Skyworks, the Red Mile
- LeAnn Bartok |
- 1973 |
- 9.5 minutes |
- COLOR |
Rental Format(s): 16mm
Editor, Director: Dody Cross; Photography: Air to Air, Ron Boff; Free fall, Bud Bell; Ground, Dody Cross; Skydivers: Bob Brown, Ed Luby, Bud Bell, Chirp Navrotski; Sound: Carol Spitzer, Jeff White and Ron Boff.
Documentary of conceptual artist Le Ann Bartok Wilchusky's "Skyworks, The Red Mile," dropped from 7,500 ft. altitude with skydivers, kinetically danced over the Pennsylvania countryside. This "Dropped Object" unrolled in free fall creating a line one mile long which altered the sky space dramatically. Shorter red pieces, held by the skydivers in free fall, spiral in and out as the skydiver as performer is held in G force. A visual symphony of falling lines.
"In 1973, LeAnn Bartok arranged for the filming of one of her Skyworks projects -- environmental art works that were transitory in contrast to the "landworks" of Robert Smithson# Bartok also did most of her projects in the west, but they were thousands of feet up in the air. Teams of skydivers would exit special planes, unfurling thousands of feet of industrial strength crepe paper or plastic ribbons that would sinuously twist across the clouds. The divers would not only deploy the strips of material, but also film it from the air, while other camerapersons photographed the descending skeins from the ground. There was a John Cage - like unpredictability to these performances. They were violently dynamic from the perspective of the skydivers / aerial cameramen, but gently graceful as seen from the ground. The 1973 film Skyworks: Red Mile was edited by Dody Cross. It is a competent documentary that shows several of the descents, and "overhears" Bartok musing about her intentions -- to bring art into immediate contact with life, and her initial conflicted feelings about wanting to make permanent objects, but then choosing her transitory aerial form. The Red Mile is an introduction to Bartok's visionary enterprise#"