The Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon
The Natural from Nicholas O'Brien on Vimeo.
The Natural is a video that juxtaposes the cinematic landscapes of contemporary blockbuster fantasy films and recent panoramic images from nature documentaries.
Panoramas, or cinematic landscapes, are typically used to simultaneously overwhelm audiences with breathtaking natural beauty and allow them to have a temporary break from a narrative. In other words, panorama's of this kind have become an abstract transitional space, where the fantastical becomes colossal, monumental, and somehow also serene.
By combining these two pools of footage, The Natural aims to investigate how our distinctions between "the real" and "the fictional" have become obscured by the virtual and transient visual economy that we thrive in.
«Poème électronique» is the first, electronic-spatial environment to combine architecture, film, light and music to a total experience made to functions in time and space. Under the direction of Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenaki's concept and geometry designed the World's Fair exhibition space adhering to mathematical functions. Edgard Varèse composed the both concrete and vocal music which enhanced dynamic, light and image projections conceived by Le Corbusier. Varèse's work had always sought the abstract and, in part, visually inspired concepts of form and spatial movements. Among other elements for «Poème électronique» he used machine noises, transported piano chords, filtered choir and solo voices, and synthetic tone colorings. With the help of the advanced technical means made available through the Philips Pavilion, the sounds of this composition for tape recorder could wander throughout the space on highly complex routes.
Migrating Forms, an offshoot of the defunct New York Underground Film Festival, runs tonight through Sunday at Anthology Film Archives in lower Manhattan. The five-day program is book-ended with feature-length films -- a 1960s-flavored, episodic satire of religion, philosophy, and criticism (Owen Land’s Dialogues) and a documentary about creationist geologists who offer evidence that the world is 6,000 years old (Michael Gitlin’s The Earth Is Young). In between there are almost one hundred long and short works to suit every taste. If you can’t get enough YouTube appropriation, montage, and computer effects, try going Saturday at 7:15 for "Mixed and Maxed," a program featuring Animal Charm and Oliver Laric, or Sunday at 4:45 for "Mature Audiences," with works by Jesse McLean and Takeshi Murata. At Saturday night’s "Tube Time!" tournament, audience members will decide which contestant found the weirdest footage online. The full schedule is here. Single tickets cost $10, and a festival pass costs $50 -- or you can get one free by being the third person to email info[at]migratingforms.org with Rhizome in the subject line!
We thought it would be fun, here at Rhizome HQ, to follow Marisa's write-up of the upcoming Visual Music Marathon with a few Visual Music-related posts. I thought I'd kick it off with a link to the Center for Visual Music's extensive Visual Music bibliography, otherwise known as the CVM Library. The Los Angeles-based non-profit film archive are the go-to source on the subject, so go-to-it.
On Saturday, April 11th, New York's School of Visual Arts will co-present the 2009 Visual Music Marathon with the New York Digital Salon and Northeastern University. Promising genre-bending work from fifteen countries, the lineup crams 120 works by new media artists and digital composers into 12 hours. If it's true, as is often said, that MTV killed the attention spans of Generations X and Y, this six-minute-per-piece average ought to suit most festivalgoers' minds, and the resultant shuffling on and off stage will surely be a spectacle in its own rite. In all seriousness, this annual event is a highlight of New York's already thriving electronic music scene and promises many a treat for your eyes and ears. The illustrious organizers behind the marathon know their visual music history and want to remind readers that, "The roots of the genre date back more than two hundred years to the ocular harpsichords and color-music scales of the 18th century," and "the current art form came to fruition following the emergence of film and video in the 20th century." The remarkable ten dozen artists participating in this one-day event will bring us work incorporating such diverse materials as hand-processed film, algorithmically-generated video, visual interpretations of music, and some good old fashioned music-music. From luminaries like Oskar Fischinger, Hans Richter, and Steina Vasulka to emerging artists Joe Tekippe and Chiaki Watanabe, the program will be another star on the map that claims NYC as fertile territory for sonic exploration. - Marisa Olson
Thomson’s 16mm film, The Varieties Of Experience, was made by using Nam Jun Paik’s Zen For Film (1962-64) as a negative. Zen for Film consists of a length of clear 16mm film leader projecting a rectangle of pure white. Over time, the celluloid collects dust from the space of its exhibition; this dust is projected as brown and black smudges on the otherwise white image. Dust is largely composed of human cells, and in this way the audience of Paik’s work has literally become embedded in it over several decades. Thomson worked with the NJP estate to procure a “dirty” copy of the film and to use it as a negative from which to make a new print. The new film is an inversion of the original: a black film with the dust printed as white specks and clouds -- a moving starscape, where the stars are composed of dust (and people) instead of the other way around.