Sunday, February 23, 2003

Fresh Eyes: New Artists at Cinematheque

Program 7: Michele Smith's Regarding Penelope's Wake

San Francisco Art Institute

Michele Smith’s two-hour silent epic Regarding Penelope’s Wake is an obsessively edited collage/montage/hand-painted/ripped/cut/etched/scratched elaboration of found footage culled from numerous sources, including a 1970s public-speaking instructional film, Themes from the Odyssey, 8mm stag films, Self Protection for Women, a biography of Vincent Van Gogh, ethnographic documentaries, science films, home movies, The Frog Prince, a film about underwater sound, and many other educational oddities. Derived as much from James Joyce as from Homer, this highly abstracted telling of Ulysses’ fabled odyssey weaves through multiple experimental narratives, visual rhymes, structural disruptions, rhythmic couplings, reckless visual puns, carefully balanced counterpoints of light and shadow, and delirious punctuations of movement and color. Consisting of hundreds of clips from 16mm and 8mm films, Smith’s opus will be shown on digital video. (Scott Stark)