presented by San Francisco Cinematheque in association with Gray Area
Admissions: Early Bird $10; Presales $15; Door $20 / Cinematheque members $8 (DOOR ONLY)
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SAN FRANCISCO CINEMATHEQUE and GRAY AREA present PERPETUAL MOTION, the largest convergence of international, multi-generational performance cinema practitioners ever assembled in the San Francisco Bay Area. The series is presented September 16–December 7, 2016. All performances at Gray Area.
Performance Cinema: an exciting and emergent genre of avant-garde moving-image art which represents a crucial attack on the sterility of the contemporary, digitally-located media environment, arguing for the embodied, collective consideration of real-time, site-specific media experiences. Through mis-used or modified analog film projectors, live video synthesis and physical interaction with the media interface, performance cinema practitioners variously burn, etch, mutilate and destroy projected film, machinery and the image itself. Performance Cinema practitioners create immersive spectacles of sight and sound, opening a space for questioning and contemplating visual culture through direct activation of the senses. As a dynamic, regenerating and resurrecting media experience, Performance Cinema exists only in the moment of perception and is truly an art of its time. Full series information available here.
Beige (Richmond) / Keith Evans (Bolinas) / Karl Lemieux (Montréal) + BJ Nilsen (Sweden)
Things that matter in the world have weight. Ephemeral gestures manifest in solidity. Working with an array of distressed fascination devices—including Super-8mm projectors, video projection, record players and tape recorders, plant and animal detritus, minerals, machinery and more—Bolinas-based Keith Evans works as a paranaturalist sculptor, uniting dead media with the husks of once-living organisms. Evans will be performing Casting lots and consanguinity 2, from his “Water Augury” series:
“Water is only the true thusness of water.” Zen Master Dogen’s koan is a circular statement of tidal dissolution, morphing expectations and expanding perception. It is immersed in the element h2o; It is of translation. We are all mediums in the circulatory system of media.
Water Augury Series includes instruments designed as idiosyncratic divination tools to converse with some hidden relationships and subtle tributaries of processes that carry with them much of the mercurial energy of my immediate surroundings. The medium of Water, in many respects, is always pregnant with visions, impressions, stories, cycles, systems, states; It is experienced and sensed in relation to its own elemental earthfast means, but it is always elusive, at the heart of what on a human scale is apprehended as transformation and thus is a mirror into esoteric architectures, realms and dimensions. —Keith Evans
The collaborative 16mm work of local duo Beige (Kent Long and Vanessa O’Neill) is based largely on homebrew film processing and celluloid printing, with their hand-crafted film strips presented in elegant and overlapping multiple projection. Beige’s The Impenitent Thief takes as its starting point the viewer’s perspective in Tiepolo’s Scoperta della Vera Croce e Sant’Elena, “a painting wild with motion and the use of color to describe the path of ascension.” Using multiple points of projection and a multi-channel soundscape, The Impenitent Thief presents a dizzying view of grounded revelation and luminous form.
Finally, Karl Lemieux (Montréal) and BJ Nilsen (Sweden) present unearthed—the work’s first U.S. performance since its 2015 premiere at Sonic Acts: The Geologic Imagination, Amsterdam. A fragmented, shimmering, 6-projector work considering the impact of the Anthropocene era, Unearthed portrays Nikel, Russia, a heavily polluted site of industrial decay asserting a dark desolation against the sparse beauty of the Arctic landscape. Lemieux and Nilsen will also debut a second set to the evening, titled Yujiapu, an improvised 5-projector performance incorporating elements from a forthcoming film on the abandoned cities of China.
From Lemieux: During the winter of 2015, I traveled to China with Benny Jonas Nilsen and a small camera crew to make a piece about the infamous abandoned cities of China. We filmed different parts of China but this specific piece will be made with images we shot in the city of Yujiapu, located near Tianjin. It’s a place where they destroyed the ancestral fishing villages to make way for a multi-billion dollar real estate project meant to become the new financial district of the area. The entire city was built but never inhabited and has been abandoned for over 6 years. …
Beige (Kent Long & Vanessa O’Neill)
Beige (Kent Long & Vanessa O’Neill) began working collaboratively in 2009, merging their interests in the physical properties of film with experiments using multiple projectors and live sound. As a matter of process, they develop and print their films themselves, battling for control against a dizzying array of variables in the darkroom and at the printer.
Keith Evans is an artist and activist who has been working and performing in the Bay Area for 25 years. Collaboration and co-creation has been a core element of his artistic practice having co-founded the experimental cinematic trio silt in 1989 as well as participating in many duos, groups and ensembles. He creates artwork in a cross-media array, using language, graphics, book arts, installation, kinetic sculpture, dance, film, video and sound, primarily for performance or with an expanded idea of performativity. The histories of imaginative media devices for altering consciousness find their way into his performances. His artworks are translation systems, fascination devices, extra-cinematic experiences that reveal the phenomenon and the idea of cinema as an ecology and system—one that is unfixed and accreting, neither nostalgic nor utopian.
Karl Lemieux’s (Montréal) films, installations, and performances have screened internationally in museums, galleries, music venues and film festivals. He is more commonly known as the ninth member of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a Montreal music collective for which he does live 16mm film projections. His collaborations include works with sound artists such as Philip Jeck, BJ Nilsen, Francisco Lopez, Roger Tellier-Craig and Alexandre St-Onges. Together with Daïchi Saïto he founded Double Négatif, a Montreal-based collective, dedicated to the production and dissemination of experimental films. His first feature, Maudite Poutine, will premiere in the Orizzonti competition at 73e Mostra Internazionale d’arte cinematografica di Venezia in September 2016.
BJ Nilsen (SE) is a composer and sound artist based in Amsterdam. His work primarily focuses on the sounds of nature and how they affect humans. Recent work has explored the urban acoustic realm and industrial geography in the Arctic region of Norway and Russia. His original scores and soundtracks have featured in theatre, dance performances and film, in collaborations with Chris Watson, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Stilluppsteypa and others. In 2014, Nilsen collaborated with filmmaker Karl Lemieux on the audiovisual work unearthed, which was presented along with the Sonic Acts publication The Geologic Imagination.
Perpetual Motion is a presentation of San Francisco Cinematheque in partnership with Gray Area and is supported by generous funding from the Fleishhacker Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund/Grants for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation and by generous donations from Cinematheque’s individual donors and members.
pictured above: Karl Lemieux/BJ NIlsen—Unearthed