The institutional and urban practice of collecting objects in order to enable them to be found began in the early 1800s in Paris. One hundred years later, filmmakers started recycling and remixing the films of others in their own assemblages. Today, “found” footage is everywhere – from documentaries and experimental films to the amateur footage broadcast on television and the mashups uploaded to Youtube. Tonight’s program has unearthed films and videos that offer another perspective on this practice, refracted through an understanding that things need to go missing in order to be recovered, and that some lost objects are simply gone for good. This evening’s line-up contemplates how the process of discovery and creation sometimes involves destruction, that one person’s absence and void is often another person’s opportunity, and how the desire to preserve and safeguard is basic to almost all image-making. Offering a grab bag of works from filmmakers renowned for their use of source materials that they didn’t shoot themselves side by side with experimental meditations on impermanence, death, smoking, the incomplete, polar expeditions, sex, and graffiti, this program offers it all. So as the nights continue to get longer and the days shorter, join us for an evening in which we can all take some time to appreciate the things in our lives that we’ll miss when they are gone.
Various, “Intro Combine,” 2011, 16mm on video, color, 5 minutes
5 re-mixes of footage shot by Brown’s Introduction to Filmmaking class.
Rebecca Baron, “The Idea of North,” 1995, video, b&w, sound, 14 min.
“In the guise of chronicling the final moments of three polar explorers marooned on an ice floe a century ago, Baron’s film investigates the limitations of images and other forms of record as a means of knowing the past and the paradoxical interplay of film time, historical time, real time and the fixed moment of the photograph. Marrying matter-of-fact voiceover and allusive sound fragments, evidence and illustration, in Baron’s words, “meaning is set adrift”.” –NYFF
Matt McCormick, “The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal,” 2001, video, color, sound, 16 min.
“Emerging from the human psyche and showing characteristics of abstract expressionism, minimalism and Russian constructivism, graffiti removal has secured its place in the history of modern art while being created by artists who are unconscious of their artistic achievements.” – MM
Anastasia Congdon, “Table Studies,” 2001-04, 16mm on video, 10 min.
A series of short films that investigate the relation between an object and the process of observing, drawing, finding, and losing.
Bruce Conner, “Cosmic Ray,” 1961, 16mm, b&w, sound, 4 min
An early work from one of the most famous found-footage filmmakers—this collage brings together comic strips, dancing girls, and soldiers to the sounds of Ray Charles.
Henry Hills, “George,” 1976/88, 16mm, color, silent, 2 min
An optically printed portrait of the recently-deceased filmmaker, George Kuchar, smoking. Originally re/shot in 1976, the “lost” print was rediscovered when Hills moved then re-edited in 1988. Warning: smoking kills.
Stan Brakhage, “Sirius Remembered,” 1959, 16mm, b&w, silent, 10.5 min
An exploration of decay, an exorcism of grief, and an elegy for a furry friend by the filmmaker that Sitney said is cinema. “I was coming to terms with decay of a dead thing and the decay of the memories of a loved being that had died and it was undermining all abstract concepts of death. The form was being cast out by probably the same physical need that makes dogs dance and howl in rhythm around a corpse… like the birth of some kind of song.” – SB
Janie Geiser, “Lost Motion,” 1999, 16mm, color, sound, 11 min
“LOST MOTION uses small cast metal figures, toy trains, decayed skyscrapers, and other found objects to follow a man’s search for a mysterious woman. From an illegible note found on a dollhouse bed, through impossible landscapes, the man waits for her train which never arrives.” – JG
Bruce Checefesky, “Béla,” 2010, 35mm, b&w, sound, 6 min
“Based on an experimental film scenario written by Hungarian Dada artist and avant-garde filmmaker György Gerö. The original scene-by-scene film script consists of 3 pages currently housed in the Hungarian National Library. Gerö never completed the film – he was declared a neurotic and placed into a private hospital where all traces of him were lost. Filmed on location in Cleveland, Ohio.” – B.C.
Peter Tscherkassky, “Happy-End,” 1996, 35mm, color, sound, 12 min
A collection of footage of a Viennese couple, long-dead, who documented celebrations and cheerful moments in their lives together. A “tragi-comedy” according to Canyon Cinema.