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.
I've projected "Christmas on Earth" several times now with MM Serra, who has been a notable champion of this double-projection work, perhaps under-recognized for its importance in exemplifying sixties underground cinema. Figures in body paint play out erotic interactions, superimposed in a smaller frame within a larger one, the outer image comprising of closeups of the body, most notably shots of genitalia. The synthesis of these two images creates the impression of the body-painted figures as inhabitants of the genitalia, as if we are privy to the playful goings-on of unseen pixies and sprites that inhabit various hubs and recesses of the body.
The film has a certain indeterminacy built into its presentation: The film is a dual projection piece, with one image inside the other, the inner image approximately half the size of the outer one. The black and white footage is transformed into color by the projectionists placing color gels in front of the lens of each projector while the film is showing. Barbara Rubin requests that the soundtrack be a live radio, tuned to a rock station. All of this is communicated by a set of instructions that are packed in the can with the film.
Given its design as a work of expanded cinema, each time the film is shown something new is there in its presentation. What drew my attention in projecting the film on this occasion was the
degree to which the density of the color gels demanded careful consideration from
the projectionist. A very deep, dark color (dark blue, for instance)
could completely obscure the image if a bright gel (yellow, perhaps) was
being used by the other projector. I kept trying to adjust the use of
gels on the projector to complement the gel on the other projector, not
just in terms of color combination but also in terms of density of
lightness or darkness. Something I'm sure I've done without thinking about it, but this time -- perhaps due to the gels available -- it seemed to require much more deliberation than at other times I've helped to show the piece.
For those wanting to know more about the film, an very informative article on Barbara Rubin's "Christmas on Earth" can be found in Art Signal Magazine.
December has rolled around again. And another MONO NO AWARE expanded cinema screening greets the last month of the year. Still digesting the experience. And "experience" is what it certainly was: the annual event is dedicated to the experience of live film performance: live reading with film, live combinations of images, live music and images, live overhead projector performance, and even live audience cell phone mayhem (on purpose).
The full lineup can be found in the Mono No Aware gallery. Some works still reverberating on this rainy Wednesday morning include Eric Ostrowski's "Monkey," a rapid fire three-screen visual inundation of pairs of circles within circles, an orange-green ever-transforming mandala; and Lindsay McIntyre's "A Northern Portrait." Where Eric's piece threw you back in in your seat with its sensorial intensity, Lindsay's pulled you slowly into its meditative and contemplative atmosphere, the overlapping loops of mostly black-and-white footage evoking a repeated mantra of images.
Projectors throw images in all directions, take-up reels cast shadows, the sounds of chewed sprockets and chattering splices fills the space, the film-artists* move about the machinery, tinkering and threading the mechanisms, feeding the devices with ribbons of images.
Some photos from the opening reception, held on Wednesday. This coming Saturday, October 1st, will be the show's closing expanded cinema performance. Not to be missed!
___________________ *David Baker, Joanne Lipton, Rachael Abernathy, Bradley Eros, Lary 7, Katie Torn, Sam Freeman, Jason Martin, Victoria Keddie, Sarah Halpern, Mary Magdalene Serra, Donna Cameron, Joel Schlemowitz, Steve Cossman, Rachelle Rahme, Smith and Lowles, Allison Somers, Celeste Carballo, Casandra Jenkins, Matt Petronelli, Poncho, Jamie Mohr, Dan Bunny, Jessica Gispert, and Kat Bauer.