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SOFT RIOT

A CASUAL GIGER

05 December 2011

For the first Saturday of the last month of 2011 I opted to hole up in the flat and re-capture some energy from what has been a very busy and stressful two weeks: illness and and the tasks and co-ordination exerted into the preparation of moving to a new flat as well as preparing a new EP in the new year require focus and attention right up to the moving date and then five days after Lyle and myself travel back to Canada to experience the old homeland in the dead of winter. It should be a wonderful, reflective time.

Perhaps there’s a sense of wonder and nostalgia lately. And it would certainly be present upon viewing of a feature from Japanese television about the macabre Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger. Although I’m never one to get to super die-hard fan status, Giger’s work has come and gone from focus in my lifetime, probably first discovered when I was a youth in the 80s through random science fiction magazines like Omni, battered VHS covers and album artwork — Perhaps I connected because the aesthetic and motives for his artworks very in tune with some of my own aesthetics and viewpoints on the human race — alienation, over-population,  the “cog in the machine” viewpoint and sort of the dark, um, sexuality of it all. Although somewhat macabre and terrifying many of his paintings have a sublime beauty and oddly a sense of calm (more so on the more abstracted landscapes).

Around a decade or so I had a brief stint, unschooled, with painting. There was some influence of that school of work albeit in a far more primitive, expressionist style. I’ll have to post some of that as I’ve pulled those items from out of three years of storage. We’ll save that for another time and get back to the documentary.

Opening up with a dark forest setting and a typeface worthy of 1970s psychedelic journey to Middle Earth, the documentary already moves in a more experimental direction with the deep space synthesizer sounds apparently provided courtesy by members of the kraut/prog group Brainticket. These druggy musical soundscapes lay a timeline to drape still fades of a great number of Giger’s painting from his Necronomicon series, many already familiar to those who may only have a passing interest in the artist.

What made this film odd I found was the candid nature of Giger’s narrative (in this case, done by a burly voiced American sounding bass-y and somewhat wooden) overlapping footage of domestic aspects of Giger’s life; including hoovering his Siamese cat, serving guests what appears to be lasagna in his garden, brushing his teeth, etc.. The list goes on. It makes for somewhat of a naïve but interesting contrast to the landscapes found in his paintings. Giger’s thoughts and musings on his artwork and philosophy come across quite naturally and seem to be uninhibited as to what others will think.

In addition there’s also some interest inside from some very jet-setting “Euro” patrons, explaining their attraction to his artwork. I certainly think that the pacing of this “feature” is of one that you wouldn’t really see in today’s “cut to the chase” style of television feature. The slow pacing I think adds to the epic feel of consciousness in the artwork.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it. You can view for yourself below. Switch on the lava lamp, get a fondue nice and heated in an earthware crockpot and kick back…

GIGER “Necronomicon” Part 1 of 4