Ed Halter

  • The Otolith Group, Otolith I, 2003, digital video, color, sound, 23 minutes 16 seconds.


    THE OTOLITH GROUP is a joint project between Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun, both lifelong Londoners of transcontinental heritage. Named for the delicate apparatus of the inner ear that senses balance and motion, Otolith have generated a substantial output over the course of two decades. The core products of Sagar and Eshun’s activity consist of more than twenty moving-image works of astonishingly varied forms, cinematic collages not merely of pictures and sounds but more fundamentally of concepts, inspired by and purloined from science fiction, political philosophy, and aesthetics, with histories

  • Tsai Ming-Liang, Goodbye, Dragon Inn, 2003, 35 mm, color, sound, 82 minutes. Production still. Ticket Woman (Chen Shiang-Chyi). Photo: Lin Meng-Shan.


    MID-MARCH: As the reality of the pandemic in New York came into focus, calls to close cinemas spread across the local film scene. The lives of the four of us are typically devoted to going to the movies and encouraging others to do so, too; suddenly we found ourselves desperate to persuade the theaters we love to cease operations as soon as possible.

    Unlike some forms of disaster, epidemics can be predicted, modeled. Italy offered a grim preview of what might be in store for us stateside. So did history: Film scholar Thomas Doherty recently shared a 1920 Billboard article that quotes New York’s


    Curated by Seán Kissane

    Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act banned British councils from “promoting” homosexuality. Derek Jarman infamously responded the following year at a Glasgow live-art festival with an installation that featured two unclothed men sharing a bed surrounded by barbed wire and blood-spattered tabloid headlines. This piece will be re-created at IMMA for the most comprehensive survey of Jarman’s work in two decades. The exhibition will represent every aspect of his output, from his pointedly queer films and righteously bad-tempered canvases to his set designs for opera,


    WHEN I ARRIVED in New York City in the early 1990s, it seemed as though the most adventurous elements of film culture had either disappeared or were on their way out. The grindhouses of Times Square were undergoing Disneyfication. The Millennium Film Workshop had grown moribund, and the Collective for Living Cinema had vanished into memory. Even the punk-ass Cinema of Transgression crowd was settling down to have kids.

    Bucking all those trends was Jonas Mekas, then in his seventies, ensconced in the brick fortress of Anthology Film Archives on the corner of Second Avenue and Second Street, running

  • Ed Halter

    O HORIZON (The Otolith Group) The most immersive cinematic work to date by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun, this sensuously philosophical portrait of the West Bengal educational center Santiniketan also serves as a waking dream of alternative modernism.

    “BEFORE PROJECTION: VIDEO SCULPTURE 1974–1995” (MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA and SculptureCenter, NY) One of the finest moving-image gallery exhibitions in recent memory, curator Henriette Huldisch’s eye-opening show of video art from the cathode-ray era conveys the history of the medium with an all-too-rare precision, mingling


    WHEN MARLON RIGGS DIED in April 1994, at the age of thirty-seven, he was immersed in making his fourth feature-length documentary. This final piece, Black Is . . . Black Ain’t (1995), a sweeping video essay on the manifold complexities of African American identity, was completed by his production team in the months following his death. Like many of his generation who developed AIDS, Riggs spent his last days in a hospital, as Black Is . . . Black Ain’t forthrightly reveals in several sequences that show the filmmaker, hooked up to machines, providing narration and commentary from his bed. In

  • “Laura Poitras: Astro Noise”

    In 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras became the message bearer for Edward Snowden, who contacted her to share documents revealing the NSA’s covert global-spying activities; their interaction formed the core of Poitras’s Oscar-winning documentary CITIZENFOUR. Poitras screened and discussed pre-Snowden research on US-government surveillance in the 2012 Whitney Biennial and returns this spring to mount her first solo museum exhibition, for which she will create a series of immersive spaces from a personal archive of materials related to her ongoing investigations of post-9/11

  • Guthrie Lonergan, Lonely Los Angeles (details), 2005, website screen captures.


    WAY, WAY BACK, in the near-Pleistocene, pre-iPhone year of 2005, GUTHRIE LONERGAN was playing around. The programmer and artist was taking the Internet’s presets and plug-ins and stock images—caches of photos, video, and code that were merely given and everywhere available—and investigating their early promise of social connectivity and sensory plenitude in tandem with their degraded, schlocky aesthetics, their illusions of choice, and their veiled mechanisms of control. His work would come to question the very divides between online and offline, to probe the strange and inextricable

  • Ryan Trecartin

    In keeping with his pointedly twenty-first-century fixation on how networked technologies have reshaped consciousness into something at once hyperactive and attenuated, Ryan Trecartin has been known to edit his work right up until minutes before an opening. However, a few details about the epic-scale installation he’s preparing for this exhibition—his first museum solo in Germany—may be safely leaked. Like his much-lauded suite of videos seen at the 2013 Venice Biennale, this piece promises to combine the spatial potential of the gallery

  • Amy Sillman, Triscuits, 2011–12, digital video, black-and-white, silent, 12 minutes 30 seconds.

    Ed Halter

    AMY SILLMAN'S animated videos are so deftly constructed, complex, and funny that it’s surprising to find out she has been making them for only a few years. But elements of animation had always been lying in wait in her art: in the serial cartoon shapes found in many of her works, in the ziney comic books she has published, and even in the very process of painting as such—which, after all, involves marking a screenlike surface with images that morph, layer, and change as they find final form. Sillman has made this last point of convergence explicit by exhibiting paintings with silent movies

  • Alain Resnais, Je t’aime, je t’aime, 1968, 35 mm, color, sound, 91 minutes. Claude Ridder (Claude Rich). Photo: Film Desk/Bleeding Light Film Group/Mag Bodard.


    BY 1968, Alain Resnais had completed four feature films that dwell upon the nature of time and memory and disrupt standard narrative chronology. In each, he employs disjunctive styles of editing to tell fractured, nonlinear tales, shuttling between the present, the future, and the past in ways that sometimes baffled contemporary audiences. In Hiroshima mon amour (1959), two lovers relive wartime traumas through flashbacks that seem to overwhelm them; in Last Year at Marienbad (1961), the unnamed visitors to a baroque chateau wander its mirrored halls and ruminate on a past love story, while

  • Marc Forster, World War Z, 2013, 35 mm, color, sound, 123 minutes. Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena).
    slant December 28, 2013

    Ed Halter

    CATASTROPHE HAS LONG BEEN a staple of cinema, from the extravagant pageants of ancient warfare first seen in silent Italian epics through Cold War sci-fi allegories of nuclear armageddon to the 1990s golden age of Hollywood blockbusters, in which the techniques of the action film joined forces with the new powers of computer-generated imaging to offer hyperreal battles against aliens, dinosaurs, tornadoes, and asteroids. But 2013 feels like it gave us more visions of the apocalypse than any year prior. After Earth, Oblivion, Elysium, World War Z, Pacific Rim, and Ender’s Game all served up