We had a terrific time with our six presenters at the AAANZ conference in Brisbane this week.
We’ve posted a document over here which outlines the theme of the discussions, as well as how we divided up the conversation, and the abstracts from our presenters.
Thanks to presenters Sandy Gibbs, Steven Ball, Georgia Banks, Greer Honeywill, Elizabeth Pulie, and Simone Hine.
Lucas Ihlein and Louise Curham
The following is a call for contributions to a session at the AAANZ conference in November, in Brisbane.
This panel explores the widespread phenomenon of re-enactment as a tactic of embodied research in performance art history.
Performance re-enactment (or “re-performance”) has emerged since the turn of the century as an arena of practice and scholarship, an embodied means of “doing” historical research as well as a way of critically reflecting on ephemeral artworks from the past.
Continue reading “Re-enactment / Repetition / Reiteration / Re-performance as embodied research”
A review of our Perth presentation of Line Describing a Cone, 2005.
Anne-Marie Archer – Line Describing a Cone (written 01 June 2005) at State of the Arts (now no longer online):
The idea of walking into a smoke filled room to be part of an event is quickly becoming a thing of the past. However, Anthony McCall’s Line Describing a Cone demands such an environment to truly appreciate the impact of his innovative work from the ’70s.
Entering the room was an unusual experience as the crowd disappeared beyond the fog and a single beam of projected light captured not only the attention, but also the fingertips and hands of the audience as they played with the medium.
Continue reading “Review of Line Describing a Cone, 2005”
The following review was originally posted on a blog called File Thirteen, back in 2001. We linked to it in 2005 when we organised our first Australian tour of Line Describing a Cone. The File Thirteen blog doesn’t seem to be online any more – the review is on the Internet Archive, but we’ll re-post it here for an extra backup, and because we think it’s a nice piece of writing.
Continue reading “Review of Line Describing a Cone”
The following info is copied across from Canyon Cinema’s website:
Line Describing a Cone, Anthony McCall | 1973 | 30 minutes | B&W | SILENT
Rental Format(s): 16mm film, 24 fps
Note: Special projection requirements – see below.
Line describing a cone is what I term a solid light film. It is dealing with the projected light-beam itself, rather than treating the light-beam as a mere carrier of coded information, which is decoded when it strikes a flat surface (the screen).
The film exists only in the present: the moment of projection. It refers to nothing beyond this real time.
The form of attention required on the part of the viewer is unprecedented. No longer is one viewing position as good as any other. For this film every viewing position presents a different aspect. The viewer therefore has a participatory role in apprehending the event: he or she can – indeed needs to move around, relative to the emerging light-form.
“… Anthony McCall’s LINE DESCRIBING A CONE [is] a film which demanded to be looked at, not on the screen, but in the space of the auditorium. What was at issue was the establishment of a cone of light between the projector and the screen, out of what was initially one pencil-like beam of light. I consider it the most brilliant case of an observation on the essentially sculptural quality of every cinematic situation.” – P. Adams Sitney, Artforum
SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE PROJECTION OF “LINE DESCRIBING A CONE” TO AN AUDIENCE
Please note: there is, obviously, especially for one-time showings, a certain necessary improvisatory spirit. So these specifications should be taken as guidelines rather than imperatives. However, I can say that the most successful showings that I have witnessed have been reasonably close to these recommended conditions.
- That projector should be inside the viewing space, not inside a projection booth.
- The projection space should be entirely empty of chairs or other furniture.
- The projection space must be absolutely pitch-dark. Owing to the delicate nature of light, even a slight spillage of ambient light from poorly masked windows or doors can seriously affect the film’s visibility. A five or six-inch-wide strip of thin black card loosely looped over the top of the projector casing to minimize light spillage from the heat vents up onto the ceiling, can also help.
- Whenever possible, use a 16mm projector with a 350 watt Xenon lamp (and this would be essential for the longer projection throws). The Xenon lamp is significantly brighter than that of a standard projector.
- The projector should stand on a plinth of about 4-5′ in height (the ideal height would place the lens of the projector at approximately half the height of the projected image). [Metric: 1m – 1.5m]
- The ideal projection distance between projector lens and wall is between 30′ and 50′ feet. The ideal frame height at the wall is between 7′ and 11′ (ie giving an ideal ratio between beam length and frame height of between 4.5 and 5 to 1). The base of the frame should be about 1′ from the floor. [Metric: 9m – 17m throw, 2m – 3.5m frame height, 30cm from floor]
- The light of the beam is visible through its contact with tiny particles in the air, be they from dust, humidity or smoke. The most effective and controllable method of ensuring visibility is by hiring or borrowing a “Hazer”. These can usually be rented by the day from theatrical or lighting supply firms. See, for example, the Martin/Jem ZR24/7 Hazer. A Hazer fills the projection space with a safe, odorless haze similar in appearance to a sea mist, which is extremely effective in rendering the beam of light palpable and visible.
From Canberra Contemporary Artspace, June 2014. Performer is Louise Curham.
Performance Matters is a new journal published by the Simon Fraser University (Canada). The journal is especially interested in:
work that focuses on the materiality and the consequentiality of performance: the objects that comprise it, the labour that goes into it, the physical sites that give shape to it, as well as the effects it has — what, in short, performance does, and why that is meaningful.
Teaching and Learning Cinema has contributed an article to the first edition of the journal which is themed “Archiving Performance”, and edited by Peter Dickinson.
Our contribution is entitled “Reaching Through to the Object: Reenacting Malcolm Le Grice’s Horror Film 1“. The article begins like this:
In July 2014 Teaching and Learning Cinema, an Australian artist group coordinated by Louise Curham and Lucas Ihlein, presented a reenactment of Malcolm Le Grice’s Horror Film 1 (1971) at Canberra Contemporary Art Space. A key work of Expanded Cinema, Horror Film 1 involves a live performer playing with shadows, interacting with the overlapping beams of three 16mm film projectors. Our reenactment was the first time in the work’s 40 year lifespan that it had been performed by anyone other than Le Grice himself. In this paper we offer some reflections on the process of making our reenactment, which we regard as ontologically double: simultaneously “the original object” and an entirely new entity. We discuss our methodology of tending the archive–an activist strategy for operating at the borders of archival and artistic practice. And we suggest that reenactment, as a creative practice, can be a way of “reaching through to the object” which sheds new light on the artwork and its cultural-technological context.
You can read the whole article online at Performance Matters Journal.
[Anthony McCall’s “Line Describing a Cone”, presented by Teaching and Learning Cinema in Kandos in April 2015, as part of CEMENTA festival. Photo by Alex Wisser]
* * *
Louise Curham and I first “met” Anthony McCall’s Line Describing a Cone in 2005, when we took it on an Australian tour to Kellerberrin, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
For me, that tour was characterised by great anxiety and great joy:
…anxiety sparked by a technical mishap at our first scheduled screening in Kellerberrin (a tiny town 3 hours drive from Perth) which left us with a blown bulb, a derelict cinema full of artificial haze, and an assembled group of quizzical sheep-n-wheat farmers who I’d cajoled into coming along to see this amazing piece of 1970s avant-garde cinema;
…and joy arising from every subsequent presentation of Line Describing a Cone, which never failed to delight those in attendance.
Ten years later, we’re in the process of presenting our second “tour” of the Cone. We brought the 16mm print out from LUX in London to show at the CEMENTA festival in Kandos (about 4 hours inland from Sydney). Perhaps this was to some extent an effort to exorcise the demons of that failed Kellerberrin screening. Both Kandos and Kellerberrin are small towns a long way from any sort of projector spare parts; both places are unfamiliar with the experience of expanded cinema.
Continue reading “Line Describing a Cone in 2015”
OK – this blog entry is dedicated to exploring the fleshy world of Malcolm Le Grice’s Horror Film 1. If we are to plunge further into the project of re-enacting this work (and it seems that we are!) then we need to have a think about some corporeal issues.
Continue reading “Pants off, Party on”
By 450pm today we had a rough sketch of the work running in the space. We relied heavily on the audio recordings of our conversations with Malcolm last year for this (audio file 2). Still lots to do – key is finding zoom lenses for the projectors. We also hope to try a lapel mic for the breath track.
Numerous small hurdles encountered on the way today – not least battery terminal issues on the 1985 Toyota Corolla and of course friends help us out – Danny (Wild) and Jess loaned us not just a projector but also a car.
Achievements: 3 x 16mm projectors running in roughly the correct alignment with breath track on mono speaker. This allowed us to both pace through the c. 30 metres from wall to projectors in the main gallery at CCAS.
Tasks carried out today: looked at the loops, projectors running the loops, projection frame sizes and height. We had a cursory look at the breath track.
Continue reading “Horror Film sketch No. 1”