Scratch/Surface

Summoning Depth to the Phenomenal World

In Conjunction with MARKINGS: Etchings and Photographs by Kara Healey

“Scratch/Surface,” designed by Kara Healey, printed by Steven Vallot

“Scratch/Surface,” designed by Kara Healey, printed by Steven Vallot

The lure of depth is a pressing one. What violence does communion entail? What markings do we make on the surfaces that we attempt to get beyond or beneath? And what depths can we discover by mapping, tracing, or scratching at those marks, the scores and scars that punctuate even the smoothest of skins? Neither flat nor uniform, the films in this screening find surfaces to be riddled with cracks, folds, divots, and abrasions – markings that open onto other spaces, times, and modes of experience, indexing hidden realms, past collisions, and inner demons. Oscillating between the mystical and the material, the historical and the magickal, this show combines hand-processed works with diaries, a flicker film, erotic imagery, documentary, and direct animation to ask: is it an illusion when depth surfaces through the image?

FEATURING:
Intro, Colleen Doyle, Josh Guilford, Pooja Rangan, 2009/2012, color, silent, .5 min.
An emergence into vision.  Footage taken off the coast of Provincetown.

“IMPRINT,” Louise Bourque, 1997, color, sound, 14 min.
“This film is about… my intervention, what I am doing to this film image of [my childhood] house, what has imprinted me and how I’m in turn putting my mark on it… I remember when my partner Joe saw Imprint – he said it looks like someone bled all over the film! Blood is a complicated issue – life and death. But mostly life.” –LB

“Ai (Love),” Takahiko Iimura, 1962, 16mm, b&w, silent, 10 min.
Images of lovemaking shot in extreme close-up to evade censorship.

“[I]n no way do we lose sight of the life underneath the skin.” –Peter Gidal

“T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G,” Paul Sharits, 1968, 16mm, color, sound, 12 min.
“[A]n uncutting and unscratching mandala.” –PS

“Ancient Parts/Foreign Parts,” Marjorie Keller, 1979, 16mm, color, silent, 6 min.
Two in-camera edited works from a filmmaker who, according to Robin Blaetz, employed the art of “amnesis” to gesture toward the hidden psychical, cultural, and political structures existing below the surface of quotidian life.

“ANCIENT PARTS portrays the symbolic differentiation and mock conquest of a boy and his mother. … I watched the boy play Narcissus and Oedipus in three minutes… FOREIGN PARTS portrays the poetics of family life in an unfamiliar context.” -MK

“Clay,” Naomi Uman, 2008, 16mm, color, sound, 20 min.
In a remote Ukranian village, Uman explores traces of the Trypillian culture that inhabited the land over 5,000 years ago, examining the ancient methods for firing clay used in a modern brick factory. “Clay” is part of Uman’s Ukranian Time Machine project through which she has sought to experience the historical past by documenting pre-modern cultural customs that persist on the verge of disappearance in present day communities.

“Hardwood Process,” David Gatten, 1996, 16mm, color, silent, 14 min.
“A history of scarred surfaces, an inquiry, and an imagining: for the marks we see and the marks we make, for the languages we can read and for those we are trying to learn.” –DG

“Divinations,” Storm De Hirsch, 1964, 16mm, b&w and color, sound, 6 min.
An artist known for exploring altered states of consciousness to commune with distant locations and ancient times, De Hirsch employs direct animations made with surgical instruments to reveal the “visionary powers” of the “inner eye” (SDH).

“Invocation of My Demon Brother,” Kenneth Anger, 1969, 16mm, color, sound, 11 min.
An “attack on the viewer’s sensorium” intended to activate the demon brother in all of us (KA). Synth soundtrack by Mick Jagger.

“Particles in Space,” Len Lye, 1979, 16mm, b&w, sound, 3 min.
A mesmerizing, yet playful experiment in shaping light in darkness by a pioneer of direct animation who believed artists could express their “essential selfness” through direct physical contact with their materials.