Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mono No Aware VI (part 1)

December and Mono No Aware returns.  An inspiring event of expanded cinema performance and installation, continuing tonight out in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  The venue this year, LightSpace Studios, well suited to the event's combination of installation and screening.  Check out the full lineup of works on the Mono No Aware site.  And some photos from the first night below, and more from the second night here.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stom Sogo

A memorial screening at Microscope Gallery for Stom Sogo.

A screening of beautiful works, but a melancholy occasion.  Stom died much too young.  His bio from the program:
STOM SOGO was born in 1975 and moved to the United States in 1992. He graduated with a BA in art and film from Hunter College, New York, in 2000. Sogo started Open Screenings at Anthology Film Archives in 1995, inspiring a whole crew of filmmakers. His Super8 films and video works have screened at various festivals and exhibitions including Rotterdam Film Festival; the Whitney Biennale; Lincoln Center, MoMA, Light Industry, Union Docs, Chicago Filmmakers, Image Forum (Tokyo), Microscope, and many others.
Stom would often share his works with friends, and so some of the pieces screened were brought by the evening's presenters from their collections.

An strange commonality in the films and videos in the juxtapositions of the abstract and the representational:  Sequences of digitally processed splays of light and color, movement, shape, texture, together with diaristic images from Osaka, New York, and London, sometimes reshot off of a video monitor, the blown-up pixels forming a mesh-like pattern over the image, the video camera's display of counter-numbers visible in the corner of the frame: scenes riding the commuter train in Japan, cats exploring on a rooftop patio, a man (presumably Stom's father) slouchingly absorbed in watching tv.  This last image juxtaposed with a fragmentary series of sonic and visual repetitions from Japanese television, cutting up words into splintered sounds, with the footage shot off of a tv.  With many of the films the soundtrack is comprised of a few minimal notes on the electric guitar looping plaintively or an intensity of digitally processed dissonance.  The duality of images, non-representational and diaristic, was at times unsettling, but in an implicit manner revealed something of life's duality between moments of banal dailiness and the ever lurking possibility of going beyond the mundane condition of the everyday world in a state transcendental reverie.

* * *

Anthology Film Archives will be presenting a memorial screening in the coming year.  But between now and then a good way to learn more about Stom Sogo and his film and video work comes from Andrew Lampert's Interview with Stom.

He will be missed.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Screenings, screenings, screenings!

The year closes out with many events happening in the month of December.  Here are some highlights, but I'm sure there will be many others as well not yet announced at the time of this posting. . .

December 1
Things kick off with Thomas Dexter at Microscope Gallery.  An evening that includes his live 16mm multi-projector film performance "Action/Film."
7PM Saturday, December 1
Microscope Gallery
4 Charles Place
Bushwick, Brooklyn

December 7 & 8
Mono No Aware, the annual festival of expanded cinema works is happening again.  Always full of inspiring performances of live cinema.  You can read about last year's event here on the blog.
Mono No Aware at LightSpace Studios
1115 Flushing Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
Friday and Saturday December 7th & 8th. Doors open at 7pm on both evenings, introductions and performances begin promptly at 8pm.

December 10
At Microscope Galley there is "Reels & Lights" a projector performance by Crater (Luis Mac├Čas and Adriana Vila) Followed by "gifts & presence" with Bradley Eros on the occasion of his birthday. Featuring works by Victoria Keddie, Rachelle Rahme, Joel Schlemowitz, Sarah Halpern, Tim Geraghty, Rachael Guma, Natas, Elle Burchill, Sadaf H Nava, Lary Seven, Marianne Shaneen, Marie Losier & Bradley Eros.
7PM Monday, December 10th
Microscope Galley
4 Charles Place
Brooklyn NY 11221

Jonas Mekas chats with Richard Barone in person, and a live music performance follows screening of "I Belong To Me: The Cool Blue Halo Story."
7:30 PM Monday, December 10th
Anthology Film Archives
2nd Ave & 2nd Street
New York City

December 15
A celebration of cinema from the Film-Makers' Cooperative and Millennium Film Workshop.  For many years the Coop has put on a December benefit screening hosted by Millennium, and these events have always been gratifying events to attend, bringing together the local filmmaking community to welcome in the holidays together.  Food, wine, cinema, and celebration!! (the way we like it at the Cine Soiree!!)
Holiday Mixer hosted by the Film-Makers' Cooperative & Millennium Film Workshop!
2:30-5:30PM Saturday, December 15th
Anthology Film Archives
2nd Ave & 2nd Street
New York City
Door $15 to benefit the FMC & MFW

After the the holiday party continues that same day with a ride out to Brooklyn on the L train and then over to Union Docs. . .
Hello Happiness, Marie Losier presents: A Holiday Party featuring Tony Conrad & Guests
Union Docs
322 Union Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
7:30PM Screening featuring Tony Conrad followed by a Q&A.
9:30PM DJ Sets begin with April March, Victoria Keddie, Marisol Limon Martinez, Oleg and Dima Dubson, Stephanie Peterson, Jonathan Cahouette, Rachel Guma, Zach Layton and Marianne Shaneen, Bradley Eros, Larry 7 and Losier herself.   $10 entrance all night long

December 17 - December 23
A retrospective of work of the prolific "filmer" Jonas Mekas will take place at Anthology Film Archives in honor of his 90th year:
His newest work will be shown in December at Serpentine Gallery in London, but there's plenty to see -- and celebrate -- here in New York.

December 21
And two back-to-back screenings at Anthology on Friday,
December 21.  At 8PM:
CATALYSTS (or, EXPOUNDED CINEMA) PRESENTS: Bradley Eros & Jeanne Liotta’s DERVISH MACHINE – 20TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT!  A screening of Eros and Liotta's "Dervish Machine" in honor of its 20th Anniversary, with a live cinematic performance, and the presentation of a filmic concordance to the work, with clips from the references and inspirations behind its creation.

And then at 10AM, the one-a-calendar screening of work by "AFA's staff, friends, fellow-travelers, and devotees."
You can get a sense of what to expect from last year's Secret Life of. . . screening written up on this blog.

December 23
And to cap off the year, there is hardly a better way than this:
6PM Sunday, December 23
Anthology Film Archives
2nd Ave & 2nd Street
New York City
The 4 hour and 48 minute running time should not scare you away from this work, screening as part of the retrospective in honor of Jonas Mekas turning 90.  It is a film of great beauty and a moving experience.  Like other long works it archives something that concision cannot.  The experience of watching it is one of surrendering to the film, of being subsumed by it.  It's hard to say if the film's effect would be as profound if it were a short work.  You leave the theater feeling as if still in its spell, viewing the world differently now, even outside the screening room, as if still through Jonas's lens.

* * *

Hope and expect to see you there at some of these events!


Monday, November 26, 2012

DingXin at Anthology Film Archives

A screening of 16mm films by DingXin at Anthology Film Archives on Tuesday November 13, 2012.

Many hand-processed films, dark silhouettes of sprocket holes bleeding into the frame, flickering afterimages of painted clear leader printed onto high contrast film, patterns of light reflected off the ripples on water, prisms producing rainbows in front of obscure objects. 

The earliest and the latest works made a lasting impression.  The first film shown was DingXin's first film made.  A film of the moon, seen in crescent, slowly arching its way across the frame, in silence, its transit interrupted by the texture and movement of the film; hand-processed (and hand-printed?) with the registration shifting, the sprocket holes visible at times, but maybe just a stencil-like imprint of the sprockets from the processing?  Snowflake like dust adding to the texture of the image, the moon glowing serene and aloof amidst physicality of the photochemically treated strip of film unfurling in the projector.

The last piece, Prisms, a work entirely shot in closeup, with the spectrum of light refracted in the prisms of the film's title.  Sometimes an object was there, a bronze sculpture perhaps? or an imaginary landscape dreamed by the viewer of the film? never seen to the point where we could readily identify it, and the shallow plane of focus an element in the work's intrigue.  While this was a film about the visual experience of the light, refractions, and reflections of angled glass, it was also a film about the mystery of how we can look but not necessarily discern what it is that we are seeing.  The extreme close-up is a clarity of detail as much as it is an abstraction of the whole.

* * *

The screening was introduced by local filmmaker/animator Eric Leiser.  DingXin studied filmmaking in California, but now teaches at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.  This was the first one-person screening of his work in New York, but hopefully not the last.

The obligatory question for those of us there who were hoping more people could be introduced to this work was "Are your films available on-line?"  The answer was no.  These were works to be screened as works of film.  It's not hard to understand.  A work like Prisms might really suffer without the disorienting sense of scale; the contrast of monumental size of the work on screen with these tiny, macro-lens details would be entirely lost on a computer monitor just due to the size of the image itself.  So no links from this blog post to see these films on Vimeo or YouTube.  You'll just need to go see this work when it's showing again -- on the movie screen!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Sabrina Gschwandtner at LMAK

A visit to LMAK, just below Delancey Street, and some wonderful pieces by Sabrina Gschwandtner.  Illuminated quilts sewn together from film.

Viewed from afar the quilts resemble fabric quilts, but looking close there are the sprocket holes, optical soundtracks, the frame lines, the sequences of images, the punctures made by the sewing machine.  It is a forest, and then it is trees.  The effect is not unlike the experience of viewing a painting by John Singer Sargent both close and far.  From a distance are objects of a tactile stolidity: faces, hair, fabric, jewelry.  Up close these dissolve away, the illusion is broken, another painting emerges that is about the paint, its tactile qualities spread on the canvas, the speed and movement of the brushstrokes.  Or perhaps the pointillist works of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac are an appropriate comparison, for understanding the near and far effect that Sabrina works with in these pieces?

There is an interesting parallel in the sewing machine and the motion picture and camera, both of which are employed in these pieces.  The two inventions are Nineteenth Century mechanisms utilizing intermittent motion.  The film moves through the camera, advanced by the the pulldown claw, where it stops with a frame in the gate, the shutter opens, light passes through, creating the image on the film.  In much the same way, the drop feed sewing machine employs the "feed dog" to advance the fabric, as the fabric stops, the needle comes down, and the thread passes through the fabric creating the stitch.

The the last day to see the show is Sunday October 21, 2012, so make your way down to LMAK soon!