03 April 2007

Two Wrenching Departures

London Roxy Bar and Screen
Tuesday 3 April 2007, at 8pm

Secret Cinema presents a FREE screening of a major new work by Ken Jacobs. UK Premiere !!!

Two Wrenching Departures (Ken Jacobs, 2006)

Ken Jacobs, USA, 2006, video, b/w, sound, 90 mins

In his amazing live performances, Ken Jacobs breathed new life into archival film footage, teasing frozen frames into impossible depth and perpetual motion with two 16mm analytic projectors. Now aged 74, the artist explores new ways of documenting and developing his innovative Nervous System techniques in the digital realm.

Two Wrenching Departures, featuring the legendary Jack Smith (both clownish and devilishly handsome circa 1957), extends five minutes of material into a ninety-minute opus of eight movements. In and out of junk heap costume, Smith cavorts through the streets of New York (much consternation from the normals) and performs an impossible, traffic island ballet.

His improvised actions are transformed into perceptual games as Jacobs’ interrogates his footage, using repetition and pulsating flicker to open up new dimensions and temporal twists: The infinite ecstasy of little things. In commemorating two dear departed friends, with whom he collaborated on Blonde Cobra and other works, he propels their image into everlasting motion. These mindbending visions are juxtaposed with the soundtrack of The Barbarian, a 1933 Arabian fantasy starring Ramon Navarro and Myrna Loy, and music by Carl Orff.

“In October 1989, estranged friends Bob Fleischner and Jack Smith died within a week of each other. Ken Jacobs met Smith through Fleischner in 1955 at CUNY night school, where the three were studying camera techniques. This feature-length work, first performed in 1989 as a live Nervous System piece is a ‘luminous threnody’ (Mark McElhatten) made in response to the loss of Jacobs’ friends.”

Two Wrenching Departures (Ken Jacobs, 2006)

Ken Jacobs (born 1933) is one of the key figures of post-war cinema, whose films include Little Stabs at Happiness (1958-60), Blonde Cobra (1959-63), Tom Tom the Piper’s Son (1969-71), The Doctor’s Dream (1978), Perfect Film (1986) and Disorient Express (1995). He has also presented live cine-theatre (2D and 3D shadow plays) and developed the Nervous System and Nervous Magic Lantern projection techniques. Since 1999, Jacobs has primarily used electronic media, both in preserving his live performances and creating new digital works in a variety of styles. His 7-hour epic Star Spangled To Death (1957-2004) is now available on DVD from Big Commotion Pictures at www.starspangledtodeath.com

No reservation necessary, but arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Please Note: This screening is not suitable for those susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy due to the extensive use of flickering and throbbing light.


The Roxy Bar and Screen
128-132 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1LB
Nearest Tube: Borough / London Bridge



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