Anthology Film Archives
July 5 - 6, 2011
Organized by Fionn Meade and Isla Leaver-Yap
SculptureCenter and Anthology Film Archives present a screening series that further explores the language of repetition central to the exhibition Time Again at SculptureCenter. Bringing together works that destabilize conventional ways of seeing and considering what is past and what is present these works engage gesture, image sequence, material affect, and displaced narrative, challenging our understanding of what it means to be contemporaries.
Ed Atkins, Death Mask II: The Scent, 2010
SCREENING 1: July 5, 2011
The performing body and political subject present themselves via acts of estrangement, reversal, ritualized behavior, and fragmentation. Linear time and narrative denouement are replaced with the desire to be re-regarded, touched and felt.
Special guests in conversation Leslie Thornton and Lisa Oppenheim.
One More Time With James
2009, 4 min, HD video, sound
Two men appear in a luxury department store trying and buying cologne. The action is repeated until it becomes a gesture, and the sensual act is derailed into economic exchange.
1973, 15 min, video, b/w, sound
Jonas and her doppelganger Lois Lane perform actions based upon a series of photographs of prostitutes waiting. Using the form of the pose or repeated movement as a sequence of poses and tableau, Jonas and Lane appear to step through the layers of video, refracting themselves through a returned gaze to find a new video language that appears as an infinite regress.
1992, 3 min 45 sec, color, sound
This collaborative work, created specifically for the 1992 Day Without Art/AIDS Awareness Day, addresses what Thornton terms "the relationship between the medicalization of the body and the personal." While the actor Ron Vawter reads aloud from a poem by Rilke, a doctor is heard discussing Vawter's medical condition. Medical photographs of internal organs and images of the moon's surface create landscapes of inner and outer space. This haunting rumination suggests the disparity between medical interpretations and personal experiences of physicality and mortality.
The Last Time I Saw Ron
1994, 12 min, color and b&w, sound
Following the development of a Belgian theatre play centering the Greek mythic character Philoketes, Thornton's film focuses on the protagonist actor and personal friend Ron Vawter. The work emerges as a double portrait in which intertwines the narratives of Philoketes and Vawter: the former, a warrior bitten by a snake and abandoned because he suffers wounds that do not heal; the latter, diagnosed with AIDS and passed away before the play could be staged. The Last Time I Saw Ron serves as a eulogy to Vawter, and as an analysis of the power of myth and the life force of art.
2009, 9 min, HD Video, color and b/w, sound
Monolog is a playful interrogation of the relationships between director, performer, audience and the architecture of viewing. Experimenting with the notion of a captive cinema audience, its wry humor and fast paced editing explore the structures of spectatorship and affective address.
Misty Boundaries: Fades and Dissolves
2009, 3 min 49 sec, video, color, sound
Consisting of a sequence of brief vignettes - a puff of steam, a hand being held, soap bubbles superimposed with other hands, a blizzard - Misty Boundaries: Fades and Dissolves is a video collage that touches upon the demands of love, concentration and loneliness, transforming cast-off moments from the mass media archive into a devotional and elegiac gesture.
Death Mask II: The Scent
2010, 8 min 19 sec, HD video, color, sound
Comprised of a medley of interlaced images repeated and altered in evolving color tints and frame divisions, Atkins' approach to digital alteration opens up painterly shifts and turns, and allegorical readings. Accompanied by an original sound composition, a piece of fruit floats mid-frame, a candle burns in the darkness only to multiply, rotate, and mutate, a woman's short blond crop is filmed from behind, her ears and neck visible but her expression and profile hidden.
The States of Things 2000, 4 min, 16mm transferred to BetaSP
Assessing the conditions of the image and transforming quotidian gestures into mythic territory, Nashashibi combines the grainy footage of a Glasgow yard sale with Oum Kalthoum's traditional Egyptian love song Hali Fi Hawaha Agab. As if from a dream, these two seemingly eroded rituals - otherwise separated by location and time - collide.
SCREENING TWO: July 6, 2011
Archival and historical settings are re-animated only to be undone. In the films presented history is not engaged as stable and singular, nor is it a place of redress or amendment. Rather, it is an unfolding place to be occupied, used, redirected, and put back in motion.
Special Q&A with guest William E. Jones.
Olga Chernysheva, The Train, 2003
The Diamond (Descartes' Daughter)
2008, 10 min, 16mm, color, sound
Reworking the legend of Descartes' double loss of his daughter (the first, childhood illness; the second, a sailor's discovery of Descartes' surrogate daughter-cum-automaton resulted in the dummy being discarded at sea), Wardill's highly eccentric 16mm work revivifies the disembodied figure of Francine Descartes. A single disjointed narrative is discontinuously reconfigured in a halting and staccato Swedish/Welsh accent, and is juxtaposed with a series of analogous and anachronistic images (the character/narrator appears playing a Nintendo Wii, for instance). Wardill produces a series of short-circuits through which to re-imagine highly fictionalized moments of a- rational materialization of desire and the trauma of loss.
Lunch in Fur
2008, 7min, 16mm transferred to video, color and b/w, sound
Lunch in Fur is an imagined meeting between the artist Meret Oppenheim, the singer Josephine Baker and the photographer Dora Maar in a 1960s glasshouse. In highly choreographed scenarios, the three women discuss their lives, and the symbolic props that surround them appear as totems for their successes and failures. Mayer examines the dream of Surrealism through the fractured and fictional gaze of these reconstituted figures.
2004, 25 min, video, color, sound
Revisiting a martial arts film made by Steyerl in the 1980s, which featured the artist's friend Andrea Wolf, November falteringly traces the movement between Wolf's nascent politicisation and her eventual death as a revolutionary fighter of the Kurdistan Workers Party. November, then, is the month that follows a revolutionary October. A complex piece, November exposes not only the dispersion of an image and its fractured biographies, but also the motives of political filmmaking and its limits.
2006, 18 min, 35mm transferred to HD video, color, sound
Reconstructing the final passage of Stanislav Lem's novel Solaris, Narkevičius recasts the original actor of Andrei Tarkovsky's film adaptation of Lem's science fiction classic. In his former role of Solaris' protagonist Chris Kelvin, the visibly aged actor Donaras Banionis moves about an abandoned Lithuanian television station, playing out the final scene that Tarkovsky left out of his cinematic version. Revisiting Solaris is an interrogation of the future in retrograde.
2007, 16mm, 10 min, sound, color
False Future takes up the story of Louis Le Prince, the little-known inventor who developed a working motion picture system at least five years before the Lumière Brothers. Had Le Prince not mysteriously disappeared aboard a train between Dijon and Paris in 1890 he would most likely be known today as the originator of cinema. False Future speculates on this false-start in the history of filmmaking, focusing on the drives and desires that lie behind the invention and reception of moving images.
William E. Jones
2011, 8 min, sequence of digital files, b/w, silent
Monument derives from 44 photographs taken by the Detroit Photo Company circa 1905, and now in the collection of the Library of Congress. The photographs document public sculptures in North America. Each shot of Monument is a zoom into the face of a person represented in the sculpture, then a quick zoom out to the inscription identifying the subject. Some of the figures are of enduring celebrity (e. g., George Washington); others are rather obscure (e. g., a New Orleans woman identified only as "Margaret"); still others represent historical events rather than personages. The sculptures recall a time when conventional ideas about public art and what it should commemorate were firmly entrenched, before other, more modern ideas supplanted them.
2010, 5 min, HD video, color, sound
Commissioned for an exhibition titled Old Ideas in the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel, Switzerland, Nashat collaborated with the installation staff to portray artworks from the collection in the storage area while also exploring the conservation department's photographic studio. The film casts two sculptures by a once widely known Swiss sculptor Karl Geiser (1898-1957) as protagonists.
2003, 7 min and 30 sec, video, b/w, sound
The Train is a remarkable video journey through the carriages of a Russian intercity train that recalls the early Realist cinema of Vertov. Stoic passengers and staff seem largely oblivious to the cameraperson passing by them, walking toward the back of the train. A window onto contemporary Russia, the film is also a shrewd re-working of conventional filmmaking.