Program 2 by Jerry Tartaglia

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This Saturday Feb 28 at 7:30 JERRY TARTAGLIA presents the second in a series of three programs he has curated for Millennium.  Program 2, A SHORT HISTORY OF THE FUTURE AND OTHER RECENT WORKS is a selection of own his recent films, including portions of his Live Film Action Performance The Projectionist (2011), and a rare screening in 16mm of The Mystery School (2009) which he describes as “an experiment in viewer perception created from educational films”.  The program will be presented in Millennium’s screening space at 7:30pm (see sidebar for address and directions).  Admission $10 ($5 members).

A Short History Of The Future (2013) reconstructs Leni Riefenstahl’s 1933 film Das Blaue Licht into “a consideration of the notion of ‘artistic neutrality’ “.  The program also includes a selection of several shorter works including Ecce Homo (1989), Via Dolorosa (2005), 1969 (1991), and “a short video comment on 25 years of restoring the films of Jack Smith”.  Tartaglia will be present to comment upon his Queer film practice as a critique of “screen-based consciousness.”  The program will be presented in Millennium’s screening space

Tartaglia’s first program for Millennium, ‘HAMLET IN THE RENTED WORLD (A FRAGMENT)’ AND OTHER RECENTLY RESTORED WORKS BY JACK SMITH, presented on January 24th, focused on five works by the late Jack Smith that Tartaglia reconstructed and restored for the Jack Smith Archive (Gladstone Gallery New York and Brussels).  He is the Archive’s curator.

On Saturday March 28, Tartaglia will present Program 3, a selection of film works by the late Gary Goldberg.  He was named the custodian of Goldberg’s works in 2003.  Jerry Tartaglia served as a Manager at Millennium Film Workshop during the 1970’s, and as a Director on its Board for many years thereafter.  He teaches cinema, writing, and media production at Albright College.

Tartaglia’s website can be found at:  http://jtartaglia501.wix.com/jerry-tartaglia

 

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Saturdays 3-6pm: 2/21, 2/28, 3/7Optical printing is the “hands on” craft of cinema effects re-photography.  Participants will learn the use and creative implications of the JK optical printer, as well as exposure manipulation, superimposition, film stocks, and color control.  The teacher, Kelly Spivey, is a filmmaker, editor, artist, and teaches at Hunter College.  View Kelly’s work at kellyspivey.wordpress.com. Class size is limited to 6.

Workshop fee:  $195 members, $235 non-members  (film & processing included).

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WRITINGS

Matt Town: SOAP

by Joel Schlemowitz

A spray of bright sparks on the black screen, seeming to be a display of fireworks. It is the result of an arc welder, scattering molten metal droplets. A thick-bladed band saw cuts into a piece of steel. The weighty visage of the black-and-white 16mm reversal film used to convey these images onto the movie screen seems itself a metallic compound of steely grays and rich blacks.


The film is SOAP by Matt Town, shown at Millennium Film Workshop on November 30th in a two-person program of works by Angela Ferraiolo and Matt Town. The film’s title refers to a soap box racer, its construction assiduously documented in silent, static shots.

But is is not the soap box racer of nostalgic, childhood idylls that emerges before us. The thing assembled before the camera from square steel beams and sheets of plywood is strange and boxlike. It is a blank, sharp-edged rectangle. Perhaps its plain outline does have a certain childhood association. It is suggestive of the cardboard refrigerator box, coveted as the makings of a playtime fort, citadel, castle, or bunker. A minimal form, its absent details filled in through youthful imagination.

A paint roller is seen in close-up applying a coat of white to its flat, unadorned surface. A white rectangle, it resembles two sugar cubes that humidity has fused together end to end. The only feature disrupting the blankness is an oval hole up top for the driver to peer out.

We look down upon the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn, viewed from rooftop or window. The sight of the empty streets goad us into a feeling of anticipation, awaiting the eventual visitation of this unearthly soap box racer. The neighborhood itself had a part in the project’s concept, Matt Town would later explain. An unlikely merging of an interest in soap box racers and the troubling feelings in witnessing the gentrification of Bushwick, the new arrivals attempting to “wash away” the neighborhood’s character and community.

The blank, white rectangle, with wheels round and thin protruding out from beneath it, slowly rolls down the street and into the frame. The use of black-and-white 16mm film is well suited to heighten the visual disparity of the stark, white box racer and the tonal variety of the urban setting with its a rich harmony of silvery grays.

We can’t help but let out a little laugh at the sight of this strange, incongruous thing, a square-shaped UFO gliding silently down the city street. Its occupant is seen in white plastic construction worker’s helmet, peering from his oval lair. His eyes are just visible above the surface of the racer, causing him to resemble a tank driver. Or perhaps the object of an ultra-minimalist version of “whack-a-mole” poking out from his burrow. Despite our amusement at the sight of this rectangular apparition, the racer has an unsettlingly sinister quality as well. A white, reclining version of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey a featureless rectangular slab of otherworldly origin.

SOAP appeared as an installation work at Microscope Gallery back in the summer of this year, the 16mm projector concealed within a white box on a metal stand, a form echoing the physiognomy of the soap box racer driving the streets of Bushwick in the film. A visual interplay of image and object. There at Microscope the film had been shown on a loop, but now it was an equally gratifying experience to view it in linear form on the screen of Bushwick’s Millennium Film Workshop.

Matt joked afterwards about the work’s connection to Bushwick. The film was not only made in Bushwick — using Millennium’s cameras and editing equipment, no less — but with presentations at both Microscope and Millennium, the film had thus far only been screened in the neighborhood of its origin. Perhaps he means to embargo its presentation elsewhere? In that case you’ll just have to come to Bushwick to see it next time.