Skyworks, Wind & Fire

Rental Format(s): 16mm film

Editor: Le Ann Bartok Wilchusky; Photography: Free Fall, Bud Bell and Bernie Wilchusky, and Le Ann Bartok Wilchusky; Skydiver: Bob Hall.

Film of "Dropped Objects" falling from 8,000 ft. altitudes with skydivers as performers. This film of a conceptual artist's work is a document of Skyworks but also meant to be expressive as an art film. A film of meditation revealing the cosmic breath as Skyworks pieces fall at the rate of 120 to 135 miles per hour. A breathing language of light and knowledge. Performance-controlled flight. Gyres cycling in and out - the mystic spiral. A perception of light and space as energy lines alter the environment temporarily.

"Wind and Fire introduces Bartok as a priestess or shaman pacing across a beach in a flowing white robe. But most of the film presents what looks like falling flames in the dark, flowers pointing upwards in the sunlight, and skydivers plunging downward, struggling to hold onto the wildly flapping ribbons."

Excerpts from Crossroads: Avant-garde Film in Pittsburgh in the 1970's by Robert A. Haller

"It certainly must be the tallest piece of art ever hung anywhere. LeAnn Bartok worked a year to prepare it, and it was over in four-and-a-half minutes. While it lasted, it was called 'Skyworks, Multiple Mile.' Only a handful of people camped out in the desert drop zone near El Paso, Texas, ever saw it, but here's what happened on August 7. Four enormous roles of 20-inch wide, white crepe paper, along with a phalanx of sky divers were chucked out of two small airplanes flying at 8000 feet. As the free-fallers floated through the air, they unspooled the rolls, which had been strategically weighted with welding rods to help shape their descent. When fully unwound, each mile-long streamer gracefully wafted downward at between 120 and 135 feet per second.

'I believe it's the fastest art on record', explained Bartok, who had elected to stay on the ground watching her work through a camera viewfinder, filming the results. 'Skyworks, Multiple Mile,' will be the climax of a National Endowment of the Arts funded motion picture she is making about this aerial art form she has been pioneering since 1973# How did Bartok become a dropout artist? 'Laugh if you want, everyone else does when I tell them the story. I had been doing these very large paintings, and one night I had this ridiculous dream. Orville Wright was pulling my paintings behind his plane."
The Village Voice, Sept. 6, 1976

Rental Fees

16mm film $35.00  

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