Flaherty NYC bids the 2012 election season farewell by folding time, space, mythmaking, image archetypes, Fascism, JFK and killer robots into 68 breathtaking minutes.
A crestfallen hero prefaces our evening with a soliloquy of alienation and longing in Superman Recites Selections from ‘The Bell Jar’ and Other Works by Sylvia Plath (1999, 7 min., BetaSP), a work by Mike Kelley featuring the Man of Steel in the Fortress of Solitude brooding over his shrunken homeworld Kandor.
Bradley Eros & Tim Geraghty’s TransTrans (2009, 12 min., Digibeta), originally commissioned for Performa 09, moves beyond mid-century Fascism to locate the ultimate realization of F.T. Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto in Michael Bay’s 2009 Transformers 2 film, here radically remixed “via synthetic collapse and critical revenge” to an abrasive, ecstatic textual recitation of the Manifesto.
Alexander Kluge rockets us back to early- and pre-cinema, the anachronistic starting point for a string of mindbending audiovisual collages generated for German television circa-1988 with the latest in video and computer technology. Why Are You Crying, Antonio? (1988, 25 min., BetaSP) synthesizes real and speculative history surrounding the 1939 meeting of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Benito Mussolini at a performance of Verdi’s Macbeth in Rome with the story of a Nazi soldier’s love story. It concludes with a haunting, elegiac march of French soldiers through Paris, New Years Eve 1918, rendered via digitally-augmented silhouette animation.
Finally, Ant Farm delivers a provocative and hilarious post-mortem on one of the most dissected media spectacles in history: the assassination of JFK as captured by the Zapruder film. The Eternal Frame (1975, 24 min., BetaSP) features T.R. Uthco’s Doug Hall as “Artist-President” John F. Kennedy, who explains he has suffered his “image-death” on the streets of Dallas “in order to render my ultimate service to the media which created me and without which I would be nothing.” The artists then take to the same streets to stage a live loop of Zapruder film re-enactments for enraptured tourists in Dealey Plaza, with the cinematic recreation its own documentation later being debated by audiences in San Francisco and the artists themselves.
Total runtime: 68 min.
Part of the series Flaherty NYC.
Ticket Price: $12, Film Club Member: $8.
Mike Kelley was one of the most provocative and influential figures in contemporary art. His idiosyncratic works negotiate a charged terrain of desire, dread and sociopathology in everyday life. With deadpan humor, he invests childhood toys, kitsch and ordinary objects with subversive meaning. His video projects, often created with collaborators such as Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon and Tony Oursler, inhabit a peculiarly American landscape infused with irony and pop cultural debris.
Bradley Eros: An artist working in myriad media: experimental film & video, collage, photography, performance, sound, text, contracted and expanded cinema & installation. Also a maverick curator, composer, designer & investigator. Concepts include: ephemeral cinema, mediamystics, subterranean science, erotic psyche, cinema povera, poetic accidents and musique plastique.
Raised by wolves, Tim Geraghty is now making a positive contribution to a civilized society. A no-budget experimental filmmaker dabbling in painting, writing, video, photography and dinner conversation, Geraghty struggles to understand the wildness that drives him while politely wearing sheep's clothing. He was born in Providence, RI in 1981—the year of the Rooster.
German filmmaker Alexander Kluge, one of the most innovative and intellectual figures in contemporary German cinema, has produced a remarkable series of works for television. Traversing realms of desire and culture in the 19th and 20th centuries, these experimental works weave together eclectic references—advertising, cinema, opera, communications—to construct an ironic critical discourse on fantasy, representation and history.
Ant Farm was an innovative countercultural collective working in media, architecture and spectacle from the late 1960s through the 1970s. Their media events, site structures, performances and videotapes merge an irreverent pop humor with cultural and political critique. Images of a Cadillac crashing through a wall of burning TV sets, or of ten Cadillacs buried, fin-up, in a field off Route 66 in Texas are emblematic of Ant Farm's provocations towards the mass media and American cultural icons.
Biographical texts for Ant Farm, Kelley and Kluge reprinted with permission of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), www.eai.org