Saturday May 17, 7pm
New works by Brian L. Frye
admission $6 – artist in person

Still from “Sara Nokomis Weir” (Brian L. Frye, 2014) © Image courtesy of the artist

Microscope gallery is very pleased to welcome Brian L. Frye back to the gallery this time to present “The Evidence of the Film”, a rare solo screening of new and recent works. Frye’s chosen title for the evening derives its name from a 1913 silent film by the Thanhouser company, which tells the story of a messenger boy who is wrongfully accused of stealing $20,000 worth of bonds. Evidentiary footage that sheds light on the true thief saves the young boy, proving his innocence. The choice of title is significant, foreshadowing Frye’s films, his interest in video as witness and perhaps his intent as artist.

In this program, Frye offers three new films, each using archival evidentiary footage from separate court cases. In two of the works, the material had been previously used as a kind of ‘objective’ source of information to support specific claims during court proceedings. They are presented as a truth, an omnipresent judge. But what can be the true value of film in these cases? What does it tell us and what is left out? Is it, indeed, objective, or does there enter an element of performance, a point of view? And if so, whose and in what context?

In the third work, Frye uses images from the 1961 trial of Nazi SS Lieutenant-Colonel Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Here, Frye has manipulated the footage through multiple rephotographing edging the work closer to an emotional response to the event, as opposed to a document or factual record.

With these works, Frye seems to be questioning the validity of film and moving image as evidence, or at least putting it in the spotlight for examination and interrogation. Where does the moving image move away from the document, from fact, and where does it converge? How does it reflect on the Judicial system of United States, or of the Western world?

(approximately 50 minutes)

A REASONABLE MAN (2012) video, b/w, sound, 16 minutes
The artist uses motion picture evidence taken from a Georgian state Police vehicle during a high-speed pursuit in 2001 that resulted in a purposeful collision and the driver rendered a quadriplegic. The driver sued the officer alleging excessive force. A REASONABLE MAN uses the videotapes submitted by Scott and excerpts from the oral argument before the Supreme Court trial in 2007.

TV ASSASSIN  (2014) Super-8, b&w, sound, 12 minutes
“TV Assassin was filmed in 2000. The images are Adolf Eichmann, at his trial in Jerusalem in 1961. I used a Cine-Kodak Eight Model 60 with the shutter and claw removed, placed on a Cine-Kodak Titler, to rephotograph the images from a cheap, miniature television, creating a vertically smeared, pulsating image. Then I projected the regular 8mm film at 5 fps on a Bolex Paillard 18-5 and rephotographed it on Super-8. The process was intended to evoke the blurred quality of Gerhard Richter’s “October 18, 1977,” a cycle of photopaintings of the Red Army Faction, or Baader-Meinhof Gang.” The soundtrack is added live.

SARA NOKOMIS WEIR (2014) video, color, sound, 20 minutes
This video takes as its source material footage from the victim impact video introduced during the penalty phase of a murder trial in California and an audio recording of the California Supreme Court hearing oral arguments as to the admissibility of the video. Although the crime detailed – a murder – is incredibly horrific, the work focuses more specifically on the film produced during the trial. The imagery consists of home photos and videos, and includes a narration by the victim’s mother and an Enya soundtrack. Here, video is used again as a supporting element in the unfolding of a court case, and yet we see emotion, sentiment and subjective portrayal enter the realm of evidence.

Brian L. Frye is a filmmaker, writer, and professor of law. His films explore relationships between history, society, and cinema through archival and amateur images. Fyre’s films have been shown by The Whitney Museum, New York Film Festival, Pacific Film Archive, New York Underground Film Festival, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Warhol Museum, Media City and Images Festival. His films are in the permanent collection of The Whitney Museum. His writing on film has appeared in October, The New Republic, Film Comment and the Village Voice. A Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky, his legal scholarship concerns interactions between the law and the arts, focusing on issues relating to nonprofit organizations and intellectual property. Brian is a Creative Capital grantee and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012.

Still from “A Reasonable Man” (Brian L. Frye, 2012) © Image courtesy of the artist

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