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Screening

Ben Russell

Filmmaker screening
Thu 8.11. - 20:00

The Unknown Part of the World: Films by Ben Russell (In Person)
Program length 71 minutes

Beginning with the birth of the Universe and ending with the death of the Self, these seven 16mm films by itinerant curator/filmmaker Ben Russell map out an alternate timeline for the History of the World. Working in locations as far afield as the South of France, Easter Island, the Chilean desert, and the Inside of Your Skull, Russell employs a mixture of cameraless film techniques, pinhole photography, and imagery from Early Cinema in an attempt to produce the Ghost of Time Itself.
Featuring
Black and White Trypps Number One – 6:30
Last Days – 5 min.
The Breathers-In – 30 min.
the quarry – 4 min.
The Ataraxians (co-directed w/Sabine Gruffat) – 6 min.
Terra Incognita – 10 min.
Black and White Trypps Number Two – 9 min.
Synopsis
Black and White Trypps Number One (6:30, 16mm, silent, 2005)

"A night sky fills with light shimmers and flecks, surface markings, heavenly bodies. It’s an ocean, a well, a screen, a mirror, a portal. Blackness/void cluttered by growing ephemera. Dark reaches of outer and inner space gradually sifts through shards of granite and diamonds. The mind races as the material becomes greater and more frenetic, reaching a nearly audibly grinding pitch of excitement, flurry, and instantaneous infinity that ebbs at first and then maintains. Flashes of color emerge or are imagined. Chaotic flickering of dancing peasant girls and violently twisting astronaut helmets. Layers of sea slime over undulating life forms. Bonfires and celebration Explosions, construction. Holocausts. Primordial ooze, modern civilization. Ages and seconds. Floating heads circle kaleidoscopic bursts of shiny beads. Everything everywhere twists, forces through, transforms into, overlaps everything else. Seashells, snow, jewels, static, planets, mitochondria, trash, leaves. Rings, flowers, stars, hair, ghosts, comets, cartoons, demons. Icebubblesinstrumentscatsmarblestwigs firefliespinwheelsinsectscraters.Buzzing.Reeling.....flfkkkkk########################## ######################################################################### Overkill. Birth/ Death. Moment by moment, symmetrical—organized like geometry, like Muslim rugs, like math." – JT Rogstad, TIE

Last Days (5:00, 16mm, 2004)

The Valley of Fire. Oficina Chacabuco. The Calumet Industrial Corridor. From the outskirts of Vegas to the desert ghost towns of Chile – a pinhole travelogue for the world’s end, for what was left behind.

The Breathers-In (30:00, 16mm, 2002)

A Gothic Tale of Whiteness. Also, A Melancholy Tale of Loss and Alienation. The Breathers-In is a 16mm experimental narrative film in which two Victorian Sisters float through a post-industrial landscape of Loss and Alienation. Through the use of archetypal characters, silent-film aesthetics, and asynchronous sound, The Breathers-In produces a world in which established constructs of identity, race, and narrative itself are slowly splintered apart.

the quarry (4:00, 16mm, silent, 2002)

"On the sides of the quarry, hundreds of giant statues lay strewn about in various states of disrepair. We sat there, at the base of the thing, for hours – our jaws open wide." the quarry is a silent document of five minutes in the presence of the sublime. This small, quiet 16mm film serves as a testament both to cinema’s failure to reproduce the lived moment and to its success in replacing that moment with one that is equally wondrous.

The Ataraxians (co-directed w/Sabine Gruffat) (6:00, 16mm, 2004)

From the south of France, a science fiction film about the end of the Leisure Class and that which came to replace it.

Terra Incognita (10:00, 16mm, 2002)

A pinhole film, a cheap robot voice, a makeshift history. An explorer’s tale of the unknown part of the world. Terra Incognita is a lensless film whose cloudy pinhole images create a memory of history. Ancient and modern explorer texts of Easter Island are garbled together by a computer narrator, resulting in a forever repeating narrative of discovery, colonialism, loss and departure.

Black and White Trypps Number Two (9:00, 16mm, silent, 2006)

"A fine fine example of spaces between existing as objects themselves. A patternistic and memorializing offering to natural totems. Two kinds of reversal at play involving black and white as well as reflection and overlap. These simple elements create a hurried maze of twisting antler branches, twigs, and dissected slices of pure "space." I can hear the crackling fires, echoing elk calls and frosty despair..." – JT Rogstad, TIE

Ben Russell’s presentation and visit in the Czech Republic are sponsored by the Trust for Mutual Understanding as part of a series of presentations by American film artists in the Czech Republic, curated by Henry Hills.

Ben Russell (1)

Images 

Ben Russell (2)
Ben Russell (5)
Ben Russell (4)
Ben Russell (3)