New Video Work by William E. Jones
At their best, remix artworks produce uncanny connections out of the most unlikely combinations. Such is the case with the trio of sound-image mashups created by Los Angeles avant-garde filmmaker William E. Jones and curated by CalArts professor Thom Andersen. In Film Montages (for Peter Roehr) (2006), Jones pays tribute to the work of 1960s German conceptual artist Peter Roehr, known for his fascination with repetition. In the 11-minute piece, Jones combines and repeats shots borrowed from ’70s gay-porn films, starting with an image of dancing spots of light on a nighttime highway. Through repetition, the lights become an algorithmic music video, followed by a shot of four entwined naked bodies, which become a fleshy, pulsing machine. Separated from the flow of the narrative, the montages highlight gestures (the odd movement of a hand or arm), reveal patterns and textures (soft blue jeans against shiny leather) or capture moments that might otherwise pass unnoticed. (At one point, three men and a blowjob get derailed when everyone bursts out laughing.) From the start, the beautifully crafted Film Montages rocks like music, its image sequences creating melodies and layers that build and fade with a jubilant, erotic glory. The 59-minute v.o. (2006) also features pre-’80s gay porn, here mixed with sound clips from classic foreign films, combinations determined by matching the lengths of sound and image sequences. Surprisingly, the chance matchups often prove eerily perfect, and gradually craft an elliptical narrative of wistful, faded and complex desire. Also screening: More British Sounds (2006), another brilliant mashup, this time pairing the porn film The British Are Coming and the Dziga Vertov Group’s See You at Mao. Filmforum at the Egyptian Theatre; Sun., Dec. 10, 7 p.m.
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