UBS 12 x 12 Artist Talk: Ben Russell

Ben Russell and a 16mm Projector

The Artist’s Talk as Illustrated by a Selection of Moving Images

MCA Theater, FREE

220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

I haven’t seen Children’s Magical Death (1974), but I have seen Asch and Changnon’s Magical Death, and that’s a fantastic film, and Ben Russell is fantastic, therefore tonight’s program at the MCA will be fantastic. The program is tonight and is not to be missed. Programme information posted below. Originally posted by the MCA here.

As part of his UBS 12 x 12 artist’s talk, Ben Russell presents films from his past curated programs in order to expand on themes that lie within his newest work, Trypps #7 (Badlands). “From early cinema to psychedelic mind-melt, ethnographic study to hand-processed portrait, and occult attraction to aquatic flicker film, this is a media map of analog influence that locates curatorial practice as a critical component to art-making today.” — Ben Russell

The Red Spectre by Ferdinand Zecca (7:00, 16mm, 1903)
A dazzling hand-colored black and white film from the Pathé studios at the turn of the century. In a strange grotto deep in the bowels of the earth a coffin uprights itself, dances, and opens to reveal a demonic magician with skeletal face, horns and cape. He wraps two women (who appear to be in a trance) in fabric, levitates them, and causes them to burst into flames and disappear… – Ben Russell

Invocation of My Demon Brother
by Kenneth Anger (11:00, 16mm, 1969)
A mind-bending collage of sonic terror and subversion and fast-paced ritual ambiance founded in the union of the circle and the swastika, a swirling power source of solar energy. Mick Jagger contributes a suitably eerie soundtrack with a newly acquired synthesizer. — Ben Russell

Children’s Magical Death by Timothy Asch and Napoleon Chagnon (7:00, 16mm, 1974)
Pretending to be shamans, a group of young Yanamano boys imitates their fathers, blowing ashes into each other’s noses and chanting to the hekura spirits. — Ben Russell

Marsa Abu Galawa by Gerard Holthuis (13:00, 35mm, 2004)
An impression of the underwater world in the Red Sea. The film is a bombardment of images and features the music Abdel Basset Hamouda, an Egyptian performer. The structure of the film is based on the so-called “flicker films” in which the unconscious experience of the images is much more important than the actual images. — Ben Russell

This Is My Land
by Ben Rivers (14:00, 16mm, 2006)
A portrait of Jake Williams, who lives alone within miles of forest in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Jake always has many jobs on at any one time, finds a use for everything, is an expert mandolin player, and has compost heaps going back many years. He has a different sense of time to most people in the 21st Century, which is explicitly expressed in his idea for creating hedges by putting up bird feeders. — Ben Russell

My Name is Oona
by Gunvor Nelson (9:00, 16mm, 1969)
“But the revelation of the program is Gunvor Nelson, true poetess of the visual cinema. MY NAME IS OONA captures in haunting, intensely lyrical images fragments of the coming to consciousness of a child girl. A series of extremely brief flashes of her moving through night-lit space or woods in sensuous negative, separated by rapid fades into blackness, burst upon us like a fairy-tale princess, with a late sun only partially outlining her and the animal in silvery filigree against the encroaching darkness; one of the most perfect recent examples of poetic cinema. Throughout the entire film, the girl, compulsively and as if in awe, repeats her name, until it becomes a magic incantation of self-realization.” — Amos Vogel, the Village Voice

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