Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 8pm
The Blazing World
Curated by Thomas Beard and Ed Halter
"A map of the world that does not include utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which humanity is always landing." - Oscar Wilde
Light Industry's inaugural event brings together a group of films that ponder the vicissitudes of utopian scheming and the search for new ground. Juxtaposing the heady, exploratory optimism of the Aquarian age with the more sobering observations of contemporary artists, The Blazing World attempts to embrace the complexities inherent in what Light Industry sets forth to support: the ongoing social experiment in community that undergirds moving-image art-making.
Beginning on a reflexive note, Kurt Kren's rarity Coop Cinema Amsterdam documents three weeks in the life of the legendary Dutch venue The Electric Cinema, condensed into a frantic hallucination through single-frame shooting. In Swamp, artist Nancy Holt attempts to navigate her way through a grassy, muddy stretch of New Jersey wetlands, guided only by the sights of her Bolex and Robert Smithson's verbal cues. Michael Robinson's Victory Over the Sun revisits the abandoned sites of World's Fairs in the service of subtle, sci-fi psychedelia, while Jenny Perlin's hand-drawn film Possible Models compares the communitarian dreams of Victor Gruen, architect of the first shopping mall, with his hypercapitalist spawn: the Mall of America, Dubailand, and the "Freedom Ship," a proposed libertarian tax-shelter-of-the-seas. Back on dry land, Keewatin Dewdney's Wildwood Flower offers up a folk-crafted vision of bucolic innocence that could only have emerged from 1971.
Anchoring the lineup, Michael Gitlin's Berenice provides a richly psychological costumer set during the decay of an upstate New York utopian community in the 1830s. Partially adapted from the Edgar Allen Poe tale of the same name, blended with texts on phalansterist socialism by Charles Fourier and letters from the Transcendentalist commune Brook Farm, Berenice wends a tale of an old, weird America in search of new social harmonies through visionary ideals.
30/73: Coop Cinema Amsterdam, Kurt Kren, 16mm, 1973, 3 mins
Swamp, Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, 16mm, 1971, 6 mins
Victory Over the Sun, Michael Robinson, 16mm, 2007, 12 mins
Possible Models, Jenny Perlin, 16mm, 2004, 11 mins
Wildwood Flower, Keewatin Dewdney, 16mm, 1971, 4 mins
Berenice, Michael Gitlin, 16mm, 1996, 51 mins
Tickets - $6, available at door.