the cremaster cycle by matthew barney

Synopsis:
CREMASTER 1 (1995) is a musical revue performed on the blue Astroturf playing field of Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho - Barney's hometown. Two Goodyear Blimps float above the arena like the airships that often transmit live sporting events via television broadcast. Four air hostesses tend to each blimp. The only sound is soft ambient music, which suggests the hum of the engines. In the middle of each cabin interior sits a white-clothed table, its top decorated with an abstract centerpiece sculpted from Vaseline and surrounded by clusters of grapes. In one blimp the grapes are green, in the other they are purple. Under both of these otherwise identical tables resides Goodyear (played by Marti Domination). Inhabiting both blimps simultaneously, this doubled creature sets the narrative in motion. After prying an opening in the tablecloth(s) above her head, she plucks grapes from their stems and pulls them down into her cell. With these grapes, Goodyear produces diagrams that direct the choreographic patterns created by a troupe of dancing girls on the field below. The camera switches back and forth between Goodyear's drawings and aerial views of the chorus girls moving into formation: their designs shift from parallel lines to the figure of a barbell, from a large circle to an outline of splitting and multiplying cells, and from a horizontally divided field emblem (Barney's signature motif) to a rendering of an undifferentiated reproductive system (which marks the first six weeks of fetal development). Gliding in time to the musical score, the chorus girls delineate the contours of a still-androgynous gonadal structure, which echoes the shapes of the two blimps overhead, and symbolizes a state of pure potential.

Synopsis:
CREMASTER 2 (1999) is rendered as a gothic Western that introduces conflict into the system.
On the biological level it corresponds to the phase of fetal development during which sexual division begins.
In Matthew Barney's abstraction of this process, the system resists partition and tries to remain in the state of equilibrium imagined in Cremaster 1. Cremaster 2 embodies this regressive impulse through its looping narrative, moving from 1977, the year of Gary Gilmore's execution, to 1893, when Harry Houdini, who may have been Gilmore's grandfather, performed at the World's Columbian Exposition. The film is structured around three interrelated themes - the landscape as witness, the story of Gilmore (played by Barney), and the life of bees - that metaphorically describe the potential of moving backward in order to escape one's destiny.
Both Gilmore's kinship to Houdini (played by Norman Mailer) and his correlation with the male bee are established in the séance/conception scene in the beginning of the film, during which Houdini's spirit is summoned and Gilmore's father expires after fertilizing his wife.


Gilmore's sense of his own doomed role as drone is expressed in the ensuing sequence in a recording studio where Dave Lombardo, former drummer of Slayer, is playing a solo to the sound of swarming bees.


A man shrouded by bees with the voice of Steve Tucker, lead vocalist of Morbid Angel, growls into a telephone. Collectively these figures allude to Johnny Cash, who is said to have called Gilmore on the night of his execution in response to the convict's dying wish.
Barney depicts Gilmore's murder of a Mormon gas station attendant in both sculptural and dramatic forms. Inferring that Gilmore killed out of a longing for union with his
girlfriend, Nicole Baker, he represents their relationship through two conjoined cars: the blue and the white 1966 Mustangs that they coincidentally both owned. In the murder sequence, Gilmore shoots his victim in the back of the head. This act sets in motion the trial and verdict that will condemn him to death, a sentence he embraces despite all efforts to overturn it.


Barney stages the judgment of Gilmore in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Gilmore welcomes death, refusing to appeal his sentence and opting for execution by firing squad, in a literal interpretation of the Mormon belief that blood must be shed in order for a sinner to obtain salvation.


His execution is staged as a prison rodeo in a cast-salt arena in the middle of the flooded Bonneville Salt Flats. Gilmore is lowered onto a bull and he rides to his death. In Barney's interpretation of the execution, Gilmore was less interested in attaining Mormon redemption than in performing a chronological two-step that would return him to the space of his alleged grandfather, Houdini, with whom he identified the notion of freedom through self-transformation. Seeking escape from his fate, he chose death in an act of ultimate self-will. Gilmore's metaphoric transportation back to the turn of the century is rendered in a dance sequence featuring the Texas two-step.


The film ends in the Columbian Exposition hall where Houdini is approached by Gilmore's grandmother Baby Fay La Foe who will seduce him, an act that sets in motion the circular narrative of Cremaster 2.





Synopsis:

CREMASTER 3 (2002) is set in New York City and narrates the construction of the Chrysler Building, which is in itself a character - host to inner, antagonistic forces at play for access to the process of (spiritual) transcendence. These factions find form in the struggle between Hiram Abiff or the Architect (played by Richard Serra), and the Entered Apprentice (played by Barney), who are both working on the building. They are reenacting the Masonic myth of Hiram Abiff, purported architect of Solomon's Temple, who possessed knowledge of the mysteries of the universe. The murder and resurrection of Abiff are reenacted during Masonic initiation rites as the culmination of a three-part process through which a candidate progresses from the first degree of Entered Apprenticeship to the third of Master Mason.
After a prologue steeped in Celtic mythology, the narrative begins under the foundation of the partially constructed Chrysler Building. A female corpse digging her way out of a grave is the undead Gary Gilmore, protagonist of Cremaster 2. Carried out of her tomb by five boys, she is

transported to the Chrysler Building's lobby. The pallbearers deposit her in the back seat of a Chrysler Imperial New Yorker. During this scene, the camera cross-cuts to images of the Apprentice troweling cement over carved fuel-tank caps on the rear chassis of five 1967 Chrysler Crown Imperials, each bearing the insignia of a Cremaster episode. Packed with cement, these caps will serve as battering rams in a demolition derby about to begin. The Apprentice then scales one of the building's elevator shafts until reaching a car resting between floors. Using this cabin as a mold, he pours cement to cast the perfect ashlar, a symmetrically hewn stone that symbolizes moral rectitude in Masonic ritual. By circumventing the carving process to create the perfect ashlar, the Apprentice has cheated in his rites of passage and has sabotaged the construction of the building.
The ensuing scene in the Chrysler Building's Cloud Club bar is a slapstick routine between bartender and Apprentice. Almost everything goes wrong; and these humorous mishaps result in the bartender playing his environment like a bagpipe. The variou
s accidents leading up to this are caused by a woman (played by Aimee Mullins) in an adjoining room, who is cutting potatoes with blades on her shoes and stuffing them under the foundation of the bar until it is no longer level - a condition that echoes the corrupted state of the tower. This interlude is interrupted by a scene shift to a racetrack, where the Apprentice is accosted by hitmen who break all his teeth in retribution for his deception. Back in the Cloud Club, he is escorted to a dental office, where he is stripped of his clothes, under which he is wearing the costume of the First Degree Masonic initiate. An apron of flesh obtrudes from his navel, referencing the lambskin aprons worn by Masonic candidates as a symbol for the state of innocence before the Fall.
The Architect confronts his opponent in the dental suite, fitting the compressed remains of the Imperial New Yorker into the Apprentice's mouth like a pair of dentures. At that moment, the Apprentice's intestines prolapse through his rectum. This ceremonious disembowelment symbolically separates him from his lower self. For his hubris he is simultaneously punished and redeemed by the Architect - whose own hubris, however, equally knows no bounds.
Returning to his office, and anxious about the tower's slow progress, the Architect constructs two pillars that allude to the columns, Jachin and Boaz, designed by Abiff for Solomon's Temple. Meanwhile, the Apprentice escapes from the dental lab and climbs to the top of the tower. The Architect uses his columns as a ladder and climbs through an oculus in the ceiling. The next scene describes an apotheosis, the Architect becoming one with his design, as the tower itself is transformed into a maypole.
At this point in the narrative the film pauses for a choric interlude, which rehearses the initiation
rites of the Masonic fraternity through allegorical representations of the five-part Cremaster cycle, all in the guise of a game staged in the Guggenheim Museum. Called "The Order," this competition features a fantastical incarnation of the Apprentice as its sole contestant, who must overcome obstacles on each level of the museum's spiraling rotunda.
In the ensuing scene, which returns to the top of the Chrysler Building, the Architect is murdered by the Apprentice, who is then killed by the tower. Both men have been punished for their hubris and the building will remain unfinished. The film ends with a coda that links it to Cremaster 4. This is the legend of Fionn MacCumhail, which describes the formation of the Isle of Man, where the next installment of the Cremaster cycle will take place.

Synopsis:
CREMASTER 4 (1994) adheres most closely to the project's biological model. This penultimate episode describes the system's onward rush toward descension despite its resistance to division. The logo for this chapter is the Manx triskelion - three identical armored legs revolving around a central axis. Set on the Isle of Man, the film absorbs the island's folklore as well as its more recent incarnation as host to the Tourist Trophy motorcycle race. Myth and machine combine to narrate a story of candidacy, which involves a trial of the will articulated by a series of passages and transformations. The film comprises three main character zones. The Loughton Candidate (played by Barney) is a satyr with two sets of impacted sockets in his head - four nascent horns, which will eventually grow into those of the mature, Loughton Ram, an ancient breed native to the island. Its horns - two arcing upward, two down - form a diagram that proposes a condition of undifferentiation, with ascension and descension coexisting in equilibrium. The second and third character zones comprise a pair of motorcycle sidecar teams: the Ascending and Descending Hacks. These primary characters are attended to by a trio of fairies who mirror the three narrative fields occupied by the Candidate and the two racing teams. Having no volition of their own, these creatures metamorphose in accordance with whatever field they occupy at any given time.
Cremaster 4 begins and ends in a building on the end of Queen's Pier. As the film starts, the Candidate is being prepared by the fairies for a journey. The motorcycle race begins, and each team speeds off in opposite directions. The camera cuts back and forth between the race and the Candidate, who is tap-dancing his way through a slowly eroding floor. As the bikes vie for the title, the camera pulls in for close-up shots of the riders' torsos.
Gelatinous gonadal forms - undifferentiated internal sex organs - emerge from slots in their uniforms in a migratory quest for directionality. In the case of the Ascending Hack, the organs move upward toward a second set of slots in the leather. With the Descending Hack, they ooze downward.
Back at the pier, the Candidate plunges through the floor into the sea and heads toward the island. At the moment of his fall - a transition from the utopian realm of pregenital oneness to that of bifurcation - the Ascending Hack collides with a stone embankment and the Descending Hack pulls off the course for a pit stop, where the fairies service its motorcycle. The Candidate reaches land and begins to burrow his way up into the body of the island through a curving channel that he must navigate in order to reach the finish line, where the two Hacks will converge. This conduit leads him to a bluff, where the fairies are having a picnic. They frolic in a game that mirrors the conflict enacted by the principal characters, but with none of the tension. Still in his underground tunnel, the Candidate finally reaches his destination. The Loughton Ram stands at this junction - a symbol for
the integration of opposites, the urge for unity that fuels this triple race. But before the Candidate and Hacks meet, the screen goes white. The Candidate's dream of transcending his biology to dwell in the space of pure symmetry is shattered.
In the final sequence at the pier the Hacks are parked on discrete ramps sloping down from the building's exterior. In the closing image the camera peers through an open crotch at the top of the frame toward the end of the pier. A tightly retracted scrotum is pierced with clasps connected to vinyl cords, which trail off to the awaiting Ascending and Descending Hacks, who will drive toward the island to pick up the slack. Full descension is guaranteed.




Synopsis:

When total descension is finally attained in CREMASTER 5 (1997), it is envisioned as a
tragic love story set in the romantic dreamscape of late-nineteenth-Century Budapest. The film
is cast in the shape of a lyric opera. Biological metaphors shifted form to inhabit emotional states - longing and despair - that become musical leitmotivs in the orchestral score.
The opera's primary characters - the Queen of Chain (played by Ursula Andress) and her Diva, Magician, and Giant (all played by Barney) - enact collectively the final release promised by the project as a whole.

Cremaster 5 opens with an overture that introduces the opera's characters and lays out the map of Budapest that the narrative will traverse. The Magician crosses the Lánchíd Bridge on horseback. The Queen ascends the staircase of the Hungarian State Opera House with her two ushers. She settles onto her throne in the royal booth, and the ushers arrange a fleet of Jacobin pigeons around her. Pearls float on the surface of the pools in the Gellért Thermal Baths, partially concealing the Füdór sprites, who inhabit their underwater realms. The curtain rises to an empty theater, the conductor readies his orchestra, and the opera begins.
As the Queen sings, her Diva appears on the stage, delineating the proscenium arch of the stage by laying ribbons across its floor and then scaling its contours. The Queen's mind wanders to memories of her beloved Magician p
reparing for a leap into the waters of the Danube from the Lánchíd Bridge. Stripped naked, he positions plastic shackles over his wrists and ankles, then fits molded gloves on his hands and places weighted balls between his toes. His actions recall the famed bridge jumps of Harry Houdini, who was born in Budapest in 1874. The Magician is seeking transcendence, but the Queen misunderstands his actions and thinks he is trying to
take his own life.
The Queen's ushers direct her attention to orifices in her throne through which she can see into the Gellért Baths below. Her birds plummet through the passages in the throne, trailing long satin ribbons into the bath. Her Giant enters the watery path between the two pools, wading through the pearls to hip level. The sprites cluster around him with a garland of ribbons they have woven together out of those attached to the birds. They reach up through the water and affix the garland to the Giant's scrotum. In the warm waters of the thermal baths, the cremaster muscle releases and the testicles descend. This climactic moment - the emergence of a fully
differentiated state - is rendered visible when the pigeons soar upward with ribbons trailing.
The Queen then relives the Magician's leap into the river and swoons from the horror of her recollection. At this point the narrative mirrors the path of descension just revealed: having completed his climb, the Diva tumbles to the stage, and the Magician plunges to the bottom of the river, landing, manacled, on a flowerbed. Two water sprites caress his fallen body and insert a black pearl into his mouth. The Queen performs her mournful aria, preparing to join her lover in death. A thin stream of liquid emanates from her mouth, trickling onto her ruffle and throne, then falling into the pools below. On its descent, the stream divides into two droplets that strike the water simultaneously. Two perfect circles resonate outward, filling the surface of the bath with their waves, suggesting, in turn, eternal renewal or the echoes of a system expiring.
The Cremaster cycle defers any definitive conclusion.



Info:

Written and Directed by
Matthew Barney

Produced by
Barbara Gladstone and Matthew Barney

Director of Photography
Peter Strietmann

Principal Production Team
Chloe Piene, Paul Pisoni, Robert Wogan


About Matthew Barney:
Matthew Barney was born in San Francisco in 1967 and was raised in Boise, Idaho. He attended Yale University, receiving his BA in 1989, then moved to New York City, where he lives today. From his earliest work, Barney has explored the transcendence of physical limitations in a multimedia art practice that includes feature-length films, video installations, sculpture, photography, and drawing. In his first solo exhibitions, Barney presented elaborate sculptural installations that included videos of himself interacting with various constructed objects and performing physical feats such as climbing across the gallery ceiling suspended from titanium ice screws. In 1992, Barney introduced fantastical creatures into his work, a gesture that presaged the vocabulary of his subsequent narrative films. In 1994, Barney began work on his epic Cremaster cycle, a five-part film project accompanied by related sculptures, photographs, and drawings. He completed the cycle in 2002. Matthew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle, an exhibition organized by the Guggenheim Museum of artwork from the entire project, premiered at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, in June 2002 and subsequently traveled to the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in October 2002 before its presentation in New York.
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Pessoalmente, acho este ciclo uma criação de génio. Desde a actuação de uma das bandas mais marcantes para a cena Hardcore (Agnostic Front) e Murphy´s Law no Cremaster 3 ao endeusamento de uma atleta paraolimpica que aparece em topless e pernas de cristal, das figuras grotescas e fantásticas que aparecem em todos os "filmes" deste ciclo ao proprio cenário criado por esta mastermind de nome Matthew Barney... absolutamente genial.




mais informação (trailers, cenários, personagens, historia, etc) em :
http://www.cremaster.net/
( escrevi em Português! HURRAY.)
Stay Gold.

2 comentários:

timz disse...

boa, é um bocado pesado, mas do que vi do cremaster3 curti!;)

Knowledge Reigns $upreme Over Nearly Everybody disse...

sim, tambem eu, quero ver se consigo arranjar o filme todo :)