I AM EYE (1982-1991): A Moment from the Temporary Autonomous Zone
Super 8mm films from “I AM EYE Independent Film Forum”, Washington, DC
organized by Pam Kray

Artists in person! Works presented in original format!
Program One: Sunday June 26, repeated Saturday July 9, 7:30pm both nights
Program Two: Friday July 8, repeated Sunday July 10, 7:30pm both nights

From the first I AM EYE poster (1989, detail) – Image courtesy of Pam Kray

Microscope Gallery is very pleased to present a two-part program of Super 8mm films organized by Pam Kray who along with Paul Bishow and Pierre DeVeaux founded the Vertov-inspired “I AM EYE Independent Film Forum” (1982-1991) in Washington, DC in 1982. “I AM EYE” held its first screening in March of that same year at dc space, a bar and performance venue in downtown Washington, DC, where Kray worked at the time and which she had approached about presenting “screenings that would be noncommercial nor hierarchical in nature”.

With a founding principle that no one bringing a movie to screen would be turned away, I AM EYE’s low-key and inclusive atmosphere allowed for a maverick programming that quickly expanded from locals to under-the-radar filmmakers from New York such as Nick Zedd and Richard Kern’s “Cinema of Transgression” movement, as well as from Baltimore, Boston, San Francisco, and even France and Germany.  

“John Heyn and Jeff Krulik would come by and screen. One night in October of 1986, John asked if he could show something they had made. They were calling it: Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Now considered a classic, the “first” viral video…” – Pam Kray

Over the course of 9 years, two Mondays per month, I AM EYE provided a quintessential outlet for DC based and visiting filmmakers to show their freshly completed films to friends and a wider audience at a time when the city was an extremely prolific laboratory of music, film, and theater. I AM EYE came to an halt in 1991 upon the closing of dc space, despite an attempt at keeping the series alive at other DC venues. The example of I AM EYE Independent Film Forum is an indispensable reminder of the fundamentals of filmmaking, the simple pleasure of making and sharing, no matter the venue, no matter the audience, and at times no matter the movie.

This mini-retrospective assembled by Pam Kray includes a selection of Super 8mm films by the DC founders and other main participants – Paul Bishow, Pierre DeVeaux, Pam Kray, Bill Jordan, Mike Horsley, and Rick Rodine  – that are particularly representative of I AM EYE’s programming and nine-year-long experience, distributed over two programs – that will be each repeated once – and all screened in their original format.
Pam Kray, Paul Bishow, Mike Horsley, and Rick Rodine will be in attendance and available for Q&As post screening at the launch of the series and on selected nights thereafter.

coffee interviews 2
Still from “Coffee Interviews” (Paul Bishow, 1984) – Image courtesy of the artist

Paul Bishow (born 1952) is an award-winning experimental filmmaker, having made dozens of movies, both feature and short, largely shot on Super 8mm film but also in digital formats, often presenting wild trips through off-beat humor and serious intellect. His works range from the film essay Anarchy and Chaos Prelude, DC to Bad Brains (1979), Wet Streets at Night (1980), Missing Persons (1981), Coffee Interviews (1984), Cinema of Revenge (1987), House that Dripped Blood (1990), to the feature fiction video It’s a Wonderful Horrible Life (2001), with many other works in between. Footage from his films has appeared in several documentaries, including Don Lett’s Punk Attitude and Mandy Stein’s Bad Brains, Band in DC (2012). Bishow is currently finishing a 15-year-long project, Punk the Capital, with co-director James Schneider on the early DC punk scene. In the meantime, he has been making more personal works, and working on a memoir. Bishow and Kray have collaborated on many projects together, including having a son and forming the long-running independent film forum I AM EYE, in Washington, DC. Their film collaborations include A Killing Xmas and the script for The Bozo Mob. Bishow also shot a few scenes for Kray’s Mushroom Seekers and is the subject of her work in progress Waiting for Godard. Paul Bishow lives and works in Washington, DC.

Pierre DeVeaux (born 1952) met Paul Bishow at the College of Charleston in the 70s and worked on several of his films as an actor, and eventually co-producer and filmmaker, with additional collaborations during the 80s and into the 1990s. DeVeaux also starred in Pat Bishow’s (Paul’s brother) 16mm feature, The Soultangler (1987). With Bishow and Kray, he co-founded I AM EYE. Pierre DeVeaux lives in Washington, DC.

Pam Kray (born 1956) is a film, video and multimedia artist, writer and curator. She has screened her work internationally in solo and group screenings, collaborating over the years with audio composers, painters, sculptors, dancers and theatrical producers, in addition to fellow I AM EYE filmmakers Paul Bishow and Pierre DeVeaux. In 2012 Kray’s work was subject of a solo retrospective at CESTA (Cultural Exchange Station) in Tabor, Czech Republic. In 2003, she organized a series of six international film/video programs presented at Anthology Film Archives, New York City. Kray completed a master’s degree in Media Studies at The New School in New York and currently lives in New York.

Bill Jordan (1950-2015) was an engineer for motion specialized in train locomotives. His passion for making super 8mm films was sparked by his relationship with filmmakers Paul Bishow and Pierre DeVeaux’s, and the exposure to their work in the same medium. Though Jordan never took himself too seriously as a filmmaker, his work was among the most cutting-edge of the I AM EYE regulars.

Mike Horsley (born 1961) is a visual and performing artist specializing in photography, theater/performance art, painting and music. Horsley has studied with musicians Robert Fripp, Bert Lams, and Tony Geballe; artists Michael Platt, Mark Power, Kerik Kouklis, and Frank Diperna; and performance artists Silvana Straw, B. Stanley, Joe Drayton, George Kaperonis, and John Spitzer. His trilogy consisting of the films Parkington ’51 (1984), Land of Magic (1985), and Downtown Motel (1986) depicts the discovery, demise, and transformation of a parking garage into a symbol of change and memory. These films were shot in black and white and hand processed in the I AM EYE and Kinorama laboratories. Horsley’s films have been shown at venues including the Library of Congress, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, as well as numerous alternative art spaces. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Atlantic Magazine, and the Washington Post.

Rick Rodine (born 1964) is an artist and filmmaker. His collages and paintings have been featured in a various galleries including a solo show at Max Fish, and a group show at Dean Jensen Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Film works include PARKINGTON ’64 (1984), an elegy for America’s first one-stop shopping mall; SHARDS (1986), a tale of a man bested by a bowl of cereal; NEVILLE (1990), in which a man whose son is a stuffed doll gets stabbed repeatedly before jumping off the Williamsburg Bridge and yet lives to read that day’s “Dick Tracy”; CRAPS (1991), in which a guy gets dumped by his fine-ass lady and gets so drunk that he mistakes some paint solvent for booze; and IT’S TOUGH ALL OVER (1993).

Other artists and performers who showed at I AM EYE include:
Collette Bishow; John Hagerhorst; Tom Howell; Don MacArthur; Alex DiSanto (Baltimore); Peter Walsh (Balto); Cinema of Transgression (NYC): Nick Zedd,  Bradley Eros, Jeanne Liotta, Richard Kern, Manuel DeLanda, Alice Wittenstein, Tommy Turner; Mark Pauline and Survival Research Labs; Jon Moritsugu; Jack Stevenson (publisher of PANDEMONIUM) exploitation film compilations; Craig Baldwin (San Francisco); Bill Daniel (San Francisco); Gert Weidenfeld (Germany); Johannes Schoenherr (Germany); Chris Marker; Mission of Burma (played live accompaniment to The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T; anyone who came by with a film…

cinema of revenge 1
From “Cinema of Revenge” (Pierre DeVeaux, 1987) – Image courtesy of the artist

PROGRAM 1 (June 26, 7:30pm / July 9, 7:30pm)
All films in original format

Coffee Interviews  
by Paul Bishow, Super 8mm, 1984), 30 minutes

Radioactive Heroin
by Pierre DeVeaux, Super 8mm, 1984, 25 minutes

A Void Dance
by Pam Kray, Super 8mm, 1984, 5 minutes

Penis Puppets
by Pam Kray, Super 8mm, 1987, 10 minutes

Piss Mission
by Pam Kray, Super 8mm, 1990, 10 minutes

Cat Scratch Fever
by Bill Jordan, Super 8mm, 1984, 15 minutes

by Bill Jordan, Super 8mm, 1984, 6 minutes

by Bill Jordan, Super 8mm, 1985, 6 minutes

Parkington ’51
by Mike Horsley, Super 8mm, 1985, 7 minutes

Stuck in the Land of Magic
by Mike Horsley, Super 8mm, 1985, 7 minutes

Parkington ’64
by Rick Rodine, Super 8mm, 1985, 10 minutes

Sugar Shards
by Rick Rodine, Super 8mm, 1986, 11 minutes    

Running Time: Approx. 140 minutes

PROGRAM 2 (July 8, 7:30pm / July 10, 7:30pm)
All films in original format

Cinema of Revenge
by Paul Bishow, Super 8mm, 1987, 30 minutes

Charley Davis head trauma
by Paul Bishow, multiple Super 8mm, 1984, 15 minutes

Candide or Heart of a Dog
by Pierre DeVeaux & Paul Bishow, Super 8mm, 1983-93, 15 minutes

The Ghost Sonata
by Pam Kray, 16mm film, 1985, 5 minutes

The Million Heirs
by Pam Kray, 16mm film, 1988, 20 minutes

by Rick Rodine, Super 8mm, 1990, 11 minutes

Greatest Hits #4
by Bill Jordan, Super 8mm, 1982, 20 minutes

Downtown Motel
by Mike Horsley, Super 8mm, 1986, 7 minutes

Running Time: Approx. 123 minutes

PenisPuppets still 2
From “Penis Puppets” (Pam Kray, 1987) – Image courtesy of the artist



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