Night of the Experimental Film
Tine Guns, To Each His Own Mask, BE, 2017, 42', colour, digital
Maya Deren, Witch's Cradle Outtakes, VS, 1943, 10', monochrome, 16mm
John E. Schmitz, The Voices, VS, 1953, 14', monochrome, digital
Live soundtrack: Valerio Tricoli (IT)
James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber, Lot in Sodom, VS, 1930, 28', monochrome, digitale gerestaureerde versie
Live soundtrack: Hiele (BE)
David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly, VS, 1986-1987, 21', monochrome & colour, digitaal
Live soundtrack: Liberez (UK)
Aleksandr Sokurov, Soldier's Dream, RU, 1995, 12', colour, digital
Nina Danino, Communion, UK, 2010, 10', monochrome, 35mm to digital
+ afterparty with liquid light show by Janenk and dj's Mittland Och Leo and B.A.A.D.M.
Religion is a sensitive subject these days. More than ever, the demonic and destructive power of religion are a topic of debate. At the same time, there is a remarkable increase of non-Western and alternative expressions of spirituality. The current cult around health taps into Eastern spirituality through yoga and meditation. At Tomorrowland, God is a DJ, as Faithless proclaimed in the nineties. Ecological activism often goes hand in hand with holistic and almost pantheist beliefs. And what about cinema? Several theoreticians (Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag,...) described film screenings in almost mystical terms, as though they were trance-inducing experiences with revitalizing qualities. The Classical Hollywood star system portrayed the Diva as a divine and unreachable being. The French word ‘séance' brings us back to the ‘cinema of attractions' and the ‘magic' of early film which was created by mechanical experiments with ghostly apparitions. Spirituality was never absent in art and cinema, whether it involves the (re)use of Christian symbolism or cultivated paganism. Every year, Art Cinema OFFoff organises its own Mass where experimental film and music are worshipped. The Nacht van de Experimentele Film 2017 will take place in the Sint-Autbertus church, part of the Monasterium (Monastery) PoortAckere in the Oude Houtlei. B.A.A.D.M. (a music label from Ghent managed by graphic designers Joris Verdoodt and Mathieu Serruys) and film curator Sofie Verdoodt collaborated to put together the programme. Blasphemous iconoclasts and trance filmmakers from the American avant-garde are accompanied by brand new soundtracks by promising talent from the experimental music scene. Séances and installations complement the programme.
> tickets can be purchased online or during events in Art Cinema OFFoff.
WITCH'S CRADLE OUTTAKES
JOHN E. SCHMITZ
LIVE SOUNDTRACK: VALERIO TRICOLI
A double bill of American Post-War trance films. Maya Deren became renowned for her visual anthropological work, dance choreography and trance films. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) is probably her most known work, but Witch's Cradle, a silent short film made in the same year, remained unknown for a long time because she never finalized it. Deren literally spins a web of occult symbolism and poetic images in which Marcel Duchamp briefly appears as the godfather of Dadaism. This post-mortem montage is followed up by the rather obscure The Voices by John E. Schmitz, a forgotten figure who was part of Kenneth Anger's entourage. In this elliptic psychological drama, eroticism and violence are at play in the shadow of the cross. Both short films will be provided with a new soundtrack by Valerio Tricoli (IT), known for his tape manipulations, field recordings, musique concrète and spoken word. His albums ‘Miseri Lares' and ‘Vixit' were praised because of their intense emotional soundscapes which "boost listeners into spiritual consciousness".
JAMES SIBLEY WATSON & MELVILLE WEBBER
LOT IN SODOM
LIVE SOUNDTRACK: HIELE
Watson & Webber, an American duo of teachers who before made The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) into a film, adapted the biblical story of Genesis in a peculiar way. The sinful city from which Lot fled with his wife and daughters, fleeing from God's wrath, is the setting for one of the earliest queer films. As in an expressionist delirium, sculpted male beauty appears by means of transitions and all kinds of experimental tricks. The young electronic musician Roman Hiele produced work for the Antwerp label Ekster and collaborated with theatre makers, dancers and fashion designers.
A FIRE IN MY BELLY
LIVE SOUNDTRACK: LIBEREZ
David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was an artist, performer, writer and filmmaker. He made activist works at the height of the AIDS crisis in New York and ultimately died of the disease himself. He also collaborated with Richard Kern within the cinema of transgression. A Fire in My Belly - a ritualistic film with footage recorded in Mexico - remained uncompleted but the Super 8 material was posthumously assembled into two complementary parts. The visceral linkage of spiritual motifs and disquieting city impressions contains amongst other things the iconic image of the artist with his mouth stitched shut. Liberez is a four-headed British band with both acoustic and electronic works. They present a sound entirely their own alongside this provocative work.
Spiritual Voices, a four-hour documentary by the Russian slow filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov, focuses on the life at a border post between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. More so than action, observations of small things and people are of primary importance. A sleeping soldier dreams and ends up in ‘The Wounded Angel', a painting by Hugo Simberg. Sokurov made this meditative video entirely out of the context of Spiritual Voices- a phenomenological close-up of a hidden inner world.
Communion is a stunning video portrait of an angelic little girl with a rosary and prayer book in a neo-Gothic church. Billy Williams, who was given an Oscar for cinematography, is responsible for the lighting: he endows the tableau with a sacral dimension. Through her exalted staging, artist Nina Danino also brings an homage to the aesthetics of Classical Hollywood cinema.
PERPETUAL MOMENT OF PAUSE
Tine Guns is a young filmmaker and artist from Ghent who creates artist books, photo projects and video works. Her new film, To Each His Own Mask, deals with the role of the mask and carnival rituals in contemporary protest cultures. The installation that preceded that film (with music by CHVE and Syndrome) is an audiovisual trip to the spiritual and cultural substratum of a society.