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Spring 2004 Film & Video Artists Series

Series sponsored by The Experimental Television Center
All artists will be on hand to present their works.

Tuesday March 23
Joe Gibbons*
With Multiple Barbie (9:00) & Confessions of a Sociopath (35:00)

Gibbons' dry humor comes across in obsessive monologues that scrape the bottom of a monomaniacal mind, spilling forth with fantasies of power, destruction, and death. In his tapes, the hand-held camera allows Gibbons' alter ego to surface as he gives vent to tyrannical rants that comically invert social values. --Video Databank Catalog

"In Multiple Barbie, (1998, black-and-white pixelvision) Joe Gibbons plays a psychiatrist treating a Barbie doll afflicted with multiple personality disorder, which results in his murder when Barbie's homicidal "Bobby" personality smashes his head in with a Barbie-sized hammer. Gibbons presents Multiple Barbie, shot with a Fisher-Price PXL2000 "Pixelvision" camera, as a fixed-camera, single-take film, but one periodically disrupted by close-ups of Barbie that appear to reflect her psychosis. Given the astonishing number of psychoactive and other drugs Gibbons has put Barbie on, as well as her muteness, one comes to see Barbie/Bobby's actions as a rebellion against the Barbie stereotype--Barbie in revolt.

Gibbons's 30-minute work, Confessions Of A Sociopath, which was shown at the Whitney Biennial art fair in New York as a 60-minute director's cut (sociopath directors are even more narcissistic than normal ones), is a wild ride spanning the artist's adult years. The fantastic autobiographical video just earned a second prize at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival and was shown at numerous other festivals and venues.

A textbook sociopath who wields disarming charm and a sharp wit, Gibbons rebels against "limit-setters" like curators. Drugs and alcohol are endlessly abused. He refuses to hold down a job, and supports his habits and life by shoplifting books. He's violent toward inanimate objects, views the police as surrogate parents and has cheated on his parole officer by having another parole officer in another state.

A handful of strong short works by other artists precedes the main attraction, so this solid show should have them lining up in the alley to get into Cinecycle, the grubbiest yet most endearing place to watch film and video in the city".

-- A review of Pleasure Dome screening in Toronto. By THOMAS HIRSCHMANN

Tuesday March 30
Mark Lapore

A Depression in the Bay of Bengal , Five Bed Elementsand India Rolls .

Mark Lapore's anthropological The Glass System , a poetic look at street life in an Indian city, screened as part of the NY Film Festival's Views From the Avant-Garde in Oct 2000.

"Lapore's exquisite films straddle the avant-garde and ethnography. Like Trinh Minh-ha, he is concerned with looking at other cultures, and also with what it means to make images in another culture. Following the trajectory established by the Lumiere Brothers, his observational images are often camera-roll in length. Within the fixed frame, minute gestures become riveting. The duration of our gaze, the duration of the everyday activities depicted emphasize the act of looking: are these films about the other, ourselves or the maker?" (Pacific Film Archive)

Marc Lapore, a visually accomplished filmmaker, has often taken on in his films ethnographic subjects that he manages to treat with great awareness and subtlety. In his carefully designed but spontaneous synch sound takes, the exoticism of the places and people going about their business is matched by his own extraordinary sense of composition and spectacle. Adding to this mix the richness of the sound, the length of the shots and the deliberate selection of the activities being filmed, what is conveyed is both a sense of the ordinary as well as of the otherworldly. His filmic fascination with the formal and the revelatory is dramatically juxtaposed in A Depression in the Bay of Bengal with footage from Basil Wright's 1934 lyrical film The Song of Ceylon. To Lapore The Song of Ceylonis clearly an influential film which is weighted by its western identity and equally concerned with the boundaries of art-making. This juxtaposition is further highlighted by commentaries about his own experience while making his film with the harsh realities of the civil war currently raging in Sri Lanka. The result is a thought provoking and complex film that engages the viewer with assumptions that mingle always uncomfortably in the bosom of art-making; assumptions about what is personal and the inevitable rolls of history, culture and politics.

Monday April 19
Leighton Pierce

The Back Steps (6:00),Wood (8:00), Water Seeking its Level (6:00),Fall (13:00)
Pink Socks (4:00),Evaporation (11:00),37th & Lex. (3:30), A Private Happiness(10:00)

What makes this work function in its extraordinary manner is, I think, the internal tension, unexpressed but vividly present, between the extreme sophistication of Leighton Pierce's perceptive capacities and his use of the media, film or video, in and of itself, and his ability to embody this deep understanding to convey its opposite: the innocence, the naiveté, the openness of infancy and childhood, in which everything is subsumed in wonder. Inside this contradiction, in which a hard learned and innate sensibility for the nature of the filmic (and now digital) media is harnessed to help the viewer sense again that lost capacity for wonder, is where Pierce's strengths lie. -- Jon Jost

"I make films and videos that are short experiences in transformative time. I strive to capture an active and immediate emotional state during shooting, often by photographing seemingly mundane activities... My films and videos are not ideas that are then executed. They are elaborations of active engagements with a present moment that is already past. In many ways, my work is more similar to the process of image construction in poetry, music, and painting, than it is to that of narrative or argumentative forms of filmmaking. It is a process that allows viewers to invest a great deal of their own imagination and memory, their own emotion, into these audio/visual episodes. It is that process of creating an image in the mind of the viewer--the psychological filling-in of the imagined space, not the actual photograph of a space--that interests me the most." LP

His films and videos have been exhibited in major art museums and film festivals throughout the world including the 2002 Whitney Biennial, Lincoln Center, The Museum of Modern Art, and an upcoming retrospective at The Cinémathèque française. I have received numerous grants and fellowships to support my work including an NEA, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Camargo Foundation Fellowship. While continuing the film/video work that is the foundation of my career, I am currently developing several largescale video installation projects in order to expand the arena in which my ideas can be received.

Tuesday April 27
Recent Digital Videos and early films
by Vincent Grenier

SUNY Binghamton cinema professor and film/videomaker Vincent Grenier, has been cited as "one of the most rigorous filmmakers of the experimental cinema and one of the most ingenious by the simplicity with which the questions of time and movement are accessed and put into images and sounds...". Some of the works in tonight's program will include some of his early films like World in Focus (1976, 20 mins), "an homage to the primitive cinema of the flip-book, and the ultimate armchair travelogue, World in Focus was a deserved prize winner at this year's (1978) Ann Arbor Film Festival and is a beautiful idea, beautifully realized. " (J. Hoberman, Village Voice), rarely shown new print of While Revolved (1976. 10 mins) which was recently acquired by Donell Library, recent work like Color Study a humorous, digitally induced meditation on colors, motion and space from a few frames of road side fall panorama in upstate NY . Color Study was selected for screenings in international film festivals in Rotterdam, London, Montreal, Toronto, Onion City in Chicago, Videarte in Mexico City and Contingencies in Singapore. Also to be shown is new video work Here (2003, 7 mins), which won the Gold for Best Experimental Film at the New York Film Expo in December. Here was curated in special programs shown in Singapore, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Turino Film festival. In Here a boy's phantasmagoric world of heroes is captured in layers of light and hues. This video, humorously and poetically juggles ideas about make believe and representation of the everyday

"Here plays as some form of synthetic/organic haiku or renga (Japanese linked poetry).. Migrant juices of color change aspect -blood, fire, rain, red leaves living and dead. Green plastic soldiers float lifelessly in autumnal pools of septic yellow. Simple magic. Simple prophesy. Child's play augurs global events and as in Rimbaud's Le Bateau Ivre a patch of backyard here becomes a primeval forest of decaying moss a beachhead and the abandoned frontline, a field of fire as a "tableaux mort..."It is interesting to think about Color Study in relation to the purely cinematic-photochemical nature of a work like Kurt Kren's Asyl with its multiplicity of delicate composite imagery and overlapping seasons that create a feeling of all time being simultaneous. In Asyl, solar light cohabitates with the film - the emulsion receives singes and burns that inscribe the image and are reconstituted in projection as muted radiance. In Color Study, a cat's eye like chatoyancy of splattered color, the precise mimicry of natural color combined with unnatural color fields, creates and breaks illusion. Color manufactures a kind of implied time lapse where it does not technically exist. A spatial jigsaw, combining the autumnal and the verdant. The invented light and color of the digital process creating an acid wash." -- Mark McElhatten

Other works to be screened may also include Surface Tension #2 (1995, 4.5 mins.) and Closer Outside (1981, 10 mins.)

*These artists screenings are funded in part by Presentation Funds from theExperimental Television Center which is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts. Series is co-sponsored by Harpur College Dean's Office.

Info: 607-777-4998 or Vincent Grenier 777-4997

Last Updated: 1/25/18