Category: Flare Out

Artforum Review

The new (April 2017) issue of Artforum features a great article on Peter Gidal’s “Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016” and “Shoot Shoot Shoot“, the LUX publication on the first decade of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative.

Noam M. Elcott‘s review of these two related books ends with the following summary:

“In tone and substance, many of the essays in Flare Out testify to Gidal’s ‘ultra-left’ politics, polemics that were widely criticized and eventually abandoned by most LFMC adherents for their seemingly intractable dogmatism. And yet many of his arguments seem all too timely today. What was once dismissed as a puritanical asceticism at odds with rudimentary aesthetic pleasure seems sensible now, even compulsory, given our ascendant patriarchal politics. [… ] Infamously, Gidal advocated for a moratorium on representations of women on-screen. Perhaps we consider ourselves too enlightened to brook, or the feminist project too far advanced to warrant, such blunt statements – even in the months dominated by the venom of Trump, the vitriol of Bernie Bros, and the broadcast and social media that enabled both. But Gidal’s unfashionably radical feminism deserved more than a second look in the current climate of fashionably virulent patriarchy.”

(Noam M Elcott, “Structural Integrity”, Artforum, March 2017.)

Events Archive

Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos
Peter Gidal / Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016
Slow Writing: Thom Andersen on Cinema

A list of screenings and events that have taken place in support of our books is shown below. A maximum of 20 events are shown per page. Please use the monthly navigation links at the top or bottom of this list to view more recent events. Details can be expanded by using the ‘+’ symbol, and the ‘read more’ link within each event window.

Aug
2
Sat
2014
The Illiac Passion @ Teatro Juarez
Aug 2 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

The Illiac Passion

Gregory J. Markopoulos, The Illiac Passion, 1964-67, 92 min
Introduced by Mark Webber

Gregory J. Markopoulos (1928-92) was one of the most original filmmakers to emerge from the post-war avant-garde. His films, which often translated literary or mythological sources to a contemporary context, are celebrated for their extraordinary creativity, the sensuous use of colour and innovations in cinematic form. In the 1960s, Markopoulos was actively involved in New York’s vibrant film community – the same milieu in which landmark works such as Scorpio Rising (Kenneth Anger), Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith) and The Chelsea Girls (Andy Warhol) first enraptured audiences. It was here that Markopoulos made one of his most celebrated films, The Illiac Passion, an extravagant interpretation of ‘Prometheus Bound’ populated with fantastic characters from the underground scene. Warhol appears as Poseidon, alongside Beverly Grant, Taylor Mead, Jack Smith, and other important figures. The soundtrack of this visionary re-imagining of the classical realm features a fractured reading of Thoreau’s translation of Aeschylus and excerpts from Bartók.

This rare screening of The Illiac Passion celebrates the publication of “Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos” (The Visible Press, 2014) and will be introduced by the book’s editor Mark Webber.

The projection will take place in the amazing Teatro Juarez in Guanajuato.

Aug
5
Tue
2014
The Illiac Passion @ Centro de Cultura Digital
Aug 5 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Illiac Passion

Gregory J. Markopoulos, The Illiac Passion, 1964-67, 92 min
Introduced by Mark Webber

Esta proyección única de la mítica película The Illiac Passion de Gregory J. Markopoulos celebra la publicación de “El cine como película: Las Obras completas del Gregory J. Markopoulos” (The Visible Press, 2014), y será presentado por el editor del libro, Mark Webber.

Gregory J. Markopoulos (1928-1992) fue uno de los cineastas más originales de la vanguardia de postguerra. Sus películas, que suelen traducir fuentes literarias o mitológicas a un contexto contemporáneo, son reconocidas por su extraordinaria creatividad, el sensual uso de color y las innovaciones en la forma cinematográfica.

En los años sesenta, Markopoulos participó activamente en la dinámica comunidad cinematográfica de Nueva York – el mismo medio en el que las obras históricas como Scorpio Rising (Kenneth Anger), Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith) y The Chelsea Girls (Andy Warhol) encontraron sus primeras audiencias. Fue aquí que Markopoulos hizo una de sus películas más célebres, The Illiac Passion, una extravagante interpretación de “Prometeo encadenado” de Henry David Thoreau, poblada de personajes fantásticos de la escena underground. Warhol aparece como Poseidón junto a Beverly Grant, Taylor Mead, Jack Smith, y otras figuras importantes de la escena artística del momento. La banda sonora de esta visionaria re-interpretación de la esfera clásica ofrece una lectura fracturada de la traducción de Thoreau de Esquilo y extractos de la música Bartók.

En colaboración con Festival Internacional de Cine de Guanajuato y el Laboratorio Experimental de Cine.

 

Sep
8
Mon
2014
Film as Film: Program 1 @ Anthology Film Archives
Sep 8 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Gregory J. Markopoulos: Film as Film: Program 1

Gregory J. Markopoulos, A Christmas Carol, 1940, 5 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Du Sang, de la volupté et de la mort, 1947-48, 70 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Christmas USA, 1949, 8 min

Made as a USC student in Los Angeles, Markopoulos’ first 16mm film Psyche took as its source the unfinished novella of the same name by Pierre Louÿs. Shown together with Lysis and Charmides (both made on his return to Toledo, Ohio, and inspired by Platonic dialogues), it forms the trilogy titled Du sang de la volupte et de la mort (1947-48). By boldly addressing lesbian and homosexual themes, the trilogy gained unwelcome notices in Films in Review and Variety where, in the repressive atmosphere of the early 1950s, it was branded “degenerate” following a screening at NYU. Such a response is unimaginable today for lyrical works that express sensuality through the symbolic use of colour and composition. Writing about these early films, Markopoulos chose to quote a statement by philosopher and theologian Mircea Eliade, offering viewers a clue to his entire body of work: “The whole man is engaged when he listens to myths and legends; consciously or not, their message is always deciphered and absorbed in the end.”

“The first thing which I did was to delete the novelette of its lush rhetoric and retain only its symbolic colour. In Psyche, colour plays an important role, similar to the role which colour plays in the paintings of Toulouse Lautrec. Colour reflects the true character of the individual before us, whether it be on the screen, in a painting, or in the street. Colour is Eros.” (Psyche’s Search for the Herb of Invulnerability, 1955)

Part of Gregory J. Markopoulos: Film as Film at Anthology Film Archives, New York, USA.

Sep
9
Tue
2014
Film as Film: Program 2 @ Anthology Film Archives
Sep 9 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Gregory J. Markopoulos: Film as Film: Program 2

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Sorrows, 1969, 6 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, The Mysteries, 1968, 80 min

The Mysteries was made in Munich, Spring 1968, during the same period in which Markopoulos directed two opera pieces for German television. (Rosa von Praunheim was his assistant on all three projects.) Writing in Artforum, Kristin M. Jones described the film as “… a mournful work in which, as in many of the earlier films, the rhythmic repetition of imagery evokes poetic speech, and changes in costume emphasize shifts in time, space, and emotion. Here, a young man’s struggles with memories of love and intimations of death are set alternately to deafening silence and the music of Wagner.” The Swiss chateau built for Wagner by King Ludwig II is documented in Sorrows, an in-camera film composed through intricate layers of superimposition.

“In my film I suggest that there is no greater mystery than that of the protagonists. War and Love are simply equated for what they are; the aftermath is inevitable, and a normal human condition, for which like the ancients one can only have pity and understanding. In this lies the mystery. All else is irrelevant. That there are other sub-currents of equal power in The Mysteries goes without saying; and, those who are capable of the numerous visual visitations and annunciations which the film offers them will realise what is the Ultimate Mystery of my work.” (Disclosed Knowledge, 1970)

Part of Gregory J. Markopoulos: Film as Film at Anthology Film Archives, New York, USA.

Sep
10
Wed
2014
Film as Film: Program 3 @ Anthology Film Archives
Sep 10 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Gregory J. Markopoulos: Film as Film: Program 3

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Bliss, 1967, 6 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Gammelion, 1968, 55 min (Essential Cinema)

“To be loved means to be consumed. To love means to radiate with inexhaustible light. To be loved is to pass away, to love is to endure.” (Text by Rainer Maria Rilke, recited on the soundtrack of Gammelion.)

Markopoulos’ elegant film of the castle of Roccasinibalda in Rieti, Italy, (then owned by patron, publisher and activist Caresse Crosby) employs an intricate system of fades to extend five minutes of footage to an hour of viewing time. This inventive new film form, in which brief images appear amongst measures of black and clear frames, was a crucial step towards Markopoulos’ monumental final work Eniaios (1947-91). This screening of Gammelion will be preceded by Bliss, a portrait of the interior of a Byzantine church on the Greek island of Hydra, edited in-camera in the moment of filming.

“Fortunate is the filmmaker who possesses a daemon, and who passes naturally from season to season, always with renewed energies, to that crucial point where he is able to recognize what constitutes the sunken attitudes of his art; what constitutes the portent, eagle-shaped attitudes. Attitudes which in a season of plenty soar beyond the frailties and grievances of the creative personality. Forgotten and released are the self-acknowledged limitations, the often comical, continuous demands upon friends and acquaintances in the name of one’s art. Finally, the total illusion that has been inherent from the beginning in one’s striving shimmers, quivers, and sets one aflame.” (Correspondences of Smell and Visuals, 1967)

Part of Gregory J. Markopoulos: Film as Film at Anthology Film Archives, New York, USA.

Sep
11
Thu
2014
Markopoulos/Beavers: Experimental Films/Experimental Lives @ Yale Whitney Humanities Centre
Sep 11 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Markopoulos/Beavers: Experimental Films/Experimental Lives

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Christmas USA, 1949, 8 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Through a Lens Brightly: Mark Turbyfill, 1967, 15 min
Robert Beavers, Early Monthly Segments, 1968-70/2000, 33 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Gilbert and George, 1970/1989-91, 12 min
Robert Beavers, Listening to the Space in My Room, 2010, 19 min
Introduced and followed by a conversation with Mark Webber and Robert Beavers

CHRISTMAS U.S.A.
Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1949, 16mm, 8 min
“The film is a subtly joyous depiction of sexual and sensual awakening – a celebration of a young man’s discovery of strange, exciting things lurking beyond the drab normality of the everyday. It’s a specific metaphor for Markopoulos’ homosexuality, of course, but also more generally for the sexual and intellectual awakenings of adolescence, the escape from the family to the individual life. That Markopoulos populates this moment with such wonder, passion, and mystical tension is a testament to his sure-handed ability to convey complex emotions cinematically, even at this early stage of his career.” (Ed Howard)

THROUGH A LENS BRIGHTLY: MARK TURBYFILL
Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1967, 16mm, 15 min
“One of the most accomplished works in Markopoulos’s series of film portraits, Through a Lens Brightly is a vivid study of the dancer and poet Mark Turbyfill that uses paintings and photographs in his home to recapture and illuminate a life in the arts.” (Harvard Film Archive)

EARLY MONTHLY SEGMENTS
Robert Beavers, 1968-70/2000, 35mm, 33 min
Early Monthly Segments, filmed when Beavers was 18 and 19 years old, now forms the opening to his film cycle, “My Hand Outstretched to the Winged Distance and Sightless Measure.” It is a highly stylized work of self-portraiture, depicting filmmaker and companion Gregory J. Markopoulos in their Swiss apartment. The film functions as a diary, capturing aspects of home life with precise attention to detail, documenting the familiar with great love and transforming objects and ordinary personal effects into a highly charged work of homoeroticism.” (Susan Oxtoby)

GILBERT AND GEORGE
Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1970/1989-91, 16mm, 12 min
“Gregory Markopoulos’ Gilbert and George (1970) is a film marked by absence. Though a portrait of the artistic duo, the film indulges in none of the privileging of visibility on which the genre of portraiture often rests. Much of its twelve-minute duration is filled not with likenesses of the artists but with black and white leader. Occasionally a flash of image – a pair of feet, for example – will fill the screen for a brief moment before retreating again. The flow of movement, so crucial to most films, is missing. In its place is a rigorous engagement with the medium’s most basic elements, one that returns the viewer to the stillness of the individual film frame.” (Erika Balson)

LISTENING TO THE SPACE IN MY ROOM
Robert Beavers, 2010, 16mm, 19 min
“Ostensibly a portrait of a place where the artist had resided until recently, the film conjures not only the memory but also the physical presence of those who have previously stayed there. Adhering to a solitary intimacy while simultaneously acting as an ode to human endeavour and shared impulses toward fulfillment through art, Listening to the Space in my Room is a moving testament to existence (whose traces are found in literature, music, filmmaking, gardening) and our endless search for meaning and authenticity. The film’s precise yet enigmatic sound-image construction carries a rare emotional weight. ” (Andréa Picard)

Presented by the Yale Film Studies Program, Hellenic Studies Program, Yale Film Colloquium, and Films at the Whitney.

Sep
13
Sat
2014
Film as Film: Program 4 @ Anthology Film Archives
Sep 13 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Gregory J. Markopoulos: Film as Film: Program 4

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Genius (from Eniaios III), 1970, 86 min

Inspired by the legend of Faust, Genius is a triple-portrait of three significant art world figures – the British artist David Hockney, the Argentinian surrealist painter Leonor Fini, and the German-born art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, an important early supporter of the Cubists. With its measured structure, carefully spacing images between passages of clear or opaque film, Genius forms the central section of the third cycle of Eniaios. This 80-hour long silent film, one of the most remarkable and ambitious projects in the history of cinema, is intended to be shown only at the remote site in Greece chosen by Markopoulos as the ideal setting for his work.

“In film, in the beautiful, stupid past of the commercial film with its total lack of creative achievement, though stated otherwise by film historians, the absolute Barbarians of our diminishing cultural age, the film construction was dependant on the story in the guise of the necessary message; the necessary message impounded for the benefit, that is the enlightenment and therefore the deliberate enslavement of the filmgoer. However, in my finished work, entitled Genius,the development is along absolute philosophical lines. For instance the three unsuspecting figures who became my characters, represent, in their own milieu, the crises of our times. I refuse to say more. Perhaps, I do not know more! Suffice to say, that even as I was filming, I knew: we look at a face, at the gestures, and we know, if we so wish, the content of the inner being.” (The Redeeming of the Contrary, 1973)

Part of Gregory J. Markopoulos: Film as Film at Anthology Film Archives, New York, USA.

Sep
16
Tue
2014
Gregory Markopoulos’ Galaxie @ Light Industry
Sep 16 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Gregory Markopoulos’ Galaxie

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Galaxie, 1966, 92 mins
Introduced by Mark Webber

“What Truman Capote has done with two murderers in cold blood, Gregory Markopoulos has done with 33 Greenwich Villagers: fictionalised the living human being. Galaxie, the latest work of biophotography stemming from the mind of Joyce, the vision and brush of Picasso, and the urbanely-romantic camera of Markopoulos.” – Film Culture

In 1966, Gregory Markopoulos filmed portraits of notable figures in the New York art world, including painters, poets, critics, filmmakers, and choreographers. Markopoulos populated his Galaxie with a remarkable constellation of personalities, ranging from those in his immediate circle of filmmakers (Jonas Mekas, Storm de Hirsch, the Kuchar Brothers) to luminaries from other art forms (Jasper Johns, W.H. Auden, Allen Ginsberg). Each is shot with a single roll of 16mm film and, though edited entirely in-camera in the moment of filming, comprises many layers of dense superimpositions that build a complex portrait of the sitter. The subjects were invited to pose in their home or studio, together with personal objects of their choice: Parker Tyler is a seen with a drawing by Tchelitchew, Susan Sontag with photographs of Garbo and Dietrich, Shirley Clarke and Maurice Sendak both with children’s toys, Gregory Battcock with a Christmas card and zebra rug. The film is silent except for the sound of a ritual bell, its number of rings increasing incrementally until 30 chimes accompany the final portrait.

With this new form of portraiture, Markopoulos developed a detached but empathetic middle ground between the cool objectivity of Warhol’s Screen Tests and the informal portrayals of friends seen in the diary films of Mekas. The portrait would subsequently become a prevalent aspect of Markopoulos’ filmmaking for works such as Through a Lens Brightly: Mark Turbyfill, Political Portraits, and Index: Hans Richter; Saint Actaeon. Genius, his interpretation of Faust (screening at Anthology Film Archives on September 13), consists only of portraits of Leonore Fini, David Hockney, and Daniel Henry Kahnweiler. Many such studies were later incorporated in his monumental, final work Eniaios.

(Mark Webber)

This screening celebrates the publication of Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos, edited by Mark Webber with a foreword by P. Adams Sitney, published by The Visible Press, London.

Sep
17
Wed
2014
The Illiac Passion @ International House Philadelphia
Sep 17 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The Illiac Passion

Gregory J. Markopoulos, The Illiac Passion, 1964-67, 92 min
Introduced by Robert Beavers and Mark Webber

Throughout his life, Markopoulos remained closely connected to his heritage and ultimately saw the Greek landscape as the ideal setting for viewing his films. The Illiac Passion, one of his most highly acclaimed films, is a visionary interpretation of ‘Prometheus Bound’ starring mythical beings from the 1960s underground. The soundtrack of this contemporary re-imagining of the classical realm features a reading of Thoreau’s translation of the Aeschylus text and excerpts from Bartok.

The Illiac Passion, which features chiaroscuro passages reminiscent of Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome of 1954, and incorporates 25 characters, is loosely based on Aeschylus’ ‘Prometheus Bound’. For a viewer seeing this extravagant ode to creation some thirty years after its making, the film’s most plangent moments involve Markopoulos’ affectionate casting of friends as mythical figures – Andy Warhol’s Poseidon pumping on an Exercycle above a sea of plastic, Taylor Mead’s Demon leaping, grimacing, and streaming vermilion fringes, and Jack Smith’s bohemian Orpheus, spending a quiet afternoon at home with Eurydice.” (Kristin M. Jones, Artforum)

Co-presented with Cinema Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sep
19
Fri
2014
Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: 1 @ Harvard Film Archive
Sep 19 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: Program 1

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Bliss, 1967, 6 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Gammelion, 1968, 55 min
Followed by a conversation with P. Adams Sitney, Mark Webber and Robert Beavers

“To be loved means to be consumed. To love means to radiate with inexhaustible light. To be loved is to pass away, to love is to endure.” (Text by Rainer Maria Rilke, recited on the soundtrack of Gammelion.)

GAMMELION
Markopoulos’ elegant film of the castle of Roccasinibalda in Rieti, Italy, (then owned by patron, publisher and activist Caresse Crosby) employs an intricate system of fades to extend five minutes of footage to an hour of viewing time. This inventive new film form, in which brief images appear amongst measures of black and clear frames, was a crucial step towards Markopoulos’ monumental final work Eniaios (1947-91).

BLISS
An exquisite portrait of the interior of a Byzantine church on the Greek island of Hydra, edited in-camera in the moment of filming.

Part of Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos at Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA.

Sep
20
Sat
2014
Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: 2 @ Harvard Film Archive
Sep 20 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: Program 2

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Himself as Herself, 1967, 60 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, The Dead Ones, 1949, 28 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Through a Lens Brightly: Mark Turbyfill, 1967, 15min
Introduced by Mark Webber

HIMSELF AS HERSELF
“Loosely based on Balzac’s novel Seraphita but merging its male and female protagonists, the film is at once melancholy and transcendent, laden with the gloom of what Markopoulos termed the character’s denial of self but also alive with the possibility of transformation. Clad in formal attire, the young hero seems the essence of maleness, yet he’s troubled by vaguely feminine objects – a fluttering fan, a gold-colorred foot standing on fur. Soon his masculine and feminine selves are intercut, the latter signaled not by drag but by a simple sari, as each of his identities appears to look and gesture at the other. The images are tinged with a powerful if partially suppressed eroticism, yet the plush interiors (this is a rich young man) trap us in a deadened world of opulence, the thick colors embedding the character in the decor. Most important, Markopoulos’s radical editing intercuts two or three scenes, sometimes in a single-frame flicker, which undermines the stability of any one locale or person, each image poised to escape its immediate moment.” (Fred Camper)

THE DEAD ONES
Markopoulos’ first attempt at making a 35mm feature film, clearly inspired by the cinema of Jean Cocteau, was left unfinished and the materials were lost for many years.

THROUGH A LENS BRIGHTLY: MARK TURBYFILL
The life of painter, dancer and poet Mark Turbyfill, seen in his 70th year, is evoked through Markopoulos’ unique form of cinematic portraiture.

Part of Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos at Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA.

Sep
21
Sun
2014
Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: 3 @ Harvard Film Archive
Sep 21 @ 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: Program 3

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Galaxie, 1966, 82 min
Introduced by Mark Webber and Roy Grundmann

Galaxie is his intimate record of cultural luminaries in mid-1960s New York: 33 painters, poets, filmmakers, choreographers, and critics, including W. H. Auden, Jasper Johns, Susan Sontag, Paul Thek, Maurice Sendak, Shirley Clarke, George and Mike Kuchar, and Allen Ginsberg, whom he observed in their studios or homes and filmed in a single session. While Andy Warhol had his Screen Tests, and Brakhage and Jonas Mekas were also making their own beautiful film portraits, Markopoulos perfected a technique of layering and editing within his Bolex camera that had the effect, he noted, of making “the idea and the image more concentrated; the result a more brilliant appeal to the mind and dormant senses.” (Museum of Modern Art, NY)

Part of Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos at Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA.

Sep
22
Mon
2014
Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: 4 @ Harvard Film Archive
Sep 22 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: Program 4

Gregory J. Markopoulos, A Christmas Carol, 1940, 5 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Christmas USA, 1949, 8 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Du Sang, de la volupté et de la mort, 1947-48, 70 min
Introduced by Robert Beavers

Made as a USC student in Los Angeles, Markopoulos’ first 16mm film Psyche took as its source the unfinished novella of the same name by Pierre Louÿs. Shown together with Lysis and Charmides (both made on his return to Toledo, Ohio, and inspired by Platonic dialogues), it forms the trilogy titled Du sang de la volupte et de la mort (1947-48). By boldly addressing lesbian and homosexual themes, the trilogy gained unwelcome notices in Films in Review and Variety where, in the repressive atmosphere of the early 1950s, it was branded “degenerate” following a screening at NYU. Such a response is unimaginable today for lyrical works that express sensuality through the symbolic use of color and composition. Writing about these early films, Markopoulos chose to quote a statement by philosopher and theologian Mircea Eliade, offering viewers a clue to his entire body of work: “The whole man is engaged when he listens to myths and legends; consciously or not, their message is always deciphered and absorbed in the end.” The programme also includes his earliest film, an interpretation of Dickens made when the Markopoulos was only eight years old, and Christmas USA, in which documentary and fiction are woven together to convey a moment of awakening in the mid-West at the end of the 1940s. (Mark Webber)

Part of Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos at Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA.

Sep
28
Sun
2014
Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: 5 @ Harvard Film Archive
Sep 28 @ 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: Program 5

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Genius, 1970/1989-91, 60 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Gilbert and George, 1975/1989-91, 12 min

“Beloved spectators of my distant Temenos, what evolved was the ultimate concern for the medium of film. A continuous working decision not to betray you as film spectators; not to impose a message in your laps. But to deposit before you on a virile screen the very depths which concerned the present work in such a manner that you might one day at its presentation realize that I have been concerned always for you. I now repeat again the word, an effortless illusion and triumph with the legend of Faust; and, with the future film spectator of the Temenos supplying the very brilliance.” (Gregory J. Markopoulos)

GENIUS
Portraits of the artists David Hockney and Leonor Fini are intercut with one of art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Initially Markopoulos shot three autonomous portraits, but he quickly came to believe that he had been making a version of Faust without realizing it. He first called the film The Illuminations of Faust and later settled on Genius. In his essay ‘The Redeeming of the Contrary’, published in the Spring 1971 issue of Film Culture, Markopoulos stressed the ambiguity of his creation and the intuitive nature of his working processes: “I had no idea that these three figures of the art world … would become the very elements of my Faust. And yet they did. They evolved, once the decision was made, effortlessly.” The spontaneity of this evolution from autonomous portraits of figures “sitting in their own rooms” lies at the core of what Markopoulos took to be his gift to his future audience. (P. Adams Sitney)

GILBERT AND GEORGE
A portrait of the British artists, two living sculptures, filmed in Paris on the occasion of their exhibition at the Sonnabend Gallery. (Mark Webber)

Part of Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos at Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA.

Film as Film: Three Films by Gregory J. Markopoulos @ Basilica Hudson
Sep 28 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Film as Film: Three Films by Gregory J. Markopoulos

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Ming Green, 1966, 7 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Twice a Man, 1963, 48 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Through a Lens Brightly: Mark Turbyfill, 1967, 14 min
Introduced by Mark Webber and Robert Beavers

Celebrating the publication of Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos (The Visible Press), filmmaker Robert Beavers, and the book’s editor Mark Webber will present a very rare screening of three early Markopoulos films that were made in the United States in the mid-1960s.

Co-presented by Basilica Hudson and the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Bard College.

MING GREEN
Dedicated to Stan Brakhage. Music: Traumen / Wesendonck Lieder by Richard Wagner. Filmed in New York City.
“An extraordinary self-portrait conveyed through multiple layered superimpositions of the filmmaker’s sparsely furnished room in Greenwich Village.” (Mark Webber)

TWICE A MAN
Based on the story of Hippolytus. Featuring Paul Kilb, Olympia Dukakis, Albert Torgesen. Music: Excerpt from Manfred Symphony, op. 58 by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Filmed in New York City, Staten Island, Long Island and Bear Mountain Park.
Twice A Man is a fragmented re-imagining of the Greek myth of Hippolytus, who was killed after rejecting the advances of his stepmother. Markopoulos’ vision transposes the legend to 1960s New York and has its main character abandon his mother for an elder man. Employing sensuous use of colour, the film radicalised narrative construction with its mosaic of ‘thought images’ that shift tenses and compress time. One of the touchstones of independent filmmaking, Twice A Man was made in the same remarkable milieu as Scorpio Rising and Flaming Creatures by a filmmaker named ‘the American avant-garde cinema’s supreme erotic poet’ by its key critic P. Adams Sitney.” (Mark Webber)

THROUGH A LENS BRIGHTLY: MARK TURBYFILL
Featuring Mark Turbyfill. Filmed in Chicago.
“The life of painter, dancer and poet Mark Turbyfill, seen in his 70th year, is evoked through traditional portraiture and personal objects.” (Mark Webber)

Basilica Screenings is a film series that presents an array of works from new and repertory narrative features, documentaries, experimental films, to video and media art, often with filmmakers and special guests in attendance for a discussion following the screenings. Programmed by Basilica Hudson’s film curator Aily Nash, and creative directors Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone.

Sep
29
Mon
2014
Gregory Markopoulos: Collected Writings @ The Kitchen
Sep 29 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Gregory Markopoulos: Collected Writings

Celebrating the publication of Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos (The Visible Press), filmmaker Robert Beavers, scholar Daniel Heller-Roazen, and the volume’s editor Mark Webber will lead a discussion of Markopoulos’ unique vision of film and the film spectator. Following the discussion will be a very rare screening of one reel of his magnum opus, Eniaios. This publication contains some ninety out-of-print or previously unavailable articles by the Greek-American filmmaker (1928-1992) who, as a contemporary of Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage and Andy Warhol, was at the forefront of a movement that established a truly independent form of cinema. Beginning with his early writings on the American avant-garde and auteurs such as Dreyer, Bresson, and Mizoguchi, it also features numerous essays on Markopoulos’ own practice, and on films by Beavers, that were circulated only in journals, self-published editions, or program notes. The texts become increasingly metaphysical and poetic as the filmmaker pursued his ideal of Temenos, an archive and screening space to be located at a remote site in the Peloponnese where his epic, final work Eniaios could be viewed in harmony with the Greek landscape.

In the last decades of his life, working quietly in Europe, Markopoulos re-edited his whole body of earlier films and dozens of new ones into one magnum opus, Eniaios. It is one of the longest films ever made: the complete film lasts approximately 80 hours and is divided into 22 cycles. From the moment he began to construct it, it was Markopoulos’ intention that Eniaios be projected only at the open-air site of what he called “The Temenos,” in a field near the village of Lyssaraia, the birthplace of his father in the Peloponnese of mainland Greece. For Eniaios, the summa of his career, Markopoulos wished to create a deeply personal and utterly unique cinematic experience. He chose the site for its natural beauty; he had conceived the Temenos as a viewing space where the physical environment would be in harmony with his idea of cinema as an instrument of philosophical and psychological revelation. In calling his projection space “The Temenos,” the filmmaker was invoking the religious traditions of ancient Greece, where a portion of land was set aside for the ritual worship of a god. The original meaning of the term “Temenos” is “a piece of land set apart.” Markopoulos wanted his life work shown in a space “set apart,” when after years of working in the international arena of the experimental film, he grew disillusioned with the interrelated commercialism of the film industry, the universities, and the art museums. He was convinced that the grandeur of what he called “film as film” required something radically different.

Gregory Markopoulos: The Collected Writings is made possible with support from Axe-Houghton Foundation and Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Oct
5
Sun
2014
Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: 6 @ Harvard Film Archive
Oct 5 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos: Program 6

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Hagiographia II, 1970/1989-91, 60 min

Past the gates of the Temenos, and upon the twin hills the film spectator of the future will encounter the immeasurable works of Beavers and Markopoulos. On one hill will be the space of Beavers. On another hill there will be the space of Markopoulos. Here the film spectator of the future will devote himself to eternity, to the works of Beavers, to the works of Markopoulos. The spectres of distribution will have been vanquished; the spectres of projection will have been vanquished; the spectres of printing will have been vanquished. The patron of the Temenos will be he who is also unknown; he who is without gifts of any kind; he who will be as immortal as the works being presented; he who will recognize that of all the arts only film needs a space in which to be seen; the rest is all artificial: museums, theatres and such. Only in the heart of the Peloponnesus, in Pelop’s land will film culture survive enhanced by the spirit of a truly simple and free people; the Greeks. The Greece today maligned by the truly lesser powers will be the victor.”(Gregory J. Markopoulos, The Filmmaker’s Perception in Contemplation, 1972)

Part of Film as Film: The Cinema of Gregory Markopoulos at Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA.

Oct
9
Thu
2014
Gregory J. Markopoulos: Talk + Screening @ Courtisane
Oct 9 @ 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Gregory J. Markopoulos: Talk + Screening

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Twice a Man, 1963, 48 min
Preceded by an illustrated talk by Mark Webber

To celebrate the publication of Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos, the book’s editor Mark Webber will give an illustrated talk to introduce Markopoulos’ work, his extraordinary writings of cinema, and his landmark film Twice a Man (1963).

TWICE A MAN
Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1963, USA, 16mm, colour, sound, 48 minutes
Twice A Man is a fragmented re-imagining of the Greek myth of Hippolytus, who was killed after rejecting the advances of his stepmother. Markopoulos’ vision transposes the legend to 1960s New York and has its main character abandon his mother for an elder man. Employing sensuous use of colour, the film radicalised narrative construction with its mosaic of ‘thought images’ that shift tenses and compress time. One of the touchstones of independent filmmaking, Twice A Man was made in the same remarkable milieu as Scorpio Rising and Flaming Creatures by a filmmaker named ‘the American avant-garde cinema’s supreme erotic poet’ by its key critic P. Adams Sitney.” (Mark Webber)
Featuring Paul Kilb, Olympia Dukakis, Albert Torgesen. Music: Excerpt from Manfred Symphony, op. 58 by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Filmed in New York City, Staten Island, Long Island and Bear Mountain Park.

Presented by Courtisane, in collaboration with UGent – Vakgroep Kunst-, Muziek- en Theaterwetenschappen on the occasion of the course “Sleutelmomenten uit de geschiedenis van de experimentele film en videokunst” by Prof. Dr. Steven Jacobs.

Don’t miss the screenings of Markopoulos’ films at the ÂGE D’OR festival at Cinematek Brussels.

Oct
10
Fri
2014
L’âge d’or: Markopoulos 1 @ Cinematek Salle Ledoux
Oct 10 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Markopoulos 1

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Twice a Man, 1963, 48 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, Through a Lens Brightly: Mark Turbyfill, 1967, 14 min
Introduced by Mark Webber

A major achievement in Markopoulos’ research in terms of editing and the use of colour, Twice a Man is considered by many to be the filmmaker’s masterpiece. This contemporary transposition of the myth of Phaedra, aesthetically shattered, reinvents melodrama. Followed by a magnificent portrait of the dancer and poet Mark Turbyfill, whose vibrant images seem intertwined in an almost musical structure.

Oct
12
Sun
2014
L’âge d’or: Markopoulos 2 @ Cinematek Salle Ledoux
Oct 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Markopoulos 2

Gregory J. Markopoulos, Bliss, 1967, 6 min
Gregory J. Markopoulos, The Illiac Passion, 1964-67, 92 min
Introduced by Mark Webber and Robert Beavers

A visionary interpretation of the myth of Prometheus, The Illiac Passion is also one of the most acclaimed movies of the author. In this ode to creation, Markopoulos gave Jack Smith the role of Orpheus, casts Andy Warhol as Poseidon and Gregory Battcock as Phaeton. Bartók’s musical passages and text excerpts from Aeschylus, translated by Thoreau and read by Markopoulos, compose the soundtrack. Preceded by a lyrical description of a Byzantine church on the Greek island of Hydra.

Events Archive

Peter Gidal / Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016

A list of screenings and events that have taken place in support of Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016 is shown below. A maximum of 20 events are shown per page. Please use the monthly navigation links at the top or bottom of this list to view more recent events. Details can be expanded by using the ‘+’ symbol, and the ‘read more’ link within each event window.

Feb
3
Wed
2016
23 Filmmakers: Programme One @ BFI Southbank
Feb 3 @ 6:10 pm – 7:50 pm

23 Filmmakers: Programme One

Paul Sharits, Word Movie, 1966, 4 min
Joyce Wieland, Sailboat, 1967, 5 min
Malcolm Le Grice, Yes No Maybe Maybe Not, 1967, 8 min
Barbara Meter, From the Exterior, 1970, 7 min
Hollis Frampton, Lemon, 1969, 7 min
Michael Snow, Standard Time, 1967, 8 min
Valie Export, Adjungierte Dislokationen, 1973, 8 min
David Crosswaite, Film No. 1, 1971, 10 min
Stephen Dwoskin, Dirty, 1967, 11 min
Mike Dunford, Still Life With Pear, 1973, 14 min
Andy Warhol, Screen Tests, 1960s, 6 min
Martha Haslanger, Syntax, 1974, 13 min

The two dozen films selected are representative of the programmes we did at the London Film Co-op Cinema 1971-1974, in retrospect an astonishing array of radical 70s experimental cinema. On rainy (was it Wednesday?) nights on mattresses collected from various churches and warehouses properly cleaned, 30 to 100 people would watch around 90 minutes of experimental film at its best, international, hundreds of films by literally dozens of men and women; some famous, some infamous, most pretty much unknown at that time. There were always last minute additions and changes hastily scribbled on the sheet stuck to the entrance, or someone would mention they’d just finished a film and … but 80% of the programmes were organised and then written about in Time Out, all this apart from the open screenings … all in that cold dark red and black painted cinema, never could quite get the six big windows to shut properly. And through all this, the conventional position of the viewer was radically changed, of meaning making, of production versus consumption, of notions and inculcations of truth, beauty, and the politics of the aesthetic.

Peter Gidal

NB: Joint ticket available with programme 2: £16 / £12 concessions (members pay £1.70 less)

23 Filmmakers: Programme Two @ BFI Southbank
Feb 3 @ 8:30 pm – 10:15 pm

23 Filmmakers: Programme Two

Piero Heliczer, Dirt, 1966, 12 min
Marcel Duchamp, Anemic Cinema, 1926, 7 min
Pola Chapelle, Fishes in Screaming Water, 1969, 6 min
Marilyn Bailey, Footsteps, 1975, 7 min
William Raban, View, 1970, 4 min
Annabel Nicolson, Shapes, 1971, 11 min
John Du Cane, Lenseless, 1971, 5 min
Kurt Kren, 3/60 Bäume Im Herbst, 1960, 5 min
Peter Gidal, C/O/N/S/T/R/U/C/T/, 1974, 13 min
Lis Rhodes, Dresden Dynamo, 1972, 5 min
Gill Eatherley, Lens and Mirror Film, 1973, 3 min

The two dozen films selected are representative of the programmes we did at the London Film Co-op Cinema 1971-1974, in retrospect an astonishing array of radical 70s experimental cinema. On rainy (was it Wednesday?) nights on mattresses collected from various churches and warehouses properly cleaned, 30 to 100 people would watch around 90 minutes of experimental film at its best, international, hundreds of films by literally dozens of men and women; some famous, some infamous, most pretty much unknown at that time. There were always last minute additions and changes hastily scribbled on the sheet stuck to the entrance, or someone would mention they’d just finished a film and … but 80% of the programmes were organised and then written about in Time Out, all this apart from the open screenings … all in that cold dark red and black painted cinema, never could quite get the six big windows to shut properly. And through all this, the conventional position of the viewer was radically changed, of meaning making, of production versus consumption, of notions and inculcations of truth, beauty, and the politics of the aesthetic.

Peter Gidal

NB: Joint ticket available with programme 1: £16 / £12 concessions (members pay £1.70 less)

Mar
16
Wed
2016
Peter Gidal: Close Up @ Northern Charter
Mar 16 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Peter Gidal: Close Up at AV Festival, Newcastle

Peter Gidal, Close Up, 1983, 70 min
Introduced by Mark Webber

This rare screening of Peter Gidal’s ‘feature length’ film Close Up anticipates the publication of Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016, a collection of essays by one of film’s great polemicists. Gidal was a central figure during the formative years of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative, whose 50th anniversary is being celebrated throughout 2016, and made some its most radical works. His cinema is anti-narrative, against representation and fiercely materialist. In Close Up, Gidal’s political, ultra-leftist practice is augmented by the disembodied voices of Nicaraguan revolutionaries heard on the soundtrack.

Presented by the AV Festival 2016 as part of Resistance: British Documentary Film, more information about all the films in the series here.

 

Apr
10
Sun
2016
Shoot Shoot Shoot (St Ives) @ Porthmeor Studios
Apr 10 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Shoot Shoot Shoot

An afternoon of screenings celebrating the first decade of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative (1966–76), the predecessor of LUX. The LFMC was founded in October 1966 as a non-commercial distributor of avant-garde cinema. In contrast to similar groups that emerged around the world, it grew to incorporate a distribution service, cinema space and film laboratory. Within this unique facility, filmmakers were able to control every aspect of the creative process. Many explored the material aspects of celluloid, whilst others experimented with multiple projection and performance-based ‘expanded cinema’. Despite the physical hardship of its survival, this artist-led organisation asserted the significance of British work internationally, and anticipated today’s vibrant culture of artists’ moving image. The early history of the LFMC will be documented in a display of films and ephemera in the Archive Gallery at Tate Britain (25 April to 17 July 2016), and a book will be published by LUX this autumn.

3pm
Guy Sherwin, At The Academy, 1974, 5 min
Marilyn Halford, Footsteps, 1974, 6 min
Peter Gidal, Key, 1968, 10 min
Annabel Nicolson, Slides, 1970, 12 min (18fps)
Malcolm Le Grice, Berlin Horse, 1970, 8 min
Lis Rhodes, Dresden Dynamo, 1974, 5 min
Chris Garratt, Romantic Italy, 1975, 8 min
John Smith, Associations, 1975, 7 min

5pm
William Raban & Chris Welsby, River Yar, 1971–72, 35 min (double screen projection)

Curated and presented by Mark Webber. Screenings are free to attend, but please register via Eventbrite.

Apr
14
Thu
2016
Peter Gidal: Flare Out @ Tate Britain
Apr 14 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Peter Gidal: Flare Out – Screening & Book Launch

Peter Gidal, Assumption, 1997, 1 min
Peter Gidal, Key, 1968-69, 10 min
Peter Gidal, Kopenhagen/1930, 1977, 40 min
Peter Gidal, not far at all, 2013, 15 min
Introduced by Peter Gidal and Mark Webber

A screening of four films by Peter Gidal to celebrate the publication of Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016, a collection of his essays on film, art and aesthetics. Gidal was a central figure during the formative years of the London Film-Makers’ Co-op and made some its most radical works. His cinema is anti-narrative, against representation and fiercely materialist, and his writings are similarly polemical and unique. This programme of films from the 1960s to the present includes his most recent work, and will be followed by a discussion with Peter Gidal.

“He draws out singularities. He allows the camera only a fenced in area, piecemeal. He lets the gaze hold on objects and constantly repeats … this permits the possibilities of the discrepancies between one’s own seeing and seeing with the camera to become distinct, and this in turn allows for a completely different experience of the surroundings.” (Birgit Hein)

Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016, edited by Mark Webber and Peter Gidal, is published by The Visible Press. www.thevisiblepress.com

Assumption
Peter Gidal, 1997, 16mm, colour, sound, 1 minute
Assumption features glimpses of life at the London Film-Makers’ Co-op; but is more than a potted history of an organisation. It pays tribute to Mary Pat Leece, a founding member of Four Corners Film Workshop and a teacher at Chelsea and Saint Martins Schools of Art, one of the true innovators of the independent film sector. With its virtuoso editing, voice-overs and scrolling titles, it works as a densely-plotted celebration of independent film culture at the end of the 1990s.

Key
Peter Gidal, 1968-69, 16mm, colour, sound, 10 minutes
A slow zoom-out and image dissolve (defocus) of … (+feedback sound).

Kopenhagen/1930
Peter Gidal, 1977, 16mm, b/w, silent, 40 minutes
Kopenhagen/1930 presents a different attitude to the seductions of content, to the signifying processes that are repressed in the rigorous procedures of the Structural/Materialist film. Its material is ‘images by George Gidal, Copenhagen 1930’: photographs, their grounding and their signification.

not far at all
Peter Gidal, 2013, 16mm, colour, sound, 15 minutes
First film in 5 years, tempted to say different yet the same, but not. not far at all’s soundtrack, just for the record, is concrete/abstract without language.

Apr
25
Mon
2016
Shoot Shoot Shoot (exhibition) @ Tate Britain
Apr 25 – Jul 17 all-day

Shoot Shoot Shoot: The London Film-Makers’ Co-operative 1966–1976

This exhibition traces the first decade of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative through a selection of documents, ephemera and films from the period. The LFMC was founded in October 1966 as a non-commercial distributor of avant-garde cinema. In contrast to similar groups that emerged around the world, it grew to incorporate a distribution service, cinema space and film laboratory. Within this unique facility, filmmakers were able to control every aspect of the creative process. Many explored the material aspects of celluloid, whilst others experimented with multiple projection and performance-based ‘expanded cinema’. Despite the physical hardship of its survival, this artist-led organisation asserted the significance of British work internationally, and contributed towards today’s vibrant culture of artists’ moving image.

Curated by Mark Webber. Presented by LUX in association with the British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection.

The book “Shoot Shoot Shoot: The First Decade of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative & British Avant-Garde Film 1966-76” will be published by LUX in October 2016.

May
9
Mon
2016
Writing, “Undercut” & the LFMC @ BFI Southbank
May 9 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Writing, ‘Undercut’ and the London Filmmakers’ Co-operative

A discussion around the London Filmmakers’ Co-operative, focussing on one of the key publications to emerge from it, Undercut (1981-1990). Published by a collective of filmmakers, artists, critics and writers, Undercut provided a unique platform for the debates and practices of experimental film and video throughout the 1980s. Chaired by Kathryn Siegel (King’s College London), our panel includes filmmakers Peter Gidal, Nina Danino, and artist / curator Michael Maziere.

Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016, edited by Mark Webber and Peter Gidal, is published by The Visible Press. www.thevisiblepress.com

May
14
Sat
2016
Struggles with Apprehension: Films by Peter Gidal @ TIFF Bell Lightbox
May 14 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Struggles with Apprehension: Films by Peter Gidal

Peter Gidal, Assumption, 1997, 1 min
Peter Gidal, Room Film 1973, 1973, 46 min
Peter Gidal, Key, 1968-69, 10 min

“I try to make films where each image, each object, is never given the hold of any recognition. Not to reproduce the given as given, to see each image, each object, each imaginary space-time narrative as imaginary projection, so that nothing takes on the status of truth. The lack of recognition … can force the construction of all representational motives as constructions, as artifice, as unnatural, as ideology, so that representation is always impossible.” (Peter Gidal)

The Visible Press’ recent publication of a collection of Peter Gidal’s essays, Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966-2016 (available in the TIFF Shop), offers a welcome occasion to take another look at the British artist’s body of work. In contrast to the North American conception of Structural filmmaking practiced by Michael Snow, Hollis Frampton et al — where the reduction of cinema to formal techniques (zooms, constrained sets of images, etc.) could function as metaphors for consciousness — Gidal argued for a Marxist-inspired “Structural/Materialist” filmmaking, wherein those techniques will aid in our “unlearning” of the ideological assumptions behind such metaphors. Contending that cinematic illusionism bred passivity and capitulation to dominant forms, Gidal viewed Structuralist/Materialist film as a political strike not only against cinematic narrative, but against representation itself — a theory and practice that has attracted such acolytes as Cerith Wyn Evans (once a student of Gidal’s), Nicky Hamlyn and Emily Wardill. For Gidal, however, denial of representation is not the same thing as the denial of beauty, and his films can be richly rewarding in their evocations of the tactility of experience.

Made at the high point of the development of Gidal’s controversial ideas, Room Film 1973 belies the sweeping tone of its author’s polemics by literally being confined to a single room. Comprised of lumbering patterns of short shots, reprinted optically to enhance the grain and the colour, Room Film 1973 is experientially equivalent to groping around with a flashlight, trying to make sense of a liminal space where shadow and form intermix. The result is strangely beautiful, a profound questioning of the vision that we so often take for granted. (Michael Snow said of the film that “I felt as if my father made it, as if it were made by a blind man. I liked the tentativeness … one had to work at it, that searching tentative quality, that quality of trying to see.”)

Room Film 1973 is paired with two short pieces that take different tacks in their questioning of the cinematic image. Assumption — a tribute to the then recently deceased filmmaker Mary Pat Leece and the old London Film Makers’ Cooperative (of which Gidal was a central figure, and which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year) — is a condensed, one-minute film that depicts the operations of memory as a collision of images, text, and sounds. Key centres on a photograph of Nico (Gidal frequently wrote on Warhol’s work) which Gidal abstracts beyond recognition through a zoom, legibility never fully resolving beyond a dazzling canvas of pointillist colours.

Chris Kennedy

May
20
Fri
2016
Peter Gidal: Close Up at Close Up @ Close Up Film Centre
May 20 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Peter Gidal: Close Up at Close Up

Peter Gidal, Close Up, 1983, 70 min
Introduced by Mark Webber and Peter Gidal

Close Up is crystal hard, intransigent, and film in extremis. In short, one of the best ‘political’ films made in this country.”
(Michael O’Pray, Monthly Film Bulletin)

A rare screening of Peter Gidal’s ‘feature length’ film Close Up (1983) to coincide with the publication of Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016, a collection of essays by one of film’s great polemicists. Gidal was a central figure during the formative years of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative and made some its most radical works. His cinema is anti-narrative, against representation, and fiercely materialist.

In Close Up, Gidal’s political, ultra-leftist practice is augmented by the disembodied voices of two Nicaraguan revolutionaries heard on the soundtrack. These voices punctuate a film whose representation of a room, an inhabited space, is one in which the viewer must consciously search for recognition, for meaning-making. The image-content is muted and abstract, but continually fascinating, with moments of (no-doubt) inadvertent beauty.

Presented in association with LUX. Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016, edited by Mark Webber and Peter Gidal, is available now from The Visible Press, and will be on sale at the screening.

Close Up
Peter Gidal, 1983, 16mm, colour, sound, 70 minutes

“After three years, this film attempts yet again to deal with the problematizing of filmic representation in sound and image: the overtly politically-polemical soundtrack from Nicaragua must not synchronise with, nor must it find a separate continuum of reality away from, the image sequences.

“Without avoiding the interrogation of narrative/anti-narrative cinematic structures (the way the images, and the sounds, at times hold/do not hold … or the way they attempt to force a position contradictory to any representational imaginary or homogeneity, of constructed space, time, ego, language, film) an attempted materialist use of sound and image must be at the same time an anti-individualist work.

“Both the sound-contradictions, and the image-contradictions, of subjectivity in this film (and of this film) must be in constant process with/against the political polemic: the film can not allow for a final exclusion of either (neither some pure documentary reality nor some pure formal dialectic). The viewer’s attempts, via her/his/the cultural context of meaning making (political/sexual/narrative) are worked against by the film’s process. The work against the capitalist patriarchal position of narrative, in other words, is (still, and in specificity) the main interest.”

Peter Gidal, August 1983

May
25
Wed
2016
Peter Gidal: Flare Out @ Centre Pompidou
May 25 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Peter Gidal: Flare Out

Peter Gidal, Clouds, 1969, 10 min
Peter Gidal, Flare Out, 1992, 20 min
Peter Gidal, Volcano, 2002, 30 min
Peter Gidal, not far at all, 2013, 15 min

“Mental activation toward material analysis is the process that is relevant, whether or not actual structure is ‘revealed’.” (Peter Gidal, 1969)

For five decades, Peter Gidal has sought to problematise the film-viewing process by creating works that resist recognition and identification. His practice posits film as a durational experience and negates analysis on psychological grounds. This programme, featuring the seminal film Clouds (1969) and later works Flare Out (1992), Volcano (2002) and not far at all (2013), surveys his radical and unique approach.

Gidal has been based in the UK since the late 1960s, and was a central figure during the formative years of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative. He is a noted writer and polemicist, whose “Theory and Definition of Structural/Materialist Film” is a key text of avant-garde cinema. The screening celebrates the publication of “Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016”, a collection of Gidal’s essays on film, art and aesthetics, and will be introduced by the filmmaker and editor/publisher Mark Webber.

Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016, edited by Mark Webber and Peter Gidal, is published by The Visible Press.

Clouds
Peter Gidal, 1969, 16mm, b/w, sound, 10 minutes
The anti-illusionist project engaged by Clouds is that of dialectical materialism. There is virtually nothing on screen, in the sense of in screen. Obsessive repetition as materialist practice not psychoanalytical indulgence. (PG)

Flare Out
Peter Gidal, 1992, 16mm, colour, sound, 20 minutes
Sound: unrecognition unidentified, in time, you hear? Image: recognition identified, out of time in time; not not knowing the unknown but not knowing the known, no trace of ‘no trace of any thing’. e.g. grain: is grain silver, black & white, or colour? Is silver black & white or colour? You see? (PG)

Volcano
Peter Gidal, 2002, 16mm, b/w & colour, silent, 30 minutes
The film attempts to deal with those questions of representation that persist as problematic, for me, for the basic questions of aesthetics, what it is to view, how to view the unknown, as to view the known is not possibly a viewing. The question of recognition, the impossibility of recognition or, better said, the impossibility of a viewer viewing at all if it is predicated upon recognition … At that moment, you the viewer I the viewer am no longer part of a process, a material however metaphysical or not process of making meaning through the conflicts of perception of something … In Volcano light’s afterimage, the shot of light after image, becomes as obliterative as dark’s … Thereby the temporal break caused by transparent leader, and by black leader, becomes differently spatial and temporal, as to the “something missing”… (PG)

not far at all
Peter Gidal, 2013, 16mm, colour, sound, 15 minute
First film in 5 years, tempted to say different yet the same, but not. not far at all’s soundtrack, just for the record, is concrete/abstract without language. (PG)

Oct
7
Fri
2016
Peter Gidal: 1 @ Cinematek
Oct 7 @ 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm

Introduction to Peter Gidal: 1

Peter Gidal, Clouds, 1969, 10 min
Peter Gidal, Flare Out, 1992, 20 min
Peter Gidal, Volcano, 2002, 30 min
Peter Gidal, not far at all, 2013, 15 min
Introduced by Peter Gidal and Mark Webber

From his first period (Clouds, 1969) to his latest film (not far at all), through Flare Out, the 1992 film that gives the recent book from The Visible Press its title, Gidal frames empty skies and a volcano to question, by the means of film, what the viewer believes he sees and “[to pose] the basic questions of aesthetics, what it is to view, how to view the unknown as to view the known is not possibly a viewing.”

Olivier Dekegel

Oct
8
Sat
2016
Peter Gidal: 2 @ Cinematek
Oct 8 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Introduction to Peter Gidal: 2

Peter Gidal, Hall, 1968-69, 10 min
Peter Gidal, Key, 1968-69, 10 min
Peter Gidal, Room Film 1973, 1973, 46 min (at 18fps)
Introduced by Peter Gidal and Mark Webber

Two short and one medium length film from Peter Gidal’s first period. A very famous folk singer of the time is invoked, incognito (Key) but – above all – many elements of the film language (editing and jump-cut, repetition, duration, zoom, focus, blur, etc.) are used to question film, and our gaze. Jonas Mekas was an admirer of Room Film 1973: “I was particularly impressed with Gidal’s film, which from what I’ve seen may be his best to date. Very subtly and very plastically it deals with light. The film is uncompromisingly rigid in its minimality of action. A very beautifully realised piece of work […] It is denitely contemporary in feeling and substance. It is one of the best lms to come out of the London School.”

Olivier Dekegel

Oct
9
Sun
2016
Peter Gidal: 3 @ Cinematek
Oct 9 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Introduction to Peter Gidal: 3

Peter Gidal, Assumption, 1997, 1 min
Peter Gidal, Epilogue, 1978, 9 min
Peter Gidal, C/O/N/S/T/R/U/C/T, 1974/2016, 13 min
Peter Gidal, Condition of Illusion, 1975, 30 min
Peter Gidal, Coda I, 2013, 2 min
Peter Gidal, Coda II, 2013, 2 min
Introduced by Mark Webber

From C/O/N/S/T/R/U/C/T, shown in Knokke, to the diptych Coda I + Coda II in 2013, in which the filmmaker uses a recording of the voice of William Burroughs, we get an overview of Gidals structural/materialist cinema, that refuses a ‘subject-centred image’ and is resolutely ‘anti-voyeuristic’. As for Assumption, it offers an approach to life at the London Film-Makers’ Co-op which goes beyond the history of an organisation and includes a tribute to Mary P. Leece, founder of the Four Corners film workshop.

Olivier Dekegel

Please Note: This programme will be repeated on Monday 10 October 2016, at 6:00pm

Oct
13
Thu
2016
Soft Floor, Hard Film: 50 Years of the London Film-Makers’ Co-op @ ICA
Oct 13 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Frieze Video, ICA Artists’ Film Club and LUX present

Soft Floor, Hard Film: 50 Years of the London Film-Makers’ Co-op

The London Film-Makers’ Co-operative (LFMC) started life at Better Books, a counter-culture bookshop on Charing Cross Road, where a group led by poet Bob Cobbing and filmmakers Stephen Dwoskin and Jeff Keen met to screen films. Initially inspired by the activities of the New American Cinema Group in New York, the London Co-op grew into a pioneering organisation that incorporated a film workshop, cinema space and distribution office. 

The LFMC played a crucial role in establishing moving image as an art form in the UK and internationally. Malcolm Le Grice, Peter Gidal, Annabel Nicolson and Lis Rhodes were among its active members in the 1960s and ’70s, and later associates included John Akomfrah, Derek Jarman and Isaac Julien. Through the work of LUX, which continues to manage its distribution collection, the radical, inventive and varied output of the LFMC continues to influence artists and filmmakers today.

On the 50th anniversary–to the day–of the LFMC’s formation, Frieze Video presents Soft Floor, Hard Film, a short video about the organisation produced in collaboration with artist and writer Matthew Noel-Tod, who will chair a discussion with former LFMC members on its early ideals and ongoing legacy.

The event also marks the launch of a new book, published by LUX and edited by Mark Webber. Shoot Shoot Shoot: The First Decade of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative 1966–76 brings together texts, interviews, images and archival documents, and includes newly commissioned essays by Mark Webber, Kathryn Siegel & Federico Windhausen.

Oct
23
Sun
2016
Peter Gidal: Flare Out: 1 @ Anthology Film Archives
Oct 23 @ 8:15 pm – 9:45 pm

Peter Gidal: Flare Out: Program 1

Peter Gidal, Hall, 1969, 10 min

Peter Gidal, Condition of Illusion, 1975, 30 min
Peter Gidal, Flare Out, 1992, 20 min

Peter Gidal, Coda I, 2013, 2 min

Peter Gidal, Coda II, 2013, 2 min

Introduced by Mark Webber

“Manipulation of response and awareness thereof: through repetition and duration of image. Film situation as structured, as recorrective mechanism.” (Peter Gidal, 1969)

The early film Hall presents a fixed view across a space of indeterminate depth that is continually disrupted by jump cuts and repeats. Despite the incessant ringing of (what may be) a doorbell, it is one of Gidal’s more accessible works. By the mid-1970s, the profilmic event had been entirely thrown into question. Variations in camera movement, lighting, exposure, focus, zooms, shot duration, repetition, and filming from photographs (rather than ‘reality’) were established as methods through which identification of/with an image could be negated. In Condition of Illusion the image remains unstable until the final section, a scrolling text with extended quotes from Althusser and Beckett. Other works do not contain similarly readable content: Flare Out is “out of time in time; not not knowing the unknown but not knowing the known, no trace of ‘no trace of any thing’,” the Codas (commissioned by Frieze, snatches of Burroughs on the soundtrack), “a complex of barely visible cuts in space and time, the opposite of erasure, but nothing so much as visible.”

Mark Webber

Oct
24
Mon
2016
Peter Gidal: Flare Out: 2 @ Anthology Film Archives
Oct 24 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Peter Gidal: Flare Out: Program 2

Peter Gidal, Assumption, 1997, 1 min
Peter Gidal, Clouds, 1969, 10 min

Peter Gidal, Silent Partner, 1977, 35 min
Peter Gidal, Epilogue, 1978, 7 min
Peter Gidal, not far at all, 2013, 15 min
Introduced by Mark Webber

“Mental activation toward material analysis is the process that is relevant, whether or not actual structure is ‘revealed’.” (Peter Gidal, 1969)

Clouds was the first real manifestation of Gidal’s anti-illusionist project, a film in which “There is virtually nothing on screen, in the sense of in screen. Obsessive repetition as materialist practice not psychoanalytical indulgence.” Assumption is, by stark contrast, exhilarating viewing. One of the densest minutes of all cinema, the screen bristles with recognizable images, fleeting texts and snatches of dialogue in tribute to filmmaker/activist Mary Pat Leece. Silent Partner and Epilogue return to the more familiar territory of domestic interiors, inhabited spaces interrogated by a restless camera. Anti-narrative, against representation, militant and uncompromising, yet despite themselves, strangely compelling. After a hiatus from filmmaking, Gidal returned in 2013 with not far at all: “tempted to say different yet the same, but not.” The film was awarded the L’age d’or Prize at the Brussels Cinematek in 2015.

Mark Webber

Jonathan Walley on Gidal

Jonathan Walley has constructed an extraordinary response to Peter Gidal’s “Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016” using text and images. The article is available online at World Picture Journal and can also be downloaded as a pdf.

The current issue 12 of World Picture (Winter 2017) was guest edited by film artist Luis Recoder and is structured around the theme of “Orthodox.” It opens with a new translation of Theodor Adorno’s “Freud in the Present” and features contributions by Brian L. Frye, Sandra Gibson, Laurence A. Rickels, Kiarina Kordela, Alexander García Düttmann and others.

Peter Gidal’s films Coda I and Coda II (both 2013) can also be streamed online through the journal’s website.

Walley writes: “Color plates in the middle of the book begin with reproductions from Gidal’s notebooks, handwriting scrawled on—of all things—graph paper; as if Gidal wanted some visual reminder of the structures he works against. The grid is an almost comically inapt backdrop to his purposely, persistently disordered, Sisyphusian (constantly starting again, re-trying) prose. Graph/draft paper: his writing retains a sense of the draft, the free-write, the process of working out rather than the completed object—the text—that is supposed to result.”  

Magasinet Walden 3/4

The new double issue of the Swedish language film journal Magasinet Walden is out now and includes a dossier on Peter Gidal. A newly commissioned essay by John Sundholm focuses on the temporal aspects of the ‘room films’, with particular emphasis on Room Film 1973, and is accompanied by translations of “Notes on my Film Work” (1975) and “Technology and Ideology in/through/and Avant-Garde Film: An Instance” (1980), two polemical Gidal texts drawn from “Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016“.

Issue 3/4 also contains articles on or by Nicole Brenez, Mary Helena Clark, Harun Farocki, Bani Khoshnoudi, Scott MacDonald, Anne Charlotte Robertson, Susana de Sousa Dias, Malin Wahlberg, and Peter Weiss.

Magasinet Walden is edited by Martin Grennberger and Stefan Ramstedt, whose introduction can be read here.

Single issues or subscribscriptions can be purchased online from www.magasinetwalden.se.