[Frameworks] 9/26 - Chicago - Aldo Tambellini's BLACK FILMS and BLACK GATE COLOGNE

From: Patrick Friel (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Sep 23 2010 - 18:20:34 PDT

Missed the deadline for THIS WEEK IN A-G.

White Light Cinema Presents
The Black Films of Aldo Tambellini & Aldo Tambellini and Otto Piene¹s Black
Gate Cologne
Introduced by SAIC Professor Bruce Jenkins
Sunday, September 26, 2010 ­ 7:30pm
At The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Aldo Tambellini (b. 1930) was a vital part of the New York arts scene in the
1950s and 60s. He was a painter, sculptor, poet, photographer, film and
video maker, multi-media artist, television pioneer, curator, organizer, and
arts activist. During that period he produced the Black Film series, an
extraordinary group of seven films (six of which are showing) that were well
known at the time but have only recently begun to be ³rediscovered² with
screenings in Leeds, UK, in 2007 and in Boston earlier this year.
White Light Cinema is pleased to present these films in new digital
transfers (prints in the U.S. are currently unavailable), along with one of
only a few screenings thus far of Tambellini and Otto Piene¹s pioneering
television broadcast BLACK GATE COLOGNE, which only had its first public US
screening in 2009.
We are extremely pleased to have School of the Art Institute Professor Bruce
Jenkins introducing the program.
³A central figure in the East Village art scene that thrived during the
1960s, poet, painter, sculptor and pioneering multi-media artist Aldo
Tambellini (b. 1930) has only begun to be recognized for his prescient and
innovative art. Throughout his long career, Tambellini has worked in a
staggering range of media - from his early Arte Povera-style sculptures and
abstract drawings done in Italy and America in the 1950s and 1960s, to his
experimental work in early video and television art, which he pioneered
alongside his close friend and occasional collaborator Nam Jun Paik, to the
series of abstract films he made in the 1960s. Beginning in 1965 with Black
Is, Tambellini launched a series of politically charged experimental films
that explore the expressive possibilities of black as a dominant color and
idea. For the most part Tambellini¹s seven ³black films² are made without
the use of a camera but rather by carefully manipulating the film itself by
scorching, scratching, painting and treating the film stock as a type of
sculptural and painterly medium. Beautifully austere and hypnotically
immersive, Tambellini¹s films are also important expressions of an artist
critically aware of the emergent Information Age and its possibilities.
Often using found footage and filmed television, Tambellini¹s films take a
crucial pulse of the new moving image culture being formed in the Sixties.²
(Harvard Film Archives)
³As a key figure of the 1960s Lower East Side arts scene, Aldo Tambellini
used a variety of media for social and political communication. In the age
of Marshall McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller, Tambellini manipulated new
technology in an exploration of the ³psychological re-orientation of man in
the space age.² He presented immersive, multi-media environments and, having
made his first experimental video as early as 1966, participated in early
collaborations between artists and broadcast television.
His dynamic Black Film Series (1965-69) extends from total abstraction to
footage of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, the Vietnam War, and black
teenagers in Coney Island. Tambellini worked directly on the film strip with
chemicals, paint and ink, scratching, scraping, and intercutting material
from industrial films, newsreels and TV. Abrasive, provocative and
turbulent, the series is a rapid-fire response to the beginning of the
information age and a world in flux. ³Black to me is like a beginning Š
Black is within totality, the oneness of all. Black is the expansion of
consciousness in all directions.¹² (Mark Webber, Evolution 2007)
BLACK IS (1965, 4 mins., b/w)
³To the sound of a heartbeat and made entirely without the use of a camera,
this film projects abstract forms and illuminations on a night-black
background and suggests as Tambellini says, Œseed black, seed black, sperm
black, sperm black.¹² (Grove Press Film Catalog)
BLACK TRIP (1965, 5 mins, b/w)
BLACK PLUS X (1966, 9 mins., b/w)
²Tambellini here focuses on contemporary life in a black community. The
extra, the ³X² of Black Plus X, is a filmic device by which a black person
is instantaneously turned white by the mere projection of the negative
image. The time is summer, and the place is an oceanside amusement park
where black children are playing in the surf and enjoying the rides, quite
oblivious to Tambellini¹s tongue-in-cheek Œsolution¹ to the race problem.²
(Grove Press Film Catalog)
BLACK TRIP 2 (1967, 3 mins., b/w)
³An internal probing of the violence and mystery of the American psyche
seen through the eye of a black man and the Russian revolution.² (AT)
BLACKOUT (1965, 9 mins., b/w)
BLACK TV (1968, 10 mins., b/w)
³Through the uses of kinescope, video, multimedia, and direct painting on
film, an impression is gained of the frantic action of protoplasm under a
microscope where an imaginative viewer may see the genesis of it all.²
(Grove Press Film Catalog)
All works above 16mm screening from digital video.
BLACK GATE COLOGNE (1968, 47 mins., b/w, video) by Aldo Tambellini and Otto
³Black Gate Cologne' is often cited as the first television programme made
by artists. It was a live event involving films, light objects and the
participation of the studio audience. A comparable event took place in New
York in 1967, the inter-media piece ŒBlack Gate Theater¹, which was now
expanded by the possibilities of the new ŒElectronic Studio¹ of WDR
television, whose electronic video mixing facilities could now be creatively
deployed for the first time. The close co-operation between artists and TV
crew created a synthesis of live atmosphere, Light Art, experimental film
and electronic image aesthetics. Two consecutive 45-minute broadcasts with
different audiences were recorded in the studio, and then in part copied one
on top of the other to intensify the transmitted product. Since the length
of the broadcast was criticized Œdespite, or indeed perhaps because of, its
confusing wealth of material¹, WDR finally cut it to 23 minutes.² (Media Art
The original long version will be screening.
Admission: $7-10 sliding scale

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