Obvious Dimensions - Light Industry at X-initiative's NO SOUL FOR SALE (June 23-28)

From: Thomas Beard (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Jun 01 2009 - 09:52:13 PDT

Obvious Dimensions

Light Industry at X-initiative¹s NO SOUL FOR SALE
June 23-28, 2009

548 West 22nd Street
New York, New York

³Provided a filmmaker is ingenious and creative enough, the marvelous can
take place in an ordinary-sized room or a small studio set of obvious
dimensions.² ­ Parker Tyler, Underground Film: A Critical History (1969)

Light Industry is one of over thirty participants in NO SOUL FOR SALE, a
week-long exhibition at X-initiative that will bring together an
international roster of nonprofits, collectives, and other alternative
spaces, each sharing a portion of the venue¹s galleries.

Our contribution will be Obvious Dimensions, a breathless, marathon series
of screenings, performances, and lectures conceived in the spirit of Light
Industry¹s weekly Brooklyn events, bringing together the worlds of
contemporary art, experimental cinema, new media, documentary film, and the
academy around the possibilities of the cinema as a social space.

What follows is a preliminary schedule, with additional details forthcoming:

Tuesday, June 23

Instant Gratification
An arcade curated by Mark Essen + a new publication by Radical Software

Filled with counterintuitive physics, chaotic game mechanics and bursts of
strobing color, the computer games of Mark Essen (aka Messhof) combine the
essence of old 2D arcade titles with the viewer-challenging puzzle-logic of
avant-garde cinema.

Essen will install playable games from three international artists: Sexy
Hiking by Japanese game designer Jazzuo, a new 3D game from Swedish designer
Jonatan Söderström (aka Cactus), and Essen¹s own new game The Thrill of
Combat, a high-speed side-scroller involving helicopter rescue and body
organ theft.

In addition, Radical Software Group will distribute a new print publication
based on their digital reinterpretation of Guy Debord¹s strategy board game,
The Game of War.

Wednesday, June 24

I Wish It Were True
Leslie Hewitt and William Cordova

I Wish It Were True is an evolving, functional "archive of
cross-generational and international political sentiments" initiated by
Leslie Hewitt and William Cordova in 2006. Conceived as a living monument to
Third Cinema and its legacies, the artists have imagined a physical and
social space for screening films that represent Black and Latino
consciousness against the grain of mainstream cinema. Curated for Light
Industry by Steffani Jemison.

SOFT INTERCOM: Stan Vanderbeek's Early Wearable Media Projects
A lecture by Melissa Ragona

One of Stan Vanderbeek's predictions in the late 1950s was that cinema would
become a performing art and an image library. Bringing these two concepts
together, Vanderbeek began formulating ideas for audio-visual devices that
would serve as educational tools, cumulatively becoming what he termed,
"experience machines" or "culture-intercoms." Similar to earlier
interpellations of people as extensions of technology‹K.M. Turner, the
inventor of the dictograph (precursor of the intercom) asked one of his
associates in 1907: "Have you been dictographed?"‹Vanderbeek called for the
training of international troupes of artists as intermedia designers as well
as test subjects of their own designs. Artists, with the help of prosthetic
devices, acting in immersive media environments called "Movie Dromes" or
"Image Libraries" were instructed to help disseminate a new "non-verbal,
international picture-language." Vanderbeek's Movie Dromes have been mostly
discussed as of part of a larger effort of 1960s expanded cinema to produce
an immersive media experience. However, his earlier experiments in
interactive television, in particular his production work for the 1950s
children's television program Winky Dink and You and his MIT projects that
included blueprints for a future TV jacket, were efforts to invent specific
tools that would improve audience's efforts to collect and disseminate
information, rather than simply bathe in the phenomenal light of multiple
projections. - MR

George Barber/Beyond Language
Presented with LUX, curated by Matthew Noel-Tod

A pioneer of British video art, once described in Art Monthly as Œthe Henry
Ford of independent video,¹ George Barber was a founding member of ZG
Magazine and a leading figure in the Scratch Video phenomenon of the 1980s.
Moving away from Scratch in the early ¹90s, Barber created many lo-tech
video pieces and was influential in defining the then emergent Œslacker¹
aesthetic. Narrative is at the centre of much of his work, whether
deconstructing it as in Scratch, or creating humorous and absurd situations
to find existential meaning in the margins of modern life. Beyond Language
presents a broad selection of Barber's influential video work from past 30
years from proto-Scratch works of the early ¹80s to his recent return to
assemblage and appropriation.

With live commentary provided by Barber.

Lost Tribes
Elisabeth Subrin

The premiere of a new two-screen work by Elisabeth Subrin that investigates
the relationship between local memory and national identity, shot in
Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Shown with Shulie (1997) Subrin¹s time-bending
remake of a little-known 1967 student documentary on future radical feminist
Shulamith Firestone, then a young Chicago art student, and Hollis Frampton¹s
film (nostalgia) (1971), the seminal study of image, recollection, and
narrative disjuncture.

Thursday, June 25

A Combination of Works by Oliver Laric and Wojciech Kosma

Artist Oliver Laric‹who moonlights as the author of exhibition blog
VVORK‹will organize two events remotely from Berlin. The first is a
re-enactment of a performance by Polish artist Wojciech Kosma that uses a
living body as variable projector stand, to be combined with a playlist of
Laric¹s own work. Secondly, Laric will screen multiple iterations of his
video essay Versions (2009), each with different audio tracks, one created
by Momus.

Invisible Cinema
A presentation by Tom Zummer

Cinema, it may be said, begins within the passing-away of photography. This
is not to say that photography has, in some way, suffered a demise, a
diminuation, or an end, but that the differences between these media are
marked in a negative interval, a becoming-other of the photographic and the
cinematic, even as their complicities are both pluralized, and that doubling
obscured. Photography's imaginary, configured in its presumptions of
verisimilitude and presence, takes up residence within cinema and subsequent
media, secretly, almost invisibly, a hidden alterity within the visible.

It is a transition that took place with an invisible arrestment, in the
stilled pause of an apparently static image. By the end of the 19th century
the projection of photographs was an established and familiar spectacle, as
attested by the large archive of glass plate negatives produced for popular
magic lantern shows still in evidence today. The Lumière freres, in their
earliest cinematographic projections, quite likely took advantage of this
naturalized familiarity to lull their audiences into a comfortable and
habitual inattention. Imagine the shock, at cinema's very beginnings, where,
on a wall or a screen in a dark crowded chamber a photographic projection,
familiar and immobile, its tonal gradations having fixed buildings, trees,
vehicles, figures in a frozen moment, suddenly jumps into motion. With a
start one is caught up by a flickering mobile image, in a reflex that
secures, in an unexpected moment, the relations between cognition,
recognition and reproduction. What ensues is not the familiar motion of a
closed cycle of continuous movement, such as one finds in a phenakistascope,
zoetrope, or zoopraxinoscope, but a complex apprehension of discontinuous
motion. Things, animals, and trees move independently of each other, in a
manner that exceeds the stilled enframing of photography¹s imagined capture.
Bodies disappear or reappear, slipping on and off the 'screen' as they never
do in the schema of proto-cinematic devices. Now, as Jacques Derrida has
noted, we are indeed in the realm of phantoms.

Of course, there are many sorts of phantom: revenants and repressions,
reflexes and recognitions, repetition, delirium, hallucination, error, or
ruse, may all have a phantasmatic aspect. To have seen, or to think that one
must have seen, something before, the uncanny resemblances of déjà vu, are
phantoms in this sense. But, because media are in their very nature
uncontainable, incapable of securing a complete mastery or consumption,
there is always a remainder, an excess of familiar resonances, a mediation,
or medium, that is conditional, potential, or virtual (in an older, broader,
sense). In the register where the distinctions between memory and
impression, the probable and the impossible, the actual and the imaginary
become permeable and diffuse, yet still persuasive, lie a taxonomy of
artifacts. Fragments, shards, suggestions of films that could have been
made, or possibly were, or couldn¹t have been, or were lost, perhaps
imagined and never realized, sketched, scripted, performed. One can append a
number of proper names to this strange territory, citing lost, unmade, or
irrecuperable works by Artaud, Bataille, Brecht, Dreyer, Apollinaire,
Magritte, Celine, Perec, Sartre, Vaneigem, Schlovski, Duchamp, Mayakovsky,
Eisenstein, Soupault, Maholy-Nagy, Marx (Harpo), Dali, Welles, Gance,
Rivette, Ichikawa, Ivens, Kubrick, Richter, Copolla, Kuleshov, Pudovkin,
Teshigahara, Deren, Raynal, Dudow, Claire, Thornton, Feuillade, Derrida,
Farocki, Foucault, Akerman, Frampton, Straub/Huillet. . .

Tonight¹s presentation will project and discuss some of these intermittently
invisible, inaudible, works. - TZ

Night of the Cobra Woman (Andrew Meyer, 1972)
Introduced by Saul Levine

³Defanging a snake is like castrating a man.²

Filmed in Slitherama! The director of this sexploitation classic holds an
unusual pedigree. Beginning his career as a protégé of Gregory Markopoulos,
crafting lyrical film portraits, he later went on to make some of the most
remarkable, if underrated, grindhouse fare of his day. Like Curtis
Harrington, who also went from queer avant-gardist to schlock auteur, Andrew
Meyer¹s idiosyncratic approach to film form is apparent no matter the mode
of production.

P. Adams Sitney on Stan Brakhage and Ian Hugo

My talk for Light Industry will be on the Recovery and Interpretation of an
almost lost avant-garde film. Ian Hugo's Melodic Inversion (1958) was shown
at the Second Experimental Film Competition in Brussels and rarely seen
after that. The only comments on the film were written by Anais Nin, the
filmmaker's wife. Stan Brakhage saw it at Brussels where he had several
films in competition. It had an enormous influence on his work. First in the
way he structured The Dead (1959). The lecture will concentrate on the ways
in which a chain of hunches and intuitions led eventually to the recovery of
the lost history of the film, going back to 1949 and Hugo's first attempts
to make films. - PAS

Friday, June 26

Curt McDowell/George Kuchar

Loads (Curt McDowell, 1980)
Curt McDowell's Loads is a 19-minute black-and-white gay porn movie that is
so hot that it makes Kansas City Trucking Company feel like a three-hour
Marguerite Duras film projected at half-speed. It is also a lot more than
that, though this "more" amplifies the turn-on rather than legitimizes it. ­
Thomas Waugh

Video Album #5 / The Thursday People (George Kuchar, 1987)
In two parts, with a total length of 60 minutes, this diary chronicles the
final visits I had with Curt McDowell, who was bed-ridden at the time with
AIDS. The tape records the whole season inside and out and the food that
went in and the feelings that went out. It's Easter time and the tone is one
of a holiday feel instead of a hard-boiled bummer. All hard-boiled items are
dyed for resurrection. - George Kuchar

Conversation with Paul Chan and Ben Coonley

Sardonic and no-brow, Ben Coonley¹s videos and performances use
consumer-level technology to overturn everyday conventions of media culture
and tweak avant-garde histories. Coonley will show selections of his work
for this conversation with artist Paul Chan.

In addition, Coonely will provide a series of new videos commissioned for
Obvious Dimensions that will screen continuously throughout the week in
between events.

Disambiguation (Bog House Miscellany)
Steve Reinke and James Richards

For this program, Steve Reinke and James Richards exchanged disks of found
footage, sound recordings, and fragments of existing work. Each artist would
re-edit and manipulate the other¹s material before adding new elements and
posting it back for further mixing, resulting in an exquisite corpse of
swapped signals.

Dr. Videovich, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love TV
Curated by Leah Churner and Rebecca Cleman

"There is nothing left to do except television, which is the art most
typical of this century." - JD

Do you have a television problem? Do you exceed your own limits‹watching to
the point of blacking out? Does TV interfere with your work? Sour your
relationships with art-world friends?

Never fear, the good Dr. Videovich is on the line.

Dr. Videovich (aka Jaime Davidovich) is a showman on a mission to bridge art
and TV. His legendary cable access program, "The Live! Show" (1979-1984),
was "a variety show featuring real and invented personalities from the art
world, with interviews, opinions, art performances, live call-ins, art
lessons, and much more, all in a half-hour of lively entertainment."

Tonight, Light Industry at X-Initiative gives Dr. V center stage, with an
evening of glittering gems from "The Live! Show" and must-see surprises

Saturday, June 27

Why men refuse, I don¹t know.
A lecture by Lucy Raven

Artist Lucy Raven presents an illustrated lecture drawing connections
between three critical works in the history of cinema verité: Jean Rouch and
Edgar Morin¹s Chronicle of a Summer (1961), Chris Marker¹s Le Joli Mai
(1963), and Gordon Quinn and Gerald Temaner¹s Inquiring Nuns (1968).

An Injury to One (Travis Wilkerson, 2002)
Introduced by Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin

Radiating from an examination of the 1917 murder of labor agitator Frank
Little, An Injury to One tells of the larger calamity known as Butte,
Montana and its place in American culture, economy and environment. Armed
with tremendous storytelling skill, this uncompromising, unapologetically
leftist work of people's history draws together landscape, song and acute
connections among the facts and footnotes of the official (or company) line,
to arrive at a poetic, stirring tour de force of history as agitation. -

Two Films by Tom Rhoads (aka Luther Price) ­ Green + Warm Broth
Introduced by Lia Gangitano

Already recognized as a classic of contemporary avant-garde cinema, Warm
Broth also deserves a place alongside Matthias Mueller's Alpsee as one of
the most sophisticated and incisive films about queer childhood ever
produced. The film is a meditation on the riddle of sexual origins, but
Rhoads refuses to accept any of the easy Oedipal answers. In fact, the
film's curiosity seems entirely focused on the play of surfaces: the
seductive sheen of ribbon candies, Fire King coffee mugs, Melmac dishware,
Fisher-Price toys. When the clues to sexual "secrets" do break the surface
of the film ‹ in the form of naughty words stenciled on floral print
wallpaper, or brief glimpses of The Act itself ‹ they immediately fade away
again, like the after-images of a flashbulb pop. To what register of
significance do these "revelations" belong? Do they wield more power or
threat than the image of a melting fudgesicle? Than the inviting, fleecy
texture of a Chanel-inspired topcoat? Only a dyed-in-the-wool fairy would
have the nerve to ask such impertinent, trivializing questions, and yet
these are the mysteries that seem to fascinate Price the most. Like the doll
which keeps making nagging demands but leaves no room for any response,
Price asks "deep" questions without really wanting to know the answers. ­
San Francisco Cinematheque

Curse of the Seven Jackals (Chris Jolly, 1999)
Introduced by Andrew Lampert

Curse of the Seven Jackals is a film that seemed to come from out of
nowhere. Mostly set in the hotel room that the crew inhabited during the
two-week shoot, Curse tells the story of Bernard, a synthetic blood test
patient who dreams of traveling to Egypt, land of the Pharaohs. Helen, as
played by the sublime non-actress Jill Carnes, is the hotel maid who takes
Bernard out on the town for down-home karaoke and out-of-body bingo
experiences. Like a semi-conscious sci-fi dream as directed by early Andy
Warhol, filmmaker Chris Jolly's seminal American underground feature was
made with an antiquated Auricon camera that recorded the soundtrack directly
on the film. As disarmingly funny as it is aesthetically challenging, Curse
stands tall as one of the last great 16mm underground features. ­ AL

Sunday, June 28

1:30 (Main Stage)
Bruce McClure

Trained as an architect, Brooklyn-based artist Bruce McClure has built a
unique set of instruments in the form of modified 16mm projectors,
hand-bleached film loops, guitar-effect pedals and variable transformers. He
amplifies and distorts the sounds of the projectors through the guitar
pedals into kerranging cascades of relentless mechanical beats whose
shifting intervals create phantom melodies. By turning projectors into
instruments, McClure has found the means to create a visual music that is
unique to the medium of film. Stripping the apparatus down to its barest
elements‹beams of light, whirring machinery, color and shadow, and the
serial rhythms of flicker‹McClure can then reconstruct cinema as it has
never been seen or heard before.

Strain Andromeda The (Anne McGuire, 1992)
Presented with Video Data Bank

Every film tacitly promises that you'll have something to look forward to.
Embedded in this notion is an obdurate clinging to linearity; time sweeps
forward and so too must the mechanism of storytelling. Anne McGuire, the
locally based media artist, wanted something to look back on when she
salvaged a feature-length sci-fi film and re-edited it backwards. That's
right: cut for cut in reverse order. The effect of this roll reversal is
staggering, a vertigo of viewership. As the narrative unfolds, every action
followed by its stimulus, every comment by its query, you find yourself in a
dizzying spin, grasping desperately for causal certainty, yet firmly held by
the reversibility of suspense. The story itself is a biotech thriller about
a research team trying to identify, then neutralize, an unknown killer
virus. Following the team's incremental progress, the original film's
discrete structure is the perfect foil for McGuire's antidote to
directionality. Humorous, eye-opening, and outright hallucinatory, Strain
Andromeda The could be the end of cinema as we know it. ‹ Steve Seid,
Pacific Film Archive

Rooms of Our Time: László Moholy-Nagy and Cinema Between Theater and Museum
A lecture by Noam Elcott

Dan Streible on Sid Laverents

Scholar and founder of the Orphan Film Symposium Dan Streible offers a
presentation on the work of Sid Laverents, longtime member of the San Diego
Amateur Moviemakers Club and perhaps America¹s most celebrated hobbyist
filmmaker, who passed away at 100 in May 2009. Will include a screening of
Laverents¹ meticulously crafted 16mm opus, Multiple SIDosis (1966).

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.