Media Arts Program

Saturday, March 18, 2006

George Landow


Presented at:

A two-day program of films by George Landow who in the 60s and 70s was known as one of the most prominent and influential experimental filmmakers in the US. This touring program was curated by Mark Webber for LUX in London, and has been screened internationally since 2005 at venues such as the Whitney Museum (NYC) and the Lisbon Biennale. Produced in association with Österreichisches Filmmuseum, Vienna and supported by Arts Council England.

Programme One
Saturday March 18 at 8 pm

All films 16mm
• Remedial Reading Comprehension (1970, 5 min.)
Landow rejects the dream imagery of the historical trance film for the self-referential present, using macrobiotics, the language of advertising, and a speed-reading test on the definition of hokum. The alienated filmmaker appears, running uphill to distance himself from the lyrical cinema, but remember, “This is a film about you, not about its maker.”
• Fleming Faloon (1963, 7 min.)
A cinematic equivalent to the illusionistic portraiture of the Flemish painters. In his first 16mm film, Landow proposes that if we accept the reality offered to us by the illusion of depth on the flat plane of the screen, we can then assign reality to anything at will.
• Film in Which There Appear Edge Lettering, Sprocket Holes, Dirt Particles, Etc. (1965-66, silent, 4 min.)
The ‘imperfections’ of filmmaking, which are normally suppressed, are at the core of a work that uses a brief loop made from a Kodak colour test. “The dirtiest film ever made,” is one of the earliest examples of the film material dictating the film content. It may seem minimal, but keep looking – there’s so much going on.
• Bardo Follies (1967-76, silent, 20 min.)
A shot of a Southern Belle waving to group of tourists on a pleasure boat ride is looped, multiplied and then melted, creating psychedelic abstract images. These globular forms resemble cellular, microscopic or cosmic structures. “A paraphrasing of certain sections of the Tibetan Book of the Dead in motion picture terms.”
• What’s Wrong With This Picture? 1 (1971, 5 min.)
A found, utilitarian object, the overtly moralising educational film “How to be a Good Citizen”, is elevated to the status of ‘art’. The film is first presented unaltered and then in Landow’s colour facsimile, which is further modified by applying an opaque matte that creates a spatial paradox.
• What’s Wrong With This Picture? 2 (1972)
As Landow and his students were testing a new video camera, an elderly man began to talk to them about new technology. This impromptu conversation forms the basis for a comparison of spoken and written language. After being transferred to film, a transcript of the encounter is superimposed over the image.
• Institutional Quality (1969, 5 min.)
The film is constructed around a found soundtrack in which a strict female voice delivers a test of perception and comprehension. As this test continues, the relationship between sound and image becomes detached and they follow separate paths, a consequence of the filmmaker losing interest in his subject.
• On the Marriage Broker Joke as Cited by Sigmund Freud in Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious or Can the Avant-Garde Artist Be Wholed? (1977-79, 18 min.)
“Two pandas, who exist only by textual error, run a shell game for the viewer in an environment with false perspectives. They posit the existence of various films and characters, one of which is interpreted by an academic as containing religious symbolism. Finally, Sigmund Freud’s own explanation is given by a sleeper awakened by an alarm clock.” (P. Adams Sitney)

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March, 2006 - 2006