Jennifer West: Film Title Poem and Other Wonders
REDCAT and Los Angeles Filmforum present
Jennifer West: Film Title Poem and Other Wonders
At REDCAT, 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles 90012
NOTE THE CHANGE FROM OUR USUAL LOCATION & TIME!
Los Angeles premiere! Jennifer West in person.
Jennifer West makes her REDCAT debut with sensual, partly abstract, partly imagistic works that delve into how fiction weaves itself into our memories–and how our viewing experience has changed with the digital revolution. Her program’s centerpiece is Film Title Poem (2016, 67 min.)–“a psychic montage of my inner history of film”–for which West re-shot more than 500 existing movie title cards on 35mm film and manipulated the print with etched patterns, scratches and punctures before transferring it to HD. Based in L.A., West has won wide international recognition for her exploration of materiality in film, showing her work at venues such as Tramway, PICA, Tate Modern, and the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Tickets: $11 general, $8 REDCAT Members & Students, $6 Cal Arts Students/Faculty/Staff
Tickets available at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/967552 or at the door
For more event information: https://www.redcat.org/event/jennifer-west-film-title-poem-and-other-wonders or call REDCAT at 213-237-2800
Directions & Parking: https://www.redcat.org/visit/directions-and-parking
Film Title Poem
By Jennifer West (2016, 35mm optical print hand-etch and painted, transferred to high-definition, sound, 67:40)
Jennifer West presents the new work Film Title Poem (2016); an etched, hand-painted 35mm digitized film comprised of collaged words, images, patterns and glitches shot from over 500 movie title cards to a musical soundtrack. West describes the new film as “a psychic montage of my inner-history of film in alphabetical order”.
The film is structured by a computer alphabetical sorting process, beginning with numbered films and moving through the list of movies in alphabetical order. The images were shot using a flashlight creating the effect of lighting the walls of a completely dark space. It is comprised of shots of individual movie titles and isolated words from the titles; these create a rhythmic word and image viewing game for the viewer, as they decipher recognizable fragments. Shot on analog 35mm film, the film celluloid of 8,000 feet of optical prints were inscribed with etched patterns, outlines, tracings, punctures and marks emphasizing the materiality of the film – using a host of unconventional tools such as forks, vegetable peelers, shards of mirror and hole punchers.
This work is part of a wider project considering the idea of the “remembered” film and how fiction weaves itself into our lives and memories – and how our viewing experience, and thus memories, has changed with the digital and Internet revolutions.
“In this wild moment of media sharing, where clips of films both popular and arcane recirculate broadly, West has also been contemplating her own life (and the lives of countless other spectators) as measured by the filmic experiences we have had and share. Conducting a sort of media archaeology through the summoning of her own memories, she has been experimenting with the “poor image,” accessing many of her “movie memories” through torrents and YouTube downloads. Film Title Poem is part of a larger project on the nature of film memory, drawing in part from British artist Victor Burgin’s writings on the remembered film much shaped by his readings of Sigmund Freud and Roland Barthes. “The more the film is distanced in memory, the more the binding effect of the narrative is loosened. The sequence breaks apart. The fragments go adrift and enter into new combinations, more or less transitory, in the eddies of memory: memories of other films, and memories of real events.”4
"Moving with ease from experimental film to personal documentary with elements realized through performance, writing, lecture, film, and installation, West shares an idiosyncratic diary of an endlessly voracious cinephile who is as inspired by Bruce Conner’s A Movie as she is by Jackass 3D. The film is a compilation of clips of screenshots from her laptop shot with a 35mm camera. We see the digital scroll of the Apple Mac laptop while at the same time experience the quivering materiality of a film that has been scratched, prodded and colored by hand. A flashlight held on hundreds of film title sequences is a binding gesture that calls to mind (for those old enough to remember seeing films in a movie theater) the moments of getting discovered by an usher while engaged in illicit or disruptive behavior. The flashlight also suggests an Indiana Jones-style excavation of hidden film thrills buried deep in the ruins of modern consciousness. West’s use of material traces to register her involvement with specific sites, moments in time, and personal relationships works not only visually but aurally as she appropriates and layers snippets of film soundtracks, from the films of Maya Deren, Andrei Tarkovsky, Gregg Araki, as well as clips from cult classics like Enter the Dragon and Liquid Sky. West’s hybrid film and video projects are the best response to her exhibition’s title, "Is Film Over?", in that they refuse categories of dead or obsolete mediums, and instead defy and redefine the experiential limits of everything from the film strip to the bit torrent.” – Rita Gonzalez