Lawrence Jordan’s Solar Sight at Eyeworks Festival

Posted November 16th, 2011 in Announcements, News / Events

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Film Still from Jordan’s Solar Sight (2011)

Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation Features New Work by Larry Jordan

From Cine-File’s website:

The Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, now in its second year, has already established itself as a world-class, exceptionally curated showcase of unique (and overlooked) hand-drawn, stop-motion, and/or computer-assisted short films. While the first year’s programming separated the (wholly revelatory) retrospective films from more recent (and equally startling) works, this weekend’s screenings freely intermingle past and present; the earliest highlight being Anthony Gross and Hector Hoppin’s irresistible modernist fantasia JOIE DE VIVRE (1936), a hyper-optimistic (and now-otherworldly) B&W ode to technological progress. More recent highlights range from the humanistic, comic, and progressively-absurdist beachfront watercolors of Bill Porter’s ON TIME OFF (2008) to the unbelievable CGI cross-sections of imaginary objects in Zeitguised’s PERIPETICS (2009), which finally realizes the bizarre possibilities of a computer graphics completely untethered from Hollywood’s industrial demands for sensible parametric modeling, physically plausible dynamic simulation, and photorealistic texture mapping. Holding all of these visually heterogeneous films together is an exquisite and borderline-synesthetic sensitivity to the importance of sound (avoiding the avant-garde’s frequently hermetic silence)—from the wintry Poisson static of FIRST SNOW (Joshua Bonnetta, 2004) to the zoomorphic and/or imaginary instruments of PIANO (Paul, Rayment, 2010) and MYSTERY MUSIC (Nicola Mahler, 2009). In addition to three group shows, the Saturday, 6pm show is a solo-program of work by Portland animator Lori Damiano, who will be appearing in person. – Michael Castelle

Expanding on the mention of retrospective films above, a number of titles in the festival stand out. Most obvious is Robert Breer’s great 1978 film LMNO, which shares the techniques of most of his other films (simple line animation, spray painting, collage) and his exquisite editing and sense of rhythm, but is much less frequently screened and thus “crucial viewing” all by itself. James Otis’ 1981 film JACOB’S LADDER is a black and white spiraling, swirling computer-generated abstract animation. It combines its technological origin and its imagery (reminiscent of natural processes and objects—fractals, polyps, branching plants, crystal growth) seamlessly and beautifully. The corker of the work I’ve seen showing is not a retrospective film, but a brand-new work by one of the masters of avant-garde animation who is usually only represented by his older classics. Lawrence (Larry) Jordan’s SOLAR SIGHT (2011) is a marvel. He forgoes his customary use of drawings and etchings (often Max Ernst or Gustove Doré), instead turning to the unsettling (in a Jordan film at least!) appropriation of paintings and photographs (nature scenes, portraiture, King Tut’s golden mask). The slickness of the photos in particular are truly disjunctive in Jordan’s hands. Combined with his familiar collage style, they both feel out of place (but intriguingly and meaningfully so) and open up the film in a way that much of his other work does not—or at least in a different way. The film almost verges on the post-modern (shocking for Jordan), but rather than critique and ironic comment it achieves a cosmic sense of wonder out of the combination of this decidedly 20th century imagery and Jordan’s more familiar source material. – Patrick Friel

More info on the festival at www.eyeworksfestival.com, and more write-ups at www.cine-file.info.

For more information on Lawrence Jordan and to rent his films…

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