Those of you that have read my book Paintwork will know that the title story is about re-purposing advertising billboards for art – in fact you might recall that I described pretty specifically the location of the billboards in question. They are real things, in a very real place. I walk past them everyday. That’s why I wrote that story – I felt I needed some way of striking back against the visual invasion of public space I’m subjected to every time I walk past there. Billboards are imposing enough when you see them from a passing bus or car, but the way they impose and dominate your reality – blocking out all other imagery – as you pass them as a pedestrian starts to grate pretty quickly.
This weekend saw the final unveiling of the the See No Evil project in Bristol; Europe’s largest street art exhibition. It is, to say the very least, an extraordinary, breathtaking achievement. Graffiti artists not just from Bristol but around the globe descended on Nelson Street, transforming the whole area from drab, urban decay into what feels like a new – almost virtual – space. It is truly something that needs to be experienced, but hopefully some of the photos I grabbed (along with the many on the official Flickr page) will give you some idea of its scale and raw beauty.
Some of you might remember my concern back in June when I first reported on Production IG’s planned visual update to Oshii’s 1995 classic Ghost in the Shell. Well, the Blu-ray of GiTS 2.0 (not to be confused with GiTS 2: Innocence, which will also be referred to a lot in this piece) hit Japanese stores a few weeks ago, and via sources that I’m not at liberty to identify I have managed to get my hands on a preview copy – months before the (still yet to be confirmed) UK release. So it was that I found myself, on the first morning of 2009, sitting down to watch one of my favourite movies of all time again, but instead of being filled with the usual satisfying feeling of anticipation, I was gripped with something nearer to dread.
I finally got to sit down and watch Michael Aris’ ‘Tekkon Kinkreet’ on Blu-Ray this weekend. Coming to the movie completely cold – not having read Taiyō Matsumoto’s original manga, and knowing little about the production’s genesis, I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t until I sat down to start writing this review and did a little bit of background research online that I discovered the fanboy shit-storm surrounding the film’s release.