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Matthew Barney "The Cremaster Cycle"



The first time I saw The Cremaster Cycle I was in art school. It was so inspiring to me aesthetically, but in terms of meaning I just kept thinking "wtf." "Wtf" is the factor I feel every video piece must have in order to deem it brilliant and this succeeded on so many levels. It's like the first time I saw Eraserhead by David Lynch (one of the best films of all time), that was during art school too. Similar to Cremaster I found it so mind-blowingly beautiful and completely impossible to understand. The difference though is that Lynch has refused to speak to exactly "wtf" Eraserhead was about, making it seem as though it was created largely via instinct and resourcefullness -- at times downgrading it, in order to avoid the discussion, coming off (IMO unconvincingly) as though it's more or less about nothing. Barney on the other hand went to Yale and did thesis work about conceptual art etc etc... and openly discusses the well thought out details which bring meaning to his work. The Cremaster Cycle, as a conceptual piece, is based around the cremaster muscle which "controls testicular contractions in response to external stimuli". [To read more go here.] The Cremaster Cycle is made up of 5 parts and is exceptionally long, so I can't post a full video for each, but here is a section from Part 1.

By the way, if you watched the intro video from Jan 1, we talked about how Bjork and Barney are [NOT] married (they are partners and have a child together) -- and also asked if the two had worked together often. To my knowledge they haven't, other than one of Barney's films, Drawing Restraint 9, which Bjork scored.

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