Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 7:30pm
Four Films by Will Hindle
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
Chinese Firedrill, Will Hindle, 1968, 16mm, 25 mins
Billabong, Will Hindle 1968, 16mm, 9 mins
Watersmith, Will Hindle, 1969, 16mm, 32 mins
Saint Flournoy Lobos-Logos and the Eastern Europe Fetus Taxing Japan Brides in West Coast Places Sucking Alabama Air, Will Hindle, 1970, 16mm, 12 mins
A prominent if now somewhat overlooked figure of the fertile 60s San Francisco film scene, Will Hindle became legendary among his contemporaries for both the technical ingenuity of his films as well as their richly sensuous psychedelism.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, he had already served two Air Force tours and worked as an animator for Walt Disney by the time he fell into the circle of artists surrounding Bruce Baillie’s Canyon Cinema. Hindle himself appears as the hirsute, brooding body at the center of his breakout film Chinese Firedrill, which was shot using a downtown warehouse as its studio set and virtuosically edited with a homemade 16mm optical printer of the filmmaker's own design. “Instead of plot,” Amos Vogel noted, “there are memories, and attempts at order followed by increased anxiety that ends in chaos. Superimpositions of almost identical visuals, freeze frames, dissolves, image manipulation by re-photography, are among the devices used to create the semblance of a private, horrifying world.” While Chinese Firedrill unleashes a stormy blaze of shapes and colors, Billabong chronicles another kind of sexual tension in close quarters, this time through monochrome footage of teenage boys living in a government-funded Jobs Corps dormitory in Oregon. Joking and wrestling, the young men’s figures flow freely between abstraction and legibility through Hindle’s dextrous shifts in contrast, and their horseplay is accented by a nearly subliminal onanistic insert.
Hindle’s work presents one of the most comprehensive embodiments of the Bay Area's Aquarian Age aesthetic, enthusiastically embracing technological innovation in the service of illuminating the erotic imagination and the outer limits of consciousness. Praising Hindle’s work in his landmark study Expanded Cinema, Gene Youngblood explained that the artist’s “ability to invest a technical device with emotional or metaphysical content is truly impressive. He has, for example, developed the technique of rear-projection rephotography to a high degree of eloquence. He shoots original scenes with wide-angle lenses, then ‘crops’ them by projecting and rephotographing this footage using a special single-frame projector. Thus extremely subtle effects are achieved that would be prohibitively expensive, if not impossible, if done through conventional laboratory optical printing.” His post-production chops are showcased to their fullest in Watersmith, a portrait of a water polo team suiting up and swimming laps that rivals Riefenstahl’s Olympia in its vision of choreographed athleticism; here elaborate tinting and layering of otherwise documentary sequences lends a cosmic air to images as everyday as an empty locker room or as basic as a backstroke.
Filmed in Death Valley just a few months before the Manson Family murder spree, Hindle’s Saint Flournoy Lobos-Logos and the Eastern Europe Fetus Taxing Japan Brides in West Coast Places Sucking Alabama Air returns to a lone male subject, this time a desert wanderer. “In it, a shirtless bearded dude in flour-sack yoga pants treks and stumbles barefoot through the white-hot desert, pausing occasionally to assume the lotus position and radiate silent ‘om’s into the shimmering heat,” wrote critic Chuck Stephens. “There are lens flares and eclipse halos, dude’s supple movements mesmerizingly match cut and complexly lap-dissolved one into the next, and there are more dudes, and nudes, dancing on balconies to bongos and the tinkling of ice cubes in drink glasses echoing down through the canyon…then the orange slash of a shadow-play knife in the night.” Even if you don’t arrive at Light Industry in an altered state, Hindle’s films will put you in one.
Tickets - $8, available at door.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.