An Evening of Videos + Mini-Exhibition
Curated by Astria Suparak
For Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands
2006. Tour dates.
Daniel Barrow, Philippe Blanchard, Dearraindrop, Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, Jim Finn, Caroline Koebel, J. Macdonell, Jim Munroe, Liz Rosenfeld, Seth Price, Andy Puls
Mini-exhibition of silk-screened posters, journals, zines by:
Celebrate People’s History, Lady Scientist, LTTR
Performative introduction, Audience survey, Publications by:
Quantum leap, a physics term deriving from the mid 1900s indicating significant and swift advances (originally via a sudden shift in energy within an atom), became the title of an early 1990s American television series featuring a time travelling, body-swapping, do-gooder scientist. In 2006 this inspirational screening of new video follows suit, cataloguing heroes, compressing history, and hallucinating futures.
We are in a hyperdated time populated by minor celebrity comebacks and movie remakes, soundtracked by mash-ups and remixes, and backdropped by vintage/old school/retro simulacra. Artists now are as inspired by history they weren’t quite conscious for as by their lived experiences: Victorian decorative flourishes overlay throbbing psychedelia, made-for-TV teen angst appends a WWII soldier’s flamboyantly chiffoned trespasses, today’s genderqueer bodies substitute for ‘70s lesbian lovemaking, and similarities are elucidated between the ancient Hindu art of spiritual discipline and the modern arts of online gaming and virtual murder.
Here it is possible to amalgamate eras, to break out of social and gender constraints, and to cobble together a fantasy lineage. Many of the artists bypass ineffectual adoration for social edification, by documenting communities, reincarnating overlooked experimental films, sharing Communist souvenir collections, assembling biographies of personal heroes, and dispatching personal visions of history through the storytelling tradition. Hippy ambivalence is explored: some reject the aesthetics and embrace counterculture politics, for others it’s the reverse.
Why wear your heart on your sleeve when you can implant aspirations into flesh, grow philosophies on your face, and graft identity onto your skin?
qutopian palimpsests blast
piercing the ironic haze
collapse, the end of all days
– Eric Shinn
With cameos by: Annie Sprinkle, Ché Guevara, Liberace’s teen lover, ‘big-eyed’ style ghost painter Margaret Keane, the Berlin Wall, Quentin Crisp, yoga, Kathie Lee Gifford’s sweatshop labour, Harry and Jack Smith, the Battle of Seattle, Wayne Gretzky, Ho Chi Minh, Sun Ra, cosmonaut stamps, mob ties and Vegas retirements, Nelson Mandela, many more.
1. Xualaux, Andy Puls, 2002, 5:20 minutes
A tidy psychedelic dream of animated anatomy book illustrations, mysterious warning bells, impossibly beautiful nature, and abstract digital tapestry.
“An imagined account of how creator became created.” – A.P.
2. Catalogue of the Original, Daniel Barrow, 2004, 9:00 minutes
According to Barrow, Catalogue of the Original “imitates popular television biography series, profiling ten underestimated personalities from the recent past” which are part of his pantheon of influences. These entertaining trivia of sidelined success are also available as trading cards.
3. I Want to Have Your Baby (excerpts), Caroline Koebel, 2004, 7:30 minutes
“BABY births radical histories & futures. BABY recognizes the humanity of the global peace mobilization and affirms the love & kinship bonding intimates & strangers. BABY asks the international resistance to come together—and reproduce—and thereby generate more power. Individual ‘mothers’ collectively spread autonomous knowledge by: 1) illuminating ‘resistant parents’ —role models & sources of inspiration typically absent from state-sanctioned culture, 2) connecting these fathers’ histories to their own immediate lived experience, and 3) projecting critical impact into the future (by virtue of their expected ‘children’).” – C.K.
4. Folk Music & Documentary, Seth Price, 2004, 6:00 minutes
“A corollary to Price’s written piece ‘Sports,’ Folk Music and Documentary takes on questions of political speech and political image in a time when terms like ‘globalization’ or even ‘politics’ itself are so emptied out as to be meaningless in everyday usage. The 1990s were years of newfound engagement and activism among the young, if we are to believe the international press and its invocation of a new class of anarchist, ‘anti-globalization’ youth. Price gives voice and image to this cliché in what is at once a screen-test, an audition, and a proposition with no clear intent or message.” – EAI catalogue. Featuring James Christopher Kendi.
5. Hair and beards a Video because, J. Macdonell, 2004-06, 4:30 minutes
Is he a hippy, crazy, or lazy? All the reasons for and interpretations of an unkempt beard and long hair, in list format, followed by excuses to shave it all off. “A series of becauses. True. False. Bad drawings etc.” – J.M.
6. I am a Conjuror, Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, 2004, 8:30 minutes
From The New Freedom Founders, “a featurette in three parts, a trio of speculative fictions again involving the inadequacies of language. I Am A Conjuror features the couple as scientists who ‘can bring anything into existence.’ They obliquely muse—in bathtubs, in bed—on the medical system, on endangered animals, on the misuse of antibiotics. …It’s parody of a poignant, uneasy sort—Vey Duke and Battersby’s characters seem conscious of the archness of their speech, their faith placed forlornly in their utopian, unbelievable achievements. (It reminds me, deliciously, of the Guided By Voices’ lyrics: ‘I am a scientist/I seek to understand me/All of my impurities and evils yet unknown.’)” – Jason McBride, Cinema Scope
7. Untitled (Dyketactics Revisited), Liz Rosenfeld, 2005, 7:45 minutes
“Bodies move freely through an ambiguous urban ‘utopia’ … or do they? Shot on 16mm film and digital video, allow yourself to be led through the space where bodies exist independent of social codes. Dreamy landscapes, androgynous figures, skin, and concrete, masquerade through a fantasia of fluid forms referencing history while looking into the future. Inspired by Barbara Hammer’s film Dyketactics (1974).” – L.R.
8. la estrella (from la lotería series), Jim Finn, 2005, 2:30 minutes
A lovey-dovey music video of state propaganda. “Cosmonaut stamps and communist icons turn a Frank and Nancy Sinatra song into another Internationale.” – J.F.
9. Yoga Deathmatch, Jim Munroe, 2005, 4:30 minutes
“A video about the similarities between the ancient Hindu art of spiritual discipline and the rather more modern art of online gaming. Watch the higher self rack up high scores getting to the next level of consciousness in the transcendentally physical world of Half-Life 2: Deathmatch!” – J.M.
10. Nugglies, Dearraindrop, 2003, 00:48 seconds
Psycho death joy: The last five decades simultaneously bombard us in less than a minute, with furious audio by Neon Hunk.
11. Taco Monde, Philippe Blanchard, 2005, 2:30 minutes
A smorgasbord of North American fast food and rainbows, set to a sexy Midi version of “Ladies Night” by Kool & The Gang.
“Taco Monde is a place you can go when you feel a little melancholy, when things around you don’t seem to be going your way. But watch the f*%#k out, you might get lost in there. To exit, just follow the chicken iPod and the alien bong. Made for the 5th anniversary of the Bookmobile Project.” – P.B.
Celebrate People’s History poster series, 1998 – ongoing.
This project produces posters that focus around important moments in “people’s history”: events, groups, and individuals that we should celebrate because of their importance in the struggle for social justice and freedom. The posters are a small act celebrating larger important acts of resistance and those who fought tirelessly for justice and truth.Over 30 posters have been produced by over 25 artists on a variety of subjects, from the Battle of Homestead to Fred Hampton, Mujeres Libres to Jane, an underground abortion collective. These posters have been and will continue to be posted publicly (i.e. wheatpasted on the street, put up in peoples’ home and storefront windows, and used in classrooms) in an attempt to help generate a discussion about our radical past, a discussion that is vital in preparing us to create a radical future.
Total running time: 60 minutes
Other versions of this program include:
6. A Cure for Being Ordinary, Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby, 2004, 6:35 minutes
Duke & Battersby describe this section of the trilogy “The New Freedom Founders,” as “a short experimental narrative that tells the story of a young computer programmer who escapes the drudgery of the work place by moving into the rafters above his cubicle. From his perspective there, he is able to draw conclusions about the impact of capitalism on human perceptions of time.” Specifically, “how clocks represented, when he was a child, superior beings that everyone revered. How time operated differently when he was a hamburger-flipper. How he has learned to exist, freely, between chunks of time—as in the cuts between images on TV: the ‘free place.’” – Jason McBride, Cinema Scope
Chicken/Egg: The Williams Equation, Daniel Cockburn, 2004, 1:00 minute
“A 3-step transformative process detailing the kinship of two famous musical quotations.” – D.C.
A showcase of recent works from filmmakers who color outside of the lines, off of the page, and into a different universe…
Not all of the pieces included in “Quantum Leap” are small, fun morsels of insanity. There were more reflective, thought-provoking pieces in the showcase as well. These include Caroline Koebel’s “I Want to Have Your Baby,” a very intimate series of confessions of love, and Seth Price’s funny/poignant “Folk Music & Documentary,” during which a counter culture stereotype simply repeats to the camera the words that are shouted at him by someone off-camera. The flying neon hot dogs of “Taco Monde” were fun, but these two films made “Quantum Leaps” memorable.
– by Chris Jay, “Canadian Astria Suparak in Shreveport with touring experimental films,” March 8, 2006
March 6-27, 2006 Mondays, 9pm:
@ Clark’s, 314 Main St., Houston, TX
One part of the three-month Monday Night Series guest curated by Astria Suparak for Aurora Picture Show
March 7, 2006, 8pm
@ minicine?, 846 Texas Ave., Shreveport, LA
March 8, 2006, 8pm
@ Lewis (an abandoned department store), 108 Park Ave., Ruston, LA
Presented by Nomad Nights, with opening band The Upstairs Divine
March 9, 2006, 7pm
@ Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
March 13, 2006, 9:30pm
@ The Cable Car Cinema, 204 S. Main St., Providence, RI
Presented by Brown University and Magic Lantern Cinema
March 15, 2006, 8pm
@ Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA
Presented by Mass Art Film Society
March 18, 2006, 9pm
@ Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA
Organized by Small Change
March 20, 2006, 7pm
@ Bard College, Avery Film Center, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
March 21, 2006, 7pm
@ The Kitchen, New York, NY
March 22, 2006, 7pm
@ The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, NY
Presented by iEAR Presents!
March 24, 2006, 8pm
@ Spark Art and Performance Space, Syracuse, NY
Presented by SparkVideo
March 27, 2006, 6:30pm
@ University at Buffalo, SUNY, Center for the Arts, Amherst, NY
March 31, 2006, 7pm
@ National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
April 3, 2006, 3pm
@ Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
July 9, 2006, 2pm + 6pm
@ Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY