Monday October 10, 7:30pm
Paris-New York
16mm Films by Noël Burch, Jakobois, Etienne O’Leary, David Wharry
curated by Enrico Camporesi

Still from “European Crisis (General Picture – Episode 9) (David Wharry, 1980)

Microscope is very pleased to welcome curator Enrico Camporesi back to the gallery to kick-off the 2016-17 Season of its Event Series with a program of rarely seen historical 16mm films made between 1960 and 1980 by artists Noël Burch, Jakobois, Etienne O’Leary, and David Wharry.

With this program Camporesi, an Italian researcher based in Paris, continues to focus on the French “experimental” or “artist” films of the period from the viewpoint of their special relationship to artists and works from the US and Canada. Camporesi will be in attendance to introduce the 55-minute screening.

“When film theorist Noël Burch made his 1960 short “Noviciat”, he could not have been aware of the quasi-prophetic quality that the film appears to have gained in the years following its release. Annette Michelson, soon-to-become key figure for the renewal of American experimental/ independent film, is here set against André S. Labarthe, simply one of the most strenuous sponsors of European auteur-filmmaking. This work seem to condense now a series of issues that are raised when dealing with experimental or artists’ film in France, and that will mark its history until recent times, ranging from its complicated relationship with art-house cinema, to its own national “identity.”

The program seeks to tackle, via four very different films, the way in which (national) histories of “minor” cinemas are written, and aims to expand such view to a network of production and theoretical exchange with the exterior, by means of certain erratic paths. The cases of artists-expats (Etienne O’Leary; David Wharry) and other displacements (filmmaker Jakobois in New York) are echoed in the program title “Paris-New York,” which riffs on the eponymous influential exhibition curated by Pontus Hultén that took place at the Centre Pompidou in 1977. The show aimed to highlight the vital links that existed between the two cities (and the two continents) in all sorts of artistic practices – and was significantly put up by a foreigner – one of the few non-French national museum directors. Institutional history, underground narratives, film noir plots, appropriation, and, ultimately, even gossip, could be some of the sinuous paths which the apparently linear title “Paris-New York” wishes to try and explore.” – Enrico Camporesi

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Noviciat (Noël Burch, 1960 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 19 minutes)
With Annette Michelson, André S. Labarthe

A rare print of the disorienting experimental work by the filmmaker and film theorist who was born in San Francisco and has been living in Paris since the early 1950s. The film, partly reminiscent of Anger’s “Fireworks”, takes as subject the story of a masochist voyeur caught in the act by the director of a Karate school. She then turns him into her slave and pushes him to accomplish degrading tasks such as cleaning her high heels, to eventually trade him for a lesbian woman.

Lougarou de Nouillorque (Jakobois, 1978 / 16mm / color / sound / 18 minutes)

Film in three parts:
(1) Paranorama 3 and 4: a handmade “Région Centrale”. At once observation and description of the realm of vision, of what is possible to see (sound recorded at the time of shooting).
(2) Paranorama 5: simple observation of the realm of vision (sound added at a later time: illustration).
(3) Pierre Rivière and I: attempt at reading the first lines from Pierre Rivière’s testimony, as an “embodiment” rather than a stage direction.

European Crisis (General Picture – Episode 9) (David Wharry, 1980 / 16mm / b&w / silent / 9 minutes)
with André Huck, Jacques Sautes, Dorothy Polley, Katerina Thomadaki

Professor Anatole Lacoste is having a meeting with one of the agents of doctor Brain at a Jackson Pollock exhibition at Centre Pompidou. Meanwhile, Deborah is about to take a bath when burglar Torlim Novak breaks into her house. Everything seems to be normal when the computer at the control station spots an anomaly in the way history functions. But how does one stop the film?

Day Tripper (Etienne O’Leary, 1966 / 16mm, b&w, 9 minutes)

A woman walks, loves, eats and washes herself, dances. It all takes place in a bedroom. At times flashbacks, or visualizations of previous or following scenes. Unless her life in the bedroom becomes an obsession, she lives through the other scenes.

(Program descriptions from Lightcone, Paris)

Enrico Camporesi is a writer and curator based in Paris. He recently completed a PhD dissertation (University of the New Sorbonne / University of Bologna) on the methodological issues of restoring experimental and artists’ films and installations. As an assistant curator at Centre Pompidou his most recent projects include the film/video program “Metacartoons” (May 2016, with J. Pouthier) and the exhibition “Beat Generation” (June-October 2016, curated by P.-A. Michaud). He is currently editing a book on “Une Histoire du cinéma” the event that Peter Kubelka and Annette Michelson organized in 1976-77 in Paris (forthcoming April 2017, Editions Macula).

Still from “Noviciat” (Noël Burch, 1960)

Microscope Gallery Events Series 2016 is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). With the underwriting support of the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation.

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