A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s

Date Film Time
5/12 The Illinois Parables 7 pm
5/13 Nam June Paik & TV LAB: License To Create 7 pm
5/26 METAMEDIA: Film Journals and Diaries of Jud Yalkut 7 pm
5/27 AFA Highlights from Charlotte Moorman's Avant Garde Festivals 7 pm

In conjunction with the Block Museum’s groundbreaking exhibition A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s, Block Cinema highlights Charlotte Moorman’s critical role in promoting and championing nontraditional media. The fifteen avant-garde festivals she organized between 1963 and 1980 featured countless works by her peers that would go on to be recognized as classics in the history of experimental cinema. The series includes two programs focused on the intersection of experimental production, new video technologies, and a pioneering instance of television being used to bridge the gap between popular media and the arts; an eclectic sampling of rare works drawn from Moorman’s avant-garde festivals; and a brand new work whose formal play and intelligent inquiry is in keeping with the spirit of Moorman’s relentless boundary pushing.           

The Illinois Parables

Thursday, May 12, 2016 7:00 PM
(Deborah Stratman, 2016, USA, 16mm, 60 min.)

The Illinois Parables is an experimental documentary comprised of regional vignettes about faith, force, technology and exodus. Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism and resistance, all occurring somewhere in the state of Illinois. The state is a convenient structural ruse, allowing its histories to become allegories that explore how we are shaped by conviction and ideology. The film utilizes reenactment, archival footage, observational shooting, inter-titles and voiceover to tell its stories and is an extension of previous works in which the director questioned foundational American tenets.

In Person: Deborah Stratman

Nam June Paik & TV LAB: License to Create

Friday, May 13, 2016 7:00 PM
(Howard Weinberg, 2016 / work-in-progress, USA, digital file, 95 min.)

Long before the Internet revolution, there was the video revolution. Artists including Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, William Wegman, and the pioneering collective TVTV (Top Value Television), pushed the boundaries and possibilities of television at the TV LAB, a division of Channel 13 / WNET that broadcast experimental work from 1972-1984. Initially supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts, the TV LAB brought together creative artists from all disciplines to innovate and embrace the revolutionary potential of television. Weinberg’s documentary offers a fascinating look at a rare moment in time when the confluence of traditional media and experimental practice led to a range of groundbreaking work.

In Person: Howard Weinberg

METAMEDIA: Film Journals and Diaries of Jud Yalkut

Thursday, May 26, 2016 7:00 PM

Us Down By the Riverside (1966, USA 16mm, 3 min.), METAMEDIA (1966-71 USA, 16mm, 50 min.), John Cage Mushroom Hunting In Stony Point (1972-73, USA, 16mm, 8 min.)

Block Cinema welcomes archivist John Klacsmann from New York City’s Anthology Film Archives for the first of two shows highlighting the importance of this legendary organization. This program focuses on intermedia artist and video pioneer Jud Yalkut, whose work fused interests in music, poetry, abstraction, the medium specificity and textural qualities of video, and the electronic manipulation of images and sound. In addition to being a pivotal force in the avant-garde scene of the 1960s and ‘70s, Yalkut was a frequent participant in Charlotte Moorman’s avant-garde festivals. METAMEDIA and John Cage… were both preserved by Anthology Film Archives with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation.

In Person: John Klacsmann

AFA Highlights from Charlotte Moorman's Avant Garde Festivals

Friday, May 27, 2016 7:00 PM
(Various Directors, 1943-69, USA, 16mm and 35mm, approx. 70 min.)

In this second program of works from Anthology Film Archives, archivist John Klacsmann presents a rich and eclectic selection of works featured in Charlotte Moorman’s avant-garde festivals. The program includes films by legendary experimental makers Robert Breer, Hollis Frampton, and Nam June Paik (in collaboration with Jud Yalkut), along with rarely screened works by Francis Lee, David Brooks, Piero Heliczer, Amy Greenfield, and Storm DeHirsch.

In Person: John Klacsmann