Sunday February 24, 2–9PM
World Premiere of the complete JERUSALEM
by James Fotopoulos
A 7-hour, 4-part video cycle
admission $6 – artist in person

Still from The Pearl © 2004 -Image courtesy of James Fotopoulos

James Fotopoulos returns to Microscope for “Descend into Madness”, the world premiere of his complete 7-hour VHS video epic JERUSALEM. Consisting of 4 separate videos Jerusalem, Sublimation, Conjunction and The Pearl – completed between 2003 and 2004 – the work follows a group of actors whose physical, ritualistic performances explore inter-dimensional travel.

“The videos play like nightmarish public-access transmissions revealing painful personal histories via low-fi VHS style images, solarized animations, crude in-camera editing, sculptures, drawings, paintings, stereo-layered monologues, and bankrupt puppetry.” –JF

The event also marks the individual premieres of “Conjunction” and “Sublimation” (parts 2 and 3). “Jerusalem” (part one) screened for the first time last year as part of “VHS” presented by Rebecca Cleman of EAI at the Museum of Arts and Design. The better-known final section, “The Pearl”, was originally premiered at Ocularis in Brooklyn, NY in 2004.

We invite you to join us in the descent.




JERUSALEM, VHS, 2003-2004, 416 minutes
a 4 part video cycle

Jerusalem, 2003, 78 minutes
In this inaugural episode a group of young actors inhabit an empty apartment, their behavior taped and edited in-camera. An analog solarization technique captures their rituals of improvised dance, frozen poses and trimming of hair. Each cast member recounts painful personal life episodes that unfold like cheap sci-fi stories of otherworldly abductions, familial vanishings, strange dreams and reptilian passions.

Conjunction, 2003, 142 minutes
The actors from Jerusalem relocate from barren apartment to cheap motel and continue their psychological explorations. This second installment adds new cast members as the physical performances continue with the aid of garbage props, surveillance video, animated solarization, strobe lights, masks, wigs and blood.

Sublimation, 2003, 76 minutes
Two of the female characters from Jerusalem appear in a new location: a black and white minimalist apartment. With the aid of drawings to illustrate their psychological probing, the ladies perform basic physical repetitions and frozen poses while being captured on video and re-lensed through low-fi cyan solariziations. Layered stereo monologues speak of their continuing personal explorations into the science-fiction dream-symbol terrain of their private histories.

The Pearl, 2004, 120 minutes
A low-fi, grimy, VHS, edited in-camera, apocalyptic feature finalizes the cycle. Two of the actresses from the first video remain but now are joined by a supporting cast of public access outcasts. Using sculptures, drawings, paintings, crude animations, puppets and heavily self-conscious performance – the final piece attempts to string a through-line from the caves of Lascaux and the Gnosis to the DNA-mishap-mutants of the future.


– –
JAMES FOTOPOULOS is a highly prolific and critically recognized filmmaker and artist working with a range of mediums such as feature film, video art installation, drawing and writing. His works have screened and exhibited in the US and internationally including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, MoMA PS1, Sundance Film Festival, Walker Art Center, 2004 Whitney Biennial, New York Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Art and Design, London Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives and Andy Warhol Museum, among many others. In 1998, Fotopoulos founded Fantasma for the production of his second feature film Migrating Forms (1999). In 2005 he was the recipient of a Creative Capital Grant. Fotopoulos was born in Chicago and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Still from The Pearl © 2004 – Image courtesy of James Fotopoulos

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