Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fall 2015 Schedule

09/02 Mark Lapore 
09/09 Mark Lapore, Daniel Barnett, Joseph Cornell + Mark and Saul
09/30 Tooth-Blackhole

10/14 Vanessa Redgrave
10/28 Rashin Fahandej

11/04  Akosua Adoma Owusu
11/18  Ephraim Asili 

12/02  Karen Johannesen
12/09  Kelly Gallagher

9/2/15 The Sleepers...Films of Mark Lapore

A Depression in the Bay of Bengal
Mark LaPore | 1996 | 28 minutes |16MM
"A DEPRESSION IN THE BAY OF BENGAL is a 28-minute color film shot while on a Fulbright Scholars Fellowship to Sri Lanka in 1993-1994. I went to Sri Lanka with the idea that I would remake Basil Wright's and John Grierson's 1934 documentary Song of Ceylon. After spending three months there I realized just how impossible that would be. Wright's film was formally innovative and visually brilliant but his experience was not to be revisited. Each of the places he filmed still exist, but thirteen years of ethnic war have colored the way in which those places can be portrayed. I have made a film about travelling and living in a distant place which looks at aspects of daily life and where the war shadows the quotidian with a dark and rumbling step."...- Mark LaPore

The Sleepers
Mark LaPore | 1989 | 16 minutes | 16MM
Memory, as well as the residue of information in text and film from Sudan, led me to make THE SLEEPERS in order to resolve the impression that the third world is present in the first world as an idea and a condition. THE SLEEPERS is a film about how notions of culture are often defined by information received indirectly - information that frequently violates the particulars of people and place and makes questionable one's ability to portray specific individuals as representatives of culture. THE SLEEPERS concludes with a description of an African girl cleaning up after a meal being read over the image of a red storefront in New York's Chinatown. Time and space contradict, then collapse to suggest a new third world city; a city of the imagination, where rural Sudan, China and Manhattan exist simultaneously.- Mark LaPore

The Glass System
Mark LaPore | 2000 | 20 minutes | 16MM
"THE GLASS SYSTEM, made from images shot in New York and Calcutta, looks at life as it is played out in the streets. Every corner turned reveals activities both simple and unfamiliar: a knife sharpener on a bicycle; a tiny tightrope walker; a man selling watches in front of a department store on Fifth Avenue; a hauntingly slow portrait of the darting eyes of schoolgirls on their way home; the uncompleted activities of a young contortionist. The sound in the film (which is from a Bengali primer written by British missionaries) is a meditation on how the English language teaches ideas about culture which are often incongruous. The disjunction between what you hear and what you see evokes reflections about the impact of globalization and the hegemony of Western-style capitalism. - Mark LaPore

Mark LaPore | 2002 | 10 minutes | B&W | SILENT
Shared intimacy mingles with unabashed voyeurism in a distilled, complex rumination on the pleasures and problems of gazing. Mark LaPore had intended to create a soundtrack for this film, but never did. However, it was initially shown and circulated as a silent work, so it was decided to release MEKONG into regular distribution as-is. - Mark Toscano

Kolkata Mark LaPore | 2005 | 35 minutes | 16MM
A portrait of North Kolkata (Calcutta), this film searches the streets for the ebb and flow of humanity and reflects the changing landscape of a city at once medieval and modern." - Mark LaPore

Joseph Cornell | c. 1940s | 6MIN | 16MM

Mark LaPore was an experimental ethnographic filmmaker who made several films in the Sudan, India and Sri Lanka, as well as various parts of the U.S. over a period of nearly thirty years. A dedicated iconoclast and personal artist, LaPore strove to document and portray the cultures with which he connected in ways that were true to his experiences as a traveler as well as being honest reflections of people and scenes that he was witnessing. LaPore worked against conventions of ethnographic narrative, using cinema at its most fundamental level as an objective tool that could also be harnessed for personal response and expression. He was also an influential teacher at the Massachusetts College of Art, and many of his students have gone on to become significant filmmakers in their own right. LaPore's tragic and premature death on September 11, 2005, robbed American independent cinema of one of its most original and dedicated talents. - Steve Anker


Joseph Cornell | 1957 | 9 minutes | 16MM
A meditation on an ephemeral day in the the life of a park shared by birds, the young and the old.
THE CHINESE TYPEWRITER  Daniel Barnett | 1978 | 27 minutes |16MM
The Chinese Typewriter is about education and language, and the way a society is shaped by them. Exemplifies the politically committed film that defies the strict rubric of avant-garde. Barnett seems less interested in challenging traditional form than in exploding his own occidental vision. He transforms cyclonic cutting among a character-filled Chinese printing shop, a school, and street life into a visual poem that extracts the country's fierce mechanistic energy while leaving the fragrant residue of humanity. The film is compositionally meticulous and rhythmically arresting, as Barnett goes beyond facile, formalist, dehumanization of post-Mao China imagery. Contrasting a stop action view of a schoolgirl doing a cartwheel with contemplating, pointillist, high-angle shots of sidewalk life. The repeated sloganeering of public-school apologists, spiced with oriental music and street beat forms a soundtrack with the haunting quality of a Davis Byrne/Brian Eno experiment. Red objects, from scarves around necks to newsstands draped with crimson like a shroud-pull the eye to what become found object vanishing points. despite the multitude of images-over 3000 on 28 minutes, the film never seems capricious or ostentatious. -- Gregory Solman ; BOSTON PHOENIX 2/26/85.

FIVE BAD ELEMENTS  Mark LaPore | 1997 | 32 minutes 16MM
NEW PRINT from Academy Film Archive - 2014!
A filmic Pandora's Box full of my version of "trouble" (death, loss, cultural imperialism) as well as the trouble with representation as incomplete understanding. - Mark LaPore

WAYWARD FRONDS  Fern Silva | 2014 | 13 minutes | 16MM

Mermaids flip a tale of twin detriments, domiciles cradle morph invaders,
crocodile trails swallow two-legged twigs in a fecund mash of nature's outlaws... down in the Everglades.
Wayward Fronds references a series of historical events that helped shape the Florida Everglades today, while fictionalizing its geological future and its effects on both native and exotic inhabitants. Guided by recent talks in the Florida legislature to finally disburse billions of dollars in restoration funds, events in this film unfold by giving way to a future eco-flourished Everglades. Nature begins to take over, en-gulfs and tames civilization after centuries of attack, and even guides it into its mysterious aqueous depths, forcing humans to adapt and evolve to its surroundings.

SUBMISSION  Saul Levine + Mark LaPore | 1988 | 5 minutes | 16MM
A confrontational rant addressed to the judges of the films entered in a Super 8 competition at No Exit. Both Mark and I were surprised when not only was it shown at the festival but it generated much laughter and angry conversation. -Saul Levine

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

9/16/15 Steve Cossman RITUALS OF RESTORATION

A program of moving image work by Steve Cossman
Running time : 47 minutes 

" The world, on both the micro and macro level, is constantly moving within a framework of units this irrepressible flux of time is the nexus of human experience and perception. Investigating the quantification of this motion through a reordering of various elements, I employ universally recognizable imagery within a patterned visual language. Often using time as a structure, the ‘natural’ rhythm of life is altered to create a resonating interval. This visual discord allows the viewer to reconsider established perceptual relationships.  Materials for these works have been sourced from refuse and re-organized to speak to their own degradation. " - SVC

5 min / 16mm color / optical sound / 2007-2009 
Sound element by Earthen Sea (Jacob Long, Imminent Frequencies/Lover’s Rock)

The work presented is a reflection on humanity’s ecological relationship.  The violent pulse speaks with a sense of urgency and chaotic struggle while the hypnotic arrangement keeps us in blinding awe us to its condition. The collage films are composed of 7,000+ single frames, which were appropriated from view-master reel cells. Each frame was hand-spliced to create a linear film-strip using musical and numerical patterns to compose visual rhythms. WHITE ROUGHAGE (below) is the raw optically printed footage used to create the companion piece to TUSSLEMUSCLE, entitled  W H I T E C A B B A G E .

12 min / 16mm color / optical sound / 2010 
Sound element by Daniel Caldas (ex. Black Eyes, Dischord Records) 

To expedite the transfer/loading speed of representational images online they are assigned a low resolution of 72 dpi. In the “de-res” process, a considerable amount of visual information is labeled unimportant and discarded by software. I worked with a programmer to create PHP code in order to read a thumbnail image from left to right, top to bottom, placing each pixel’s color as a full frame of the same color along the timeline. The sequence of frames plays out at 24 frames per second. In the same way that the persistence of vision creates the illusion of smooth linear movement in frame-by-frame animation, the mind is able to re-instate some of the lost visual/color information. Concurrently, the static composition of the photographic image dictates a pattern in time. A vertical line will appear at the same place in time repeatedly creating a “beat” while horizontal lines and forms become an undulation. Composition of form creates visual rhythm.  

12 min / Super 8mm color negative to DV / digital field recording sound / 2014
Sound performance element by Ei Wada, (Sony Music, Japan) 

A document of the environment created by artist Ei Wada.   Wadasan re-wires obsolete Braun-tubed TVs to function like a theremin. Performing in the dark, he creates a unique audio/visual experience using VHS cassette tapes with distorted image output to control frequency and uses his own hands to control amplitude.  I conducted an interview with Wadasan and filmed two performances; one in Germany, the other in Japan. Based on our conversations, I created this short piece that emphasized his grassroots approach to instrument making and reflected his own concepts about performance as art.  The footage shot in Japan was captured during the last hour of signal broadcasting in Tokyo. 

5 min / 16mm color / digital sound / 2013 
Sound element by Ryan Marino (Remnants, Imminent Frequencies) 

3 min / 16mm color / silent / 2013

Silent motion studies.
10 min / 16mm color / digital sound / 2013 
Sound element by Jahiliyya fields (Matthew Morandi, L.I.E.S.)

Steve Cossman is founder and director of Mono No Aware (est. 2007); a non-profit cinema-arts organization whose annual event exhibits the work of contemporary artists that incorporate live film projections and altered light as part of a performance, sculpture or installation. In 2010 he helped the organization establish a series of analog filmmaking workshops that has grown to include an equipment rentals program, a film stock distribution service, an in-person screening series entitled Connectivity Through Cinema and the New York Library of Cinema (NYLoC).  Steve’s first major work on film, TUSSLEMUSCLE, earned him Kodak’s Continued Excellence in Filmmaking award at F.L.E.X. and has screened at many festivals and institutions internationally.  In 2013, he completed residencies at MoMA PS1’s Expo 1 and the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto. In 2014, Brooklyn Magazine named Steve Cossman one of the ‘Top 100 most Influential persons of Brooklyn Culture.’ He has been a visiting artist at Brown University, Dartmouth, the New York Academy of Art, Yale, SAIC, and UPenn. Steve’s recent work on film, W H I T E C A B B A G E (2011-2014), a collaboration with Jahiliyya Fields of L.I.E.S., had its U.S. premiere at Anthology Film Archives. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn as a director, curator, visual artist, educator and activist.