Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 7:30pm

361 Stagg Street, Suite 407, Brooklyn

Introduced by Andrew Lampert
Ken and Flo Jacobs in Attendance

XCXHXEXRXRXIXEXSX, Ken Jacobs, 1980/2022, digital projection, 84 mins

An intensive examination and bringing to life of a very small amount of film material originally photographed circa 1920. We’re in France, early last century, in the woods. Two women and a man are making love. Enjoying sex together for sure but also convincingly making love; they couldn’t be nicer to each other. Bodies are revealed, all the parts necessary to reproducing our kind. Reproduction, however, is not the concern of these movie stars. Physical pleasure is. Release.

The eternalism is a method of making images more real. We see things in depth, in 3D, even with only one working eye. Time and space are monumentalized.

- KJ

By the late 1960s Ken Jacobs had already imploded film form as we know it with underground classics like his epic Star Spangled to Death (1956-60), the brazen Blonde Cobra (1963), and the meta-masterpiece Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son (1969). Collaborating closely with his wife, Flo, he also broke significant ground in both the burgeoning field of expanded cinema and the age-old art of shadow plays. Their fascination with historic images and found footage drove them into another spatial dimension of paracinematic possibilities with the introduction of a new film performance apparatus in 1975, dubbed “The Nervous System.” Using two 16mm analytical projectors capable of single-frame advance-and-reverse playback, a pair of film prints with identical footage, an exterior shutter in the form of a fan placed in front of the projectors, and other still-secret tricks, the duo’s indelible performances relied on heavy flicker and incremental image movement to conjure 3D that could be seen without eyeglasses. Together they created a repertoire of well over a dozen sui generis pieces before moving on in the early 2000s to explore their next invention, the phantasmagoric Nervous Magic Lantern.

Ken turned from celluloid to video in 1999, and within a few years began addressing a shared concern with Flo to bring their once live performances into the digital present. Never one to leave a finished work untouched, Ken doesn’t attempt to make one-to-one approximations of old pieces, rather he employs his pulsating “Eternalism” editing method to devise new versions that plunge image and sound deeper into abstraction.

The digital version of XCXHXEXRXRXIXEXSX is a feature-length adaptation of one of their most well-known efforts. First performed in 1980, and most notoriously at the 1992 Flaherty Seminar, where the provoked audience and peeved artists exchanged bitter words post-show, this reclaimed early porno reel is a work of tantric cinema like none other. Sex is celebrated and screwed with, bodies are pierced with throbbing light, there is tension and release in a coital dance of cosmic proportions. What a movie.

- AL

Problem 1: If you have a mind for "pure aestheticism," with an appetite for flickering light, convulsive motions, delirious depth illusion, but would just as well transcend the realities of bodies and their functions, the explicitly sexual content of XCXHXEXRXRXIXEXSX may be too earthbound for you.

Problem 2: If you wish to attend solely in anticipation of a sexual turn-on, the art of XCXHXEXRXRXIXEXSX, its throbbing light as well as bodies, may send you up the wall.

- KJ

This screening is organized in conjunction with the exhibition Ken Jacobs: Up the Illusion, curated by Andrew Lampert for 80WSE Gallery at NYU. The show is on continuous display through November 26 in the Broadway Windows gallery space, on the corner of Broadway and E 10th Street in Manhattan. All the films/videos and drawings in the three-part exhibition can be watched anytime, in their entirety, here.

Tickets - Pay what you can ($10 suggested donation), available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm. No entry 10 minutes after start of show.

Viewers with photosensitivity: this show includes strobe effects.