Feb. 8-26, VOD: New Year/New Work 2021
8TH ANNUAL NEW YEAR, NEW WORK 2021: Celebrating recent additions by new and longstanding FMC members to our growing collection of experimental and avant-garde films.
Circumstantial Pleasures, (Lewis Klahr, 2012-2019, 1:05:11, USA)
Klahr, whom critic J. Hoberman called “the reigning proponent of cut and paste” for his acclaimed collage animations, is best known for his seductive and piercing examinations of midcentury materials and music. Circumstantial Pleasures is a feature-length collection of six short films that see his focus swerve toward more contemporary materials and issues. Exit the lush worlds of melancholy and romance; enter the emptied-out landscapes of asphalt, shipping containers, and vape pods. Set to remarkable music by experimentalists David Rosenboom and Tom Recchion—and featuring a wailing wallop of a late-period song by Scott Walker—Circumstantial Pleasures captures and crystalizes the unease, ugliness, and inhumanity of contemporary life. Rather than restating the things we know, Klahr’s provocative new film uniquely illuminates the gritty emotional and physical textures of what it’s like to be alive right now. - Chris Stults, Wexner Center
4913 Colors (Tom Bessoir, 2020, 0:30, USA)
“I was inspired by seeing the artwork “4900 Colors” at the The Met Breuer retrospective Gerhard Richter: Painting After All one week before the museums closed due to the pandemic. Richter’s “4900 Colors” was created by mixing the three primary colors in graduated amounts. The artist produced 196 unique panels composed of 25 squares. The placement and positioning of the panels is arbitrary. I used a computer program to combine 17 shades of each primary color and to randomly distribute them in five-by-five grids. My title frame is an homage to Richter’s ‘Cologne Cathedral Windows.’” - T.B.
Sole Nero (Black Sun), (Arcangelo Mazzoleni, 2004, 3:27, Italy)
By composing the rhythmic scores of the images of Black Sun I pursued “a beauty of power”, as the poet Pierre-Jean Jouve writes, rather than a beauty of harmony, drawing light sculptures that unfold over time and are engraved in the night of the retina according to optical-luministic scores regulated by the laws of an inner metric. In addition to a reinterpretation of pre-cinema, from Muybrigde to Plateau, it tries to reproduce the generative moment of the image, between stasis and dynamism, and to the cinema of the counterpoint that between image and sound, like Oskar Fischinger, Sole Nero (Black Sun) also constitutes the point of confluence of my multimedia work: with images of reality, painting on film, graphic creations, animations and hyperkinetic editing: all illuminated by the conception of a "cinema of poetry", under the aegis of Gerard de Nerval, from a verse of which I took the title Sole nero (thus welding an open circle more than 20 years ago with my Aurélia, inspired by Nerval's prose poem). The atomic explosion of a black sun, a metaphor for a cosmic force of destruction / creation, reverberates its incandescent colors in the dark room of the mind ... Nuclei of frames like musical suites, regulated by the law of counterpoint and leitmotiv. The black pauses that, as in Robert Bresson, mark the rhythm of the visions, the intermittences of the story. Two and a half minutes of “atomic cinema”: a compressed filmic time, a “Proustian” time, contracted and expanded like a satori. And, in contrast to this world of origins, studded with light and darkness, animated by stroboscpic palpitations and interior illuminations, the eighteenth-century music of Vivaldi, which celebrates the Dionysian euphoria of Summer. " ( Arcangelo Mazzoleni, Work diaries, 2003)
BLUE EDIT (Abigail Child, 2020, 15:36, USA)
Shot with iphone 6 and 8. Filmed and edited by Abigail Child. A cinematic reflection focused on the quotidian, with unexpected sound/image juxtapositions and bristling space/time vortices made cognizant through editing. The film was begun in a "blue" moment a year ago, returned to during the Covid19 pandemic and lockdown in New York City. It's pace, melancholy, and concentration on the everyday, rather than the grandiose, seem particularly suited to this moment in history. As well it returns again and again to themes of mortality and goodbye. The result is allusive and idiosyncratic, exhibiting cross-national globalism within and through the adjacencies of form and content.- A.C.
Florida Ghost (Matthew Carlson, 2021, 4:00, USA)
“Memories of my childhood home re-imagined in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.” - M.C.
El Tenor Mental (The Mental Tenor), (Carlos Atanes, 1993, 12:00, Spain)
A hypnagogic ode to the end of the world. - C.A.
These Unruly and Ungovernable Selves (Pandemic Series) (Michelle Handelman, 2020, USA)
“These Unruly and Ungovernable Selves” recontextualizes characters from her previous works into a hypnotic visual essay about the transfiguring of interiority during periods of isolation and fear. It takes as its starting point the current coronavirus pandemic and filters it through theorist Jill Casid’s writings on the necrocene, and Walter Benjamin's writings on identifying the difference between threshold and boundaries. Handelman's characters, who each have already struggled with existential questions of belonging and fear in her projects “Dorian, A Cinematic Perfume” (2009-11); “Irma Vep. The Last Breath” (2013-15); and “Hustlers & Empires” (2018), are juxtaposed with found images and texts sourced during the pandemic to take on a new form that both denies and struggles with containment. - M.H.
Kalan / What Remains (Cynthia Madansky, 2020, 15:10, Turkey)
“Kalan / What Remains” is a dance film shot in Istanbul reflecting on excerpts from the novel Kalan by Leyla Erbil.
Library (Ken Kobland, 2019, 3:53, USA)
Library is a one shot take looking down at the lobby of the New York University Library at Washington Square in New York City. - K.K.
Derail (Catalina Santamaria, 1997, 7:22, USA)
A collage of images and sounds reflecting the daily choreography of the New York City subway system. - C.S.
Above The Rain (Ken Jacobs, 2019, 12:52, USA)
Mountain ranges lighter than air. - K.J.
Water Falls: New York City (Ann Deborah Levy, 2019, 12:05, USA)
Water falling, flying, and flowing from New York City fountains echoes the moods and energy of the City. In this impressionistic, unconventional city symphony, the camera captures abstract paintings made by the falling water colored by the light it reflects and neighborhood life glimpsed through the ever-changing spaces between the streaming water as sounds of people, traffic, and the constantly falling water are heard. A.D.L.
How a Sculpture Eats a Painting (Marja Samsom, 1975, 4:57, Holland)
A conceptual museum fantasy. - M.S.
KITCHEN (Michael Levine, 2020, 8:31, USA)
KITCHEN is a stop motion animation that loosely explores Michael's personal experiences during the first few months of the pandemic lockdown. - M.L.
#26 Containing Great Power (Lili White, 2021, 4:16, USA)
“These films are meant to be enjoyed simply through their images.
There is no need to seek out meaning behind the forms, however I will share my train of thought regarding them.
Traditional symbols for #26 are hand or mountain and head or heaven or the “creative”.
In #26 describes the stillness of “mountain” bears down on an expanding energy like the wildness of animals or “heaven”- ly skies.
Some animals like antelope, cannot be tamed. The horse, however, has been tamed through the hand bridling the animal's power, domesticating it.
Animal husbandry was an early interpretation of this energy force that “contains the power of the great” like when one collects oneself, assembling inner and outer strength to face the world.
The double screened horse is presented in the colors that belong to #26's deeper, nuclear hexagram's essence of thunder over lake: the red-violet and bright green.” - L.W.
Carlos Atanes was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1971 and has been making underground films since the early 90s. His work forms a cocktail of dream worlds, black comedy,, philosophical provocations, parallel dimensions, dystopias, and narrative transgressions. He has always conceived his work in different media, both narrative and non- fiction, as a tool to explore the interstices and fissures in the walls of consensual reality.
Born in New York City in 1957, Tom Bessoir attended The Bronx High School of Science and studied electrical engineering and mathematics at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. While at The Cooper Union, he studied filmmaking with Robert Breer, Joshua Pines, and Sandy Moore. Tom Bessoir’s experimental films often use mathematics to explore perception and the structure of film. In the arts, Tom Bessoir is best known for Microfilm (1979), Digits of Pi (2019), and his photography documenting downtown NYC.
Matthew Carlson is a moving image artist living and working in Queens, New York. He received a BFA in Film/Video from Pratt Institute in 2015 and worked with Artforum, Marina Abramović, and the production company Faliro House. His work has been included in multiple group screenings at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Pratt Manhattan, and the Robert Rauschenberg gallery in South Florida. He currently spends his days as a trailer editor and social media manager for the Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
Abigail Child is a filmmaker, poet, and writer who has been active in experimental writing and media since the 1970s. She has completed more than thirty film and video works and installations, and six books. Child's early film work addressed the interplay between sound and image through reshaping narrative tropes, prefiguring many concerns of contemporary film and media.
Michelle Handelman uses video, live performance and photography to make confrontational works that explore the sublime in its various forms of excess and nothingness. Her background is a study in opposites – raised during the late 60s/early 70s, Handelman split her time between Chicago, where her mother was a fixture in the art world, and Los Angeles, where her father was a player in the counterculture sex industry. Over the years Handelman has voraciously traversed both these worlds, developing a body of work that investigates ways of looking at the forbidden and revealing dark, subconscious layers of outsider agency.
"One of the founders of the American avant-garde cinema, Ken Jacobs (b. 1933) has been working ceaselessly and boundlessly in film, video and moving image performance for over fifty years. Jacobs began working in a mode of guerilla cinema, shooting anarchic and exuberant – yet also politically astute – theatrics in the streets of his native New York in the early 1950s, including a number of prescient and Beat infused works – Little Stabs at Happiness, the shorts included in The Whirled – made with a very young Jack Smith.
Fascinated with early cinema and experimental film from a young age, Jacobs gradually turned to found footage as a dominant inspiration, a breakthrough marked by his seminal deconstruction of cinematic narrative and illusionism Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son (1969), which famously manipulates and expands a 1905 film of the same name to create a breathless and revelatory work of pure cinema. Early “primitive” cinema, and increasingly, nineteenth century photography, has remained a touchstone in Jacobs’ work and a principal tool to launch an extended critique of the aesthetic, ideological and technological limits defining film and the cinematic apparatus itself. In the 1970s Jacobs took this critique to another level, defining what he termed “paracinema,” a radical mode of moving image performance that included his Nervous System Performances, transformative film experiences that use two simultaneous 16mm projectors and a variety of live sound and music to explore those audio-visual dimensions hidden within the film strip. Endlessly curious about technology, Jacobs embraced the possibilities of video in a meeting of the digital, early film/photography and 3-D imagery that magically bridges the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries and has given way to such powerful and sublimely beautiful works as Krypton is Doomed, and, most recently, Razzle Dazzle: The Lost World. Among Jacobs’ most important inventions is his Nervous Magic Lantern, a mysterious and mesmerizing performance of light and shadow that returns to cinema’s most essential roots, and which he evocatively describes as 'cinema without film or electronics.'" - Harvard Film Archive
Ken Kobland is a New York born and based filmmaker who has been working since the seventies. He has been recognized in a plethora of festivals and collaborated with the Wooster Group.
Lewis Klahr (born 1956) is a Los Angeles based collage artist who uses found images and sound to explore the intersection of memory and history. He is primarily known for his uniquely idiosyncratic films, which he began creating in 1977 and have screened extensively in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Lewis Klahr teaches in the Theater School of the California Institute of the Arts.
Michael Siporin Levine
Michael Siporin Levine is a visual artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Working across disciplines, he creates prints, drawings, films, animations, and installations that mix autobiography with abstraction and invention. Michael has shown his work both nationally and internationally. Some recent noteworthy residencies and fellowships include a summer residency at Goggleworks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA (2019); a visiting Artist in Residency at Wesleyan College (2019, Macon, GA); a residency and solo exhibition/performance at Galeria Wschodnia (2018, Łódź, Poland); and a summer residency at Vermont Studio Center (2017).
Ann Deborah Levy
Ann Deborah Levy, whose work is informed by her beginnings in painting, is a filmmaker focused on perception and natural imagery.
Integrating hybrid forms and narrative traditions, the films of Cynthia Madansky engage with cultural and political themes, foregrounding human experience and personal testimony. Recently Madansky has begun integrating drawing on celluloid, creating a series of new work which experiments with optical printing, hand processing and painting.
Graduated in direction from Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia of Rome and in Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature, he's a total artist: poet, documentary filmmaker, photographer and visual artist, writer of books on film language and theory. He taught film at University, Screenwriting at Rai-Italian Radio and Television. He works in collaboration with his wife Mariella Buscemi, screenwriter and author. In recognition of his contribution to the arts the Calcografia Nazionale of Rome with the Ministero Beni Culturali has dedicated to the solo exhibition "Arcangelo Mazzoleni: Il Mondo al fuoco dello Sguardo. Films, Videos, Photos, Drawings and Mixed Media on paper".
Marja Samsom started Super-8 filmmaking in Amsterdam in the 1970s; living in New York City since the ‘80s as a conceptual filmmaker, photographer, and performer. Glamour is resistance.
Catalina Santamaria is Producer and Broadcast Associate at Italics – CUNY TV. She worked as editor and cinematographer with Emmy Award Winner Caridad Sorondo (Puerto Rico) and as production assistant with renown independent filmmaker, Alan Berliner. Ms. Santamaria’s award-winning films include, Umbrella House (2014), 2015 Director’s Choice Award at Black Maria Film Festival; Luminescence (2010) : Jerome Foundation grant; Derail (1997): Kodak Cinematography Award & the 1st Place Audience Award at The New Haven Film Festival; Except my soul… (1999): Best Film - Best Director - Best Cinematography at the V International Short Film Festival "El Espejo,” Bogotá, Colombia; Squatters: feature documentary in post-production.
Lili White received a BFA from The University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art's four-year study in painting. White is a practicing artist, experimental filmmaker, media artist, writer, and producer. Her films and selected videos have exhibited with the Shanghai’s Dulotun Museum of Contemporary Art, the American Museum of the Moving Image, the Museum of American Art in Philadelphia, Newhouse Center Of Contemporary Art, Millennium Film Workshop, and The Jersey City Museum. Since 1978 Lili White has been exploring origins of myth, primacy of memory, dreaming, exercises in self and counter self-imagining, through her moving image works. She is a fixture in the history of avant-garde filmmaking, and throughout her career she has maintained a dedication to experimental work created by women filmmakers, curating ANOTHER eXperiment by WOMEN FILM FESTIVAL in NYC, begun in 2010, which promotes and screens experimental films quarterly at Anthology Film Archives and has an online presence (http://axwonline.com). AXW has since become a Fractured Atlas Fiscally Sponsored Campaign and a recipient of the LMCC’s MCAT Arts Fund Grant.