Microscope is extremely pleased to present “Never Twice”, an exhibition of live moving image performance in the context of what is usually referred to as expanded cinema: works free from the constraints or presenting alternatives to the traditional theatrical screening setting – single projection on a screen before an audience. The title of the exhibit, a reference to the quote from Heraclitus “one cannot step into the same river twice”, emphasizes the ephemeral character of this art form, one always intrinsically connected to a “here” and “now”, a multi-sensorial experience that although it may be performed again, it cannot ever be replicated.
“Never Twice” features eight New York artists recognized for their extensive work with this performative practice, many for decades, including Ken Jacobs, who participated in the “Festival of Expanded Cinema” as it was described on the poster for the event 50 years ago at the Filmmakers’ Cinemathèque run by Jonas Mekas. In some cases, other terms were or are preferred by the artists to describe their works such as “paracinema”, as used by Jacobs, or “contracted cinema” as presented by Bradley Eros.
The exhibit will unfold over the course of the month with gallery hours 1pm to 6pm Friday through Monday during which the artists have the option to be present to set up or take down equipment, rehearse and engage in other activities around their live performances on that Sunday night. On Mondays the remnants of the previous night’s performances will be on view.
Among new works in the exhibit are Black Space by Ken Jacobs, a 3-part work in which the audience, seated in total darkness, is guided by the artist’s voice until surround sound and strobe flashes take over; Barbara Hammer’s Outside/In, where the artist armed with portable projectors moves about the space aiming at an inflated balloon and the artist’s collage that incorporate personal photographs and medical x-rays; and Lary 7′s performance involving 35mm film loops loaded on his ”Yeep-yop” machine, an open projector tipped on its side in which the shutter opens only when the film advances, causing light bursts and syncing mishaps.
Other new works include an untitled performance by Andrew Lampert using video and broken films in broken projectors; Bradley Eros’ Screens <>, a projection based performance and installation made of colored gels, defraction grating, mylar, glass, to be viewed from both sides and in relation to Duchamp’s 1918 “To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour”; and a performance and installation work by Joel Schlemowitz An Alchemic Amalgam presenting triptychs of projections in 35mm slides, 16mm film, magic lantern and overhead projector with images sourced from alchemy illustrations, moiré patterns, science films and new footage shot and developed at the gallery during the preceding days, all with live electronic accompaniment by Enrique Paoli.
Also on view are Bruce McClure’s performance for shoeless projector previously presented in Paris at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Textiles Through the Ages (2014), involving a found 16mm film projected through an Eiki projector from which the artist has removed film shoe and bracket assembly to allow the filmstrip to be pulled in front of the aperture completely disengaged, and “Aldebaran” by Rose Kallal, featuring original 16mm film loops containing imagery of video synthesis, film and computer animation accompanied by a live modular synth score.
A round table discussion about the practice of expanded cinema as well as its definition both historically and today, will be held on Monday January 4th, 7:30pm at the gallery. Several of the exhibited artists will be joining the discussion, as well as other guests TBA.