Curated by Mark McElhatten
International Film Festival Rotterdam 2000 presented the first installment of House Of Instants, a program primarily dedicated to new digital work by experimental makers previously associated with the medium of film. This year brings two new editions. Crossing over a new threshold into a digital medium represents neither a revolution nor a betrayal, but rather a sympathetic and practical way to capture and shape the flow of time, to make plastic events out of observation and thought itself. Living in the folds of telescoped or expanded time these artists build pieces from the essence and residues of an attention to life and its apparent mysteries. Digital is a new dialect that brings with it new efficiencies, problems, and textures that are not simply accepted but become redefined by each maker on a personal level.
New digital work by Pierce, Ahwesh, Thornton, Goss, Murray, Grenier, Nelson, Stark
HOUSE OF INSTANTS
1: / Cinerama 5
28/1 - 13:45 / Pathé 6
30/1 - 14:45
/ Cinerama 5
How can you be where you never were? And how did you find the way with your mind as the only measure? -- Fanny Howe from "O'Clock"
This program explores areas of artificial paradise and artificial intelligence. Mirror structures and fearful symmetries of geometric and genetic cloning.Thresholds of vision reached by mechanical --spiritual transport.
Water Seeking Its Level (St.Pons) (2002) Leighton
Pierce 5.5 min.
She Puppet (2001) Peggy Ahwesh 15 min.
Have A Nice Day Alone (2001) Leslie Thornton 7 minutes
The 100th Undone (2001) Jacqueline Goss 9 min.
Otherretho (2001) Julie Murray 2.5 min.
Material Incidents (2002) Vincent Grenier 6 min.
Snowdrift aka Snowstorm (2001) Gunvor Nelson 9min.
Slow (2001) Scott Stark 16min.
Panning for gold (and red, green and blue) near an abandoned monastery in France. An optical oasis. A grace period. Bright whispers of flesh and shimmering. Seeking the moisture in everything. Alternating currents of movements crossing in fluid time. Listen. Look. A collage without edges. What would you call the daytime equivalent of a nocturne set in opal, bathing in crystal clear sunlight? Or seasons that change in midsentence? -M.M
In Ahwesh's SHE PUPPET a kickass video game character (Lara Croft -- Tomb Raider) headlocks with philosophical self examination when granted the illusion of existence. Confronting the limited circuitry of her own repetitive gestures leads to heightened proprioception and ontological questioning. Is it the depicted character that ignites "spirit" and inquiry within this animated construction or does the unseen player project self into the dissolving labyrinths of the game? This detourned video game plays as if THE BOOK OF DISQUIET were transposed from twilight immobility into a field of action of perpetual mortal peril and startling dislocations. -M.M. ^
Have a Nice Day Alone is Leslie Thornton’s latest transformation of media form, and perhaps her most visceral work to date. The piece begins with a bizarre and hypnotic pulsing, a sort of technological 'nervous twitch’ activating the screen. Visible through this pulse is a text about characteristics of speech, specifically about how gesture sometimes precedes speech "before the word itself is available." The image shrinks, flows, collapses, seeming to follow some hidden agenda. Extreme forms of vocalization--yodelling, and macabre laughter--punctuate the visual space, as if from an unseen realm. As the image flutters, and the sound grows delirious, a robotic voice breaks through. Authoritative in tone, it is unclear whether the voice mimics or generates the text. Eventually a small child emerges and 'calms down’ the mechanomorphic entity. The robotic voice shifts from the position of a voice-over to that of a subject or character within the "film," as the child in turn interrogates the voice. No longer exterior, the voice is engaged within the mise-en-scene, interacting with the child, until it withdraws into an almost reflective repose, talking to itself. Have a Nice Day Alone elicits a palpable experience of speech, in the guise of an experience of 'artificial intelligence’. - Tom Zummer ^
A love letter to the individual in the age of biotechnical reproduction ie. transcription of the Human Genome -- with a personalized pre-history for future human clones. - J. Goss.
Otherretho is a short digital video of re-agitated film frames of a roiling rosarch set to the rhythm of a rolling text of a small excerpt from S.T. Cooleridge’s 'night conversations’ in which he speculates upon the force of suppressed Instincts stirring in the heart and bodily frame of St. Theresa of Avila. All unfurling to voices risen in praise and the tuneful glissando of a record grinding to a halt. - J. Murray ^
Material Incidents brings a layered look at the secrets of light's rituals and it’s loose associations with matter,temperature and the senses. Our eyes, our brain’s primary sensors, ultimate arbiters of our sense of reality, well being and even of security, are closely implicated in this shadowy drama where notions of solidity, joust with fluidity and the ephemeral." -V.G. ^
A midair balancing act of the virtual and the graphic. Meterological mimesis. Precipitation. Aspiration. Mercury falls. - M.M. ^
The slashing movement of mechanized wipes acts as a magic wand morphing
surfaces and hyphenating time and space. In these rythymic vanishing acts
and nuptial comminglings presence and absence buoy on the surface of liquid
relations.The world emerges with a new set of intermingled alloys gasping
for breath but integral within an ideal confusion.- M.M.
The slashing movement of mechanized wipes acts as a magic wand morphing surfaces and hyphenating time and space. In these rythymic vanishing acts and nuptial comminglings presence and absence buoy on the surface of liquid relations.The world emerges with a new set of intermingled alloys gasping for breath but integral within an ideal confusion.- M.M.^
Work by Fred Worden and Andrew Noren
"Blessed are the instants,the millimeters and the shadow of small things" Fernando Pessoa from The Book Of Disquiet..
HOUSE OF INSTANTS II:
29/1 - 16:15 / Pathé 6
31/1 - 14:45 / Cinerama 5
A guided adventure for the eyeballs. And as such, also, of necessity, an
adventure of the mind (how could it be otherwise?). I believe there is a
current which runs at the core of all beings, call it the life force, a
dynamic which in individuals reflects both the personal and the universal. Up
on the screen, frames in motion, a rushing stream of articulated energy to
resonate with that inner biological current. Adventurous eyeballing then, in
the ideal, an epiphanous moment of mutual recognition and commiseration
between energy forms. "There is a vibration which exists to enrapture and
console us." (Rilke). I like to think this vibration can be detected
streaming out of the Or Cloud. - Fred Worden ^
Music for light and mind.
The Veil wears thin (who could blame it?)
and 'the sparks fly upward!'.
Kinesis is better than sleep.
Cinema isn't materials.
It's refined, imaginative seeing...darkness made visible.
It existed long before modern devices, since the first opening of the first
animal eyelid...scene one, take one.
When solar light (Sun's thought?) and our own light-of-mind meet, whatever
the medium, cinema is possible.
This is a spiritual transaction.
Sun's light emanates, projecting image of 'world' through 'eye' and into
camera obscura of brain (a 'darkened chamber' indeed).
Mind imagines... forming a scenario of intent and desire...and projects that
light back through 'eye' onto 'world'.
We blink. This intermittance creates our dubious dream of 'time'...belief
in sequence of scene becomes 'before' and 'after'. Sequence requires
duration...the rest is history!
The eye you see 'it' with is the eye 'it' sees you with.
Refinement in this area is possible...and desirable.
This can be understood magically.
This is the great primal cinema of animal consciousness...one of the
longest-running movies in show biz... at which we are all captive
spectators, asleep and awake, from first light to final fade.
Andrew Noren ^