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.
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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.