Feb. 24th – Avant Erotica II: Love Meditations

Our 2013 Avant Erotica show is subtitled “Love Meditations;” it is less about the graphic depiction of the coital act, and instead delves deeper into personal soliloquies of desire, physical plasticity and emotional isolation. Headlining the program is a newly-restored version of Carolee Schneemann’s legendary sexual incantation “Fuses,” the self-shot erotic classic featuring herself and her partner as imagined through eyes of her cat. The program also includes works both historical and contemporary by Gheith Al-Amine, Stan Brakhage, Taka Iimura, Tom Chomont, Ted Hearne and Chick Strand.

Sunday, February 24th, 2013
Salvage Vanguard Theater (map)
Co-presented with the Church of the Friendly Ghost.
$8 General / $5 Students


Sexual Meditation: #1 Motel
Stan Brakhage
7 min / silent / 16mm / 1970
Part of the Sexual Meditation series, this film is a rhythmic and abstract exploration of light, hand-painted textures, and the possibilities of two nudes in a room. (via Walker Art Center.)
This film was originally photographed in 1970 in regular 8mm. It was, a decade later, blown up to 16mm so that it could join the rest of the Sexual Meditation series.

Ai (Love)
Taka Iimura
10 min / sound by Yoko Ono / 16mm / 1962
10minutes of the act of creation itself run through close up and magnifying lenses. ” (T.I.)
“I have seen a number of Japanese avantgarde films at the Brussels international Experimental Film Festival, at Cannes, and at other places. Of all those films, Iimura’s LOVE stands out in its beauty and originality, a film poem, with no usual pseudo-surrealist imagery. Closest comparison would be Brakhage’s LOVING or Jack Smith’s FLAMING CREATURES. LOVE is a poetic and sensuous exploration of the body・・・fluid, direct, beautiful”
Jonas Mekas, THE FILM CULTURE,1966, New York

Once Upon a Sidewalk 
Gheith Al-Amine
20 mins / sound / digital video / 2009
This video shows several variations of a same shot taken nine years previously. For each image, it comes to a new meaning while recreating colors and feelings that the artist had seen and felt at the time, a Saturday night on Monot Street in Beirut. “Once Upon a Sidewalk” explore also the representation of women treated as objects of desire and questions the medium of the video by manipulating its settings indefinitely.
This video explores the representation of women as objects of desire and questions the medium of video itself by repeatedly manipulating its parameters. Geith Al-Amine’s works “T.S.T.L” and “King Lost His Tooth” were shown in the Forum Expanded programm of the 2012 Berlinale. (via Arsenal)

Fever Dream
Chick Strand
7min / sound / 16mm / 1979
A wet hot dream about sensuality.

Hi Is My Name
3 mins / sound / digital video / 2013
A testosterone-laden screed of aggravated vocals, manic tonalities and frantic eyeballing. R WE WHO R WE is made up of composer/performers Philip White (mixer feedback, vocal processing) and Ted Hearne (voice, vocal processing). Their debut album is released this month on New Focus Recordings, with distribution through Naxos of America.

Tom Chomont
4 mins / silent / 16mm / 1969
“Successfully blends elements from both the poetic and diary modes. In the process Tom Chomont has created one of the few truly erotic works in cinema.” — J. J. Murphy, “Reaching for Oblivion” Millennium Film Journal, Winter/Spring 1979 “Exquisitely erotic… a shimmering fantasy…” — Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times, February 1976

(newly restored version, with added footage)
Carolee Schneemann
30 min / silent / 16mm / 1967
Filmed and edited by Schneemann; with herself, James Tenney and Kitch. “Pornography is an anti-emotional medium, in content and intent, and its lack of emotion renders it wholly ineffective for women. This absence of sensuality is so contrary to female eroticism that pornography becomes, in fact, anti-sexual. Schneemann’s film, by contrast, is devastatingly erotic, transcending the surfaces of sex to communicate its true spirit, its meaning as an activity for herself and, quite accurately, women in general. Significantly, Schneemann conceives the film as shot through the eyes of her cat — the impassive observer whose view of human sexuality is free of voyeurism and ignorant of morality. “In her attempt to reproduce the whole visual and tactile experience of lovemaking as a subjective phenomenon, Schneemann spent some three years marking on the film, baking it in the oven, even hanging it out the window during rainstorms on the off chance it might be struck by lightning. Much as human beings carry the physical traces of their experiences, so this film testifies to what it has been through and communicates the spirit of its maker. The red heat baked into the emulsion suffuses the film, a concrete emblem of erotic power.” — B. Ruby Rich, Chicago Art Institute Project at 18 fps.
New restoration of the original 16mm collaged print – May 2007. Part of “Autobiographical Trilogy”. Filming begun in 1964. This self- shot erotic film remains a controversial classic. With awards at Cannes (1968), the Yale Film Festival (1992) and showings at museums and Universities internationally, Fuses has nevertheless encountered censorship over the years. “[A]notorious masterpiece, a silent celebration in color of heterosexual love making, the film unifies erotic energies within a domestic environment through cutting, super- imposition and layering of abstract impressions scratched into the celluloid itself… Fuses succeeds perhaps more than any other film in objectifying the sexual streamings of the body’s mind” – The Guardian