Saturday November 5, 7:30pm
“Black Space”
Followed by a presentation and discussion with the artist

Ken Jacobs, “Black Space”, 1976-2016 – Courtesy of the artist

Ken Jacobs’ “Black Space” is a sensorial exploration of a completely black room, intended as an actualization of the theoretical “black space” needed for optimal film projection. The performance begins with audience members sitting on chairs in a completely dark, quiet room, which is gradually and personally revealed through minimal exposure to and accumulation of acoustic and visual elements such as the breathing of others, rolling coins, and the images induced and retained in the eye from flashes of bright light. “Black Space” was conceived and first performed in the mid-70s and has only previously been presented twice in the past 40 years. 

“Complete darkness and we only acknowledge sensation, what we feel and hear and see, and not what we know…flashes of light leave 3D images lingering on our retinas as they join the other sensations, as does my disembodied guiding voice.” – Ken Jacobs, 2016

Followed by a special presentation “My Enduring Fling with Black Space” including the projection of Jacobs’ “JACK SMITH TUMBLING” (from “Two Wrenching Departures”), an extract from one of his Nervous Magic Lantern performances, and the premiere of “POPEYE SEES 3D”.

Ken Jacobs was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1933. He studied painting with Hans Hofmann in the mid-fifties and also began making films at that time. Jacobs created and directed The Millennium Film Workshop, N.Y.C. in 1966; started the Department of Cinema at S.U.N.Y. at Binghamton in 1969; and served as Professor of Cinema (1974-2000), Distinguished Professor of Cinema (2000) and Distinguished Prof. of Cinema Emeritus from 2002 to present. Jacobs’ films and videos have shown extensively in the US and abroad including recently at The Whitney Museum, NY; Museum of Moving Image, Queens, NY; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Institute Of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia; Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; Berlin Film Festival, Berlin, Germany; Cinemathèque Francaise, Paris, France among many others. Jacobs has received numerous awards and grants including a J.S. Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation Special Grant, Creative Capital Grant, USA Fellows, among others. “Reichstag 9/11”, a recent work, will be shown in this year’s Viennale together with his first film, “Orchard Street”, 1955. His film “Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son” was named to the National Film Registry, in 2007. Jacobs lives and works in New York City.

General admission $15
Students & Members $10


About “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016”

This fall, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016, a landmark exhibition that focuses on the ways in which technology has created new forms of immersive experience using the moving image. Artists have dismantled and reassembled the conventions of cinema—screen, projection, darkness—to create new readings of space, optical form, and time. The exhibition will fill the Museum’s 18,000-square-foot Neil Bluhm Family Galleries on the fifth floor, as well as the adjacent Kaufman Gallery, and will include a substantial film program in the Susan and John Hess Family Theater, and a series of expanded cinema events organized by Microscope Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in collaboration with the Whitney. Organized by Chrissie Iles, the Whitney’s Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator.


Ken Jacobs, still from “POPEYE SEES 3D”, 2016, single-channel video, 20 minutes – Courtesy of the artist

Lead Underwriting Support Provided by the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation.
Generous Support provided by J.J. Kasper, Paul Jost, and Natasha Reatig.

This presentation is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council of the Arts’ Electronic Media & Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Microscope Gallery Event Series 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).

Additional Support provided by Knockdown Center and Negativland.

Sponsored by Colorlab and The Bodega. Official Media Partner: The Brooklyn Rail.

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