An evening of interactive video, Super 8 and 16mm film with ive music accompaniment.
Drawing on a deep knowledge of classical mythology and a wide variety of esoteric philosophies and traditions, yet propelled by his own personalized form of practicing mysticism - the work of filmmaker, collagist, master gardener and alchemist Lawrence Jordan spans over six decades of producing more than 80 films and a multitude of works on paper and assemblage sculpture, and shows no sign of slowing down yet. Jordan has been a ground breaking and influential figure in the avant-garde filmmaking and underground arts communities of the Bay Area since his arrival in the early 1950's: from his founding of the Camera Obscura Film Society (with Bruce Conner), and The Movie (the first film theatre in San Francisco to explicitly focus on avant-garde/experimental film) to his work in helping establish such important and long running institutions as Canyon Cinema and the film department of the San Francisco Art Institute. Jordan's films seem to occupy a realm that hinges on an intuitive attention (in both filmmaker and film viewer) to the collision of chance elements and their potential to unlock deeper currents in the intersecting spheres of the external natural world and the immaterial inner worlds of the mind and what some have called the spirit. With a deep understanding of the literal and metaphorical applications of the collage theory as outlined by Max Ernst (whose books of engraving collages originally inspired the form of animation Jordan has become perhaps most known for) who stated his technique as: "the systematic exploitation of the accidentally or artificially provoked encounter of two or more foreign realities on a seemingly incongruous level - and the spark of poetry that leaps across the gap as these two realities are brought together."
The Lab and Black Hole Cinematheque are pleased to present a program that seeks to give a brief sampling of the vast and varied scope of filmmaking styles Jordan has worked in throughout his career. Ranging from two of his newest collage animations, Entr' Acte and Entr' Acte II, to the formation of what he terms his "personal poetic documentaries", in oceanic odyssey of the 1957 film Waterlight, to the inner and outer journeys and portraits of Triptych in Four Parts (1958) and Postcards from San Miguel (1997), to an oscillation between two drastically different forms of collage animation in The Soccer Game (1959) and Finds of the Fortenight (1980), the latter made in collaboration with the artist Jess (Collins). We are also honored to have the night conclude with a live expanded cinema performance from Lawrence Jordan himself and frequent collaborator John Davis.
Dual automated slide projectors and 16mm analyzer film projection + sound performance by John Davis. Also included was a live painting installation by Jennefer Hennesy. In conjunction with the It's Just Great Issue #2 release gathering.
This extraordinary feast for the eyes is our riskiest program yet! We're hand-picking animation titles, both old and new, in an exploratory initiative to appreciate them in ChromaDepth 3-D! We kick off with another debut from Boulder-based queen-bee Kelly Sears! We rewind to ur-guru Len Lye, with his 1935(!) Colour Box, then Oskar Fischinger from a couple years later, then Rodney Asher, Lewis Klahr, Kelly Gallagher, and others into the contemporary era. Synth savant John Davis and sprocketeer Craig Baldwin highlight the second half with a "re-animation" of an archival eye-popper, before passing the baton to single-frame mavens Mary Ellen Bute and Lillian Schwartz!! Come early for the live-projected psychedelia of Canadian A/V avatars Fleshtone Hacking.
For the review, Davis chronicles the 12-hour film which includes stills and clips from this ambitious and unparalleled work. Included in the zine was a 7" Flexi-disc with samples from the film that Davis combined with his own music.
The purpose of this zine is to reignite the discussion of underground and independent film/video practice and theory, putting artists in the Bay Area in dialogue with the greater experimental community. Dominic Angerame christened our zine the "Canyon Cinemazine," hoping it would carry on the experimental and community-oriented tradition of the Cinema News. Drawing inspiration from mail art and ephemeral media, the Canyon Cinemazine harkens back to the days of typewriter correspondences between avant-garde artists in the 1960s. Produced and edited by Courtney Fellion.
The Lab presents an evening of live music and film projection performances featuring Bay Area artists Beige (Vanessa O'Neill and Kent Long), Marielle Jakobsons, Tooth, John Davis and Paul Clipson. This program presents unique and intense collisions of sound and image in three performances that chart the dynamic trajectories of "visual music" in its many transcendental forms.
A night of expanded cinema performance at Black Hole Cinematheque with Seattle filmmaker/musician Eric Ostrowski and the Bay Area duos of Beige (Vanessa O'Neill and Kent Long) and John Davis/Tooth.
Cresting the new wave of expanded cinema, the Bay Area is discovering new correspondences between the audio and the visual realms. Intermedia pioneers John Davis and Tooth manage to create a third voice from the sum of two disciplines - old Soviet newsreels and hand-patched analog synthesizer - in the world premiere of their Spontaneous Order. Brian Darr also brings his own synth, and gongs and ratchets, to conjure up ingenious soundtracks to silent films — Mack Sennett's frolic of Fatty Arbuckle at our own 1915 World's Fair and local muse Kerry Laitala's Sadistic Seaweed, a feral homage to the Musee Mechanique, just a short swim away from Treasure Island! Current artist-in-residence at the SF Dump, Jeremy Rourke compresses a garbage-truck of Frisco effluvia into a wildly inspired live-musical animation Lyrics on the Paper. PLUS Len Lye, Mary Ellen Bute, and Dan Gunning on Flexi-Discs (and free 78rpm records!).
IN/S performance featured a 3-channel 16mm analyst film projection, stereo reel to reel player and laptop through the Kanbar Forum's multi-channel Meyer Constellation sound system.
7/5/2014: Jeremy Rourke, Mary Helena Clark with Andy Roche, Jim Haynes, Kerry Laitala with Ashley Bellouin & Ben Bracken
7/12/2014: Mark Wilson with Marielle Jakobsons, Andy Puls, Keith Evans, Lawrence Jordan with John Davis
7/19/2014: Zach Iannazzi, Thad Povey & Mark Taylor, Steve Dye with Anthony Iamurri, Paul Clipson with Ben Bracken
7/26/2014: Chris Duncan, Beige, Tooth with Collin McKelvey, Craig Baldwin with Maggi Payne
The publication (ed. 100) includes four pairs of musicians and filmmakers commissioned to create original works on two LP's and four DVD's. Each musician occupies one side of the two vinyl LP's with his or her original work (approximately 20 minutes in length), while original film works of the same duration (transferred to DVD) play alongside each score. Although the pairings of music and film are direct collaborations, each film and music track is designed to be interchangeable. A letterpress perfect bound book accompanies the box set, including original essays by Federico Windhausen ("Commitments"), Courtney Fellion ("The Phantom Limb") and Steve Polta ("For Gravity Spells"), as well as images by all the artists who participated in the publication and performances. The performance series was held at the Kala Art Institute each Saturday in July 2014, with twelve performances overall, and one pair of publication artists each of the four nights.
Live sound and projected film images for the Sound and Vision series curated by Irwin Swirnoff for the Cinematic Arts and Technology Department at the California State University Monterey Bay.
Through Expanded Cinema practice, media artist John Davis (San Francisco, USA) re-presents archival films with an original soundwork, encouraging an alternative read on the original film material. Following his participation as a visiting artist/lecturer and tutor for the Dushanbe Art Ground's Found Footage Film Workshop in Tajikistan, Davis presents a live score of improvised electronic music to a two-channel projection of Soviet-era 16mm films. The performance will include sound sources from various field recordings Davis made while in Dushanbe, as well as sound material from the films themselves. Davis creates sounds with, and processes the recorded material through an analogue modular synthesizer he brought to Tajikistan specifically for the performance, enabling him to reference his immediate environment, while at the same time present a new musical work. Performed at Dushanbe Art Ground's current home, a former Socialist shopping mall, the environment and the film material provides an additional read on the transitional aspects of the post-Soviet reality.
John Davis was part of artists-in-residence program developed by Dushanbe Art Ground. This performance and research was kindly supported by Open Society Institute – Assistance Foundation in Tajikistan trough "Art and Society: Education, creativity, engagement and collectivity" project.
Dushanbe Art Ground activity is supported by Open Society Institute – Assistance Foundation in Tajikistan and Swiss Cooperation Office, Tajikistan.
New music/sound + film/video collaborations by: Suki O'Kane + John Davis, Jason Hoopes + Azin Seraj, Marielle Jakobsons + Kirthi Nath. Film scores performed live by: Emily Packard, violin, Mia Bella D'Augelli, violin, Cory Wright, clarinet, Nava Dunkelman, percussion, Jeanie-Aprille Tang, electronics.
Mission Eye and Ear is a live cinema series that brings together Bay Area composers and improvisers with filmmakers and video artists drawn from ATA's diverse and geographically sprawling family, to create new works performed live at ATA by a stellar ensemble of local musicians. Composer-performers Jason Hoopes, Suki O'Kane and Marielle Jakobsons represent a rich cross-section of the local creative music scene, influenced by electronic music, acoustic improv, noise, avant-garde jazz, alt-rock and theatrical musical traditions of Asia. Filmmaker/media artists John Davis, Azin Seraj and Kirthi Nath explore cultural identity, documentary storytelling, dreamlike cinescapes and formal abstraction in a wide range of narrative and experimental works.
This March event is the first in a series of three Mission Eye and Ear events this year, organized by Bay Area musician and curator Lisa Mezzacappa with ATA. The first edition of Mission Eye and Ear, in 2011, commissioned nine composer-filmmaker teams to create new works. The series was remounted in a day-long marathon at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in 2012, and has since traveled to cities in Italy and Germany, where local musicians provide live scores for films commissioned for the series.
Bay Area's own John Davis presents his sound/image amalgams and live slo-motion image analysis with the live sonic accompaniment from Joshua Churchill. Greg Pope returns to the Bay Area for a series of expanded cinema performances with live sound collaboration at Stanford University, ShapeShifters Cinema and Cinematheque. Tonight's program features Pope's his dual-slide projector piece Celluloid, a slide projector-based flicker film, a "celluloid ghost," a proto-cinematic excursion through the detritus of industrial cinema. Live soundtrack to Celluloid to be performed by local electroacoustic ensemble Voicehandler.
Distortions, ghostly reverberations, and ambient notes hang in the air and ethereal chords plunge into darkness before the moving images on screen, adding drama to frames that appear on fire. Fleeting sun shadows move across the film. The two elements together create a simply captivating experience, completely immersing the audience into a land of airy projector light with sounds that fill the space like a weather pattern. (Amanda Roscoe Mayo, on John Davis and Joshua Churchill)
SMASHISIM is a collection of new images, video and sound that commonly draw from a dark psycadelia - dream-like, mind-bending, mind-altering, mind-expanding. SMASHISIM combines organic and synthetic concerns through experimental film works, live video synthesis and performance. Themes covered are: experiential rituals, complexities of the natural world and digital interferences, humans bodies as abstractions, a room as an exterior space and a mountain range as interior space. Mutations of static sound all blend together into one night and are confused in the murk of pixels.
Video Screening: Cary Loren (Detroit), Rolan Vega (LA), Sporay (LA), Kamau Amu Patton (NYC), Sabrina Ratte' (Montreal), Sara Ludy (Vancouver), Collin McKelvey (SF), Alivia Zivich (Detroit), John Davis (SF), JJ Stratford (LA), Shana Palmer (Baltimore), Amanda Siegel (LA), Carlos Gonzales (Providence), Robert Beatty (Lexington), Andrew Benson (SF), Chris Duncan (Oakland), Black Hole Cinema (Oakland)
For this exhibition, Paul Clipson unveils a new 16mm film using the di Rosa landscape as a muse, including improvisational scores by sound artists John Davis and Joshua Churchill. Chris Duncan installs an interactive sonic wire installation, inviting experimental musicians Ashley Bellouin and Ben Bracken to compose new sound pieces using the sculpture as their instrument. Lisa Rybovich Crallé, Christopher Füllemann, and Bailey Hikawa present a large-scale sculptural installation that will function as props for a range of performances.
Inspired by a seminal work in the di Rosa collection by William T. Wiley, Beatnik Meteors presents an exciting group of contemporary regional artists who share an interest in creating platforms for collaborative work. Reflecting on a distinct moment in the 1960s and 1970s when artists increasingly placed film, video, and performance in dialogue with sculpture, painting, music, and writing, artists Paul Clipson, Lisa Rybovich Crallé, Chris Duncan, Christopher Füllemann, and Bailey Hikawa show new works in a range of media that provide multiple entry points for activation and exchange.
Live analyst film performance including eight-channel tape loop with quadrophonic 4.0 sound reinforcement. Organized by Anastasia Pahules
For their presentation at the 14th annual San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Churchill will be performing new material developed during a recent residency in Krems, Austria, utilizing heavily processed electric guitar and acoustic instrumentation, while Davis projects recent three-channel 16mm film works utilizing "analyst" projectors that allow variable speed and direction controls for each film.
An evening of sound and image featuring John Davis and Paul Clipson, Ashley Bellouin and Ben Bracken, Rick Bahto and Jim Haynes.
Sound artist John Davis patches together a smart stack of oscillators to generate original tracks to three peculiar 16mm artifacts: A pair of anomalous educationals on Electromagnetism precedes the world premiere of Craig Baldwin's double-projection Nth Dimension.
Allison Holt and Jim Haynes' Signal Mountain is another world premiere, the brilliant edit of their recent SFMOMA performance. A delicious selection of 3D pieces includes Lillian Schwartz, Slavko Vorkapich, and Kerry Laitala's latest. PLUS Phil Patiris, DJ Spooky, and TV Sheriff.
10-channel tape loop performance with quadrophonic 4.2 sound reinforcement.
Color + Form + Frequency is a multimedia event featuring live music, video and film with David Molina, Garrett La Fever, Anna Geyer, John Davis and Joshua Churchill.
Churchill (sound) and Davis (film) present music alongs side two-channel analyst film projections (which control of both the speed and direction of the films). During the performance, direct sounds from the film projectors is added to the sound mix allowing the motorik sounds to reinforce their presence.
Special ATA benefit show featuring a roster of evocative intermedia artists working in sound/film performance. All proceeds from the show support Artists' Television Access, the San Francisco-based, artist-run, non-profit organization that cultivates and promotes culturally-aware, underground media and experimental art. Featured film-music ensembles: Barn Owl and Paul Clipson, Marielle Jakobsons and John Davis, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Paul Clipson.
San Francisco based artist Paul Clipson's heavily in-camera edited Super 8mm films utilize multiple exposures, densely layering images into unexpected collages that to bring to light subconscious optical obsessions. For this program he will show a suite of 8 short films, each with music by a different artist, as well as a live performance with music by filmmaker/sound artist John Davis. John's sound performance is an arrangement that utilizes an eight-channel tape loop system incorporating field recordings and processed electronic music. All works shown on Super 8.
For four days, which are concurrent with the Printed Matter Art Book Fair (Thursday January 31st – Sunday February 3rd) Public Fiction will be transformed by artist/musicians Robert Barber/The Urxed and Chris Duncan into a sound sculpture that will function as a platform for sound makers from the Los Angeles and Bay Areasto perform in, on and/or interact with. Artists included: Lucky Dragons (LA), Collin Mckelvey (Oakland), Paul Clipson (SF), Matthewdavid/DIVA (LA), Suzy Poling (LA), Anthony Iamurri (SF), White Rainbow (LA/PDX), Anenon (LA), Preggers/Dean Spunt (LA), Robert Crouch (LA), John Davis (Oakland), Infinite Body (LA), Tana Sprague (Oakland), Brendan Fowler (LA), Rene Hell (LA), Chris Duncan (Oakland), Sneaky Snake (LA), Mary Pearson (LA), Zachary James Watkins (Oakland), Secret Circuit (LA), Laura Steenberge (Oakland), Danny Paul Grody (SF), Randy Randall (LA), THE SUN (Oakland), The Urxed (LA)
The first program of 2013 features experimental film works by John Davis paired with sound performance from Joshua Churchill. The evening will last about an hour and is comprised of two collaborative pieces. An untitled work by Davis presents an extremely textured 8mm film, which has been hand solarized and tinted, featuring images of refracted sunlight patterns and reflections. Churchill's instrument of choice in this performance is an electric guitar. Distortions, ghostly reverberations, and ambient notes hang in the air and ethereal chords plunge into darkness before the moving images on screen, adding drama to frames that appear on fire. Fleeting sun shadows move across the film. The two elements together create a simply captivating experience, completely immersing the audience into a land of airy projector light with sounds that fill the space like a weather pattern.
A second piece by Davis contains all new footage, and combines a Super 8 projector and a 16mm analyzer projector running side by side. While an analyzer projector was often used in a sports context to replay and interpret strategy, the film Davis is working with includes footage of urban and natural landscapes as well as people in urban environments. Davis will "perform" this work using the analyzer projector to control the rate at which the audience sees the imagery. Churchill will improvise an aural experience live. He has actually seen little of Davis' films, choosing instead to face away from the screen and focus on being in concert with the sound of the projector. Rather than choosing to score the piece in advance, he is composing sounds that are in conversation with the immediate atmosphere of the darkened space. - Amanda Mayo KQED ARTS. Documentation HERE.
IN/S performance featured an 8-channel dual reel to reel magnetic tape looping system, video feedback and analogue modular synthesizer.
The SFAC Galleries' has commissioned new installations from three dynamic, young regional artists for our new exhibition, Visible Horizons. Andrew Chapman, Chris Duncan and Rhonda Holberton, acting as both curators and artists, will be presenting three perspectives on the idea of the horizon, drawing attention to the roles access, visibility, and myth have on relationships between landscape, architecture, and the human body. In our daily lives the true horizon is largely obscured by natural and human-created objects; this augmented intersection of earth and sky is called the visible horizon. While the horizon can be understood as a site of unification, it also divides all visible directions into two categories: those that intersect the Earth's surface, and those that do not. Chapman's layered multimedia installation, Duncan's interactive aural landscape and Holberton's camera obscura will offer visitors a chance to challenge their literal and conceptual notion of where and what the horizon is and how we interact with it on a daily basis.
Multi-dimensional, award-winning, San Francisco filmmaker Kerry Laitala conjures spirits from the material of celluloid using her trove of tricks and techniques to make dazzling explosions of color, light and motion. Kerry will perform "The Color Red Bleeds Blue," an expanded cinema work in collaboration with music by John Davis, along with two new premieres of live cinematic sorcery: "Trip the Light Fantastic," with music by Neal Johnson and "Velvet of Night," with music by John Davis.
Live video/sound performances by John Davis, Collin McKelvey (Orbless), and Derek Gedalecia (Headboggle). The live performances are preceded by "Close to Cosmos," a video line-up of international makers curated by Chris Hughes, one of the most knowledgeable video art aficionados around and founder of Video Art Collector site. The program will feature work by Claire Evans, Ronnie Bass, Kim Collmer, Ohad Meromi, Aleksandra Mir, Larissa Sansour, and Maria Antelman.
The art included captures the energetic, radical, and creative Oakland zeitgeist. The show is organized as an unofficial satellite of Documenta 13, taking place from June 9-September 18 in Kassel, Germany. Oakland seems to be perfectly positioned to speak to the questions that Documenta's curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev posed for this year's exhibition.
Artists: Zarouhie Abdalian, David Wilson, Dean Smith, Randy Colosky, Daniel Healey, Kelly Lynn Jones, Matthew Draving, Emma Spertus, Gabrielle Teschner, Steuart Pittman, Carrie Hott, Chris Fraser, Hillary Wiedemann, John Zurier, Duane Deterville, Desiree Holman, Bessma Khalaf, RKDB, Anne Walsh, Chris Kubik, Anthony Discenza, Favianna Rodriguez, Zach Houston, Regina Clarkinia, Brontez Purnell, Terri Bowden, Tracey Snelling, Eesuu Orindide, Chris Vargas, Greg Youmans, Adenike Amin, Ali Dadgar, Cherie Chavez, Ryan Chard Smith, Tooth, John Davis, Jesus Barraza, Melanie Cervantes, Sasha Kelley, Veronica De Jesus, Laura Zuspan, Aurie Ramirez, Liz Walsh, Suzy Poling, Cybele Lyle, Packard Jennings, Frederick Alvarado and Martha Chong.
Read the ARTCARDS REVIEW by Aaron Harbour
APPARENT MOTION celebrates the art of projection, the cinematic exhibition apparatus exposed as a primal light and sound machine, an invention without a future, ripe for rediscovery. Evening includes performances by Gerritt Wittmer and Paul Knowles: Myth of Persistence (2012); Kerry Laitala: The Color Red Bleeds Blue (2011–12) with live score by John Davis; Greg Pope: Cipher Screen (2010–12) with live score by John Hegre.
Equipment used: 2-16mm projectors, Chromacinekaleidoscope, Hand-Made soundtrack and collage collaborative soundtrack utilizing modular synthesizer and electronics by John Davis. This work is anHomage to Jordan Belson and Paul Sharits.
The first in our Psychedelia series, tonight's show resonates with the switched-on groove of the analog synthesizer subculture. Headlining is John Davis' live-track to Ira Cohen's legendary Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda. PLUS We welcome back to the Bay Area Ms. Lori Varga, who cleverly demonstrates 9 "modified" oddities from her mini-synth collection, inviting audience into hands-on experience! David Cox shows off both the impossibly funky Optigan and also its iteration as an iPhone app! Concluding the evening is Matthew Bate's What the Future Sounded Like, a half-hr. BBC doc on the early synth scene in '60s England, with clips of Roxy Music-era Brian Eno, Hawkwind, and Dr. Who. Come early for Bob Moog clips, early Soviet Theremin, Raymond Scott initiatives, Negativland Boopers, and bio-feedback bliss!
Polychromatic light waves caress the corneas and travel via the occipital lobes through corpuscular connections…. Spectrums of undulating, spinning refractions of forms move through space… the Chromocinekaleidoscope creates light sculptures tangible and tasty…One becomes immersed in momentary molecules of elusive color, staining the wall palate to divide slivers of space into charged shards of time. The threshold of awareness melts into the fabric of luminous energy, which radiates from the lens through reflective mirrors as the apparatus through which one spies becomes the vehicle for re-compositions to scatter through" space, colliding with the screen/eye/mind. Laitala manipulates the splintered, celluloid imagery in real time pulling the ephemeral image like taffy through the space and bringing out shimmering refractions of lustrous luminance. Reverberations of a trickle of cloud sounds patter the tympanum in time with the rhythm of the light.
An intimate evening of live projected film and music performance featuring new works by Paul Clipson as well as the collaborative duo of Madison Brookshire and composer Tashi Wada. Ben Bracken performs isolated frequency movements to hand processed and colored Super 8 film by John Davis.
*Above images from the performance include two stills from Kerry Laitala's film perfromance "The Color Red Bleeds Blue" (courtesy Diane Jones).
This collection of films by Bay Area filmmakers celebrates color and demonstrate a rich diversity of narrative, documentary, experimental and home movie styles. Accompanying some of these new films will be live soundtracks from the filmmakers and special guests. Filmmakers include Brecht Andersch, B. Berzins, Paul Clipson, John Davis, Jim Granato, Nicole Minor, Danny Plotnick, Thad Povey, Doug Schultz, Anjali Sundaram, Phoebe Tooke and more! Come join us for an evening filled with both a vivid look back at personal memories well-preserved and a 21st century way of life through antiquated strips of celluloid. (Jim Granato)
The highlight of the evening was in the basement of Fivepoints, where artists/musicians Joshua Churchill and John Davis presented live experimental music set against a hand-solarized Super 8 film. Through small slots in the ceiling, light poured in from the main floor gallery, creating a series of light streaks that worked both in concert and contrast with the images from the film and heightened the overall presentation. Even though the space was quite crowded, I found myself completely immersed in the visuals and sounds of the piece. - CatSynth.com
Documentation of live performance HERE.
On ancient star maps of magnificent color quality, experimental animator Lawrence Jordan takes the viewer out of this world into a world of cosmic imagination. COSMIC ALCHEMY is thematically and visually consistent with Jordan's earlier shorts and yet, set to an evocative score by John Davis, the filmmaker has crossed into an unfamiliar and richly rewarding territory of metaphoric complexity. For the handful of folks unfamiliar with Jordan's work, COSMIC ALCHEMY will leave you desperately wanting more. For the rest, already quite familiar with his brilliance, this film will install a fresh appreciation for Jordan's justifiable position among experimental cinema's ascended masters. - Fandor
As part of an ongoing social art project, the Oberlhit Young Artits Association of Chisinau, Moldova continues its POSTBOX MAGAZINE with the latest issue #5. Included is a DVD entitiled HAUNTING THE ARCHIVES curated by Stefan Rusu, featuring the film MARK YOU MAKE BELIEVE MY DEAR YES.
An interdisciplinary experimental publication founded on the principle of sharing critical discourse inside an expanding system, the magazine encourages communication between artists, writers, musicians, architects, sociologists, historians, economists, etc. Not just a printed publication, a real time event generator aimed at fostering significant change in society.
Original music for the 2010 film by Lawrence Jordan, a thirty minute animation exploring the fleeting nature of time and our essential relationship with cosmic forces of the universe. The soundtrack was originally released as the 2009 Digitalis Ltd. cassette "Vines Go Roaming." Lawrence and I are currently collaborating on his upcoming animated film which will include a new original soundtrack. Look for a DVD release of "Cosmic Alchemy" in the first part of 2011!
A voyage in the celestial realm, out beyond consciousness, steered by a master of mystical transformation. Wondrous visions are charted on star maps from the Harmonia Macrocosmica to a spellbinding drone track by John Davis. BFI London Film Festival.
Hand solarized film used to accompany live improvised music by John and Maxwell (This version has more footage and a collaborative soundtrack vs. the black box version which is shorter and has music unaccompanied by John). Hand silkscreened cover art by Chris Thorson.
A document of a live set from the On Land Festival in San Francisco, September, 2009. Home Solarized Super 8 film shot by Davis in the placid green places of Northern California. The duo's lush soundtrack is bowed, scraped and plucked out on koto, electric guitar and other electronic detritus. - Root Strata Press Release.
Achingly gorgeous film/audio pairing of John Davis’ lush super 8 footage to Maxwell and John’s koto/guitar/electronic channelings, as recorded/screened at the “On Land” festival... - Mimaroglu
This new DVD from the Root Strata camp features "Hand processed and solarized" super-8 film by John Davis, set to musical accompaniment from a duo of Davis with Maxwell August Croy. This audio-visual project was projected live to improvised sounds at last year's On Land Music Festival at the Swedish American Hall, San Francisco, and is replicated here as a seventeen minute flow of abstract, analogue sound sculpting and scratchy old film. In terms of visual imagery, Davis begins by homing in on close-ups of small details from the natural world, paying particular attention to dew drops collecting on cobwebs or leaves. In its earliest stages, the music tends not to be nearly so bucolic as the imagery, beginning with a fearsome, raw blast of oscillator buzz before simmering itself down into a more composed and tranquil soundscape that yields ample low-end presence and a general demeanour of haziness. This all nicely settles into harmony with the gauzy, vintage film stock. Loaded with a striking sense of faux-nostalgia, the film is at its richest when capturing the interplay between golden, evening sunlight and long grasses, or lakeside foliage. The whole experience feels like a day-trip for the senses, a notion only reinforced by the piece's final sequence, as captured from the window of a train - at this point it's as if you're coming home. The music has a powerful presence in its own right, calling upon electric guitar and electronics - all processed into nebular, drifting shapes - but when attached to Davis' flow of light-saturated visuals the overall effect takes on a life of its own, spilling warmth from every frame. - Boomkat
A beautiful document from last year's On Land festival, the Root Strata curated gathering of artists and sound artists and musicians. This particular set featured gorgeous home solarized super-8 film shot by John Davis throughout Northern California, while Davis and Maxwell Croy, one half of the duo that runs Root Strata, created their own complimentary soundtrack, a soft hazy dronescape of bowed strings, layered vibrations and hushed, barely-there melodies. The images are really quite evocative, all washed out and softly distorted, like home movies, they have that sort of faded memory feeling, images of a lost time, and the solarizing process only further enhances that element, the slow shifting landscapes peppered with solar flares, deep red glows, the colors super saturated, flowers become miniature suns, fields of grass look like stained glass, or fields of green stars, all manner of foliage becomes more about texture and color, just softly swaying stretches of hazy burnt out shades of soft white, deep yellow, warm browns... And the music perfect suits the images, tranquil and impressionistic, long tones underpin soft shards of melody, like a muted raga, the buzz blurred and smoothed out into gauzy streaks of sound, a koto gives the music a distinctly Eastern vibe, the tones like swells on a sonic sea, meditative and mesmerizing. - Aquarius Records
A recent moving image, sound and spoken word collaboration from 2010 with poet Peter Streckfus, commissioned as part of the Rabbit Light Movies online project. The video utilizes original sound and found footage that accompanies Peter reading his poem Idiot Bigmouth Leads us to A Gathering of Birds. The film was included in the 2010 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin. Peter Streckfus lives and teaches in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and his book The Cuckoo is available from Yale University Press.
This mobile exhibition project featured the film MARK YOU MAKE BELIEVE MY DEAR, YES, and a series of photographs which were the result of two trips as an artist-in-residence to the KSA:K Center for Contemporary Art in Chisinau, Moldova.
The Drifting Identity Station project was initiated to monitor and preserve data related to the evolving state of identity in a given context, this iteration, the context of Moldova. Visual art projects and written contributions comment on the evolution of the social engineering project and “Moldavian” identity in its current state. At the same time, artists assume the posture of researchers that collect samples from the field in order to preserve residual traces that re-articulate the post-socialist condition in Moldovan society now 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Eastern Block. This project was realized and curated by Stefan Rusu.
This piece is based on a poem by Scott V. from Oakland. Scott and I have been friends and collaborators for a long time. I saw him perform this piece live and people were laughing, confused, and depressed all at once. It was amazing. After collaborating on a long-form experimental video, we decided why not keep the momentum going and turn the poem into a video.
All the video was shot in 2005 over 2 nights at the actual coffee shop near Scott’s old work (the story is based on fact). I tried to edit it in the coming days. Days turned into years as I would step away from the edit to gain perspective, but whenever I would return to it, I couldn’t come up with a good edit or sound. Luckily John Davis gave me hours worth of his audio experiments to use in a radio program I made, and I found audio from him that worked perfectly. Later after I moved to New York, Nadia Awad came to Eyebeam as an intern and pulled a rabbit out of her hat on the edit. She’s got the magic touch! More time went by and Liz Filardi added her amazing titles.
The people who worked on this are all very talented and I hope you find our little 3 minute story at least half as sad, funny, and human as I did when I first heard it. - Steve Lambert
Scott V. from Oakland text, Steve Lambert and Scott V. from Oakland visuals, Nadia Awad editing, John Davis sound, Liz Filardi titles.