Jan 24th – KATABASIS

January 24th, 2014
@ MASS Gallery (map)
Free ($5 – $10 Suggested Donation)

Add to Calendar 01-24-2014 20:00:00 01-24-2014 22:00:00 11 KATABASIS A journey to the underworld, featuring work by Mary Helena Clark, Lawrence Jordan, David Lebrun, Jesse McLean, Shana Moulton, and Stuart Sherman. $5-$10 Suggested Donation Full details at https://www.ercatx.org/jan-24th-katabasis 507 Calles St #108, Austin, TX 78702 Experimental Response Cinema admin@ercatx.org https://www.facebook.com/events/345411792266139/ false MM/DD/YYYY

A term used to describe a journey to the underworld, Experimental Response Cinema and MASS Gallery present KATABASIS, a trip to a land of spectacles, of alchemical concoctions, of the most precise hallucinations. Don’t fear, there is a way out – near, far, wherever you are. A screening with a focus on performance, featuring work by Mary Helena Clark, Lawrence Jordan, David Lebrun, Jesse McLean, Shana Moulton, and Stuart Sherman. Programmer Ekrem Serdar will be introducing the screening.

MASS logoMASS fosters exploratory modes of creation by encouraging artists to broaden the scope of their practice, while providing a friendly conversation space for the community to engage with contemporary art.

city of austin_550x792_139x200This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office / Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.


Orpheus (outtakes) by Mary Helena Clark
6 min / 16mm / sound / 2012
“Using footage from Cocteau’s Orphée, Mary Helena Clark optically prints an interstitial space where the ghosts of cinema lurk beyond and within the frames.” – Andrea Picard, TIFF

Tanka by David Lebrun
9:30 min / 16mm / sound / 1976
Original score by Ashish Khan (sarod), Buddy Arnold (saxophone, clarinet, flute), Pranesh Khan (tablas) and Francisco Lupica (percussion).
Tanka means, literally, a thing rolled up. The film, photographed from Tibetan scroll paintings of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, is a cyclical vision of ancient gods and demons, an animated journey through the image world of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
“With his dazzling TANKA David Lebrun has filmed a series of Tibetan paintings of mythological subjects and then programmed his footage into an optical printer to create the illusion of animation. The dazzling, vibrantly colored result is a series of dancing gods, wild revels, raging fires and sea battles between monsters.” – Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times
“An extraordinary film.” – Melinda Wortz, Art News
TANKA is brilliantly powered by the insight that Tibetan religious paintings are intended to be perceived not as in repose but as in constant movement. The water and flowers seem to dip and sway, the birds to fly and the god to move his arms sinuously.” – Edgar Daniel, American Film

Selections from the Eleventh Spectacle (The Erotic) and Eighth Spectacle (People’s Faces) by Stuart Sherman
20 min / digital / sound / 1979
Sherman may best be known for his solo Spectacle performances, which usually took the form of quick-paced interactions with everyday objects over a table top. He created and performed eighteen Spectacles in total, twelve of which he performed solo, and six with groups of collaborators. A prominent theme of the Spectacles was Sherman’s playful use of scale, either in the amplification of small gestures and details, or the miniaturization of theatrical spectacle.
Preserved by EAI in collaboration with the Fales Library & Special Collections, NYU and the Barbara L. Goldsmith Preservation Lab, NYU Libraries.
“Most of his performances, executed in silence with an almost religious concentration, consist of the manipulation, generally on a fragile little folding table, of different kinds of objects, usually plastic toys, but also bars of soap, kitchen utensils, and other objects manufactured in assembly-line imitations of one another, that are easily obtainable. It is Sherman’s manipulation of objects that make his performances resemble a magic show, but magic without tricks, suggesting that the point of his activity is something other than what it seems to be, that it is not the transformation of objects that is important, but, as Noel Carroll has observed, the order that is imposed on them.” – Berenice Reynaud

The Mountain Where Everything is Upside Down by Shana Moulton
5 min / digital / sound / 2008
Video artist Shana Moulton’s The Mountain Where Everything Is Upside Down is even better, immersing the viewer in a hallucinatory workout room where the artist’s alter-ego, a hypochondriac named Cynthia, achieves ecstatic rapture after trepanning her skull with a magic crystal. As she often does, Moulton scrambles the lexicons of new age spirituality with fitness and beauty fads to comment on mankind’s desperate need to put its faith in something. Of course, these shortsgarishly colorful, freewheeling in their use of disparate cultural signifiers, succeed on the level of spectacle. Much of the work here strives for more than flashy visuals, but, in this case, that flash feels very substantial.

Solar Sight by Lawrence Jordan
15 min / 16mm / sound / 2010
A question I had in mind was: what’s the place of the human being in the cosmos? More and more we think about what is ‘beyond.’ Less and less is art concerned. I don’t know why. The question seems a bit grandiose, but I approached it quite simply. I have never worked with color photography as primary background to cut-out animation before. I was surprised that the result was so powerful (helped by John Davis’ very resonant music). It was liberating to release human figures into an apperception of suggested space, along with the primordial enigma of the revolving sphere. – L.J.

Magic for Beginners by Jesse McLean
21 min / digital / sound / 2010
Magic for Beginners examines the mythologies found in fan culture, from longing to obsession to psychic connections. The need for such connections (whether real or imaginary) as well as the need for an emotional release that only fantasy can deliver is explored.
“Out of the blue, I bought my first television. I kept the TV on all the time.” –Andy Warhol
“Jesse McLean’s 20-minute video Magic for Beginners is an intermittently gripping, psychedelic montage revolving around childhood obsessions with Leonardo DiCaprio and the video game Tron.” –Ken Johnson, “Magic for Beginners”, New York Times, August 11th, 2011


Mary Helena Clark is a filmmaker living in Berkeley, California.

Larry Jordan is an independent filmmaker who has been working in the Bay Area in California since 1955, and making films since 1952. He has produced some 40 experimental and animation films, and three feature-length dramatic films. He is most widely known for his animated collage films. In 1970 he received a Guggenheim award to make SACRED ART OF TIBET. His animation has shown by invitation at the Cannes Film Festival. Jordan is one of the founding directors of Canyon Cinema Cooperative. He has shown films and lectured throughout the country. He is presently chairman of the film department at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Director and Producer DAVID LEBRUN was born in Los Angeles in 1944. He attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon and the UCLA Film School. He came to film from a background in philosophy and anthropology, and most of his films have been attempts to get inside the way of seeing and thinking of specific cultures.
He has served as producer, director, writer or editor of more than sixty films, among them films on the Mazatec Indians of Oaxaca, the Hopi and Navajo of the American Southwest, Mexican folk artists, a 1960s traveling commune, Tibetan mythology and a year in the life of a Maya village in Yucatán. He served as editor on the Academy-award winning feature documentary Broken Rainbow.

Jesse McLean : My work is motivated by a deep curiosity about human behavior and relationships, especially as presented and observed through the mediation of found footage. My recent work interpolates the production, proliferation, and consumption of televisual experience, investigating how this transfer of information creates a bind of complex relationships between maker and viewer. Interested both in the power and the failure of the mediated experience to bring us together, my work asks the viewer to walk the line between voyeur and participant.

Shana Moulton creates evocatively oblique narratives in her video and performance works. Combining an unsettling, wry humor with a low-tech, Pop sensibility, Moulton plays a character whose interactions with the everyday world are both mundane and surreal, in a domestic sphere just slightly askew. As her protagonist navigates the enigmatic and possibly magical properties of her home decor, Moulton initiates relationships with objects and consumer products that are at once banal and uncanny.

Stuart Sherman (1946-2001) was an avant-garde performer who also worked in film, video, and other visual arts, in addition to writing plays and poems. Beginning in the late 1970s, Sherman developed a unique performance style that combined the influence of avant-garde theater and conceptual art practices. He was an iconoclastic builder and manipulator of mass-produced bric-a-brac; he used an intuitive logic to purposefully transform objects into rhetorical questions. Characteristically taking the form of “Spectacles,” as he called them, these performances were usually short in duration — a matter of seconds or minutes — and involved a dead-pan manipulation of simple everyday objects, often over a folding-table. The effect was a dislocation of these objects from their familiar, practical origins, and the animation of new relationships with them. Writing of Sherman’s performances on the occasion of his death in 2001, long-time friend and supporter Richard Foreman called them “performances of daring and delicate awkwardness, complexity that made no concessions to anything but Stuart’s iron will to understand how his own mental rhythms glued themselves to the world with which he collided every day.” Stuart Sherman’s work has been performed and exhibited at venues such as the Performing Garage, The Museum of Modern Art, Mudd Club, The Kitchen, Franklin Furnace, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Theater for the New City, all in New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; List Center at M.I.T., Cambridge, MA; Kunstmuseum Berne, Kunstmuseum Zurich, and Centre Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. In 2009 Sherman was honored with two exhibitions in New York, Beginningless Thought/ Endless Seeing: The Works of Stuart Sherman, at 80WSE, and Stuart Sherman: Nothing Up My Sleeve, at PARTICIPANT, INC.(Read more at EAI)