Videos

Vik Muniz: Equivalents, an artist profile by MoMa

“When you look at a picture with a certain degree of ambiguity, your perception heightens it,” explains artist Vik Muniz in this short film about the inspiration behind his “Equivalents” series.

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LAURIE ANDERSON INTERVIEW: A VIRTUALITY OF STORIES, via Louisiana Channel, 2017

Notes from Louisiana Channel:

In this exclusive video, Laurie Anderson presents her prizewinning virtual reality work from 2017: “I wanted to see what it would be like to travel through stories, to make the viewer feel free,” the legendary multimedia artist says.

Laurie Anderson’s ‘Chalkroom’ (2017) has been created in collaboration with the Taiwanese artist Hsin-Chien Huang. In ‘Chalkroom’ it is possible to float around virtually and to explore a hand-drawn universe of sentences and words written in chalk on the walls, guided all the while by Laurie Anderson’s voice – stories and storytelling are at the heart of the work.

You can interact in different ways and e.g. experience letters intermittently floating towards you: “Like snow, they’re there to define the space and to show you a little bit about what it is. But they’re actually fractured languages, so it’s kind of exploded things.” The most important aspect of working in virtual reality for Anderson was the fact that this technology enables you to fly, “like in your dreams.” Anderson feels that everything that she’s ever done is about one thing: disembodiment. In virtual reality, this is even more evident, as you become the ultimate viewer, who has amazing abilities such as flying: “My goal is to make an experience that frees you.”

Being inside Anderson’s VR work is an isolated experiment not unlike reading a book, and one of the things that make it different is that it isn’t task-oriented but rather “visually dazzling.” Another difference is that it isn’t as “perfect, slick and shiny” as VR is in general: “The reason it’s ‘chalk room’ is it has a certain tactility and made-by-hand kind of thing, and it’s the opposite of what virtual reality usually is, which is distant and very synthetic. So this is gritty and drippy and filled with dust and dirt.” Moreover, Hsin-Chien Huang – who is responsible for the extensive programming – made it full of never-ending secrets: “’Chalkroom’ is a library of stories, and no one will ever find them all.”

Laurie Anderson (b. 1947) is a legendary award winning multimedia artist based in New York. Initially trained as a sculptor, she has worked with painting, music, multimedia shows, drawings, operas, electronic software, theatre, films and installations throughout her career. Anderson became widely known outside the art world with her single ‘O Superman’, which reached number two on the UK pop charts in 1981. She is considered a pioneer of electronic music and is praised for her unique spoken word albums and multimedia art pieces. Among her most recent work is the film ‘Heart of a Dog’ (2015). In 2017 under the name of ‘La Camera Insabbiata’, ‘Chalkroom’ won for ‘Best VR Experience’ at the Venice Film Festival. Anderson’s visual work has been presented in major museums throughout the United States and Europe. From May 2017 Laurie Anderson’s ’Chalkroom’ is on view at the MASS MoCA, Massachusetts, USA. For more about Anderson see: http://www.laurieanderson.com/

Laurie Anderson was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in connection with ‘Chalkroom’ being shown as part of the Louisiana Literature festival 23 – 27 August 2017. Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard & Simon Weyhe Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Supported by Nordea-fonden

WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS :: A MAN WITHIN, directed by Yony Leyser, documentary, 85min.

This particular video of the film is intact, minus the end credits.  Please see credits below.

Directed by Yony Leyser
Produced by Carmine Cervi
Scott Crary
Ilko Davidov
Yony Leyser
Written by Yony Leyser
Starring Laurie Anderson
Jello Biafra
David Cronenberg
John Giorno
Thurston Moore
Genesis P-Orridge
Iggy Pop
Patti Smith
Gus Van Sant
John Waters
Distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories

Notes about the film, from PBS’s Independent Lens:

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within investigates the life of the legendary beat author and American icon. Born the heir of the Burroughs’ adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems, and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned the 1966 decision, ruling that the book had important social value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Diane DiPrima, Dean Ripa (the world’s largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller, and soundtrack by Sonic Youth.

William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. But his friends were left wondering if he had ever found contentment or happiness. This extremely personal documentary pierces the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time.

ALVIN LUCIER :: MUSIC ON A LONG THIN WIRE, 1980

In Alvin Lucier’s own words (1992): “Music on a Long Thin Wire is constructed as follows: the wire is extended across a large room, clamped to tables at both ends. The ends of the wire are connected to the loudspeaker terminals of a power amplifier placed under one of the tables. A sine wave oscillator is connected to the amplifier. A magnet straddles the wire at one end. Wooden bridges are inserted under the wire at both ends to which contact microphones are imbedded, routed to a stereo sound system. The microphones pick up the vibrations that the wire imparts to the bridges and are sent through the playback system. By varying the frequency and loudness of the oscillator, a rich variety of slides, frequency shifts, audible beats and other sonic phenomena may be produced.” Continue reading ALVIN LUCIER :: MUSIC ON A LONG THIN WIRE, 1980

THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, by Guy Debord, 1973, 88 min. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

La Société du Spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) is a black and white 1973 film by the Situationist Guy Debord based on his 1967 book of the same title. It was Debord’s first feature-length film. It uses found footage and detournement in a radical criticism of mass marketing and its role in the alienation of modern society. Continue reading THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, by Guy Debord, 1973, 88 min. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

GIACINTO SCELSI :: ANAHIT, for violin & 18 instruments

Scelsi subtitled this splendid work “Lyrical Poem on the Name of Venus,” “Anahit” being the ancient Egyptian name for the goddess Venus. The piece is a major work of Scelsi’s and among the most important works of the 1960s. It is basically a chamber-sized violin concerto, although the relationship of the soloist to the ensemble is anything but the one expected in a concerto. Instead of a dialogue between orchestra and soloist, every instrument is washed into an ever-shifting, incandescent color field. Each instrumental part is extremely difficult, the violin part is only more so because it plays through more of the 13-minute duration of the piece than the rest. Making the soloist’s life still more difficult, the instrument is re-tuned to G-G-B-D to give it a more intense and ethereally plaintive sound. Scelsi also notated the violin part in a special tablature, string by string, treating each string as a separate sound-making entity. Conversely, the entire ensemble is treated like a single instrument that Scelsi plays upon like some heavenly synthesizer. Throughout the piece, he has the violin tensely slide about in microtones, moving along a gradually ascending path, and nothing more. This severe restriction of material means that tremendous concentration is required of he soloist and the terrific tension involved in just holding on to the part comes through in performance. Around this core of diamond-thread, Scelsi pours the tremendous oceanic noise of the rest of the ensemble. The “solo” violin is quite often submerged in the sound, disappearing with the rest of the instrumental voices into the slow, wide-angle shriek of changing sound. Frequent cadential effects, usually underlined with orchestrational changes like an outburst of brass or shrill statements from the flutes, provide a sense of ebb and flow and a tasteful degree of formal definition. At around the eight-minute mark, there is a cadenza for violin solo that slyly creeps in while the supporting instruments gradually evaporate, a process that is repeated less fully in the very last passage. Anahit develops itself with an ascetic’s patience and doesn’t ever arrive at any kind of explosive climax. Instead, it hovers on the tentative edge of crisis, like a photograph of something hateful endlessly developing, out of which no clear image ever emerges. The pseudoscientific word “liminal” comes to mind: of or relating to a sensory threshold, barely perceptible, on the cusp of response. The beautiful tension of Anahit is partly the tension of a half-formed premonition and similar to the tension of having a lost word “on the tip of the tongue,” that slightly panicked mental grasping for something sensed and present, but unreachable. Unlike almost all of Scelsi’s music, some of which was not performed publicly until 30 years after its creation, Anahit was performed with Devy Erlih on violin a year after it was composed.  -DONATO MANCINI