Synaethesia

Synaethesia: Filmmakers Listen, Composers See

Ever since film was a new technology through which to present creative vision, composers, performers, and filmmakers have collaborated with each other and responded with new work to inspiration from another medium. This weekend of film and live music will include milestone collaborations and new, provocative responses: films by avant-garde icon Stan Brakhage, whose first film, Interim (1952) and one of his last films, (…) [Ellipsis] #5 (1999) used music by American maverick composer James Tenney; a live re-enactment of the Erik Satie/René Clair collaboration for the Surrealist fantasy Entr’acte; and contemporary musical responses to historic films by 1920s filmmakers Germaine Dulac (improvisations by CalArts pianists) and Teinosuke Kinugasa (A Page of Madness, with music by International Metal Supply’s Jean-Pierre Bedoyan and Paul B. Cutler). Experimental Intermedia founder Phill Niblock will collaborate with CalArts musicians on a profound meditation on sound and labor, with music for multiple clarinets, celli, violas, guitars, and hurdy-gurdies. The final evening will feature new work in live video by Astra Price and Carole Kim, with improvised music by Jesse Gilbert; and Bob Ostertag and Pierre Hébert’s Living Cinema will create, live on stage, both the film and the soundtrack for Endangered Species. Curated by the CalArts School of Film/Video and School of Music.

Schedule

Thursday, 14 April, 8:30pm

3 films by Germaine Dulac: Themes et variations (1929), Etude cinematographique sur une arabesque (1928), Disque 957(1928)
15 min
Music improvised by CalArts pianists

Entr’acte (1924) film by René Clair, music by Erik Satie
18 min
Piano four-hands played by CalArts musicians

Kurutta Ippeiji (A page of madness) (1927) film by Teinosuke Kinugasa
80 min
Music improvised by International Metal Supply (Jean-Pierre Bedoyan & Paul B. Cutler)

Friday, 15 April, 8:30pm

Interim (1952) film by Stan Brakhage, music by James Tenney
25 min
Music played live by CalArts pianist

(…) [Ellipsis] (1999), film by Stan Brakhage, music by James Tenney
21 min
Pre-recorded soundtrack, Flocking (2 pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart)

Video and music by Phill Niblock
90 min
Multiple clarinets, celli, violas, guitars, and hurdy-gurdies played by CalArts musicians

Saturday, 16 April, 8:30pm

Live Video by Astra Price and Carole Kim
30 min
Computer music improvised by Jesse Gilbert

Living Cinema: Endangered Species by Bob Ostertag and Pierre Hébert
60 min
Film and music created in real time

Detailed Schedule Thursday, 14 April, 8:30pm

3 films by Germaine Dulac: Themes et variations (1929), Etude cinematographique sur une arabesque (1928), Disque 957(1928)
15 min
Music improvised by CalArts pianists
Among the first experimental films, these abstract works were made in response to specific musical works by Chopin and Debussy, according to Dulac’s own principles of “pure” cinema, free from any influence from literature, the stage, or other visual arts. Her (in her words) “musically constructed” films, or “films made according to the rules of visual music” will provide the springboard for CalArts improvising pianists working within a consciousness of the films’ original musical seeds.

Entr’acte (1924) film by René Clair, music by Erik Satie
18 min
Piano four-hands played by CalArts musicians
In 1924, Erik Satie, the person from the musical world closest to the Dada movement in art, composed his last work, Relâche [Theater closed for the evening], music for a ballet by Francis Picabia. The Entr’acte was one of the first films by René Clair, a primary auteur of world cinema, accompanied by a Satie’s score for piano. Entr’acte mingled elements of pre-war French slapstick, Feuillade mysteries and nonsense, performed by leading members of Parisian Dada, including Satie and Picabia themselves. CalArts pianists will perform the score live.

Kurutta Ippeiji (A page of madness) (1927) film by Teinosuke Kinugasa
80 min
Music improvised by International Metal Supply (Jean-Pierre Bedoyan & Paul B. Cutler)
Teinosuke Kinugasa, who in the 1920s familiarized himself with developments in European cinema, Soviet theories of associative montage and movements in the artistic avant-garde such as expressionism, impressionism and surrealism, and in collaboration with a handful of young experimental writers of the day, known as the Shinkankaku school, or Neo-Perceptionists (sometimes referred to as the Neo-Sensationalists), became the first director in Japan to realize his ambition of treating cinema as a distinct art form in its own right, divorced from the commercial concerns of the new mass-audience medium. Based on a treatment by the later 1968 Nobel Prize winning novelist Yasunari Kawabata, Kinugasa’s self-financed landmark production Kurutta Ippeiji (A page of madness) is a stunning invocation of the world as viewed by the mentally ill, the first full feature film whose plot development is radically subverted, while its cinematic structure includes virtually every film device known at the time, used not for their own sakes but to convey complex psychological content without titles or soundtrack.

International Metal Supply (Jean-Pierre Bedoyan and Paul B. Cutler) reclaim the current supply of metal offered by our post-industrial age--discards found in the junkyards of Los Angeles--to create original instruments. They control every aspect of their production, from improvisational composition to design and manufacturing. Choosing analog over digital and improvisation over scoring, they create a direct, spontaneous and always unique experience. Improvisation with vibrating metal--one of the world’s oldest sounds--creates the spontaneous soundtrack for A Page of Madness.

Friday, 15 April, 8:30pm

Interim (1952) film by Stan Brakhage, music by James Tenney
25 min
Music played live by CalArts pianist

(…) [Ellipsis] (1999), film by Stan Brakhage, music by James Tenney
21 min
Pre-recorded soundtrack, Flocking (2 pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart)In 1952, Stan Brakhage made his first film, inspired by Italian Neo-Realism, which suggested a tentative sexual encounter between a teenage boy and girl who meet under the Denver freeways. Cast and crew were his fellow high-school students, and he asked James Tenney to compose and perform the score live at the film’s first showings. In 1999, Brakhage made one of his last films, one in a new series of scratch-and-stain films, the onrushing imagery and the spatial conundrums visual analogues--at 24 frames per second--to Abstract Expressionism. Using no camera, Brakhage scraped away the film emulsion to create a thicket (or a spider’s web) of white lines and rich, chemical colors, printed on negative or solarized stock. This cosmos was inspired by having received a CD of James Tenney’s Flocking. Interim accompanied live by a CalArts pianist; (…) accompanied by the original recording.

Video and music by Phill Niblock
90 min
Multiple clarinets, celli, violas, guitars, and hurdy-gurdies played by CalArts musicians
Phill Niblock makes thick, loud drones of music, filled with microtones of instrumental timbres which generate many other tones in the performance space. Simultaneously, he presents films and videos which look at the steady, repetitive movement of people working, in rich, saturated hues, or computer-driven black and white abstract images floating through time. “The music has a steady kinetic push that makes you feel like you’re riding on some slow vehicle taking you directly into the details of the picture.” --Wendy Perron, New York Native “Phill Niblock’s music and films are concerned with detail and simplicity . . . dense, imposing sound mass . . . Sum and difference tones pile up until they sound like an orchestra of voices . . . one listens first to one level of detail, then to another, only gradually learning to hear everything at once.” --Robert Palmer, New York Times

Saturday, 16 April, 8:30pm

Live Video by Astra Price and Carole Kim
30 min
Computer music improvised by Jesse Gilbert A self-reflexive, visual call-and-response between artist and audience, Astra Price and Carole Kim’s live video creates an ephemeral display of light, shadow, colour and motion in real time. With improvised music by Jesse Gilbert

Living Cinema: Endangered Species by Bob Ostertag and Pierre Hébert
60 min
Film and music created in real time Québécois filmmaker Pierre Hébert and San Francisco composer Bob Ostertag bring the creation of cinema out of the movie and recording studios and on to the stage. Ostertag has created innovative software allowing the two artists to actually perform an animated movie with soundtrack, live on stage. For decades, Hébert was considered one of the masters of the unusual craft of creating animated films by engraving directly on film. Living Cinema allows him to apply the craftsmanship acquired through years of engraving on film to whatever materials he wishes to use. Ostertag brings his years of experience with live manipulation of sampled sound to Living Cinema using a variety of objects and techniques to create a soundtrack that is synchronized with the image as both are being created. Endangered Species, Living Cinema’s second work, features Ostertag using mechanical toy animals in a tuned and amplified boxing ring, where their images are captured by Hébert and become the basis for live animation. “Ostertag is a master of computer-enhanced improvisation … Hébert is one of very few artists whose imagination allows him to play with sonic improvisations in real time … a rhythmic dance between sound and image… a subtle, ironic layering that reaches for poignancy from time to time…” --Toronto Globe and Mail

 

Date/Time G ST CA
Thu 4.14.05, 8:30 pm $18 $14 $10
Fri 4.15.05, 8:30 pm$18$14$10
Fri 4.15.05, 8:30 pm$18$14$10

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff