November 7th, 2012
Visual Arts Center (map)
Auditorium , Room 1.102

Experimental Response Cinema and the Visual Arts Center come together to present a diverse group of screen works, all exploring a fundamental characteristic of cinema: movement. This curated collection featuring work by Maya Deren, Keewatin Dewdney, Vincent Grenier, Kerry Laitala, Ben Russell, Scott Stark, and David Wilson aims to “recall early mysteries of the quest” to investigate motion—as was said of Kerry Laitala’s work—and is drawn from over a sixty-year period. The screening presents both rare and acclaimed works of film and video, all wondrous and meditative. A brief presentation by and Q+A with curator Ekrem Serdar will follow the screening.

Maltese Cross Movement
Keewatin Dewdney
Canada / 8min / 1967
16mm / sound / color
“The film reflects Dewdney’s conviction that the projector, not the camera, is the filmmaker’s true medium. The form and content of the film are shown to derive directly from the mechanical operation of the projector – specifically the maltese cross movement’s animation of the disk and the cross illustrates graphically (pun intended) the projector’s essential parts and movements. It also alludes to a dialectic of continuous-discontinuous movements that pervades the apparatus, from its central mechanical operation to the spectator’s perception of the film’s images… (His) soundtrack demonstrates that what we hear is also built out of continuous-discontinuous ‘sub-sets.’ The film is organized around the principle that it can only complete itself when enough separate and discontinuous sounds have been stored up to provide the male voice on the soundtrack with the sounds needed to repeat a little girl’s poem:
The cross revolves at sunset
The moon returns at dawn
If you die tonight,
Tomorrow you are gone.”
– William Wees, “The Apparatus and the Avant Garde,” Cinema Canada

Kerry Laitala
USA / 5½min / 1997
16mm / silent / bw
“Kerry Laitala’s love of the movie process gives rise to richly crafted and oddly unclassifiable imagery. Re-inventing an antique movie technology using a revolving glass disc, projected light and a sequence of early black and white images, and merging it with the later technology of 16mm film, RETROSPECTROSCOPE pulls the moving image backward into a sense of wonder that is both nostalgic and strangely new. – Scott Stark

The “Retrospectroscope” apparatus has gone through many incarnations; its presence belies the processes that have created it. As a paracinematic device, it traces an evolutionary trajectory, encircling the viewer in a procession of flickering fantasies of fragmented lyricism. The “Retrospectroscope” is a reinvention that simulates the illusion of the analysis of motion to recall early mysteries of the quest for this very discovery now taken for granted. The “Muses of Cinema” represented by the female figures on the disk, have emerged from a dark Neoclassical past. Streams of images spin around, in an attempt to harness notions of a cinematic prehistory tracing past motions and gestures to burn their dance on the surface of the retinas. This film known as the “Retrospectroscope”, was described in the San Francisco Bay Guardian as “A spinning flashing UFO/roulette wheel of Athenian proportions.” – Kerry Laitala

David Wilson
USA / 8min / 1976
16mm / color / sound
A zoom-out camera shot of a stream in Western Colorado is compensated for by a reverse zoom in rephotography. The tension between these movements creates a drama and a commentary on cinematic illusionism. – Roberta Friedman, Filmforum Program Notes, 7/11/1984, via Alternative Projections

A Study in Choreography for Camera
Maya Deren
USA / 4min / 1945
16mm / silent / bw
“A Study in Choreography for Camera was a dance film with equal participation by both arts. [Deren] subtitled it ‘Pas de Deux,’ referring to the one daner and the one camera… The dance movement provides a continuity through a space that is severely telescoped and a time that is elongated. The film has a perfection which none of Maya Deren’s other films ever achieved.” – P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, 1943-2000, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 21

River Rites
Ben Russell
Suriname & USA / 11½min / 2011
16mm transferred to DV / sound / color
“Animists are people who recognise that the world is full of persons, some of whom are human, and that life is always lived in relationship with others.”—Graham Harvey, Animism

A trance dance water implosion, a newer line drawn between secular possession and religious phenomena. Filmed in one shot at a sacred site on the Upper Suriname River, the minor secrets of a Saramaccan animist everyday are revealed as time itself is undone. Rites are the new trypps; embodiment is our eternal everything. – Ben Russell

Scott Stark
USA / 16min / 2001
MiniDV / sound / color
SLOW uses a simple cinematic device – the wipe – to interweave human and mechanical movements through fixed spaces over time, revealing potent absences and reflected presences. – Scott Stark

“The slashing movement of mechanized wipes acts as a magic wand morphing surfaces and hyphenating time and space. In these rythymic vanishing acts and nuptial comminglings presence and absence buoy on the surface of liquid relations.The world emerges with a new set of intermingled alloys gasping for breath but integral within an ideal confusion.” – Mark McElhatten, International Film Festival Rotterdam

Armoire: Prelude
Vincent Grenier
Canada / 3min / 2007
DVD NTSC / sound / color
It was all started by a Red Robin who one day in the spring, obsessively went after his double in the large mirror at the end of our garden. Just having fun with the surrounding consequences regarding storage, openings, motion and nature, among others. – Vincent Grenier