Feb 9, 2013

Re: TODAY - Stan Brakhage's The Art of Vision


Stan Brakhage's The Art of Vision
Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 5pm

Light Industry
155 Freeman Street
Brooklyn, New York

The Art of Vision
Stan Brakhage, 16mm, 1961-1965, 250 mins
Introduced by P. Adams Sitney

Light Industry hosts a rare screening of Stan Brakhage's The Art of Vision, shown in a new print. This monumental work, regarded as one of Brakhage's greatest films, contains within it the same materials he used to construct the better-known Dog Star Man. It depicts the filmmaker as woodsman, scaling a snow-covered mountain, along with associative images of his wife and child; here the stuff of home movies attains a cosmological status by way of its experimental approach. The Art of Vision employs nearly all the poetic techniques Brakhage had mastered by this point—including saccadic camera movement, radically variable focus, lens distortion, image inversion, painting on film, emulsion scratching, and more—yielding an anthology of perception's myriad forms.

"The Art of Vision is the higher coefficient of what seemed, in the early 1960s, to be Stan Brakhage's extraordinarily ambitious film project, Dog Star Man. Between 1961 and 1965, he furiously produced his first serial work, an epic film in five sections: Prelude (1961), Part One (1962), Part Two (1963), Part Three (1964), and Part Four (1964). All but Part One were articulated with layers of densely edited superimpositions. During the same years he wrote his groundbreaking, polemical book of film theory, Metaphors on Vision. As he was completing the book, the idea struck him that he should also exhibit a version of Dog Star Man in which all the layers of superimposition would be shown separately, and all the possible permutations of layering for each of the parts as well. In homage to J.S. Bach's Art of the Fugue, he called the expanded version The Art of Vision." - P. Adams Sitney

"Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of 'Green'? How many rainbows can light create for the untutored eye? How aware of variations in heat waves can that eye be? Imagine a world alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement and innumerable gradations of color. Imagine a world before the 'beginning was the word.'

To see is to retain—to behold. Elimination of all fear is in sight—which must be aimed for. Once vision may have been given—that which seems inherent in the infant's eye, an eye which reflects the loss of innocence more eloquently than any other human feature, an eye which soon learns to classify sights, an eye which mirrors the movement of the individual toward death by its increasing inability to see.

But one can never go back, not even in imagination. After the loss of innocence, only the ultimate of knowledge can balance the wobbling pivot. Yet I suggest that there is a pursuit of knowledge foreign to language and founded upon visual communication, demanding a development of the optical mind, and dependent upon perception in the original and deepest sense of the word." - Stan Brakhage, from Metaphors on Vision

P. Adams Sitney is a historian of film art, a co-founding member of Anthology Film Archives, and Professor of Visual Arts at Princeton University. He is the author of the book Visionary Film, originally published in 1974, which was the first major study on the post-war American avant-garde cinema, and is today considered a classic. Among his other publications are Modernist Montage: The Obscurity of Vision in Cinema and Literature from 1992 and most recently Eyes Upside Down: Visionary Filmmakers and the Heritage of Emerson. His articles regularly appear in Artforum and other journals.

Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

Tickets - $7, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 4:30pm.

Infermental 4
Sunday, February 17, 2013 from 2:30pm to 10pm

Light Industry
155 Freeman Street
Brooklyn, New York

Light Industry presents Issue 4 of the pioneering videocassette magazine Infermental. The issue will be shown in its seven-hour entirety and introduced by James Richards, who recently edited the publication A Detour Around Infermental with George Clark and Dan Kidner.

Infermental, the "first international magazine on videocassettes," was initiated in 1980 by Gábor and Vera Bódy, and eleven issues were published between 1980 and 1991. The early installments were realized with boundless energy and a visionary zeal—Gábor Bódy's idea was to build an "Encyclopedia of Recorded Imagery." He produced the first edition while on a DAAD residency in Berlin, and each subsequent issue was put together in a different city. Beginning in Europe, and with a distinct focus on connecting video and other media artists in the East and the West, Infermental became a project with global reach when later editions were produced in North America and Japan. Each issue featured between 30 and 100 artists contributing complete films, excerpts, trailers, interviews, and performance footage, and was assembled by a different editorial team, normally consisting of two former contributors and one supervisor. Though Bódy, the publication'! s figurehead, died in 1985, Infermental continued for another six years.

Over the course of the project's life, a diverse range of influential figures contributed to the magazine, like Peggy Ahwesh, Tony Conrad, Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, Jon Jost, Marcel Odenbach, Amos Poe, Steina Vasulka, and Lawrence Weiner. But it was the less familiar names, the editorial rationale, the innovative distribution strategy, and the exhibition model that made it such a fascinating and enduring enterprise. Enabled by the newly accessible technology of U-matic cassette tape, Infermental brought together a number of formats, including 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm, as well as video. The editions were sold or rented to institutions with specific instructions for their presentation: the tapes were to be played one after the other for the full duration of the issue. Given the relatively peripheral status of video at this time, and the broad lack of support from galleries and film festivals, Infermental attempted to find a new way to present and circulate wo! rk among artists and institutions around the world.

Issue 4 was edited by the French artists' group Frigo in 1985 and marks a shift in the magazine's editorial policy, drawing on the group's multi-disciplinary activities, collective organization, DIY ethos, and experience in pirate radio. Authorship is thrown into disarray as amateur footage, artists' films, ethnographic documents, video performances, and music videos are seamlessly edited together.

"Infermental was of course operating at a time when there was a thriving underground film culture. Now culture is more diffuse and, more generally, there is a massive amount of different types of images in circulation from which to sample. But, for example, the free movement between different forms in the Frigo edition in 1985, the way different types of material overlapped—experimental films, documentary, music videos—does relate to the way I compose film programs...Also it was the first edition we watched that we felt was something of its own. We had all watched a lot of programs of video from the 1970s and 1980s, and the earlier editions seemed quite conventional, as much as there were interesting pieces perhaps or ones that stood out. It felt familiar as a structure. But then with the Frigo edition we saw the editors experimenting with ways of mixing the material and thereby making it quite different from a regular screening of works at a festival, m! useum or cinema." - James Richards

James Richards lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions include a residency at CCA Kitakyushu, Japan (2012); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2011); Rodeo Gallery, Istanbul (2011); Art Now (with Clunie Reid), Tate Britain (2010); Tramway, Glasgow (2009) and Swallow Street, London (2009). Recent group exhibitions include Frozen Lakes at Artists Space, New York (2013), Younger than Jesus at the New Museum, New York (2009) and Nought to Sixty at ICA London (2009). Richards has curated film programs and screenings at Serpentine Gallery, London (2010); BFI, London (2010), X-Initiative, New York (2009); and Whitechapel Gallery, London (2007). He is the recipient of the 2012 Jarman Award.

Tickets - $7, all-you-can-watch, available at door. Stop in for an hour, come and go, or stay all day.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 2pm.

Electronic Tonalities: The Film Scores of Louis and Bebe Barron
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 7:30pm

Light Industry
155 Freeman Street
Brooklyn, New York

A lecture by Geeta Dayal

Before the advent of synthesizers, a generation of maverick inventors built their own circuits, designed their own instruments, and pushed the limits of tape machines. While the traditional history of electronic music points to Europe, and especially to the birth of musique concrète in France in 1948, an equally important history was taking root around the same time in New York City.

Louis and Bebe Barron, a husband and wife team living in Manhattan in the early 1950s, built a DIY electronic music studio in their Greenwich Village apartment. Inspired by cybernetics, they thought of their circuits as living organisms, with a life and death of their own. The Barrons would become most famous for creating the pioneering electronic music score for the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet (1956), but their work extended beyond Hollywood. They actively collaborated within the New York avant-garde, spending two years building up the samples for John Cage's seminal tape piece Williams Mix and assisting Maya Deren with the soundtrack for her 1959 film The Very Eye of Night. Their work tells a story not only of early electronic music, but of bohemian downtown New York in the same period—Marlon Brando, Aldous Huxley, and Anaïs Nin were among the other notable figures that spent time at the Barrons' studio.

The Barrons also created electronic compositions for three experimental films in the 1950s by Ian Hugo, Nin's then-husband. Two of those films—Bells of Atlantis (1952) and Jazz of Lights (1956)—will be screened tonight, along with Shirley Clarke's Barron-scored Bridges-Go-Round (1958) and excerpts from Forbidden Planet. An illustrated lecture on the life and work of the Barrons by Geeta Dayal will accompany the screening.

Geeta Dayal is the author of Another Green World (Continuum, 2009), a book on Brian Eno, and is currently at work on a new book on the history of electronic music. Her writing about music, technology, and culture has appeared in frieze, the New York Times, Slate, The Wire, and many other publications.

Tickets - $7, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.




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