Stan Brakhage, The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes, 1971, 16 mm, color, silent, 32 minutes.

Stan Brakhage and David Kamp

Schinkel Pavillon

There was an Ouroboros-like quality to “The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes,” an exhibition curated by the artist Ed Atkins, pairing Stan Brakhage’s 1971 film The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes with a new work by the Berlin-based composer, sound designer, and sound artist David Kamp. Shot over the course of three or four days on a variety of different film stocks, Brakhage’s 16-mm silent film documents the activities of the coroner and staff of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County morgue as they perform autopsies on a number of human bodies (the film’s title is derived from the etymology of Greek word autopsia). It is the final entry in a trilogy of films, all from 1971, that Brakhage called the “Pittsburgh Documents.” The other two deal with the institutions of the police (eyes) and the hospital (Deus Ex). In contrast to his earlier work, in which he sought to reproduce the intensely

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2019 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.