FLICKER, PULSE

Bruce McClure & Alexander Dupuis

Curated by Seth Watter

Note: Doors at 7:30, show at 8pm

The art of Bruce McClure is sometimes called, with a nod to the sixties, “expanded cinema.” A more apt expression might in fact be “reduced cinema,” or cinema stripped to its most elementary components: light, sound, a room full of bodies. McClure himself calls it “projector performance,” a phrase that highlights the aspect of live enactment and improvisation that is so integral to all his efforts. Using two or more internally modified 16mm projectors, a handful of celluloid film loops, and a bevy of audio effects pedals (transforming the filmstrip’s optical soundtrack into a noisy, throbbing, industrial rhythm), McClure creates “a remystification of cinema… meant to elicit astonishment and wonder, but calibrated for a twenty-first-century audience attuned to the aesthetics of noise and distortion” (Ed Halter, Artforum). Even when there is “content” on display—McClure is partial to birds—the figural aspect plays second fiddle to the real stars of the show: luminosity and blackness, rhythm and timbre, the slowly shifting patterns that incessantly shuttle between projector-speaker-screen and eye-ear-brain. As the artist unobtrusively modulates brightness and processes sound, we are held in thrall to a hypnotic, enveloping, purely perceptual phenomenon; our experience occurs emphatically in the present, as if past and future had been temporarily deposed by his purring machines. McClure, in short, tickles our optic nerves in the strangest of places; “the mind flails to make concrete sense of the image,” and “dread gives way to the joy of engaging with pure form” (David Dinnell, Millennium Film Journal). Based in New York City, his work has been featured at the Whitney Biennial, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the Harvard Film Archive, the Walker Art Center, and many other venues.

Alexander Dupuis uses sound, light, and movement to reveal previously imperceptible or impossible spaces. His work draws on the fields of experimental music/film/animation, particularly those threads that develop alternative notions of space-time. Real-time animations, cross-modal translations, and feedback all feature prominently in his approach, which exists both as live performances and as fixed-media pieces. He performs as a guitarist, as well as with instruments of his own design, and has played in various guises across the United States, Canada, and Europe. He received his MA in Digital Musics from Dartmouth College in 2012, and is currently pursuing a PhD in the MEME program at Brown University.

PROGRAM

Alexander Dupuis, G’d(w)n’s castle, 2015, performance for digital projector and stereo sound, approx. 20 mins.

Bruce McClure, Parallel Rows Cover Every Foot, 2015, performance for 2 modified 16mm projectors and 3 film loops, approx. 25 – 30 mins.

Bruce McClure, Tastefully Taut Against Germanium Satin, 2013, performance for 3 modified 16mm projectors and 6 film loops, approx. 30 mins.

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In Violent America (1971), Lawrence Alloway classified cinema among the ephemeral, “expendable” arts, like Roman funeral pyres and Art Nouveau posters. Though the claim may sound strange to contemporary ears, it was perfectly justified by the material conditions of moviegoing in a pre-DVD era: “A film viewed in a cinema is perceived as light in darkness and sound in silence in a place entered solely for that purpose. The film is overwhelming, and suddenly it is gone. It is linear and outside our control in its progression… an uncheckable spectacle…” If this is no longer true of the Hollywood fare that Alloway spoke of, it remains a fitting description of multimedia or projector performance, genres that actively scorn their own historical preservation. Whether steeped in analog or digital technologies, the performer takes the audience back to that darkened room, for a specified duration, and with no guarantee that the fugitive images and sounds passing through it will ever be witnessed by them again.