anticipated artists in person: Brittany Gravely, Kathryn Ian, Joshua Levi Ian, Kerry Laitala, Jon Leidecker, Ken Linehan and J.M. Martínez
pictured above: Wishing Well (2018) by Sylvia Schedelbauer
Kerry Laitala’s mighty multi-projector/multi-sensorial Astro Trilogy (with live sound by Wobbly) concludes a program of spiritual searching, visionary inquiry and sensual visual philosophy. Films present readings of mystic visionary Jacob Böhme and cultural theorist Julia Kristeva, alchemical manifestations of the Tarot, embodiments of the flows and currents of the forest and the accidental poetry of the US Department of Agriculture.
Vera (2018) by Karen Yasinksy (USA); digital video, color, sound, 6 minutes, exhibition file from the maker world premiere
A character created over the time of animating the cobweb and thinking about Mississippi Mud by Bix Beiderbecke. Additional music by Andrew Bernstein. With Gillian Waldo. (Karen Yasinksy)
Jacob, Body Seer (2018) by Kathryn Ian & Joshua Levi Ian (USA); digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes, exhibition file from the makers world premiere
Jacob, Body Seer explores the connection between trauma and visionary experience. Situated against the backdrop of America’s own psychogeographical “dark night of the soul,’’ the character of the “Body Seer” invokes the hidden resonances between vulnerability and vision as he assumes his witness body—a subtle skin that exposes rather than insulates—and encounters the mysterious figure of the Bird Catcher.
This episode is excerpted from an ongoing experimental narrative entitled New Wilderness Gospel, which combines text, sound, video and performance to re-envision the genre of apocalyptic literature in a contemporary idiom. The term “apocalypse” is commonly employed as a simple synonym for catastrophe, but this casual metaphorization covers over a much richer range of signification. Used technically, apocalypse—from the Greek apokatalypsis (“a revealing”)—refers to a genre of writing that has roots in antiquity. Historically speaking, the literature of apocalypticism offers a vast reservoir of highly imaginative responses to situations of profound crisis, dislocation and turmoil, which appeal to knowledge obtained by practices of meaning-making that resist rationalization: dreams, visions, affective intuition and concourse with otherworldly beings.
Some apocalypses envision the historical end of the world. Others are works of world construction and cosmology: instantiations of the practice of producing presence, acts of remapping an already-present world by way of a new imaginary. The New Wilderness Gospel is a meditation on what shapes “wild presence” might take within a cultural imaginary premised on absence—it is a quintessentially American Apocalypse. (Kathryn Ian & Joshua Levi Ian)
Abjection Mirrors (2017) byJ.M. Martínez (USA); digital video, color, sound, 5 minutes, exhibition file from the maker world premiere
Emerging shapes, a form takes. The visage distorts. A stifled voice is heard. Subject? Object? Self? Other? The light and imagery was captured utilizing reflective glass, plastic, ashtrays and various mirrors in place of camera lenses. (J.M. Martinez)
Prologue to the Tarot: Glenna (2018) by Brittany Gravely & Ken Linehan (USA); 16mm, color, sound, 5 minutes, print from the makers world premiere
Prologue to the Tarot Cycle: Glenna is a spectral collaboration between filmmakers and filmed—a mix of alchemical chance and desire—radiating wishes and fortunes into the light. (Brittany Gravely & Ken Linehan)
Wishing Well (2018) by Sylvia Schedelbauer (Germany); digital video, color, sound, 13 minutes, exhibition file from maker bay area premiere
“The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for.” (J. Campbell)
Gushing colors. A time disjointed, yet synchronous. A transcendent turn, a quest for agency, a reunion with currents of the forest. (Sylvia Schedelbauer)
Astro Trilogy (2016) by Kerry Laitala and Wobbly (USA); projection performance, color, sound, 33 minutes, from the maker bay area premiere
Live sound by Wobbly.
Part 1: Velvet of Night
Part 2: Chromatic Wheels
Part 3: Kali of Technology
Kerry Laitala looks to the heavens for inspiration for her latest trichotomous tri-projector triumph, Astro Trilogy. She unveils the cosmic patterns we’ve envisaged our mythologies into, simulates the spectacles with which we’ve dared to decorate Uranus’ cloak, and summons the goddess of endless night to bring us into ecstatic realms with pulsations of luteal lubriciousness. This triptych was first detonated in current form near the Trinity test site in New Mexico, with live accompaniment from none other than the wonderful Wobbly, who reprises his digital/optical sound manipulation while Laitala implements interstellar interventions. (Kerry Laitala)
CROSSROADS 2018 is generously supported by: the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fleishhacker Foundation, San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund/Grants for the Arts, the Willow Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Cinematheque’s Members and Donors.