The Geography Show

“The Geography Show,” designed and printed by Jenny Nichols

“The Geography Show,” designed and printed by Jenny Nichols

C’mon, little one – it’s time to wake up. Climb out of bed and comb your hair but don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll make it – Magic Lantern has already filled your thermos and cut your sandwich in half (the way you like it), and you’ll be at the bus stop just in time to catch this Back-To-School Special. After all, we know how much you like cartography and geo-politics and ideas of mapping that involve not only concrete topographies but abstract ones, and you’d probably throw a tantrum (again) if you missed this show. It’s got all your favorite things – video maps and corn husk etching films and body close-ups and Canadian Ice Castles and more. There’s even going to be a lady playing the Singing Saw LIVE, so c’mon little one – it’s time to wake up…

Featuring: Hojas de Maiz by Eric Theise with LIVE SOUND by Abigail Karp (10:00, 16mm, 2002), There There Square by Jacqueline Goss (14:00, video, 2002), Highway Landscape by J.J. Murphy (7:00, 16mm, 1971), Geography of the Body by Willard Maas (7:00, 16mm, 1943), Red Shovel by Leighton Pierce (8:00, 16mm, 1992), Confederation Park by Bill Brown (32:00, 16mm, 1999)

SYNOPSIS:

Hojas de Maiz by Eric Theise with LIVE SOUND by Abigail Karp (10:00, 16mm, 2002) A cameraless film, Hojas de Maiz was made to be projected amidst arrays of vibrating piano strings. To provide an organic counterpoint to the lines of machine-spun steel, the film was created from impressions taken of corn husks used to form and steam tamales. An old media (etchings, celluloid) journey through progressions of color and screen energy.

There There Square by Jacqueline Goss (14:00, video, 2002) Named one of the top ten best avant-garde works of 2002 by the “Village Voice,” this video takes a close look at the gestures of travelers, mapmakers, and saboteurs that determine how we read – and live within – the lines that define the United States. “A wry, thoughtful, deceptively simple, and completely silent exploration of the ways that geography can shape history (personal, political). The effect is revelatory—one small shift in vantage point, a blink, and the whole world’s turned around.” – Nick Rutigliano Village Voice

Highway Landscape by J.J. Murphy (7:00, 16mm, 1971) “A single take, fixed camera meditation on a dead rabbit on Highway No. 1, outside Iowa City.” – J.J. Murphy “I think Murphy’s description of HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE as a ‘meditation’ is quite accurate, since minimal cinema allows the viewer to examine in such radically increased attention the elements of the film he is watching. Although the reality on the screen may be static, the reality in the viewer’s mind is not: under the right circumstances (seldom possible in film-viewing situations), the viewer can ‘contemplate’ what he sees, examines, let his eyes (and mind) wander, taste the possibilities of response.” – Ron Epple

Geography of the Body by Willard Maas (7:00, 16mm, 1943) Commentary by the British poet, George Barker. An analogical pilgrimage evokes the terrors and splendors of the human body as the undiscovered, mysterious continent. Extreme magnification increases the ambiguity of the visuals, tongue-in-cheek commentary counteracts or reinforces their sexual implications. The method is that used by the imagist-symbolist poet.

Red Shovel by Leighton Pierce (8:00, 16mm, 1992) An impressionistic documentary focusing on a few moments in a small town along the coast of Maine on the Fourth of July. Filled with shallow focus image shifts and delicate audio elements that moves the viewer’s eye/ear throughout an unchanging frame, the ultimate effect is a transformation of physical place into mental space.

Confederation Park by Bill Brown (32:00, 16mm, 1999) A movie about bad weather, terrorist bombers, and the way stuff holds together even when you don’t expect it to. Featuring the saddest on-camera birthday ever, a hilarious Canadian punk band, and the omnipresent but unreliable narration of Bill Brown, an itinerant wanderer with the insight of a resurrected and beardless Mark Twain.