Jul 182013
 

Robert Kramer's ICE 1970

Heads up. The next installment of James Cathcart and Ben Swank‘s Light and Sound Machine experimental film series at Third Man Records is tonight.

Tonight’s film is ICE:

Directed by Robert Kramer, USA, 1970, presented on 16mm film

Guerrilla filmmaking in every sense, Kramer’s independent/underground, cinéma-vérité/science-fiction boundary-crosser used a budget of only $12,000 to produce an ambitious imagining of America in the throes of armed insurrection. The story is set in a vaguely defined future (which, à la Godard’s ALPHVILLE, looks just like the present) in which an unpopular U.S. war in Mexico provokes a left-wing uprising. Concerned with the nuts-and-bolts of revolutionary action and the debilitating effects of infighting among radical groups, ICE is in many ways the fictional equivalent of Chris Marker’s A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT. 16mm. (MR)

I pulled that quote from the Belcourt and Third Man sites. Tickets will be available at the Third Man door, but I recommend you buy in advance via the Belcourt website.

The Light And Sound Machine
Co-presented by Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre
Robert Kramer’s ICE
7pm, July 18th, 2013, $10  ($8 Belcourt members)
Third Man Records
623 7th Ave S – Nashville, TN 37203

Jun 192013
 

Perfumed-Nightmare

James Cathcart and Ben Swank over at the Third Man Records / Belcourt Theatre monthly avant garde film series Light and Sound Machine are on a roll. I’m still thinking about last month’s Nam June Paik retrospective.

This month, they outdo themselves with the first of the series to be screened on glorious 16mm film: Kidlat Tahimik’s Perfumed Nightmare.

This is a RARE opportunity to see this film projected. Do not miss!

Why? This description on the Belcourt and Third Man sites is far better than anything I could write:

Perhaps cinema’s most humorous and poignant essay on the cultural chasm between the First and Third worlds, PERFUMED NIGHTMARE is the quasi-autobiographical account of an acute case of cultural dementia. Kidlat Tahimik, the Pilipino-born, American-educated, German-based filmmaker and global citizen casts himself as Kidlat Tahimik, the primitive naif with an awe-struck enchantment with the wonders of the developed world. The semi fictional Tahimik is a taxi (or “jeepney”) driver by day who clutches his transistor radio by night, religiously tuned-in to Voice of America and forever dreaming of the heavens – he’s the president of a fan club for Werner von Braun, the defected Nazi rocket scientist who pioneered the American space program. His filmic diary is a collage of village anecdotes and imagery, presented with varying degrees of ethnographic exoticism and short wave radio chatter. However, his document is interrupted by the appearance of a comically sinister American businessman, offering Tahimik a new life in France, refilling his company’s gumball machines which conspicuously adorn the Parisian city streets. It is here that Perfumed Nightmare evokes a turn towards magical realism, and the illusion-shattering truths of the technology age transform Tahimik into something new – a once “sleeping typhoon”, now awakened and poised to literally blow away the symbols of Western domination, and himself back to his homeland.

Also check out the wonderful video excerpt below. Tickets will be available at the Third Man door, but I recommend you buy in advance via the Belcourt website.

The Light And Sound Machine
Co-presented by Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre
Kidlat Tahimik’s Perfumed Nightmare
7pm, June 20th, 2013, $10  ($8 Belcourt members)
Third Man Records
623 7th Ave S – Nashville, TN 37203

May 142013
 

Nam-June-Paik
James Cathcart, curator for the Third Man Records / Belcourt Theatre monthly experimental film series The Light and Sound Machine, is hitting it out of the ballpark! This Thursday’s installment centers around Fluxus member and legendary video artist Nam June Paik.

First things first, check out the excellent trailer by Belcourt manager Zack Hall:

Tickets are available on the Belcourt websiteThird Man Records website and at the door.

Major kudos go to Third Man’s Ben Swank for founding this series. They are installing a 16mm projector for future screenings, and I can’t wait to see what James Cathcart will bring next!

Here are the full details from the press release:

 

The Light And Sound Machine
Co-presented by Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre
NAM JUNE PAIK: I MAKE TECHNOLOGY RIDICULOUS
7pm, May 16th, 2013, $10  ($8 Belcourt members)
Third Man Records
623 7th Ave S – Nashville, TN 37203

It’s hard to imagine a 20th century artist who more accurately predicted the 21st century media and information landscape than Nam June Paik. Even Warhol, in his depiction of a celebrity obsessed monoculture, focused merely on a potential destination of a media-saturated society while Paik foresaw the “electronic superhighway” that would take us there.

Paik is best known as a formative member of the Fluxus art movement in the 1960’s and as a pioneer in the field of video art. His elaborate sculptures, often composed of dozens of cathode-ray screens, can be found in prominent collections worldwide, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul (home of Paik’s The More the Better – a 60ft tower which displays video on 1,003 monitors.)

On several occasions, Paik worked in the very medium from which he took inspiration, via New York’s beloved WNET channel Thirteen. Through it’s groundbreaking TV Lab program, Thirteen/WNET facilitated production and exhibition for the earliest generation of video artists. Cutting edge works by trailblazers like Ed Emshwiller, Bill Viola, and Douglas Davis were available to anyone in the New York area with a television. NAM JUNE PAIK: I MAKE TECHNOLOGY RIDICULOUS highlights three of the artist’s seminal TV Lab contributions, serving not only as an overview of Paik‘s creative vision, but also as a testament to the potential of quality public television. The Light & Sound Machine dedicates this program to Thirteen/WNET, which celebrates it’s 50th year of broadcast in 2013.

EDITED FOR TELEVISION

Dir. Calvin Tompkins & Russell Connor, 1975, 28min

Produced for public television station WNET/Thirteen in New York, Nam June Paik: Edited for Television is a provocative portrait of the artist, his work and philosophies. This fascinating document features an interview of Paik by art critic Calvin Tompkins (who wrote a New Yorker profile of the artist in 1975) and ironic commentary by host Russell Connor. Taped in his Soho loft, with the multi-monitor piece Fish Flies on Sky suspended from the ceiling, Paik elliptically addresses his art and philosophies in the context of Dada, Fluxus, the Zen Koan, John Cage, Minimal art, information overload and technology. “I am a poor man from a poor country, so I have to entertain people every second,” states Paik. Excerpts from his works include Suite 212 and Electronic Opera Nos. 1 and 2; Charlotte Moorman performing TV Bra for Living Sculpture, and Moorman and Paik performing excerpts from Cage’s 26’1.1499″ for String Player in 1965. On a guided tour of his loft, Paik discusses the prototype of the Paik-Abe Synthesizer and demonstrates his early altered television sets and video sculptures. – Electronic Arts Intermix

SUITE 212

Dir. Merrily Mossman, 1975/1977, 30min

Suite 212 is Paik’s “personal New York sketchbook,” an electronic collage that presents multiple perspectives of New York’s media landscape as a fragmented tour of the city. Opening with the 1972 work The Selling of New York, a series of short segments designed for WNET’s late-night television schedule, Paik critiques the selling of New York by multinational corporations and the city’s role as the master of the media and information industries. Russell Connor is the ubiquitous television announcer whose droning statistical information on New York is ridiculed by a series of “average” New Yorkers; a burglar steals the TV set on which we see his talking head. Intercut throughout this comic scenario are appropriated Japanese TV commercials of American products. At the core of Suite 212 is a series of short collaborative pieces that form an accelerated, vibrant romp through New York neighborhoods. Street interviews with Douglas Davis’ neighbors, Jud Yalkut’s rendering of a Chinatown noodle shop and a colorized walk along the bridge to Ward’s Island, and Paik and Shigeko Kubota’s hallucinatory tour of the Lower East Side with Allen Ginsberg are among the segments in this dizzying time capsule of New York in the 1970s. – Electronic Arts Intermix

GUADALCANAL REQUIEM

Dir. Nam June Paik, 1977, 29min

One of Paik’s most overtly political and poignant statements, Guadalcanal Requiem is a performance/documentary collage that confronts history, time, cultural memory and mythology on the site of one of World War II’s most devastating battles. Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands is the iconic setting upon which Paik inscribes symbolic gestures and performances. Scenes of Charlotte Moorman performing with her cello, interviews with American and Japanese veterans and Solomon Islanders, and archival footage of the battle are juxtaposed, synthesized, layered, colorized and otherwise electronically manipulated. The imagery is haunting and often surreal: Charlotte Moorman crawls along the beach in a G.I. uniform with a cello strapped to her back, plays a Beuys felt cello, and performs while concealed in a body bag. The subtext of this extraordinary collage is Paik’s assertion that global conflict arises as a result of cultural miscommunication. – Electronic Arts Intermix

Mar 052013
 

Auroric Dreams DJ James Cathcart Stone Fox Noize Index Tony Gerber
On Wednesday, March 13th at The Stone Fox, space music legend Tony Gerber joins forces with electronic music’s next generation Noize Index (aka Bryan Burnett) in their new band Auroric Dreams. The show also features DJ James Cathcart spinning “spacy minimal synth to freaked out earthy commune jams” and Circuit Benders’ Ball alum Josh Gumiela projecting trippy OpenGL visuals. James recently teamed up with Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre for a monthly experimental film series called The Light and Sound Machine. Josh just unveiled his newest art installation (which involves water dropping into an old metal pan in increasing frequency) at Boheme Collectif’s Future Night. He hopes to have the installation up again at another venue soon.

In addition to all of that, this concert is a big deal to me because of Tony Gerber’s massive contributions to the Nashville music scene. Many are unaware of Nashville’s ties to the development of space music, the genre of ambient experimental music popularized by the Hearts of Space public radio show. Vanderbilt Department of Fine Arts faculty member Don Evans began the Vanderbilt Media Experimentation Center in 1969 and fostered a spirit of exploration and rule-breaking in the many students who took his video art, multimedia, photography, and computer graphics courses.

Tony Gerber moved to Nashville from Northern Indiana in the early 80s and developed a friendship with Don. In a 1999 interview with Aural Innovations, Tony said:

I had also started collaborating with Don Evan’s at Vanderbilt University in the early 80s. Don is well known for his multimedia work in the 60s and continues to this day. He has a huge collection of esoteric electronic music recordings and is a great supporter of electronic music. He had been using eMusic composers with his performances since the 60s and it was a natural for me to start working with him. Thus I was introduced to multimedia performance in conjunction with eMusic.

Tony formed Space for Music, a Hearts of Space listening group that eventually evolved into a radio show, music festival, and label. The listening group helped foment Nashville’s space music community, with notable members including Jack TamulGil Trythall, William Linton, Robin Crow, Allen Green, and Giles Reaves, whose 1986 album Wunjo made Electronic Musician magazine’s list of top electronic albums of all time. In 1996, Tony formed the influential space music group Spacecraft with Lexington, Kentucky’s John Rose (later adding Diane Timmons).

Tony continues to innovate. As his avatar Cypress Rosewood, he hosts a weekly Ambient Sunday concert on the virtual realty world Second Life. Tony and his brother Todd talk about their musical accomplishments and the Nashville music community on episode 90 of Theatre Intangible.

The Facebook event page states Auroric Dreams is “an electro-acoustic music duo group with members Bryan Burnett of Noize Index and veteran live space music performer Tony Gerber. Instruments include synthesizers, guitars, EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument), native flutes, computers, ipads, iphones and vocals.”

I’m incredibly excited for this show, and I hope to see you there!

Auroric Dreams
DJ James Cathcart
Josh Gumiela (OpenGL visuals)

@ The Stone Fox
Wednesday, March 13th, 9pm, $5
712 51st Ave N, Nashville, TN 37209