Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Tue, Oct 11 2016 8:00 PM

Perpetual Motion | Ken Jacobs’ Nervous Magic Lantern

Tickets: $10 Presale / $15 Day of Show / $20 at the Door

Eisenstein said the power of film was to be found between shots. Peter Kubelka seeks it between film frames. I want to get between the eyes, contest the separate halves of the brain. A whole new play of appearances is possible here.
—Ken Jacobs

The cinema of Ken Jacobs—an artist working unstoppably since the mid-1950s—is endlessly deconstructive, endlessly pulling apart. Early film works with performance artist Jack Smith shattered dramatic filmmaking into abject and inspiring shards, while his 1969 film Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son constructed elaborate new narratives and explored worlds abstracted from a 1905 short film. Always in Jacobs’ work is there a restless inquiry into the ideological and material elements of the film viewing experience, with an eye toward smashing preconceived notions of cinema in favor of critical engagement and a renewed sense of possibility.

Performing live in San Francisco for the first time in over two decades, Ken Jacobs appears in San Francisco with his Nervous Magic Lantern. Inspired by Victorian-era shadowplay and the artist’s extensive investigations of the mechanics and aesthetics of three-dimensionality, the Nervous Magic Lantern is a post-cinematic projection device, a pulsing and breathing imaging system and a conjuror of ecstatic vision, presenting immersive visual journeys into a paradoxically grounded and ephemeral abstract space. Tonight Jacobs presents the world premiere a new feature-length performance, the torrential Thunderclouds, a blinking and rumbling transcontinental dialog between the downpours of Manhattan and the rainstorms of San Francisco, presented in quadraphonic sound. Thunderclouds is preceded by the short film Cyclops Observes the Heavenly Bodies—“Cyclopean 3D is the most 3D a single eye can come up with. This means the celestial horde on display here can only seem to be galloping through space. Actual seeing into depth must be denied, it’s the law.”

NOTE: This program is not recommended for those photosensitive epilepsy and similar conditions.

This program is presented in association with the BAMPFA, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Ken Jacobs performs Abstract Expressionist Cinema at BAMPFA on Wednesday, October 12 and will speak on the works of painter Hans Hofmann at BAMPFA on Saturday, October 15, also at BAMPFA.

Performance Cinema: an exciting and emergent genre of avant-garde moving-image art which represents a crucial attack on the sterility of the contemporary, digitally-located media environment, arguing for the embodied, collective consideration of real-time, site-specific media experiences. Through mis-used or modified analog film projectors, live video synthesis and physical interaction with the media interface, performance cinema practitioners variously burn, etch, mutilate and destroy projected film, machinery and the image itself. Performance Cinema practitioners create immersive spectacles of sight and sound, opening a space for questioning and contemplating visual culture through direct activation of the senses. As a dynamic, regenerating and resurrecting media experience, Performance Cinema exists only in the moment of perception and is truly an art of its time. Full series information available here.