Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 7:30pm
Studio des Ursulines: January 21, 1926

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Introduced by Noam M. Elcott

“A theater is like the planchette at a spiritualistic séance. The whole table is strung together with a chain of nerves.” - Adolf Loos (1925)

Tonight, Light Industry will reconstruct the January 21, 1926 inaugural screening (or séance) at the Studio des Ursulines, among the most influential cinemas in interbellum France. On that date, the Montparnasse theater presented a triple bill of Léonce Perret’s Mimosa, la dernière grisette (1910), a re-edited version of René Clair and Francis Picabia’s Dada interlude Entr’acte (1925), and G.W. Pabst’s Weimar morality tale Joyless Street (1924), establishing the cine-club format of combining early cinema (“avant-guerre,” or pre-WWI), the avant-garde, and feature films outside commercial distribution, often foreign. By bringing together historical, experimental, and international perspectives, the first event at the Studio des Ursulines instituted a model that continues to resonate today. For our event, the melodrama Mimosa (of which no copies appear to have survived) will be replaced by Gaumont’s digital restoration of Perret’s comedy Léonce cinématographiste (1913), and shown with prints of Entr’acte and Joyless Street from MoMA's Circulating Film Library.

This screening is held as part of Séances: The Cinematic Event, an ongoing research initiative organized by Noam M. Elcott and Eric de Bruyn which seeks to investigate the screening session as a model of artistic practice, one that may foster new and different relationships between audience and screen.

On Friday, April 5, Columbia will host a day-long conference with participants Yto Barrada, Stuart Comer, Branden W. Joseph, Sven Lütticken, Scott MacDonald, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus and others, ending with a restaging of Paul Chan’s What Can 1 Know? What Ought 2 Do? What May 3 Hope For?, a three-part cinematic event originally presented last year at mumok in Vienna.

Noam M. Elcott teaches the history of modern art and media in the department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. He is currently at work on a book-length study titled Artificial Darkness. Recent essays have appeared in Grey Room, October, Aperture, and many catalogues and anthologies. Elcott is an editor of the journal Grey Room.


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