Archive 2008: High Priest of Light – James Turrell

12th Nov 2008

¦ dialling in from workstation ¦

08:55 GMT, Wednesday 12th November 2008.  Low winter sun blazing in through tall Napoleonic windows to my right.  The colour of sand.  Beautiful contrast to a perfect blue and cloudless sky: freezing cold air. I was supposed to go to a VIP screening of the new Bond film last night, a treat provided by my employer for the work we’ve been doing on some digital ad campaigns.

Unfortunately I started getting twitchy as the day drew to a close… I’ve not achieved much in my personal creative projects since the weekend… and lack of progress makes me edgy… the little voice in my head driving me on, making me guilty for wanting to spend a night watching a film I’ve already seen.  So, rather awkwardly, I glanced at all my colleagues who were getting into the vibe of a night out…and more or less silently slipped away.

Getting back to Bristol and Cosy Castle I felt an overwhelming sense of delight. Up into the Sky Bunker, laptop on, life-support blowing across my legs… my brain engaged with ideas and problems to do with NTODS.  I solved some problems, found some new ones, made great progress.  After four or so Da Vinci method sessions I headed downstairs to catch some crap on TV…instead, I made a great discovery.

Have you ever heard of James Turrell?  I hadn’t.  And yet this man is a living legend.  There was a documentary with Alan Yentob making a pilgrimage out into the heart of Arizona to meet this man, and see the pinnacle of his work: art, with light…a challenge to basic human perceptions, a stunning awakening to the fact that WE create our perception of reality rather than receiving a view of reality from outside.  I could rattle on forever about how amazed I was, sitting there on the sofa, my back upright, elbows on knees, riveted.  I feel like I’ve made a discovery that’s important.  I feel like I need to go there: to the extinct volcano that Turrell has carved with machines and embedded with tunnels and glass and “windows” and filled with celestial light.  Look up James Turrell and Roden Crater.

Speaking of Quantum of Solace, I enjoyed it when I saw it with Jo a couple weeks back.  Daniel Craig is excellent, although I hope we see a return to his more charming character – as Bond – and an end to the cold psychopathic machine he became after the death of Vesper.  My single criticism of the film, and it’s a big one, is the editor should have been fired; he certainly shouldn’t be given work again: cross-cutting, fast edits and a general lack of finesse left me baffled as to WTF was going on.  The editor ruined the action scenes.  If this is a new trend, then it needs to be killed off.


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David J Rodger – DATA




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