21 April 2007

Our Technicolor Dream

London ICA
21 April 2007

2007 is a year of many anniversaries: twenty years since Acid House, thirty since the release of Never Mind The Bollocks, forty since Sgt. Pepper's and fifty since the publication of Jack Kerouac's On The Road. One event that gets far less publicity, but that was at the heart of everything that came both before and after it also sees its 40th anniversary this year. The 14-Hour Technicolor Dream took place on 29 April 1967 and was the UK's first mass-participational all-night psychedelic freakout !

Organised and in a matter of weeks, the event was held in the cavernous confines of Alexandra Palace. The vision of Hoppy Hopkins and Miles, the night saw a glorious mingling of freaks, beats, mods, squares, proto-punks, pop stars and heads come together to dance, trip, love and be. To celebrate the anniversary, the ICA presents Our Technicolor Dream - a one-off multi-media event that features an array of cult 60s films and animation, full-on psychedelic lightshows, groovy DJs, avant-garde theatre, a Q&A session with the leading lights of the 60s underground and live music with The Amazing World of Arthur Brown, The Pretty Things, Circulus and Mick Farren.

Marvo Movie (Jeff Keen, 1967)

Saturday 21 April 2007, at 12:30pm (Cinema 1) & 2:30pm (Cinema 2)
In conjunction with the BFI, we bring you 90 minutes of rare, lost and unseen psychedelic masterpieces. We kick off with the 1967 BBC documentary about the original Alexandra Palace event Man Alive: What's a Happening ? This splendid period-piece documentary includes interviews with such legendary characters as Suzy Creamcheese as well as cameos from bemused Ally Pally security staff and assorted underground hipsters. Anthony Stern's 1968 San Francisco follows, featuring a startling flash and freeze frame technique edited to a unique demo version of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive". Stern's rapid, closely cut sequences form a colorful montage of bizarre images, creating a portrait of the city in all its photogenic glamour and kooky excess. Next up is the Jeff Keen trilogy of Cineblatz, Marvo Movie and White Lite, which all epitomise the director's weird, wonderful and most surreally British take on Pop Art. Keen's 10-minute short, Meatdaze is next up - six segments containing a wild and pleasurably eccentric mix of cartoon, newsreel and featurettes. Finally, we have the deranged Pythonesque comedy of John Beech's Postal Delivery and Arthur Johns' extraordinary essay on colour effects, Solar Flares Burn For You, set to a hypnotic Robert Wyatt soundtrack.

Saturday 21 April 2007, at 2:30pm (Cinema 1) & 4:30pm (Cinema 2)
In 1967, Dick Arnall launched the first British Animation Festival, and in tribute to his work, the current organiser of the London International Animation Festival, Nag Vladermersky presents a dizzying array of 60s and 70s multi-national cartoon craziness. First up is Jan Lenica's Labyrinth, a Kafka-esque tale of a winged and lonely man devoured by totalitarian rule. Labyrinth is considered to be one of the finest political animations ever made. Next come two 1969 Jan Svankmajer works, The Flat and A Quiet Week In The House: both are dark, disturbing domestic parables. Les Astronautes by Walerian Borowczyk and Chris Marker is a co-directed short about an eager inventor and his homemade spaceship. Renowned Polish animator and erotic film director Borowczyk is a key influence on directors like Terry Gilliam and David Lynch. This is followed by Ryan Larkin's Oscar-nominated Walking. Using a combination of line drawing and colour wash, Larkin observes the movements of a variety of urban characters. Finally, Street Musique, another Larkin work, opens with live-action footage of street musicians, before changing into a staggeringly animated stream-of-consciousness piece.

Boyle Family projections for Soft Machine

Saturday 21 April 2007, at 4:30pm (Cinema 1) & 6:30pm (Cinema 2)
Mark Boyle and Joan Hills were pioneers of British projections with events such as Son et Lumiere for Insects, Reptiles and Water Creatures and the infamous Bodily Fluids and Functions, which included blood, vomit, tears and semen. Their liquid light show of exploding colours and foaming bubbles became a major feature of the psychedelic scene through their residency at the UFO club and their work with Soft Machine, who played what Boyle described as 'acetylene music'. Their farewell lightshow films Beyond Image and Son of Beyond Image were shot for a circular screen environment as part of their 1969 ICA exhibition 'Journey to the Surface of the Earth' and will be remixed live by Joan Hills and Sebastian Boyle to a live recording of Soft Machine from the technicolor era.

Saturday 21 April 2007, at 6pm
60s underground luminaries offer their own takes on what the original 14-Hour Technicolor Dream event was like, where it came from and where it ended up. This will be followed by a Q & A session. The cast includes:
Joe Boyd: In 1967, Joe was an American record producer living in London, co-running the legendary UFO Club in Tottenham Court Road and producing, among others, The Pink Floyd, The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention.
Miles: Instrumental in setting the UK's first underground newspaper, International Times, Miles also ran the Indica bookstore, the hub of counter-cultural activity during the period.
Hoppy Hopkins: Hoppy helped resurrect the Notting Hill Carnival, along with activist, Michael X, and then went on to co-run UFO and organise the original 14-Hour Technicolor Dream event, before going down for possession of hash in the week Sgt. Pepper's was released!
John Dunbar: John Dunbar was instrumental in bringing The Beatles into the avant-garde and set up the Indica art gallery, which featured early work by Fluxus and all kinds of other kinetic, experimental and conceptual art.

Saturday 21 April 2007, at 8pm
The evening's festivities commence with Malcolm Boyle's one-man play, The Madcap: a journey into the psychedelic underground as seen through the distorted mental lens of Syd Barrett. Boyle combines tragic-comic performance, hallucinatory film and slide projections with his own interpretations of Barrett's songs. Next up is The Amazing World of Arthur Brown. Now performing as part of a two-piece, Arthur is perhaps best remembered for his hit, 'Fire', and for his flaming headgear and incredible stage presence. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown were regulars at the UFO club and performed at the 14-Hour Technicolor Dream. Then come Circulus, Britain's finest neo-medieval psychedelic folk-rock band. The group are a collective of anything from 5 to 11 and have thus far released two LPs to much critical acclaim. Finally, we take great pride in presenting The Pretty Things. Following a string of seminal punk R'n'B hits in the mid-60s, the group mutated into an inspired psychedelic band and cut the first 'rock-opera', S. F. Sorrow and are still gigging today, with a fanatical worldwide following. The whole show will be augmented by Optikinetics, Britain's premier purveyors of psychedelic visual experiences.


12 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH
Nearest Tube: Charing Cross / Piccadilly

Screenings: £8 / £7 concessions / £6 members
Discussion: £10 / £9 concessions / £8 members
Concert: £20 / £18 concessions / £16 members
Box Office: 020 7930 3647




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