Summer Knowledge
William E. Jones
Anne Charlotte Robertson
Michael Robinson
Paul Sharits
Leslie Thornton
Emily Wardill 

December 4 – 19, 2009

Film Screening

Curated by Thomas Beard and Ed Halter, Summer Knowledge is a series of one-person screenings presenting a selection of artists working in the moving image. In keeping with the project of Beard and Halter's Brooklyn venue Light Industry, each screening allowed time for dialog and discussion. Summer Knowledge launched the first in a series of programs with Beard and Halter at Artists Space.

Friday, December 4, 7:30pm
Michael Robinson: Flowers in the Attic

Since 2000, Michael Robinson has created a body of film and video work that combines the formal vocabulary of avant-garde cinema with evocative appropriations of late 20th-century media artifacts, blending these materials into distinctively uncanny experiences, structured with the soft seductions of a pop song. Videogame environments and Catholic liturgy, the anodyne aesthetics of National Geographic and a histrionic scene from Little House on the Prairie flow together to explore the contours of collective memory through a poetics of devotion and loss.

Titles include:
Chiquitita and the Soft Escape, 16mm, 2003, 10 mins
you don’t bring me flowers, 16mm, 2005, 8 mins
The General Returns from One Place to Another, 16mm/video, 2006, 11 mins
And We All Shine On, 16mm, 2006, 7 mins
Victory Over the Sun, 16mm, 2007, 13 mins
Hold Me Now, video, 2008, 5 mins
All Through the Night, video, 2008, 5 mins
If There Be Thorns, 16mm/video, 2009, 12 mins

Saturday, December 5, 7:30pm
Emily Wardill: The Answer to the Riddle Was an Image

"The answer to the riddle was an image, but that image was remembered to be different from the way it had originally existed.”

Recalling both the compositional rigors of structural-materialist filmmakers like Peter Gidal as well as the inventive, lo-fi theatricality of New Romantics such as Derek Jarman, the films of Emily Wardill are a kind of strange, brilliant marriage of two wildly disparate traditions of British underground cinema. Radiating outward from such diverse elements as the writings of Nietzsche, a hypnosis case study, medieval iconography, and the chromophotography of Étienne Jules Marey, her work maintains a philosophical density and an agile visual sense. It represents a profoundly idiosyncratic approach to film form that also addresses some of the medium’s most fundamental questions, of the relationship between what we see and what we know, of representation and its limits.

Titles include:
Born Winged Animals and Honey Gatherers of the Soul, 16mm, 2005, 9 mins
Basking in What Feels Like 'An Ocean of Grace' I Soon Realise That I'm Not Looking at It, but Rather I Am It, Recognising Myself, 16mm, 2006, 8 mins
Ben, 16mm, 2007, 10 mins
Sick Serena and Dregs and Wreck and Wreck, 16mm, 2007, 10 mins
The Diamond (Descartes' Daughter), 16mm, 2008, 11 mins

Friday, December 11, 7:30pm
William E. Jones: v.o. + Film Montages (For Peter Roehr)

Based in Los Angeles, William E. Jones creates film, video and publications that investigate pornography and other marginal media as ephemeral archives of queer experience. This evening’s event presents his featurette v.o.(2006, 59 mins), a grubbily austere, conceptually elegant collection of dramatic non-sex scenes from the William Higgins-era golden age of gay porn films, set to a variety of disjunctively highbrow European soundtracks: an interview with Jean Genet, or clips of dialogue from films by the likes of Werner Schroeter and Raul Ruiz. To be shown with Jones’ Film Montages (For Peter Roehr)(2006, 11 mins), a video made in honor of the German artist that takes simple repetition as its first principle.

Saturday, December 12, 7:30pm
Anne Charlotte Robertson: Selections from the Five Year Diary

Totaling over thirty-six hours in length, Anne Charlotte Robertson’s Five Year Diary constitutes one of the most epic works ever recorded on Super 8: a densely collaged audio-visual chronicle of her daily life in Massachusetts and her battles with manic depression, paranoia and borderline schizophrenia. In the course of the Diary (which, begun in 1981, now covers well over five years), Robertson documents her own breakdowns and hospitalizations, her obsessive love for Doctor Who actor Tom Baker, her battles with weight, the side effects of drug therapies, and the death of her three-year-old niece, Emily. As Robertson describes it, her often harrowing Diary tells “the story of a mind’s survival.”

I think of my diaries as a materialization of the present, which is a storehouse. I used to think of them in terms of showing them to a man who would say to me, ‘What have you been doing all your life?’ and then I’d show them to him.

— AR

Friday, December 18, 7:30pm
Leslie Thornton: Early Films, 1975-1987

Presented with UbuWeb and introduced by Kenneth Goldsmith

Leslie Thornton’s lush, complex film and video works explore the mechanisms of desire and meaning, while probing past the boundaries of language and narrative conventions. Resisting easy categorization, Thornton's works are steeped in theoretical portent and filled with rich and intuitive imagery, experimental narratives crossing science fiction, ethnographic, and documentary forms.

In preparation for the arrival of her early films on UbuWeb, Thornton presents a screening of original 16mm and digital transfers, including a newly restored version of her seminal Peggy and Fred In Hell. For the occasion, her work will be uploaded and launched on UbuWeb during the show, and some titles will be shown comparatively, on both old and new formats.

I think of the web as sprawl. What if the internet was just Ubu, a place of treasures, of self-contained works with shape and history? I want to see these old films show up online, whispers of another sense of space.

– LT

A conversation between Thornton and artist Seth Price follows the screening. 

Titles include:
X-TRACTS, 16mm, 1975, 9 mins
All Right You Guys, 16mm, 1976, 16 mins
Jennifer, Where Are You?, 16mm, 1981, 10 mins
Oh, China, Oh, 1983, 16mm, 3 mins
Peggy and Fred in Hell: The Prologue, 1985, 16mm, 21 mins
She Had He So He Do He To Her, 16mm, 1987, 5 mins

Saturday, December 19, 3-8pm
Paul Sharits: Analytical Studies I-IV

Made between 1971 and 1976, Paul Sharits’ rarely-shown series Analytical Studies consists of four sections, each devoted to a specific aspect of film technology, containing several sub-sections that play through various formal permutations of the given characteristic.

Analytical Studies I: The Film Frame, 16mm, 1971-76, 25 mins

A set of pure color studies, each exploring one dominant hue. Their rhythmic structure mimics the “typical fortification illusions preceding a migraine attack.”

1. Modular Blue
2. Green Matrix
3. White Field
4. Orange Field
5. Pink Modulation A
6. Pink Modulation B
7. Temporal frameworks
8. Migraine Onset A
9. Migraine Onset B
10. Migraine Onset C
11. Migraine Onset D
Analytical Studies III: Color Frame Passages
, 16mm, 1973-74, 22 mins

In this series, the first section becomes the subject matter for the subsequent six, each going back to the original material with varying degrees and forms of reflexivity.

Section I: ‘Specimen’
Section II: ‘Divergent Strip Vectors’
Section III: ‘Document’
Section IV: ‘Strip in Strip’
Section V: ‘Strip of Strip, A’
Section VI: ‘Strip of Strip, B'
Section VII: ‘Strip of Strip of Strip B’ Analytical Studies IV: Blank Color Frames
, 16mm, 1975-76, 15 mins

Like Analytical Studies I, these short works each develop a different rhythmic and/or melodic idea using only rapid successions of color frames, here analyzed through rephotography.

Specimen II
Specimen III
Specimen IV
Diagonal Temporality B
Diagonal Temporality C
Temporal Frame B

Leslie Thornton
Jennifer, Where Are You?, 16mm, 1981, 10 mins

Emily Wardill
Basking in What Feels Like ‘An Ocean of Grace’ I Soon Realise That I’m Not Looking at It, but Rather I Am It, Recognising Myself, 16mm, 2006, 8 mins

Michael Robinson
All Through the Night, video, 2008, 5 mins

William E. Jones
v.o., video, 2006, 59 mins

Anne Charlotte Robertson
Fall to Spring (Reel 76 of Five Year Diary), Super 8mm, 1991 - 92, 28 mins

Paul Sharits