Ed Halter


    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


    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

  • 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


    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

  • 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

  • Ericka Beckman

    In her Super 8 sound films of the 1970s and ’80s, American artist Ericka Beckman created sharp-edged concatenations of lo-fi visual effects, dance-like performances, and No Wave audio compositions, always pointing toward the concept of play and its aesthetic and psychological implications. Beckman’s survey at the Kunsthalle Bern this summer will feature some of the best of these seminal works—including We Imitate; We Break Up, 1978; The Broken Rule, 1979; and Out of Hand, 1980—as well as a selection of photos, drawings, and later films such as Switch Center,

  • “Portrait of Michel Auder”

    “Michel Auder edits his intimate video diaries out of more than five thousand hours of footage shot since the late 1960s.”

    Michel Auder edits his intimate video diaries out of more than five thousand hours of footage shot since the late 1960s. Ranging in length from ultrabrief to a few minutes to epic, Auder’s videos collectively constitute a dispersed autobiography—with a voyeur’s stratagem of picturing the self through others—chronicling demimonde adventures, rocky marriages to Viva and Cindy Sherman, as well as his own heroin addiction. Culturgest presents a generous selection from this ample oeuvre, including screenings of Chelsea Girls with Andy Warhol (1971–76/1994),


    TWO AMERICAN CHILDREN, a girl and a boy, play inside a house crammed with the technological clutter of the twentieth century. Tangles of electric cable form a synthetic underbrush, while cathode-ray monitors perch here and there, transmitting nature programs amid a jumble of cardboard boxes, incandescent lightbulbs, and tabletops loaded with piles of tools, food, and junk. The girl wears the flowered dress of a Dust-Bowl waif; the boy appears in a smart white suit jacket, worn New Wave style over a T-shirt emblazoned with an ironed-on Superman logo. Set loose in this anarchic environment, the

  • George Kuchar

    LAST SUMMER, when it became clear that cancer would inevitably take his life, George Kuchar entered a hospice in San Francisco. He brought his video equipment with him, shooting and editing footage inside what would serve as his final residence. At age sixty-nine, the underground film legend was reportedly the youngest person in the hospice at that moment—appropriate for a guy who began his career as a teenage director and always retained the energy of a gum-snapping adolescent. Even at the end, he could play the kid with the camera.

    This was not the first time Kuchar had recorded such a

  • Ed Halter

    1 Inkblot films (Luther Price) Produced by scraping the emulsion from old footage, recutting it, and coloring it with inks and Sharpies, Price’s 16-mm and Super 8 inkblot films—a selection of which he screened in person in Milwaukee and Chicago this year—have nothing of the stained-glass delicacy characteristic of handpainted work; rather, they struggle through the projector with an unsettlingly existential corporeality.

    2 Two Years at Sea (Ben Rivers) In this feature-length visit with a woodlands hermit in Scotland, Rivers disjoints documentary images from any clear place and time,

  • film April 24, 2011

    The Practice of Everyday Life

    KEVIN JEROME EVERSON’S two-minute film Something Else (2007) begins with a bit of worn color 16 mm—evidently shot for a local television-news station, perhaps sometime around 1970—depicting an interview with Miss Black Roanoke, Virginia, a young woman in a scoop-necked russet gown, with a sparkling tiara perched atop her Afro. The footage seems battered by time. The sound drops out, more than once, and split-second bits of dialogue repeat, as if two prints had been badly spliced together. Following some initial questions, the awkward white male reporter asks the beauty queen whether she’d prefer

  • interviews February 21, 2011

    Harun Farocki

    Through March 3, the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow is presenting an exhibition devoted to the work of filmmaker Harun Farocki. The show includes workshops, seminars, screenings, discussions, and three of Farocki’s two-channel video installations, I Thought I Was Seeing Convicts, 2000, Comparison via a Third, 2007, and Immersion, 2009, as well as a selection of thirteen other works spanning his career. Here, the artist discusses Immersion and In Comparison, 2009, his most recent film and a companion piece to Comparison via a Third, employing overlapping themes and footage.


  • “Radical Light”

    In 1968, the New York–based critic P. Adams Sitney—already a preeminent advocate for American avant-garde cinema but not yet the author of the canonical study Visionary Film—published a five-column article in the Village Voice titled “Underground Movies Are Alive Along the Pacific,” detailing a recent trip with Stan Brakhage to see new work in San Francisco. “There we discovered at least half a dozen good and relatively new film-makers and two old masters, both of whom seldom, if ever, show their work in New York,” Sitney reported.

    Lenny Lipton was one of those mentioned; he was also a board

  • film October 08, 2010

    Splash of Red

    SPANISH FILMMAKER SEGUNDO DE CHOMÓN began working in the medium less than half a decade after its invention, first as a renowned colorist in the days of labor-intensive frame-by-frame tinting, then as a pioneering special-effects designer. His career unfolded during the historical phase scholar Tom Gunning has dubbed the “cinema of attractions”—before narrative took hold as the dominant mode, when fairground-style spectacle and legerdemain remained the eye-baffling norm. One of Chomón’s earliest films, The King of Dollars (1905), makes the link to stage magic clear. It shows a disembodied hand