May 14-16, 2010
Light Industry at NO SOUL FOR SALE
Light Industry will be one of over 70 alternative spaces and collectives participating in NO SOUL FOR SALE at Tate Modern. Our program for the exhibition will be the presentation of three screenings which first took place at our venue in Brooklyn, New York: V.I. Pudovkin's Mechanics of the Brain, originally introduced by Annette Michelson; Stanley Milgram's Obedience, originally introduced by Zoe Beloff; and Wakefield Poole's Bijou, originally introduced by Eileen Myles. We also commissioned Amy Sillman, Dash Shaw, and Paul Chan to design posters (silkscreened by Bread and Butter Collective) for the Pudovkin, Milgram, and Poole films, respectively. These prints will be on view in Tate's Turbine Hall along with many other projects organized by the groups in the festival.
Mechanics of the Brain, Obedience, and Bijou are all connected through a kind of shared illegitimacy. Each is an outlier from the fringes of cinema—scientific and medical documentaries, corporate instructional films, and hardcore gay pornography—their status not least marked by their existence as 16mm prints, the gauge historically associated with non-theatrical or low-budget modes of exhibition. They are also linked in that each constitutes a distinct vision of cinema as a social practice: for Pudovkin, the notion of film (and science) dedicated to building the Soviet state; for Milgram and others, the cinema as a new audio-visual evolution of the classroom; and for Poole, the porn theater as a utopian site of gay male sexual liberation. But these films survive as more than mere historical curiosities. Each has its own stake in expanding and advancing the formal potentials of cinema, whether in the service of politics, ethics, or eros.
Mechanics of the Brain
V.I. Pudovkin, 16mm, 1926, 64 mins
Friday, May 14, 2010 at 2pm
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium
The year 1926 represents a privileged moment of the young Soviet film industry, with Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Kuleshov, Vertov, Barnet, Room, Kozintsev and Trauberg all represented by important work—and some, including Pudovkin, with more than one.
But Mechanics of the Brain, Pudovkin’s first film, was like no other. Interrupted on this project by work on The Mother, his extremely successful first major film narrative, Pudovkin returned later that year to complete his documentary on the theory and practice of Pavlovian reflexology. This film is of especial interest in a number of ways: first, as a clear indication of the importance of this filmmaker’s primarily scientific training and work experience, something we see in his texts on filmmaking and film acting which were to serve as a bible for successive generations of filmmakers, well beyond the borders of the USSR. Of more general importance is Mechanics’ role in the establishment of reflexology as the official base of psychology and psychiatry in the USSR, and its anti-psychoanalytic character. And of particular interest is the show-and-tell form of the demonstrations—compelling, and, in fact, disturbing. For the subjection of patients to Pavolvian technology and method generates images that recall, in their strangeness, certain aspects of Surrealist imagery—the work of Max Ernst in particular. This film that begins as a demonstration of scientific method develops in its appropriation of technology the aspect of a horror feature. — Annette Michelson
Obedience, Stanley Milgram, 16mm, 1962, 45 mins
Folie à Deux, National Film Board of Canada, 16mm, 1952, 15 mins
Motion Studies Application, 16mm, ca. 1950, 15 mins
Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 2pm
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium
Obedience documents the infamous "Milgram experiment" conducted at Yale University in 1962, created to evaluate an everyday person's deference to authority within institutional structures. Psychologist Stanley Milgram designed a scenario in which individuals were made to think they were administering electric shocks to an unseen subject, with a researcher asking them to increase the voltage levels despite the loud cries of pain that seemed to come from the other room. Milgram saw his test, conducted mere months after Adolf Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem, as a way to understand the environments that made genocide possible.
For this screening, the artist Zoe Beloff has paired Obedience with two earlier works dealing with psycho-social control: Folie à Deux and Motion Studies Application. The former, one of a series of films on various psychological maladies produced by the National Film Board of Canada in the 1950s, presents an interview with a young woman and her immigrant mother afflicted by shared delusions that manifest when the two are together. The latter is an industrial film purporting to present ways to increase efficiency in the workplace: explaining, for instance, a means to fold cardboard boxes more quickly. In stark contrast to the nostalgic whimsy typically associated with old educational films, Folie à Deux and Motion Studies Application play as infernal dreams of systemic power and sources of surprising, unintended pathos.
"The concept of 'motion studies' is central to cinema itself. Without the desire to analyze human motion, there would be no cinematic apparatus. But the history of motion studies is freighted with ideology. Its inventor Étienne-Jules Marey was paid by the French Government to figure out the most efficient method for soldiers to march, while his protégé Albert Londe analyzed the gait of hysterical patients. From the beginning, the productive body promoted by Taylorism was always shadowed by its double, the body riven by psychic breakdown. We see this in Motion Studies Application and especially Folie à Deux, where unproductive patients, confined to the asylum, understand with paranoid lucidity that the institution is everywhere, monitoring them always. Obedience stands as a conscious critique of these earlier industrial films, co-opting their form only to subvert them and reveal their fascist underpinnings." - Zoe Beloff
Wakefield Poole, 16mm, 1972, 77 mins
Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 2pm
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium
I love this movie both because I do love gay male porn, and movies (duh) and also love the 70s and remember it, but Bijou simply smashes the mold to bits in terms of genre. It swerves from a near-documentary, realist mode suddenly into a kind of Russian constructivist passage, to an action car chase, a little grainy Warhol and falling we find ourselves in a Frank Wedekind play. Poole’s consciousness is massively absorbent. It’s hard to watch Bijou and not think that David Lynch is a Wakefield Poole fan, especially in Mulholland Drive. Sex is a such a rabbit hole in this film and we get treated to such a phantasmagoria of groping and grouping and kaleidoscopic rendering of sex. Plus there’s just footage of a New York that even those who were there have long forgotten. You’ll never want to wear underwear again once you’ve seen Bijou. I know this to be true. I watched it this week with a bunch of unconvinced art colonists of a wide variety of sexualities and art practices and everyone was transformed and no we actually didn’t have an orgy but underwear sales in this particular demographic have been totally altered and changed forever. Wakefield Poole is a genius and a sensualist and an artist of surprising complexity and passion. And levity. Come see this screening. You’ll feel so good. - Eileen Myles
About NO SOUL FOR SALE
NO SOUL FOR SALE is a festival of independents that brings together the most exciting not-for-profit centers, alternative institutions, artists’ collectives and underground enterprises from around the world.
NO SOUL FOR SALE celebrates the people who contribute to the international art scene by inventing new strategies for the distribution of information and new modes of participation.
Neither a fair nor an exhibition, NO SOUL FOR SALE is a convention of individuals and groups who have devoted their energies to keeping art alive. With free entrance and a rich program of daily activities, NO SOUL FOR SALE is a spontaneous celebration of the independent forces that live outside the market and that animate contemporary art.
The festival is an exercise in coexistence or – as New York Times dubbed its first iteration – NO SOUL FOR SALE is the “Olympics of non-profit groups."
About Tate Modern
Tate Modern is the national gallery of international modern art. Located in London, it is one of the family of four Tate galleries which display selections from the Tate Collection. The Collection comprises the national collection of British art from the year 1500 to the present day, and of international modern art. The other three galleries are Tate Britain, also in London, Tate Liverpool, in the north-west, and Tate St Ives, in Cornwall, in the south-west. The entire Tate Collection is available online.
Created in the year 2000 from a disused power station in the heart of London, Tate Modern displays the national collection of international modern art. This is defined as art since 1900. International painting pre-1900 is found at the National Gallery, and sculpture at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Tate Modern includes modern British art where it contributes to the story of modern art, so major modern British artists may be found at both Tate Modern and Tate Britain.
Admission is free to NO SOUL FOR SALE and all related events.