Images Blog 6 Andrew James Paterson
Live Images V was a meeting between image-artist Charles Atlas and guitarist/audio-artist Alan Licht. Although the two gentlemen have known each other for a while, they have never previously collaborated. So, this was like an initial encounter. Mr. Atlas brings in film/video stocks (Edison's Sandow The Strongman proto-physique film was rather prominent), and then plays utilized two laptops to process moving pictures from four DVD-players. Atlas composes live - he is an improviser as is Licht, who last night at least was working with primarily a noise-guitar aesthetic. (Licht has worked with Lee Rinaldo of Sonic Youth, among others).
As this event was an initial encounter, there were a few getting to know you moments, although the two artists were performing as much parallel with one another as in any prior/post or top/bottom arrangement. Both faced the audience - Licht was not watching Atlas' images and image-manipulations. I found the more abstract portions of Atlas' image-improvisation the most aesthetically pleasing. Is this because I am attracted to abstraction myself, or does this attraction have to do with a modernist This Is Beautiful Because I've Never Seen This Before mindset. Like many improvised performances or events, there were highs and also a few lows or lulls. But the highs were pretty high. Some audience members found the event dated, but perhaps timeless was a better word. Video-painting/sculpture interfacing has been around since the video-medium's origins over fourty years ago, and live music was key to cinematic presentation before sound became welded to image. Timeless- now there's that word again - time.
After the Atlas/Licht collaboration, it was then off to The Gladstone for an entirely Super-8 programme - No Cuts, No Splices. Plenty of creative in-camera editing, though. Smart Super-8 filmmaking has always involved either knowing exactly what one is going to do and then doing it in one take, or else taking chances and editing in-camera or on the fly. There were many highly creative deployments of this timeless but unfortunately endangered stock. There was speed achieved by shooting slowly - there was even flickering. How many single-frame shots are we looking at here? Epic, but small and hands-on epic. I did get nostalgic for the late Splice This festival, but this was a tightly curated programme, as a programme rather then a social-scene (although the relatively informal venue was appreciated - even with the next-door karaoke!) should be. Personal highlights included Snapper Doodle (Arlea Ashcroft & Andrea von Wichert) and Green Fuse (Daichi Saito). From smart and hilariously broad-humour to smart and austere or rigorous in one fell swoop. Timeless.
Well, today I am off to a panel titled Media Art Matters, matters also of course referring to materials. Everybody attending this 21st Images Festival presumably agrees that media art does matter, and/but then what?