Apr 12, 2018 at 7:30 pm
With performance and presentations by Courtney Stephens and Jim Supanick
Harun Farocki’s four-part Parallel cycle deals with the image genre of computer animation. The series of short films, each around 10 minutes long, are comprised of imagery created within these simulated environments, and they revel in the strange physics found there. The Parallel films focus on the construction, visual landscape, and rules of computer-animated worlds, and raise questions about the inherent value of tangibility.
“Computer animations are currently becoming a general model, surpassing film. In films, there is the wind that blows and the wind that is produced by a wind machine. Computer images do not have two kinds of wind.” — Harun Farocki
How do the physics of simulation resemble or diverge from those of the real world? What is the nature of substance that is not a substance? –that is generated by the gaze that falls upon it? Drawing on ideas within the films, experimental filmmaker Courtney Stephens and artist-writer Jim Supanick will present readings, images, and live performance in playful response to Farocki’s Parallel cycle.
This program is made possible with support from Video Data Bank. A big thank you to them for helping make it happen!
Harun Farocki, 15 min., 2012
Parallel I opens up a history of styles in computer graphics. The first games of the 1980s consisted of only horizontal and vertical lines. This abstraction was seen as a failing, and today representations are oriented towards photo‐realism.
Harun Farocki, 8 min., 2014
Parallel II explores the borders and boundaries of the game worlds. The work follows characters attempts to escape the edges of their animated world by any means, and seeks to reveal what lies outside of the defined spaces and digital borders.
Harun Farocki, 7 min., 2014
Parallel III seeks out the backdrops of the game worlds and the nature of their digital objects. It reveals digital worlds which take the form of discs floating in the universe—reminiscent of pre-Hellenistic conceptions of the universe. The animated worlds appear as one-sided theatre stages, flat backdrops revealed only by the movements of an omniscient camera. The objects in the worlds often do not react to “natural forces.” Each of their properties must be separately constructed and assigned to them.
Harun Farocki, 11 min., 2014
Parallel IV explores the actions of the heroes and protagonists of the video game world. These heroes have no parents or teachers; they must test their relationships with others and determine of their, own accord, the rules to follow. Farocki notes these characters are “homunculi, anthropomorphist beings, created by humans. Whoever plays with them has a share in the creator’s pride.”
Courtney Stephens is a filmmaker and programmer based in Los Angeles. She has combined her interest in geography and archives into live essay-documentary, curated programs, alongside her work in experimental documentary. Her films have screened at SXSW, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Union Docs, Anthology Film Archives, Mumbai International Film Festival, Dhaka International Film Festival, and elsewhere. She co-programs the film and lecture series Veggie Cloud, and has presented events at The Getty Museum, REDCAT, AM-London, Art Contemporary Los Angeles, Human Resources, the Velaslavasay Panorama, and ongoingly at Veggie Cloud’s space in Los Angeles. Stephens attended the American Film Institute, is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a Sloan Scholarship, and periodically lectures on subjects relating to film and geography at the Royal Geographical Society, London.
Jim Supanick is an artist and writer, and is a PhD candidate at the European Graduate School, at work on a dissertation about the laboratory investigation of nonhuman animal sensoria. His essays on the moving image have appeared in Film Comment, Millennium Film Journal, The Wire, Cineaste, and The Brooklyn Rail; he is the recipient of a Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant and a NYFA Grant for Nonfiction Literature. He is also a member of SynthHumpers (with Josh Solondz), a shape-shifting electronic audio collaborative that explores structured improvisation and instrument building. Jim serves on the Advisory Board of UnionDocs, and currently teaches at Hunter and City College
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