Experimental Response Cinema in collaboration with Austin Film Society present: Films by Ken Jacobs, filmmaker live in person September 21st

Wednesday, September 21st
@AFS Cinema 6226 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, TX 78752 (map)
Austin, TX
$12 General Admission $10 Watch + Make Members $8 Love Members

Experimental Response Cinema presents in collaboration with Austin Film Society the films of Ken Jacobs with Ken Jacobs live in person! 

Ken Jacobs is an essential figure in the history of American avant-garde film. A leader in cinematic and now digital experimentation since the late 1950s, he explores the mechanics of the moving image and the very act of viewing. Jacobs investigates the cinematic experience in its entirety, from production to projection. Whether undertaking archaeological journeys to the dawn of cinema or scrutinizing the interstices of new digital technologies, Jacobs’ work investigates, provokes, and draws power from the mysteries of the nature of human vision.

New York Street Trolleys 1900

1999, 10:30 min, b&w, sound
WARNING: This work contains throbbing light. Should not be viewed by individuals with epilepsy or seizure disorders.
In this unique document, Jacobs demonstrates one of his live, multi-projection “Nervous System” film performances in real time. (The Nervous System performances feature a unique double-analysis projector set-up, deriving 3-D from standard 2-D film, most often with archival and other found footage.) Jacobs’ own narration guides the viewer through his manipulations and performance strategies, revealing his cinematic shorthand in this brief improvisation on an archival film from 1900.”There are people on the street unexpecting that they are going to be plunged 100 years ahead in time,” Jacobs muses as he freezes pedestrians in their paths, pulling the cinematic world apart around them. This work provides a rare insight into Jacobs’ artistic process.


2006, 3 min, color, silent
WARNING: This work contains throbbing light. Should not be viewed by individuals with epilepsy or seizure disorders.
Ken Jacobs writes: “An antique stereograph image of cotton-pickers, computer-animated to present the scene in an active depth even to single-eyed viewers. Silent, mournful, brief.” In Capitalism: Slavery, Jacobs uses a Victorian stereograph (a double-photograph) of slaves picking cotton under the watchful eye of a white overseer as the source for this wrenching silent work. Through digital manipulation, Jacobs creates a haunting illusion of depth and movement. It is as if he has “entered” the image and reactivated this historical moment; he moves among the figures and isolates individuals, creating a stuttering, pulsing effect that suggests motion even as it animates stasis.

Capitalism:Child Labor

2006, 14 min, color, sound
WARNING: This work contains throbbing light. Should not be viewed by individuals with epilepsy or seizure disorders.
In Capitalism: Child Labor Jacobs digitally animates a Victorian stereoscopic photograph of a 19th-century factory floor, crowded with machinery and child workers. Jacobs isolates the faces of individuals and details of the image, as if searching out the human and the particular within this mechanized field of mass production. Space appears to fold in on itself as Jacobs activates the stereograph; the agitated image flickers and stutters, but the motion never, in fact, progresses.
Writes Jacobs: “A stereograph celebrating factory production of thread. Many bobbins of thread coil in a great sky-lit factory space, the many machines manned by a handful of people. Manned? Some are children. I activate the double-photograph, composer Rick Reed suggests the machine din. Your heart bleeding for the kids? The children will surely be rescued and by their bosses! ‘Boys,’ they will say, ‘Have we got a war for you.'”
Music: Rick Reed. Assisted by Erik Nelson.

Another Occupation

2010-11, 15:45 min, color, sound, HD video

Music: Rick Reed. Digital Editing: Nisi Jacobs

Seeking The Monkey King

2011, 39:42 min, color, 5.1 surround sound, HD video
Writing about Seeking the Monkey King upon its premiere at the New York Film Festival’s Views from the Avant-Garde in 2011, Ken Jacobs stated, “The film could have well been called KICKING AND SCREAMING but that only describes me in the process of making it, questioning its taste. Once the message kicked in it overrode all objection. The piece demanded J.G.Thirlwell’s music, normally way too overtly expressive for me as most of my stuff comes out of painting and is also to be absorbed in silence. Who will even notice visual innovation now, or what’s happening with time? Determining a place between two and three dimensions, pushing time to take on substance, is what I do. SEEKING THE MONKEY KING is a reversion to my mid-twenties and that sense of horror that drove the making of STAR SPANGLED TO DEATH.”

For screening times and further information, Austin Film Society’s homepage:

Austin Film Society Calendar