some photos from last nights OTO - The Wheel of The Devil (aka the loop lecture) now up on
OTO’s Flickr set
Ed began the night by screening Bruce Conner’s Report (1963-1967) and Marilyn Times Five (1968-1973) as people entered into the space. He then spoke a bit on the history of the film loop from the 'Daedalum' (aka 'the wheel of the devil) or as it was later renamed 'Zoetrope' (aka 'wheel of life') to early porn loops. He then turned to the structural/ materialist approach to loops in which film is treated physically as a object (using tape to create a loop), editing looping sections into a film, and the act of reprinting sections of a film over and over to create a linear work that loops.
He then showed, as examples, two 16mm works - George Landow ‘s "Film in Which There Appear..." 1965 and Malcolm Le Grice’s Berlin Horse from 1970 (single screen) with a looping Brain Eno soundtrack (think music box) and ended with a section of Jack Goldstein loops including “the Jump” 1979 shown from DVD.
Next, Tim began to present the 17 digital works. He introduced each work with the artist name, the title of the work and the original format (and a note if it was translated from the original format for the screening). The rule was set up that each loop would run until a majority of the audience raised their hand to move to the next loop. Counter to what one might expect, each loop played for some time until people even began to consider looking at the next.
Once Tim ran through the 17 works, he returned to the top of the list and began again. Some people left, some people stayed and the length of duration people looked at the work stayed about the same or in the case of a few works became even longer.
Two thoughts from doing this project
1. Work in translation is never the same. Goldstein’s loops on DVD from a digital projector are not the same as the film loops showing at the Met right now. I am thankful that translations occur as it allows more people to see the work and hopefully seek out source material.
2. Although we tend to think of loops both film and digital (and sound as well) as infinite, the act of perception always has a start and stop.