Experimental Response Cinema presents Avant Erotica, a post-Valentine’s Day program of avant garde films and videos exploring notions of genderbending, desire, sensuality, love, lust and eroticism. Some are gritty and explicit (using found smut films or home-shot footage) while others are more suggestive, elusive and idiosyncratic. The works visually critique, subvert or glorify the original content, or in many cases, do all three. “These artists are peeling back a layer of cultural facade to reveal the raw pleasures and troubling paradoxes of that most basic of human impulses,” said curator Scott Stark.
The program features films and videos by artists from the U.S. and Europe, and includes works by Texas artists Lyndsay Bloom, Scott Stark, Jason Cortland and Julia Halperin. Also featured are works by Lews Klahr, Peggy Ahwesh, Bryan Konefsky, Naomi Uman, Matthias Müller, Jeanne Liotta and Clint Enns.
Color of Love (Peggy Ahwesh, 16mm film, 10min) Ahwesh subjects an apparently found pornographic film to coloring, optical printing and general fragmentation; the source material threatens to virtually collapse under the beautiful violence of her filmic treatment. What emerges is a portrait at once nostalgic and horrible: the degraded image, locked in symbiotic relation with an image of degradation. “The last word in ready-mades, Peggy Ahwesh’s THE COLOR OF LOVE … is a slightly slo-mo, optical reprint of an obviously ill-treated ’70s porn movie in which the chemical rot that’s already eaten away the edges of the image threaten to censor it entirely.” – Amy Taubin, The Village Voice
Removed (1999, Naomi Uman, 16mm film, 6min) Using a piece of found European porn from the 1970s, nail polish and bleach, this film creates a new pornography, one in which the woman exists only as a hole, an empty, animated space.
Downs are Feminine (1994, Lewis Klahr, 16mm film, 9min) Lewis Klahr’s cutout animation gleaned from cheap porn zines “unveils a kind of rainy day, indoor, peaceable kingdom of desultory and idyllic debauchery, masturbatory reveries and hermaphroditic transformations.” – Mark McElhatten
Hepheastus in the Airshaft (2005, Jeanne Liotta, digital video, 3min) The god of metallurgy manifests in Manhattan, with the radio on. (Jeanne Liotta)
Home Stories (1991, Matthias Müller, 16mm film, 6min) “Framed by a tense, complex soundtrack of found sounds and musical snippets from… postwar melodramas, the imagetrack gradually builds up a claustrophobic sensation of paranoid anxiety in these women’s actions. The film incorporates clips already pregnant with quiet hysteria, but their decontextualization and carefully edited repetition extenuate their excess as moments of cinema. Home Stories rises to a climax of collective hysteria as the women hurry down hallways and anxiously shut doors behind them.” – Roger Hallas: Reframing Bodies – AIDS, Bearing Witness, and the Queer Moving Image. Durham/NC 2009
NOEMA (1998, Scott Stark, 16mm film, 10) Pornographic videos are mined for the un-erotic moments between moments, when the actors are engaging in an awkward change of position or when the camera pans meaningfully away from the urgent mechanisms of sex up to a cheap painting on the wall or the distant embers of a crackling fire. A piercing musical score loops endlessly throughout, and the repetitive and curious iterations of movement become furtive searches for meaning within their own blandness. “A canny, meticulousreduction of found video porn to raw motion study… Scott Stark finds in the busy-ness of the naked, often disembodied shapes of bodies a rhythm and finally a grace.” — Edward E. Crouse, San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Untitled (2012, Jason Cortland and Julia Halperin, video, 3min) local Austin filmmakers.
Debbie Does ASCII (2009, Clint Enns, video, 2min) An ASCII (all text-based) animation of a scene from Jim Clark’s famous 1978 pornographic film Debbie Does Dallas.
XOXO (2011, Lyndsay Bloom, 16mm film, 5min) local filmmaker A hand-processed, 16mm, lovingly crafted film of a couple making love.
Miss Yummy Yummy (2012, Bryan Konefsky, digital video 5) This work was shot in the town of Wurzburg while I was traveling in Germany. The final film/video was inspired by Bruce Conner’s iconic deconstruction of image and celebrity – Marilyn X 5 (1973). (Bryan Konefsky)
And other surprises!