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“To understand the world as process means to reject objects as the primary constituent of reality, for objects are not static, but are continually shaped by perception. To understand the world as process is to implicate oneself in it at every step of the way.” — Dan Browne. Read the full text of Dan Browne’s survey of the work of Paul Clipson on Cinenatheque’s blog.
The films of Paul Clipson offer viewers glimpses into alternate worlds, referencing lived spaces and familiar landscapes made shockingly uncanny through Clipson’s masterful rendering of light and color through elaborate use of superimposition and visual abstraction. Deeply influenced by the delicately devotional cinema of Nathaniel Dorsky (among others), Clipson’s films express a similarly luminous worldview entirely his own. In his solo work as well as with the collaborative duo Black Spirituals, sound artist Zachary Watkins explores tone, resonance and the social implications of sound, both in terms of collaborative relationships as well as audience experience—sound as restoration, sound as healing. Frequently working site specifically or with environmental field recordings, Watkins’ sound work functions similarly to Clipson’s film work in creating experiential environments allowing renewed awareness of the familiar.
As we conclude the year 2017, San Francisco Cinematheque and The Exploratorium are proud to present the World Premiere of Black Field, an original, long-form (70 minute) commissioned film/performance collaboration by Clipson and Watkins to be projected in glistening 16mm, sonically diffused across the majestic multi-channel sound system of The Exploratorium’s Kanbar Forum. The commission and World Premiere screening of Clipson & Watkins’ Black Field is made possible by a generous grant from The Fleishhacker Foundation.
Paul Clipson is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who often collaborates with sound artists and musicians on films, live performances and installations. His work has been exhibited and performed both nationally and internationally at such festivals as the New York Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. His films aim to bring to light subconscious visual preoccupations that reveal themselves while working in a stream of consciousness manner, combining densely layered, in-camera edited studies of figurative and abstract environments, in a process that encourages unplanned-for results, responding to and conversing with the temporal qualities of musical composition and live performance.
Zachary James Watkins: My art investigates the rich area of resonance and is dependent on collaboration with practitioners in all disciplines. Works attempt to manipulate experiences and immerse the senses bringing to the fore natural phenomenon. I believe that sound can heal and that the conscious investigation of harmonic tunings, acoustic resonance as well as social relationships can yield powerful experiences. Therefore, sound works often begin with the exploration of pure interval relationships for resonant systems. These tunings investigate whole number pitch ratios known as just intonation. I create tunings based on desires to explore new harmonic territory, periodicity, composite waveforms, resonance and texture. It is my affinity for rich timbres that informs many aspects of my music. I explore the harmonic series, live electronics, site-specific resonant spaces and the spatial diffusion of sound to achieve rich, saturated environments. I prefer to work site specifically, observing the acoustic properties of a space and shaping new works around these perceived phenomenon.