The Realist (2013)
Intense flicker film, Ken Jacobs style. I think they’re stills, flickering between two perspectives not very far apart, like wearing 3D glasses and opening just one eye, then just the other. All mannequins, sometimes telling a male-gaze story, more often just taking in the scenery. Looks like unstaged setups at first, guy wandering into the mall with a camera, but gets increasingly posed – mannequins in a gallery against suit-fabric backgrounds… hands floating in a swimming pool. If I’m not reading too much narrative into it, seems to follow a sharp-dressed man leaving his modeling gig and hitting the gray city, dreaming wistfully of all the colors in the world, and getting hit by a truck and going to mannequin heaven.
Nicely synched to orchestral music (it figures that the one time I approve of an a/g film soundtrack it turns out to come from a Tzadik album). As with the timelapse movies, getting good stills from this is impossible, since the best bits occur between the frames, joined by the flicker edits. This would’ve been a lot of flicker to see in a theater – even on my laptop a couple of shots made my stomach flip. He thanks Lewis Klahr, yep. The artist describes it as a “doomed love story,” says the film is named after a 1950’s stereo camera. Michael Sicinski wrote about this in Mubi, comparing it to the only Kubelka film I’ve (barely) seen.
The neighbors definitely think he’s a murderer if they saw him filming this in the yard:
Traces 1-5 (2012)
More flicker photography with alternating frames of different halves of a photograph. This time instead of beautiful music, we get helicoptering static, the sound of the photos overlapping onto the optical soundtrack. Usually I’m against punishing a/g soundtracks but in this movie, without the the interest of the mannequins and bright fabrics, he’s filming rocks and leaves and sidewalks, so “hearing” the images is the most engaging part. Not the same work as Traces/Legacy (2015), which Sicinski also wrote about… this won an award at the Ann Arbor Fest, which I am only just discovering is an experimental fest with online screenings in March.
The flickeriest, most melty-abstract one yet, and it’s built around extreme closeups of vulvas (taken from medical viewmaster slides!), edited against other textures (beach grass <> pubic hair), the music a pleasant drone.
Looped shots of people and camera changing position in porn films, the moments between the action, with a lock-groove score… then a montage of scene-change pillow shots with the sound of an event audience. The artist: “the repetitive and curious iterations of movement become furtive searches for meaning within their own blandness.”