Disney’s pursuit of perfection again. It’s still a rhetoric that permeates the movie industry. There is a benchmark of  excellence that sits as the measuring rod for film. Thanks to our very own clever Weta studios, this benchmark keeps steadily rising, as each of King Kong’s hairs did in frame 94567. The thing is, no camera, CGI or 3D imagery will get rid of the fact that you are looking at a cinema wall. It’s not even a window – it’s a wall. The worst possible feedback from any movie goer ever is this – “it looked real.” If that is all it did, then we have a wall that cost $300 million to decorate for two hours.

So why spend any effort on the pursuit of realism? Why try to pretend that the screen is invisible? Watching a wall can be a riveting experience, whether it’s a movie, a painting, graffiti or even nice stonework. Embrace the wall and the imperfections in it. Put anything on there – there should be no hierarchy because it cost $1 million or 10 cents to fascinate us with a wall. Fascinate us with good stories, weird stories, clumsy or refined stories.

I may have tried too hard to make Atacama and Hector real. I did this by speaking their dialogue and writing it down spontaneously, then not editing it. Their words end up imperfect. In this way I tried to capture the kludgy nature of everyday conversation, as realistically as possible. Crap I just contradicted myself. I’m a hypocrite.

How realistic.


Some more of my hero. – Laurie Anderson: From The Air – Laurie Anderson: O Superman