The Crowd Show

Curated by Paige Sarlin

Tonight’s films focus on the crowd as a figure and force of modernity, featuring protests and parades, funerals and football. These films chart a progression from 1893 to 2006 and trace how the look, purpose and direction of media have changed along with the crowd. Meditating on the movement of history, this show considers what it means for large groups of people to come together in front of a camera and how images of crowds work to represent the emotional and political power of both human cooperation and antagonism. So come down and join the crowd, the audience, that is, and you can experience the sights and sounds of people (and some sheep).

FEATURING: 20,000 Employees Entering Lord Armstrong’s Elswick Works, New Castle-Upon- Tyne by Mitchell and Kenyon (2:00, 16mm, 1900), Surging Sea of Humanity by Ken Jacobs (11:00, video, 2006), Sheffield United v. Burg by Mitchell and Kenyon (2:00, 16mm, 1901), Lord Roberts’ Visit To Manchester by Mitchell and Kenyon (2:00, 16mm, 1901), Two Czech Films (22:00, 16mm, 1968), New Left Note by Saul Levine (27:30, 16mm, 1968-1982), A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing by Sam Easterson (6:00, video, 1998), People Say by Mary Beth Black (8:00, video, 2006), Sedgwick’s Bioscope Show Front by Mitchell and Kenyon (2:00, 16mm, 1901), Black and White Trypps Number Three by Ben Russell (12:00, video, 2007)

TRT 94:00

SYNOPSIS:

20,000 Employees Entering Lord Armstrong’s Elswick Works, New Castle-Upon-Tyne by Mitchell and Kenyon (2:00, 16mm, 1900) Quite a bit different than the first film by the Lumiere Brothers that showed the ending of a work day, this early film documents the beginning of a work day. Mind boggling to see how little time it takes for a film camera to capture the image of so many people moving past it, accompanied by a few streetcars and horses and buggies as well.

Surging Sea of Humanity by Ken Jacobs (11:00. video, 2006) Time traveler Jacobs, seeing double and in depth, is admitted to the grounds of an exposition in the year 1893. Promptly turning the world on its head the unsettled contents spill forth, rising in waves.

Sheffield United v. Burg by Mitchell and Kenyon (2:00, 16mm, 1901) There is not much about sports fans that has changed over the last one hundred years, or is there? The crowd for a soccer match mugs for the camera and cheers on their teams.

Lord Roberts’ Visit To Manchester by Mitchell and Kenyon (2:00, 16mm, 1901) A speech, a fight, an unveiling, and some pomp and circumstance and chaos. Crowd scenes have always had an element of disorder and potential confusion– even amidst the most regimented and regulated scenarios and events.

New Left Note by Saul Levine (27:30, 16mm, 1968-1982) Culled from footage of marches and protests Levine attended while the editor for “New Left Notes,” the publication of Students for a Democratic Society, this re-consideration of anti-war activism is marked by rapid fire editing and illustrates how structuralist techniques can be used to produce new meanings and radical histories.

A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing by Sam Easterson (6:00, video, 1998) What’s even more unpredictable than a group of humans, a group of sheep– especially when seen from a sheep’s eye view, that is from a camera attached to a free-roving sheep. An unforgettable film of one animal whose name is the same in both singular and plural.

People Say by Mary Beth Black (8:00, video, 2005) Marches and protests articulate resistance and cohesion in this video that documents the coming together of people working to rebuild and live in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. For more information see: http://notv.plentyfact.net/about/

Sedgwick’s Bioscope Show Front by Mitchell and Kenyon (2:00, 16mm, 1901) A little slapstick with shaving cream is followed by a wonderful scene in which the performers turn themselves out into the audience.

Black and White Trypps Number Three by Ben Russell (12:00, 35mm, 2007) The third part in a series of films dealing with naturally-derived psychedelia. Shot during a performance by local Rhode Island noise band Lightning Bolt, this film documents the transformation of a rock audience’s collective freak-out into a trance ritual of the highest spiritual order.