Described by Meredith Monk as a “memorial piece for a world at war” and an “opera in three movements,” Quarry is a typically difficult-to-classify multimedia piece by Monk, combining dance, song, film, and theatrical performance. Set during World War II, Quarry is told from the expressionistic perspective of a sickly child (played by Monk), whose idyllic domestic life becomes increasingly distorted and terrifying as news of the world enters her home and reshapes her imagination.
Ondine and Sally Dixon “star” as ecstatic 19th-century lovers in Roger Jacoby’s first home-processed film. Nickelodeon imagery, school children of Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Botanical Conservatory.
The Tin Woodman, framed by light bulbs, does a little dance, leaps and retrieves his axe from outside the frame, chops down a tree that turns into various objects, grabs a heart emblem from the corner, and goes to the Emerald City at night with Toto. He goes to the edge of a cliff, where he meats an Asian spirit who gives him a heart shape that becomes a kite that hooks to him with a cane. This is followed by approximately ten minutes of kaleidoscopic images, including a man’s hands, a dancing girl, and a cutout of Krishna.
Pixillation was one of the first collaborations between Lillian Schwartz and Ken Knowlton during their stint at Bell Labs using Knowlton’s self written computer animation language EXPLOR. Made in 1970 this 4 minute film crams in a spectacular amount of visual information, cutting from geometric sequences reminiscent of Cellular Automata to analogue sequences of organic forms – immersions of liquids and oils so favoured by the West Coast light show fanatacists around the same time.
An intriguing composite of what looks like animation and pageant-like live action is The Divine Miracle, which treads a delicate line between reverence and spoof as it briefly portrays the agony, death and ascension of Christ in the vividly coloured and heavily outlined style of Catholic devotional postcards, while tiny angels (consisting only of heads and wings) circle like slow mosquitoes about the central figure.
This film of constructivist composition, shot in Moscow in 1987 depicts a series of maps of tramway electrical wire networks framed by the sky, shot from below. Sometimes the top of a tram slides along the frame. The distances between the electrical cables across from the video camera introduce subtle contrasting variations between the black lines that streak the neutral field, reducing the city to a geometric and dynamic construction.
The first US film to be made under the Dogme 95 vow of chastity, Harmony Korine’s follow up to the controversial ‘Gummo’ tells the story of schizophrenic Julien, his pregnant sister Pearl, and their pedantic, over-bearing father. Using handheld digital cameras, Korine gathers together a series of disparate incidents in the life of the family – Julien’s friendship with a young blind figure-skater, Pearl’s masquerade as her and Julien’s dead mother, their brother’s training as wrestler, a visit to a gospel meeting – while slowly and subtly building towards a tragic climax.
This experimental short by Bruce Conner uses Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say” as accompaniment to constantly shifting collage of female nude, cartoons, and newsreels of atomic bomb explosions.