SPACE PROGRAM presents
“Venus, aka Lover’s Rock — A Name That Serves As Exclamation For Us All”
Sunday the 24th of April at 7:30pm
at Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport, Chicago, IL (map)
$5 suggested donation
this space is unheated, so bring warm clothes, sleeping bags, blankets, etc
curated by Mary Helena Clark & Ben Russell
“ After our perilous maiden voyage to Mercury, SPACE PROGRAM‘s co-pilot/curator Mary Helena Clark cordially invites you to crash-land your spacecraft onto the terrestrial planet Venus, that inhospitable rock with its reflective clouds of sulfuric acid, that glowing orb your great-great-great-great-great-grandparents so wisely named after the Roman goddess of Love and Beauty. Today’s Venus finds its mirror in that 90s rave-haunt-cum-cinema-space called Thalia Hall, a space transformed again and again through eight moving images of longing and musical transcendence: a veritable cinema mixtape featuring tracks by Cyndi Lauper, The Shangri-las, Hoagy Lands, The Kinks, Jonathan Halper, Glass Crash and the dance beats of England’s finest 90s club music.
Lovers Rock! This party is for you and you and you and, as such, Alex Hubbard is there to welcome you at the door of your new CINEPOLIS. You’ll find Michael Robinson just inside, asking Venus the self-same question ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT: “What is beauty?” Chick Strand’s ELASTICITY and Laida Lertxundi’s MY TEARS ARE DRY shout answers from the living room with meditations on longing, euphoria and ecstasy. Later on, Lertxundi escapes outside for some fresh air, wanders into the volcanic horizon and stakes claim to a desert outpost in FOOTNOTES TO THE HOUSE OF LOVE — after all, there’s no rainfall on Venus. Back inside, we share a PUCE MOMENT or two with Kenneth Anger — all glitter and glamour and greyhound, an early indicator of just how British club-and-rave this party is going to get (courtesy of Mark Leckey’s FIORUCCI MADE ME HARDCORE). The music rises, you dance and dance and get caught up in that Crystal Lite high of Shana Moulton’s WHISPERING PINES 8 until finally the dense carbon dioxide atmosphere makes your head throb and you run into a corner to empty yourself out entirely. Through bleary-eyes you think to yourself, “The surface of Venus sort of looks like Hell” and as you vomit brightness underneath so many toxic clouds, you realize that this planet really is a metaphor for love as well.”
Featuring: Cinepolis by Alex Hubbard (1:55, video, 2007), All Through the Night by Michael Robinson (4:20, video, 2008), Elasticity by Chick Strand (22:00, 16mm, 1975), My Tears Are Dry by Laida Lertxundi (4:00, 16mm, 2009), Footnotes to the House of Love by Laida Lertxundi (13:00, 16mm, 2007), Puce Momentby Kenneth Anger (6:30, 16mm, 1949), Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore by Mark Leckey (15:00, video, 1999), Whispering Pines 8 by Shana Moulton (7:34, video, 2006)
curated by Mary Helena Clark
VENUS PROGRAMME DETAILS
Cinepolis by Alex Hubbard (1:55, video, 2007)
Brooklyn-based artist Alex Hubbard’s videos are face paced performances shot in a single take from above. In Cinepolis a flurry of activity occurs under the camera of objects assembled, manipulated and ultimately destroyed.
All Through the Night by Michael Robinson (4:20, video, 2008)
A charred visitation with an icy language of control: “there is no room for love”. Splinters of Nordic fairy tales and ecological disaster films are ground down into a prism of contradictions in this hopeful container for hopelessness.
Elasticity by Chick Strand (22:00, 16mm, 1975)
“Impressionistic surrealism in three acts. The approach is literary experimental with optical effects. There are three mental states that are interesting: amnesia, euphoria and ecstasy. Amnesia is not knowing who you are and wanting desperately to know. I call this the White Night. Euphoria is not knowing who you are and not caring. This is the Dream of Meditation. Ecstasy is knowing exactly who you are and still not caring. I call this the Memory of the Future.” — CS
My Tears Are Dry by Laida Lertxundi (4:00, 16mm, 2009)
“A film in the three parts of a dialectic. Hoagy Land’s song is played and interrupted as guitar makes sound, two women, a bed, an armchair, and the beautiful outside. After Bruce Baillie’s All My Life. The lyrics of the song reference the eternal sunshine of California and its promises.” — LL
Footnotes to the House of Love by Laida Lertxundi (13:00, 16mm, 2007)
A series of shots in a California desert landscape in which there is a play between on frame and off frame, sound and image. There is an effort to create the space of a story, without a story, by the use of real time/diegetic sound. Love is felt as a force that determines the arrangement of the figures in the landscape. Music: Leslie Gore, Ari Up, The Kinks, The Shangri-Las, Henry Flynt, Laura Steenberge and The Crystals.
Puce Moment by Kenneth Anger (6:30, 16mm, 1949)
“A lavishly colored evocation of the Hollywood now gone, as shown through an afternoon in the milieu of a 1920s film star.” — KA
“Puce Moment is a fragment from an abandoned film project entitled Puce Woman. The soundtrack used here is the second one; the first was the overture to Verdi’s I Villi. The film reflects Anger’s concerns with the myths and decline of Hollywood, as well as with the ritual of dressing, with the movement from the interior to the exterior, and with color and sound synchronization …”
— Marilyn Singer, The American Federation of Arts
Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore by Mark Leckey (15:00, video, 1999)
“Described by one commentator as the best thing they’d ever seen in a gallery, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore is an extended paean to the unadulterated bliss of nocturnal abandon. A documentary of sorts, Leckey’s video chronicles the rites of passage experienced by successive generations of British (sub)urban youth.”
— Matthew Higgs, ArtForum
Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore uses found and original footage of discos and raves across Britain during the 70s, 80s and 90s. Details of clothing, technology, music and other cultural references surface briefly like uncanny folklore as the film explores a culture of collective leisure and consumption.
Whispering Pines 8 by Shana Moulton (7:34, video, 2006)
Moulton again performs as her alter-ego Cynthia in the latest episode of the Whispering Pine series. Fueled by the sugar-free drink Crystal Light, Cynthia methodically fills a vase with alchemical home decorating items. Once her project is completed, Cynthia is again left to dwell in her thoughts. Suddenly a ladder grows out of the vase. Cynthia climbs the ladder and, through a trap door, enters an ecstatic rave complete with a techno remix of the Crystal Light commercial music.