Roger Beebe - New Maps of the New World - Friday 17 June

From: Klaus W. Eisenlohr (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Jul 13 2009 - 15:58:33 PDT

this summer we present a screening series at z-bar
Roger Beebe - New Maps of the New World
film and video work
Friday, 17 June 2009
21:00 Uhr
Bergstraße 2
10115 Berlin-Mitte

New Maps of the New World

Artist Roger Beebe, who also has a background in critical theory,
works closely with the cinematographic image, using super-8, 16mm
film and video. His visual language is largely based on the American
Avant-garde, at least on that tradition that is defining film not as
"moving image" but as the medium emergent from the differences
between single pictures, between takes and edits and, possibly,
scenes or chapters. Beauty, meaning and movement are achieved by the
viewer's perception of these differences, oppositions and

Hence, he accomplishes in his pictures intrinsic beauty and the
specific intensity of its medium, small-gauge film. "The formal
quality is not enough for me," he states though; and there the title
of the screening programme comes into being: "New Maps of the New
World". With his program, the filmmaker Beebe presents a much broader
sense of "mapping" than in the geographic implications of the word:
"In modernity the mapping of space, the relations between for example
a worker at a steel mill and the boss exploiting his work force for
his own profit were much clearer than in the globalized society
today." In that sense, mapping may rather mean to follow up the
layout of structures, certain relations, and an attempt to draw them
out without giving ready-made conclusions.

Such a cinematic drawing-out in Roger's terms may be the "mapping" of
spatial designs of strip malls ("Strip Mall Trilogy"), which shape
big parts of Americans rural and urban landscape. Or, the visual
relations between a well-known land mark on the Californian Coast,
Morro Bay and a nearby power plant ("rock/ hard place"), which would
never be depicted in any of the tourist souvenir cards. The film is
thus calling for a more inclusive perception of nature and
technology. "Mapping" may furthermore stand for the ways the
cinematographer on occasion constricted his camera-eye to 90° or 45°
degrees (rectangle views followed by diagonal) views of his subject,
as if taking the position of a draftsman of architectural
spread-sheets. A structural constriction the filmmaker applied while
depicting an old SAVE gas station - "SAVE" being the actual name of a
former automobile gas company and the gas station an icon of American
modernity. The same strategy was applied in a totally different
project: the choreography of a film dance project he collaborated on
with Sara L. Smith was filmed from the same alternating 90° and 45°
views, thus giving the images of dance an invisible architectural
grid of camera positions. ("A Woman, A Mirror")

As with "SAVE", where the visual tribute to the photography of Robert
Frank in the film's last chapter adds an altogether distinct layer to
his cinematography, the dance film "A Woman, A Mirror" lays out
another, different kind of mapping: it is based on a research on
female pilots in the U.S. Air Force in the 40's and a reflection on
gendered technologies, or, technologies of gender. While the dance
movements addressing the camera in female air force flight formation
recall the historical fact that gender rolls were quickly
re-established in the old-fashioned division of male and female
labour after the war, in the fifties (and not only in the USA), the
question of mapping the New World does not refer to the literal job
of "Mason & Dixon" as geodesists of the young states of America, but
rather, like the metaphoric image of female piloting, to the question
of "where we've been, where we're headed, and what's been left
behind?", as has already been stated about the film "SAVE". Looking
at the whole program and at the other films, one may alter that
question to: "Which New World do we come from, which new world are we
headed, and, can anybody possibly try to draw a map?"

The poetic language of Roger Warren Beebe's films thus is gratifying
in visual and intellectual terms, and may give inspirations to draw
our own pattern maps. The artist will be available for Q&A and later
social gathering at the bar of Z-Bar.

Artist's Links:

Flexfest -
Z-Bar -
Directors Lounge:
More program infos:

Members of the audience who are keeping an eye on the Urban Research
program at Directors Lounge possibly have already seen a couple of
Roger's films at the festival. And, as a curator and festival
director (Flex Fest), he is very interested in the theme of urban
mapping. We can possibly look forward to seeing part of that at the
upcoming Directors Lounge in February 2010.

Klaus W. Eisenlohr
Team Directors Lounge

Klaus W. Eisenlohr, Osnabrücker Str. 25, D-10589 Berlin, Germany
email:			email suppressed
and film production:
phone:			int.- 49 - 30 - 3409 5343 (BERLIN)
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.