Psychic Driving (2014, William E. Jones)

 

Historically, American television has been regarded as a trashy medium, resulting in archival absences. Television broadcasts did not get archived in the USA for some twenty years after their first public use – even so, the main resource of early television archives was academics taking the initiative to record broadcasts to teach television studies with. These handmade VHS archives meant many unselected US broadcasts were lost – becoming hearsay or forgotten. These practices set the precedent for future archival practices. William E. Jones addresses these issues in his remarkable film Psychic Driving.

Jones’ subject matter also contains an air of conspiracy, one suited to a medium easily discredited as unintellectual and narcotic. The revelation at play – that of CIA attempts at mind control via hallucinogenic drugs and electroshocks administered to unknowing subjects – is left to the meagre status of television expository. The animation inspired by the severe degradation of the source VHS tape forefronts the artist’s hand – a personal touch for the formulaic expository discourse. The frame-by-frame animation de-patterns our visual field. We are audibly and visually instructed that this is the closest illustration of the effects of a hallucinogenic. TV news appears as effective in brainwashing as a CIA experiment.

"Stay tuned" – Jones preserves the home-recorded quality of VHS archives. Lingering vocals are isolated, rendered simply as a nod to the previous context of the text. Psychic Driving followed by Battlestar Galactica, after that is the local news. The archival copy manifests the broadcast flow. Jones appears committed to further disintegration of the televisual flow whilst alleviating the categorical disrepute of this archive material through virtuosity. (N. E. & M. R.-M.)

 

 

Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars (2015, Tomonari Nishikawa) 

 

A veinte kilómetros de la central nuclear de Fukushima, un cineasta entierra un negativo de celuloide bajo un montón de hojas secas. La zona estaba libre de peligro, dijeron, pueden volver a sus casas. Pero en aquella noche estrellada, una noche solamente bastaría, la luz radioactiva creó una película eléctrica y azul. Magia tóxica y el gesto político más bello. (A.F.)

 

 

  

 

Vivir para Vivir/Live to Live (2015, Laida Lertxundi)

  

El cine de Laida Lertxundi está hecho de planos rotos e interrumpidos, de imágenes terminando o de restos de imágenes. Una

estética bressoniana de la fragmentación de los cuerpos y del espacio sugiere lo que podría estar ocurriendo fuera de cuadro. 

Vivir para Vivir es la más abstracta de sus películas; el cuerpo aquí no es siquiera un pedazo de cuerpo, sino un cuerpo aludido 

mediante un latido o 

un orgasmo que se alcanza 

como se alcanza un horizonte (de nubes y montañas). (A.F.)

 

 

 

 

Circumstantial Pleasure (2015, Lewis Klahr)

 

The last work of the collage artist/(re-)animator Lewis Klahr is a composition of beauty and insight. Highways, cars, the night and many upsets, but especially the (magic) pills that soften and camoufage he Intolerable. These are the motorways of a paranoid and schizophrenic nervous system. Circumstantial Pleasures (2015) is an ambitious film, a constellation of reasons assembling his typical refrains and signs that characterize the American consumer society. The film is an exercise in high style and, at the same time, a large tableau showing the funeral of American “pharmacologos” (phármakon is both medicine and poison). A millstone of different elements are combined and incorporated into his charateristic collage, representing the landscape of the American imaginary (but in the sense of Spinoza: imago, fictiofingere, doxa). This is, a cross-section of profiles and, objects dotted around and informed by an “American Romance”. (t.d.)

 

 

 

Scales in the Spectrum of Space (2015, Fern Silva)

 

The associative, connective and, metonymic Scales in the Spectrum of Space (2015) by Fern Silva is composed of materials that have already been filmed, and through which chaos becomes a cosmos, a sort of Chaosmos. The syntagmatic combination of heterogeneous elements – “relation inpraesentia” as Saussure would say – fixes the “real” terms and organizes the images in their effective range, inside a very anomalous récit but, at the same time, it changes into a “relation inabsentia”, a virtual memory. A lexicon of unmotived images makes a détournement of the systemic grammar. The use of collective and anonymous images, archives and repertoires already classified and available – and above all determined – moves into the rhytm of acoustic and visual analogies. These, overflow into an unknown land that has no defined order. The sequence of the machinic tape that runs incessantly, turns in the vertigo of an urban drift, where the well-known urban panorama of Chicago (through 30 different films) becomes an unusual mental landscape. It's a work that re-uses the archives, thus challenging the old and well-fixed categories of scriptor, compilator, commentator and auctor – in a similar way to the work of Klahr. Ferna as scriptor quotes others’ “works”; as a compilator, he combines with other “works” in order to change the previous elements; as commentator, he unfolds (opens and explains) this material; finally, as an auctor,he makes his own work using all of these repertoires. (t.d.)