The Invisible Hand Animation Extravaganza

Curated by Jo Dery

“The Invisible Hand Animation Extravaganza,” designed and printed by Jo Dery

“The Invisible Hand Animation Extravaganza,” designed and printed by Jo Dery

EDIE FAKE, HEATHER HARKINS, ROBY NEWTON, ERIN ROSENTHAL AND NEAL WALSH I N P E R S O N !

In a follow-up to last year’s sell-out show, Magic Lantern’ Jo Dery presents another evening of stellar animation – the Invisible Hand Animation Extravaganza! The “invisible hands” of our featured artists are behind the creation of six NEW experimental animations which will be premiered tonight and, because this program is also a 30th anniversary celebration of Cecile Starr and Robert Russett’s super-important book “Experimental Animation,” each filmmaker has chosen a film profiled in “Experimental Animation” to be screened alongside their own work! As if all this weren’t enough, Cecile Starr herself (who is now 85 years young and lives in Vermont) will be loaning us prints from her private collection, and we’ll be screening a special favorite film of her own choosing. So come on down to see the new experiments cooked up by Erin Rosenthal (Providence), Neal Walsh (Providence), Roger Mayer (Providence), Roby Newton (Baltimore), Edie Fake (Los Angeles), and Heather Harkins (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) – as well as these older animations that are a rare, rare, rare treat. Animators Unite!

FEATURING: New Work by Erin Rosenthal, Neal Walsh, Roby Newton, Edie Fake, Heather Harkins, and Roger Mayer (approx 40:00, various formats, 2006), Gymnopedies by Larry Jordan (9:00, 16mm, 1965), Mothlight by Stan Brakhage (4:00, 16mm, 1963), Mood Contrasts by Mary Ellen Bute (7:00, 16mm, 1953), Opus 1 by Walter Ruttman (5:00, 16mm, 1921), Jude by Drew Klausner (14:00, 16mm, 1982), Charleston Home Movie by Deanna Morse (5:00, video, 1980)

TRT 84:00

SYNOPSIS:

New Work by Erin Rosenthal, Neal Walsh, Roby Newton, Edie Fake, Heather Harkins, and Roger Mayer (approx 40:00, various formats, 2006)

ERIN ROSENTHAL’S PICK: Gymnopedies by Larry Jordan (9:00, 16mm, 1965) The theme is Weightlessness. Objects and characters are cut loose from habitual meanings, also from tensions and gravitational limitations. A lyric Eric Satie track accompanies the film. Such a portrait seems necessary from time to time to remind us that equilibrium and harmony are possible, and that we will not dissolve into a jelly if we allow ourselves to relax into them: A horseman rides through the landscape, through the town, but never arrives anywhere in particular. An acrobat swings on a rope above a canal in Venice, and is content just to swing there. Nothing threatens to disturb them. This film is a total contrast to the Kafka-like oddities of Eastern European animation.

NEAL WALSH’S PICK: Mothlight by Stan Brakhage (4:00, 16mm, 1963) “MOTHLIGHT is a paradoxical preservation of pieces of dead moths in the eternal medium of light (which is life and draws the moth to death); so it flutters through its very disintegration. This abstract of flight captures matter’s struggle to assume its proper form; the death of the moth does not cancel its nature, which on the filmstrip asserts itself. MOTHLIGHT is on one level a parable of death and resurrection, but most really concerns the persistence of the essential form, image, and motion of being.” – Ken Kelman

HEATHER HARKINS’ PICK: Mood Contrasts by Mary Ellen Bute (7:00, 16mm, 1953) Osilloscope-generated images set to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Hymn to the Sun” and Shostakovich’s “Dance of the Jugglers.” Bute was a pioneer of abstract animation in the US – as well as a member of Leon Theremin’s electronics studio.

FOR ROBY NEWTON – BECAUSE WE COULDN’T GET WHAT SHE WANTED: Opus 1 by Walter Ruttman (5:00, 16mm, 1921) This long-lost film, the first abstract film to be shown publicly anywhere in the world, was recently discovered in a European film archive in its original hand-colored version. This film was created by animating plasticine forms on horizontal sticks.

CECILE STARR’S PICK: Jude by Drew Klausner (14:00, 16mm, 1982) “Jude” is about the passage of time and its effects on our minds. The subject is the Holocaust. The central point the film makes is that as time passes our minds continually change our perceptions of the past, forgetting details as well as inventing new ones. The film achieves these effects by combining historical documentary footage with hand-drawn imagery.

EDIE FAKE’S PICK: Charleston Home Movie by Deanna Morse (5:00, video, 1980) “Charleston Home Movie” is a nostalgic reverie that utilizes the rotoscope technique. Deanna Morse is an independent filmmaker specializing in animation and personal short films and videos. Her works have been screened internationally, won awards at festivals, and are represented in permanent collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her films for children have been broadcast on Sesame Street and Romper Room, her experimental films on PBS and cable.