Left: Anthony McCall's Line Describing a Cone (1974), 16mm projection through fog, projected in Atlanta 2013. Right: Paul Sharits, Shutter Interface (1975), double 16mm projection (image Jeanne Liotta)  

Film Love at the High, part 2:
light motion surface depth screen room viewer projector

Thursday, February 7, 2019  |  7:00 pm
The Beauchamp Carr room, inside the Woodruff Arts Center
(adjacent to the Rich Theatre)
$14.50 admission | free for High Members
Tickets: https://high.org/event/screening-film-love-retrospective-series-2/

Click here for program notes by curator Andy Ditzler


After sixteen years and over 150 unique programs, the Film Love series is being honored by Atlanta’s High Museum of Art with a spring 2019 retrospective. Programs will be curated by Film Love founder Andy Ditzler, and will feature audience favorites and rediscovered gems from the series’ long history. The retrospective continues on Thursday, February 7, with a program on the subject of how motion pictures work. The selections stretch from the earliest days of cinema in the 1890s to two key works of the moving image from the 1970s.

Although audiences of the 1890s were well acquainted with light projections, and stories of spectators running away from the images in panic at early movie screenings are apocryphal, there is no doubt that cinema produced profound changes in how people saw and represented the world and their place in it.

The Lumière brothers’ famous 1896 film of a train approaching the camera is an indelible image of the advent of the twentieth century. A few years later, filmmakers were attaching their cameras to the front of trains for visual joyrides that exploited cinema’s double illusion: the appearance of depth on a flat screen, and the transformation of a strip of still images into motion via the film projector. Alongside their popular appeal, the train films carried other implications, such as a loss of control for spectators who found themselves hurtling through space via the screen. This type of novelty motion picture continues today in the plethora of thrill-seeking GoPro camera videos of wingsuit flights and other risky adventures.

Film artists have long drawn inspiration from early cinema’s exploration of the magical-seeming properties of motion and depth through projected light. Rounding out our program is a series of 16mm film projections that demonstrate cinema’s basic properties with both artistic rigor and a sense of delight in the moving image.

Something of a cult classic, Gary Beydler’s Pasadena Freeway Stills ingeniously uses film’s frame-by-frame nature to convert a California drive from frozen images to motion and back again. Cinema magician Ken Jacobs uses found footage from the Lumières’ early films to create a kind of 3D film through a visual phenomenon known as the Pulfrich Effect. (No elaborate technology is required for this; viewers will be provided small viewing filters to use in order to see the special effects.)

Two key moving image works of the 1970s take us further into the properties of film projection, and of the cinema space itself. Using projection as a kind of performance, Paul Sharits’ Shutter Interface requires two concurrently running 16mm projectors with side-by-side images; during the screening, the two frames gradually merge. This beautiful and unique film’s use of vibrant single color frames poses the question: what does cinema look like when there is no motion within the image and no illusory depth in the image?

Finally, a special presentation of Anthony McCall’s widely acclaimed Line Describing a Cone brings the audience fully into the equation. Projected through fog, this film gradually forms a cone of light in the screening room, with which viewers may actively interact. Harkening back to the magical spectacles of early cinema, while at the same time creating a meditative, Zen-like atmosphere, Line Describing a Cone is an engaging and unforgettable experience.

Because of the unique projection properties of these films, the screening will take place inside the Woodruff Arts Center building in the Beauchamp C. Carr room, directly adjacent to the Rich Theatre.

L'arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat (Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat) (Auguste and Louis Lumière, 1896), digital projection, 1 min
Panoramic View of the Golden Gate (Thomas Edison, 1902) digital projection, 3 min
Bombing Cannibal Canyon (2015), digital projection, 4 min courtesy Red Bull Media House
Pasadena Freeway Stills (Gary Beydler, 1974), 16mm, 6 min
Opening the Nineteenth Century: 1896 (Ken Jacobs, 1991), 16mm with Pulfrich filters, 9 min
Shutter Interface (Paul Sharits, 1975) 16mm double projection, 25 min
Line Describing a Cone (Anthony McCall, 1973) 16mm projection through fog, 30 min

Woodruff Arts Center
1280 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30309

UPCOMING Film Love retrospective dates at the High Museum:
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Thursday, April 16, 2019
Thursday, May 9, 2019

light motion surface depth screen room viewer projector is a Film Love event. The Film Love series provides access to great but rarely-screened films, especially important works unavailable on consumer video. Through public screenings and events, Film Love preserves the communal viewing experience, provides space for the discussion of film as art, explores diverse forms of projection and viewing, and illuminates connections between the moving image and other art forms. Film Love is curated by Andy Ditzler.

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