Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 7:30pm
Animal Charm vs. Paper Rad

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

PjVidz #1: Color Vision, Paper Rad, 2003, digital projection, 30 mins
Body Prep, Animal Charm, 2001, digital projection, 2 mins
Brite Tip, Animal Charm, 2001, digital projection, 3 mins
Computer Smarts, Animal Charm, 2001, digital projection, 2 mins
Mark Roth, Animal Charm, 1998, digital projection, 4 mins
Stuffing, Animal Charm, 1998, digital projection, 4 mins
Ashley, Animal Charm, 1997, digital projection, 9 mins
Lightfoot Fever, Animal Charm, 1996, digital projection, 2 mins
Slow Gin Soul Stallion, Animal Charm, 1996, digital projection, 3 mins
Working Together, Animal Charm, 1996, digital projection, 2 mins

Heirs to the legacy of Bruce Conner and Dara Birnbaum, the turn-of-the-millennium collectives Animal Charm and Paper Rad occupy a special place in the history of found footage cinema. Both groups were active during a period following the massive proliferation of media in the wake of VCRs, cable television, and the early World Wide Web, yet still prior to the ascent of vernacular image recycling in the age of YouTube and meme culture. Though their work eventually circulated within the typical venues for contemporary art, it was first exhibited at more raucous forums like live music shows, underground film festivals, and microcinemas, and traded on VHS compilations. Bridging the analog and digital eras, their frenetic videos were assembled with DIY ingenuity and the clever misuse of tools, as well as a bizarre sense of humor.

Animal Charm, the duo of Rich Bott and Jim Fetterley, recombine a wide array of audiovisual trash—corporate videos, nature documentaries, forgotten TV—into bafflingly decontextualized collages. Influenced by the pirate ethos of Craig Baldwin, Bott and Fetterley’s collaborations originally grew out of live video mixing, and much of their work in the 90s and early 00s was mastered on all-but-disposable half-inch cassettes. Watching a piece by Animal Charm provides a masterclass in off-kilter editing, each an electro-storm of erratic rhythms, staticky transmissions, digital zooms, compulsive loops, and willful perversions of the Kuleshov effect. Yet at the same time their madness-methods reveal new ways to look at the end of the 20th century. A strange kind of poetry is found lurking within anonymously-produced shlock; the garish transition effects of yesteryear here play like found instances of Paikian image processing.

Formed a few years after Animal Charm, Paper Rad was comprised of artists Jacob Ciocci, Jessica Ciocci, and Ben Jones. Loosely connected to the fertile Providence, Rhode Island scene of that moment, Paper Rad produced a rainbow-hued explosion of low-tech media, not only video but websites, zines, screenprints, clothing, music, and performances. Organized as a half-hour mixtape, PjVidz #1: Color Dreams charts a neo-psychedelic journey through Paper Rad’s earliest chaotic cartoons: glittering cascades of New Agey emblems, warped children’s entertainment, and animated gifs, punctuated by juvenile stoner comedy and powered by virtuoso bursts of montage. Their videos move feverishly along cinema’s z-axis, icon piling upon icon, advancing an accumulative formal language that, seen today, feels nothing short of prophetic.

Tickets - $8, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.