MarkBurntWorld

Burnt World is the work, and monicker, of film-maker and video artist Mark Oughton. Burnt World strives to continually improve its work and collaborate with like minded artists. The inspiration for the name derives from the concept of destruction for the purposes of rebirth, much like the mythological Phoenix, and is inspired by the Hindu Goddess, Kali. The artistic influences behind the work include Béla Tarr, Alberto Giacometti, Christian Marclay and Kutluğ Ataman
MarkBurntWorld has written 5 posts for

Paleo 2.0 Nut Loaf Recipe

This a gluten and dairy free, Paleo friendly (not vegan as it contains eggs) recipe for a very satiating nut loaf that’s nice hot or cold. This works really well with roast veg. I had Asparagus and Sweet Potato.

Serves 8 x 150g meal portions or 16 x 75g snack portions.

Prep time- 2-3 hours, plus 1 day prior to soak ingredientsNut loaf

Ingredients-

400 g Walnuts (soaked for 4 hours)

185 g Brazil nuts

180 g Mushrooms

70 g Pumpkin seeds (soaked for 24 hours)

70 g Sesame seeds (soaked for 8 hours)

6 eggs

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for loaf and some to grease cake tin

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon coriander

1 tablespoon garlic

Instructions-

-Put the oil  and eggs in a food processor powerful enough to grind nuts and begin to blend whilst adding the other ingredients.

-Grease a cake tin and pour in mixture

-Bake in a preheated oven on middle shelf at 180 degrees celsius (adjust for fan assisted). Check after 90 minutes, if the centre is still runny, bake for another 30 minutes.

-Remove from oven and leave to rest under a clean tea towel for at least half an hour.

-Serve or refrigerate

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‘Alternating Currents: Japanese Art after March 2011’ review

The sheer scale of Taro Izumi’s ‘Skunk Tunnel’, dominating the ground floor gallery of PICA, took my breath away.

Children (no doubt forced along for educational purposes) were frolicking in the giant board game theatre- its various masks and activites scattered about like the aftermath of an earthquake. The accompanying adults picked their way through chaos more carefully. Either for the fear of tripping or struck, as I was, by the post-Fukushima metaphor.

It took 3 weeks to construct and is based on a Japanese board game called E-sugoroku which is like Snakes and Ladders where the winner is the first to get to Buddhist paradise. The feelings evoked by Skunk Tunnel are far from Zen though. There is projected footage of Izumi performing/playing the game and the rules seem to be made up as they go along. This exhibition was commissioned in 2010 but the art changed in response to the disasters in Japan earlier this year.

Works by the other artists, such as the pop-up cafe “Yellow Cake” and the various video installations, deal with the effects of Fukushima and attempts at grass roots responses to rebuilding Japanese society.
Another of Izumi’s pieces involves a lot of wooden tables. They look washed ashore until you realise that there are small wooden figures holding them up.

The idea of the familiar made unfamiliar is also present in Yukio Fujimoto’s work. On the walls outside the Westend gallery are Vinyl LPs by The Sex Pistols and Kraftwerk. On closer inspection, the grooves have been polished out making them completely unusable.

On entering the Westend gallery I was again taken aback by the scale of a piece, Fujimoto’s ‘Broom’, an 8 meter circle of coal with a hollow centre. Like Skunk Tunnel it is there to be interacted with, and walking over the coal you make your own music like the pop and hiss of a vinyl record.


The piece I connected with the most was Fujimoto’s ‘Time’.
Listening against a cavity wall filled with 400 ticking clocks is like a rushing stream over pebbles, taking on strange rhythms.
The very helpful gallery assistant, Frankie, told me I could stand in the cavity wall too. In there, the sound was more like rain on a rooftop. Apparently some people find it a bit overwhelming.

A great show and highly recommended.

Please note, the venue did not allow pictures to be taken, so the pictures in this post have been borrowed from the Japan Foundation website.

Alternating Currents: Japanese Art after March 2011 runs at PICA in Western Australia until December 31st 2011

Paleo 2.0 Almond Loaf Recipe

This a gluten and dairy free, Paleo friendly (not vegan as it contains eggs) recipe for a very satiating nut loaf that is nice hot or cold.

Serves- 13 x 75 g portions

Prep time- 2/3 hours plus 8 hours prior for soaking

Ingredients

543 g Almonds (soaked for 8 hours)

116 g Macadamia nuts

116 g Pine nuts

100g coconut cream

4 eggs

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Honey to serve

Instructions-

-Put the oil  and eggs in a food processor powerful enough to grind nuts and begin to blend whilst adding the other ingredients.

-Grease a cake tin and pour in mixture

-Bake in a preheated oven on middle shelf at 180 degrees Celsius (adjust for fan assisted). Check after 90 minutes, if the centre is still runny, bake for another 30 minutes.

-Remove from oven and leave to rest under a clean tea towel for at least half an hour.

-Serve warm with honey or refrigerate

Caveman Cooking

A mate back in Blighty was after recommendations on alternatives to milk and this led into a discussion on my Paleo diet which I’ve been on for 2 months or so. Feeling suitably inspired, I’ve decided to write about the how, why and wherefore of going Caveman.

You might not want to read the next 2 paragraphs whilst eating.

I’m currently on a working holiday in Australia and eating within a budget. As part of this I was having Couscous with veg (Bell peppers/Capsicum, Celery and Courgette/Zucchini) every day on my lunch break at 1pm. An hour later, like clockwork, I started having bad stomach aches and breaking wind. It was foul smelling and very embarrassing. Going to the toilet was not comfortable. The only cause could be the Couscous. I did some reading and found that Couscous contains gluten, a protein that some people can’t stomach.

I started to think about other times I was having digestive trouble. When I was back home, my family would have to leave the room shortly after I’d start drinking Ale. When I was working night shifts back in the UK, I’d only eat soup and a few slices of wholemeal bread throughout the night but again my colleagues were suffering in my presence.Brown Rice

I tried going gluten free for a week. I swapped wheat based muesli for oat based muesli, couscous for brown rice, wheat pasta for rice pasta. And I felt incredible. Imagine, if you will, that you’d felt lethargic for years and not even known it. Suddenly, I had loads of energy and could sleep for a full uninterrupted 8 hours (even despite the snores of fellow backpackers sharing the hostel dorm).

I started paying attention to food labelling for the first time. It’s surprising the amount of stuff that has wheat flour added to it. OK, so I have to pass on biscuits and cakes when they’re being offered out but I’d rather spare myself the discomfort and embarrassment.

The Ultimate Old Fashioned Diet

It was whilst searching for  gluten free recipes that I learnt about the Paleo diet. Paleo= Palaeolithic. The principle is basically- if we didn’t eat it whilst evolving then don’t eat it.

This means no grains, no dairy (milk), no legumes (they contain a lot of chemicals that play havoc with the bowels unless soaked and cooked to death), no processed sugars and no oils containing a lot of trans-fats (canola oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil).

Back to food labelling again and sugar and salt seem to be added to nearly everything out there.

Some people are a lot stricter than others. Paleo 2.0 is by and large built on the same principles but allows more cooking, for instance white potatoes are not Paleo but are ok under 2.0 (so long as you peel the skins).

I eat Paleo 2.0 food in combination with the Bodytrim eating plan, this means eating at least every 3 hours to stop the body going into energy storing mode.

I do most of my cooking on a Sunday evening to free up time in the week, and freeze/ defrost as needed. I’ll cook a batch of 75 gram meatballs for my snacks in the week.

A typical day looks like this-

Breakfast: 3 eggs scrambled with a mushroom and 50g of pre-soaked and cooked Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’). A handful of Blueberries. Green Tea.

Mid morning protein snack

Dinner: 150g Tuna or Chicken with peppers, celery and courgette. Possibly with 50g carrot or sweet potato every other day. Piece of fruit.

Afternoon protein snack

Tea: 150g Beef, Lamb or Kangaroo with non-starchy veg.

Pre-bed protein snack.

Quinoa and Blueberries

I cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil but there are other Paleo friendly oils such as Cocon

ut, Almond and Clarified butter (Ghee). I’m liberal with black pepper and Balsamic vinegar.

I give myself a free day every week but even then I try and stay Paleo. On my free day I’ll drink Cider, Perry, Mead or Wine (There is a woeful lack of gluten free beers), I’ll snack on Brazil or (soaked) Walnuts instead of meat. I’ll put honey in my tea and have dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa, normally 85%).

This is followed with a protein only day.

Just as prior to the diet, I take a multivitamin and cod liver oil pill and even though there’s a fair amount of fibre in the diet, I also take a tablespoon of psyllium husk in a pint a hot water before bed.

More than just food

Reading around other aspects of the Paleo lifestyle, there are those who shun modern cosmetics and use only water to clean themselves. I’ve stopped using anti-perspirant but I am far too vain and conscious of body odour to go wholesale Swampy.

I found out about Castile soap (saponified olive oil) and as luck would have it, found some for sale in a shop the next day. I use it only on my pits and bits and use a Castile based shampoo once a week (normally after my free day), but rinse my hair in the shower every day. I’ve found that I no longer need to use hair product as my hair is a lot less frizzy now, though I’ve read that 100% Aloe gel makes a good natural hair gel (and after sun balm).

Being in Oz, sun care is important so I wear a rash vest and use a zinc cream as a sun block. I’ve started electric shaving until I can get round to finding (or making) a natural shaving cream. I’ll still put on a bit of aftershave when I go out, but aim it for my shirt collar rather than skin. My only other concession to modern cosmetics is toothpaste but I am on the lookout for a decent replacement for my Colgate.Aloe Vera Cut Leaf

Being on the road, I have a few concerns over being able to get Quinoa in remote places. I might have to make a concession and eat Brown rice for a while, and with soaking for a day, this still seems a better plan than other choices (Corn, Oats) as a short term thing.

This is a personalised account based on my own reading and what feels right for my own body, I don’t go about telling people how to live their lives (and expect the same courtesy in return), but if you’re interested, try going gluten free (no wheat, rye or barley) for 2 weeks or so. See if you feel more energetic. After that, try gradually cutting back other non-Paleo parts of your diet. Do what feels right for you.

Shooting Stitchthread

My best friend Lex says I’m the most pretentious person she knows. Let that be a warning if you’re not yet aware of just how pretentious an artist writing about their work can appear.

I once read a defence of Béla Tarr’s work that went something along the lines of ‘either all art is pretentious or none of it is’. I think the trouble comes from the fact that what the artist says about their work might not match how we’ve experienced it. However, if we’re to treat art work as texts and are struggling to ‘read’ the piece then the artist’s view of their work can at least offer us away in.

So here’s me, offering you a way in to the music video ‘Last Days’ which I directed (produced, shot and edited) for Preston Doom Metallers ‘Stitchthread’.

There’s a repeating trick throughout the video, so if you’ve not yet watched it, here it is. Otherwise, *SPOILERS (& PRETENTIOUSNESS) AHEAD*

Prior to an art exhibition I did in January 2011, Ian (Stitchthread’s mandibly hirsute drum beast) had created the branding for my production company. During the process we got into discussions on Béla Tarr and this led to Ian asking me whether I’d ever considered shooting a music video.

It’s not something I’d spent too much time considering given that a large amount of them are the video equivalent of fast food and an horrendous waste of talent. Added to this is that I repeatedly see videos for Metal songs with the same lazy horror film tropes- Band performing in a cellar/ woods/ wasteland intercut with some form of chase/ torture/ murder sequence, a lot of lens flare and shaky-cam during the solos. Often a vanity project and masturbatory aid for bands who know just how cool they are.

Ian assured me that this wasn’t the sort of thing they were after, and while I can’t vouch that the video has been safe from Jim the bassist’s onanism, I asked which songs they were considering having a video for. They forwarded an 8 minute song and the 18 minute ‘Last Days’. I was veering towards Last Days, not only because most people don’t make 18 minute music videos, but also because I felt closer to the apocalyptic themes of Last Days given the reading I was doing at the time just after the 2nd Black Metal Theory Symposium.

I’d wanted to start doing long camera takes since discovering Béla Tarr and the look I’ve gone for is lifted straight from ‘Sátántangó’ (the most intense 7 hours you’ll ever spend in front of a screen). SPOLIER- Because of the non-linear story in Sátántangó, there’s a certain scene where for a moment I thought I watching a ghost and this was the most prominent scene in my mind in addition to the overall look of Tarr’s films.

With having the band disappear from the screen, my intention was to have the viewer think about the space the camera is moving through and realising how the band must be moving about out of shot, opening the 2D screen into a 3D perception. This echoes Fontana’s Spatial Concept pieces (currently at Liverpool*spit* Tate)-

and also a sequence from Solyaris by Tarkovsky (who Tarr can be seen as a disciple of).

The video for Velouria by The Pixies was another big influence in terms of intent. At the time of it’s making, bands couldn’t get on Top Of The Pops without having a music video. In order to appear the Pixies shot a 23 second clip of themselves running down a quarry and then slowed the footage to the length of the song. This sort of playing with time strikes me as something quite Deleuzian (see Cinema 2) but was also the playful kind of subversion of form I was aiming for- The Last Days video isn’t a typical representation of a metal band, they keep disappearing from view but are always present, not only in the music, but in the space of the screen world.

As for the repeated disappearing, I’ve been fascinated with illusions and magic tricks since I was very young. The bloke who used to clean our windows showed me that trick where it looks like you’re pulling your thumb off once and I used to ask him to show me it over and over every week. I was totally baffled and it took years for me to work out but led me into learning magic tricks (I only know one decent card trick though). That kind of childhood experience of appearances and absences is covered by Paul Virilio in ‘The Aesthetics of Disappearance’, a book which has become important to my understanding of media.

We shot in early March and green shoots were beginning to show on the trees, a week later they would have been in blossom, so it was really the last possible weekend for a few months to get the video to look bleak. Although it certainly doesn’t come across, it was a glorious spring day and while we started early to minimise the amount of public about, by the last take I was nearly tripping over strangers to keep them out of the shot. Ian and I had rehearsed a few times the week before and on the day I rehearsed once with the band, who’d brought their running shoes.

There are no camera tricks or cuts in the video. The black and white, high contrast image is due to the camera used- a Fisher Price PXL 2000. This was a child’s toy in the 1980s and used to record to audio cassette tape (7 minutes of video on a C90 tape). Mine is circuit bent to allow recording to a digital device.

The use of this camera is another subversion in a world of glossy HD, not attempting to perfectly reflect reality but creating its own image world.

Gerry Fialka, champion of the PXL 2000 and organiser and LA’s annual PXL THIS film festival said this of the camera minimalism- “Giving the viewer less information might mean more involvement by the viewer…” This is something I go along with, not trying to spoon feed the meaning of the image (that’s what ‘making of’ blogs are for) but asking to viewer to bring themselves to the piece and opening up tmie and space in the piece to allow this. I was delighted when a viewer said they’d had an apophenic experience of it, seeing faces in the trees, their mind trying to create meaning from chaos.

Enough from me, what do you think?

Last Days by Stitchthread screened at Sync 4, Preston, March 2011 and will screen at PXL THIS 21, California, December 12th 2011

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