NOTE: Due to unfortunate circumstances beyond our control, this performance event with filmmaker Ken Jacobs has been CANCELLED. Please join us January 27, 2017 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as Cinematheque kicks off its 2017 exhibition season with a special screening of Ken Jacobs’ Two Wrenching Departures (2006). A feature-length digital video translation of his legendary 1989 live “Nervous System” performance, Two Wrenching Departures memorializes the transgressive 1957 street performances of two of Jacobs’ earliest collaborators and lifelong filmmaking influences—Bob (Blond Cobra) Fleischner and the original Flaming Creature himself, Jack Smith. Details available here.
UPDATE: This program was to have been presented in association with BAMPFA, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. BAMPFA will screen an additional program of Ken Jacobs work on Wednesday, October 12. A previously-scheduled appearance by Jacobs on Saturday, October 15 speaking on the works of painter Hans Hofmann at BAMPFA is currently being revisioned. Please see www.bampfa.org for complete details.
presented by San Francisco Cinematheque in association with Gray Area
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.
Ken Jacobs (NYC)
Eisenstein said the power of film was to be found between shots. Peter Kubelka seeks it between film frames. I want to get between the eyes, contest the separate halves of the brain. A whole new play of appearances is possible here.—Ken Jacobs
The cinema of Ken Jacobs—an artist working unstoppably since the mid-1950s—is endlessly deconstructive, endlessly pulling apart. Early film works with performance artist Jack Smith shattered dramatic filmmaking into abject and inspiring shards, while his 1969 film Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son constructed elaborate new narratives and explored worlds abstracted from a 1905 short film. Always in Jacobs’ work is there a restless inquiry into the ideological and material elements of the film viewing experience, with an eye toward smashing preconceived notions of cinema in favor of critical engagement and a renewed sense of possibility.
Performing live in San Francisco for the first time in over two decades, Ken Jacobs appears in San Francisco with his Nervous Magic Lantern. Inspired by Victorian-era shadowplay and the artist’s extensive investigations of the mechanics and aesthetics of three-dimensionality, the Nervous Magic Lantern is a post-cinematic projection device, a pulsing and breathing imaging system and a conjuror of ecstatic vision, presenting immersive visual journeys into a paradoxically grounded and ephemeral abstract space. Tonight Jacobs presents the world premiere a new feature-length performance, the torrential Thunderclouds, a blinking and rumbling transcontinental dialog between the downpours of Manhattan and the rainstorms of San Francisco, presented in quadraphonic sound. Thunderclouds is preceded by the short film Cyclops Observes the Heavenly Bodies—“Cyclopean 3D is the most 3D a single eye can come up with. This means the celestial horde on display here can only seem to be galloping through space. Actual seeing into depth must be denied, it’s the law.”
NOTE: This program is not recommended for those photosensitive epilepsy and similar conditions.
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: Ken Jacobs—Nervous Magic Lantern performance