Nina Menkes The Crazy Bloody Female Center

ISBN 13: 9780967412719

The Crazy Bloody Female Center

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9780967412719: The Crazy Bloody Female Center
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"This is a story about a woman who is haunted by circling images, trapped in violence. She asks you to enter her experience and her search for release." This brief text introduces an interactive world created by Nina Menkes, whose films all feature her sister Tinka Menkes as a deeply alienated woman in powerful resistance against violent and inhospitable landscapes. Menkes conceived her "world" as an attempt to find a core energy field which fuels the work the sisters have created over the past 15 years--an energy field she has named The Crazy Bloody Female Center.

The Menkes world is claustrophobic: all the images and sounds continuously loop, and alternative paths are surrounded by a moat of water imagery that forces you back into the fictions. When trying to "escape" from the painful images, you can click on a Butterfly, which carries you to a different, but equally violent universe set in Beirut. Here, for example, stories of a sniper play out against dissolving images of a nude female body, washed in red light. Only at a few key points in the World, by clicking on a magical glowing Star, do intimations of hope and release appear.

Players experience a non-narrative concentration of emotion which is embedded in Menkes' films. Combining the bold visual language, emotional power, and aesthetic rigor of independent film at its best with the interactivity of new media, it enables players, as in dreams, to draw from a reservoir of highly charged, deeply connected images and sounds and to re-edit them with intriguing narrative twists.

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About the Author:

Nina Menkes Biography-Named "One of the most provocative artists in film today" by The Los Angeles Times, NINA MENKES synthesizes inner dream worlds with harsh, outer realities. Her five films—(three full length features)—are a body of work Sight and Sound has called "controversial, intense and visually stunning."

Menkes works closely with her sister, Tinka Menkes, who is both lead performer and creative collaborator. Their films have shown widely in major international film festivals including Toronto, Rotterdam, Locarno, London, Sundance, Cairo, as well as at the Cinematheque Francaise, The British Film Institute, the Beijing Film Academy in China, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The sisters' many honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Annenberg Foundation Independent Media Grant, and an American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Award.

Most recently Menkes won a 1998 Film/Video Award from the Rockefeller Foundation for her new script HEATSTROKE. This new feature is being produced by Gus Van Sant and is scheduled to be shot in Los Angeles and Cairo, Egypt.

THE BLOODY CHILD (1996), shot in northwestern Africa and 29 Palms, California, combines Desert Storm marines, text from Shakespeare's MacBeth and wife-murder into a harrowing hallucinatory journey: a mesmerizing look at the desolation of violence. Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "Brilliant...an awe-inspiring work of art on the highest level; one of the year's top five films."

QUEEN OF DIAMONDS (1991) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in competition. Filmed on location in Las Vegas, QUEEN revolves around the life of an alienated black jack dealer and was named one of the 10 Best Films of 1991 by the Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Art Papers, and other periodicals.

MAGDALENA VIRAGA (1986), a film about the inner life of a prostitute imprisoned for killing her-pimp, won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for "Best Independent Film of the Year," and was featured in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Biennial.

THE GREAT SADNESS OF ZOHARA (1983) was shot on location in Israel and Morocco. The film traces the solitary, mystical journey of a Jewish girl who leaves Israel for Arab lands. ZOHARA won awards at the San Francisco and Houston International Film Festivals and was named "One of the Best Films of the Decade" by director Allison Anders.

MARSHA KINDER, the Producer of "The Crazy Bloody Female Center" is a cultural theorist, a prolific film scholar, the founding editor and contributing board member of several prominent journals, a multimedia producer, and since 1980 professor of critical studies in the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California. In 1995 she received the prestigious USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research, and in 1997 was appointed director of the Labyrinth Project, a three-year research initiative funded by the Annenberg Center for Communication for expanding the language of interactive narrative. As part of this initiative, she hosted "Interactive Frictions," an international conference on interactive narrative at USC's Davidson Conference Center, June 4-6,1999, and an installation exhibit at USC's Fisher Gallery, June 4-18, at which the CD-ROM fictions from the Labyrinth Project premiered. She has served on the Grand Jury at MILIA, and in conjunction with her work on children's multimedia, has been a consultant for Sega, Mindscape, and Fox. With Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Mark Jonathan Harris, she co-wrote, co-produced, and co-directed an experimental CD-ROM game for teens called "Runaways," which deals with issues of gender, race and ethnic identity. She is also General Editor of the Cine-Discs series of bilingual CD-ROMs on national media cultures, whose first disc is her own Blood Cinema: Exploring Spanish Film and Culture (1994).

Author of over one hundred published essays and ten books, her most recent works include: Playing with Power in Movies, Television and Video Games (1991), Blood Cinema: The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain (1993), Refiguring Spain: Cinema, Media, Representation (1997), Luis Bunuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1998), and Kid’s Media Culture (1999). Since 1977 she has been on the editorial board of Film Quarterly, and was also founding editor of Dreamworks (1980-1988), an interdisciplinary quarterly on dreams and the waking arts, and The Spectator.

KRISTY H. A. KANG is a digital media artist and Graphic Designer and Animator of The Crazy Bloody Female Center. She is the Creative Director of the Labyrinth Project. As a digital media artist her work explores the ephemeral nature of the body and the poetic language of memory. She has presented her work at the European Media Art Festival in Osnabruck, Germany (1997), at MILIA: International Multimedia Conference in Cannes, France (1997) and in Japan where she collaborated on a website for Tokyo Broadcasting System about interpretations of Japanese culture and entertainment. She is co-designer of an interactive game component of TV Dinner Party, an installation exhibit about the cultural history of television at the Museum of Film and Television in Los Angeles (August 1999) and was the Director of Graphic Design and Animation for Runaways, an experimental CD-ROM game for teens. In addition to working on various multimedia projects, Kang has been a digital media consultant and educator for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and has served as a panelist for the Asian Pacific Film Festival organized by Visual Communications. She received her MFA in Animation and Digital Arts from the School of Cinema-Television at USC in 1997.

WILLIAM HUGHES, the lead programmer and co-interface designer on The Crazy Bloody Female Center Project, came to multimedia with an educational background in electrical engineering (a BS from Cal Poly) and business management (a BS from Pepperdine University) as well as several years professional experience as a video engineer, a director/cameraman, and a specialist in post-production compositing. He has designed and built mobile video production trucks for cable companies and TV stations, and was a pioneering co-developer of a hardware/software system that synchronized film/video cameras to computer screens. One of those rare individuals who combines technical expertise with a wide range of production experience both in film and video, he brings the kinds of flexibility and cross-platform, hybridic knowledge that are increasingly demanded by experimental work in the new technologies.

ROSEMARY COMELLA is the lead programmer on Mysteries and Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy, and interface design consultant on The Crazy Bloody Female Center. Since 1994, she has worked as principal of HyperReal Media in all aspects of multimedia production, with an emphasis on art related CD-ROM projects. She has collaborated extensively with artist George Legrady on his companion CD-ROM to the book Clicking In, and Antonio Muntadas’ anthology CD-ROM published by the Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. Currently, she is working with a social researcher creating an interactive project sponsored by the National Institute for Cancer which attempts to teach women about issues of breast cancer.

Review:

"Menkes demonstrates that compression can sometimes make a work more intense and therefore even more compelling..." -- European Media Art Festival, Osnabruck, Germany, March 2000

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Menkes, Nina
Published by Annenberg Center for Communications (2000)
ISBN 10: 0967412714 ISBN 13: 9780967412719
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