niedziela, 16 lipca 2017

Cinema Surroundings in Sokolowsko

Tableau vivant, film for the ear, cinematic channelling

One evening programme for Sanatorium Dźwięku 

Inconsolable Ghost, Barbara Kinga Majewska, Daniel Muzyczuk and HenrykZastróżny & Łukasz Jastrubczak

Cinema as building and cinema as art. Perhaps also cinema as idea or at least cinema as abstract form of narration expanding beyond moving image with sound. Cinema as space and cinema as part of experimental music festival. Cinema as point in Sokołowsko's centre with characteristic arcade and typo stating „Zdrowie” [en. „Health”]. Surroundings as preposition pointing towards all those traces and oscillating around possible emancipation of some of the artistic practices rooted in the history of the tenth muse. Surroundings also as word referring to local topography, the history of town, referring to „before” and „after” of the period called „History of Cinema”. Finally surroundings as suggestion of seeing beyond the linear directedness of movie projection on the screen.

In other words, „Cinema Surroundings” is a program of three loosely associated events dedicated to all the above mentioned possible semantics of „Cinema” and „Surroundings”. The common ground for the three performances consists of the fact that all of them will take place within the framework of a music festival and in the very same building of the cinema in Sokołowsko. Together they can be a form of hommage to a place as well as hommage to a ramified positioning of sound in cinema. Together they may also stand for a scattered and unsystematic narration of cinema's peripheries – territories of possibly autonomous areas of arts. Chronologically speaking, the first of the territories was established in the end of 19th Century with the rise of tableaux vivants, a form which in Sokołowsko will find its 21st Century incarnation prepared by Barbara Kinga Majewska. Sound cinema or film for the ear or music to non-existant movies are only few among a number of terms to grasp the idea of music taking over the entire audiovisual film experience. Maybe not as old as tableaus vivants, it has a documented history of at least eight decades and some of the features of this history will for sure resound in the performance of artist Łukasz Jastrubczak and foley Henryk Zastróżny. Performance of Inconsolable Ghost can be introduced as an occult version of expanded cinema, a fully audiovisual experience, in which sound is not just meant to accompany the image while the image is not only constrained to the framework of the cinema screen. Members of the ensemble will expolore the building's architecture in an process of channelling.

Michał Libera / Barbara Kinga Majewska – Emphysema
Michał Libera – composition, libretto, recordings
Barbara Kiga Majewska – composition, arrangement of tableau vivant, voice
Gerard Lebik – sound design

Tableau vivant can be literally translated as „living image”. In times of early cinema it also meant a specific art form which was all about staging genre scenes by actors whose task (certainly impossible to fulfill) was to remain still throughout the performance. Some historians see tableau vivant to be a prefiguration of cinema not only because early films were actually shots of similar genre scenes but also because in both cases it was all about living characters constructing scenes of illusory character. „Emphysema” refers to these traces only indirectly. It will be a sonic take on tableau vivant based on the last finished novel by Franz Kafka called „Josephine, the Singer, or the Mouse Folk”. The writer conceived it while being in sanatorium in a state of terminal throat tuberculosis and emphysema, when pain was so overwhelming that he stopped speaking and which finally lead to his death of starvation. The novel will serve as dramaturgical axis of tableau vivant built on two photographs from sanatoriums specialized in healing tuberculosis. First one depicts patients taking „Luftkur” – air treatment – everyday ritual lasting for hours and being nothing less and nothing more than simply breathing fresh, mountain air, supposedly a cure for the disease. The other photograph shows a woman under heliotherapy – a treatment of directing sunbeams into a wounded throat by means of an assembly of mirrors.

Łukasz Jastrubczak / Henryk Zastróżny – Music to a Non-Existant Movie
Łukasz Jastrubczak – Hammond organ
Henryk Zastróżny – foley

Film made of sound only. Performance of Łukasz Jastrubczak and Henryk Zastróżny is one more excursion into early cinema. For number of reasons. Despite early cinema is considered to be silent (controversial thesis), it is a film strip which enabled artists from Dziga Vertov to Daphne Oram to work on sound's early forms of reproduction as well as first attempts at its synthesis. Sometime in between these experiments, a cult-status film of Walter Ruttmann called „Wochenende” (1930) was produced – the first known film without image. It can be argued that it was already then, roughly twenty years before the offical term „music concrete” was established, when foleys were using some sort of acousmatic listening in which acoustic source had nothing to do with an audible effect. Contrary to this well established and still raving music genre, Henryk Zastróżny and Łukasz Jastrubczak will try to use sound and sound only to build cinematic narration, checking semantics and visual features of sonic reality. Henryk Zastróżny will deliver a soundtrack using his foley experience while Łukasz Jastrubczak will improvise to the soundtrack. A project had been conceived for CCA „Zamek Ujazdowski” (curator: Agnieszka Sosnowska), yet by an intervention of force majeure has never been realized.

Inconsolable Ghost – Sokołowsko Channelling
Hilary Jeffery – tromboe, voice, electronics
Zsolt Sőrés Ahad – viola, voice, electronics
Gideon Kiers – computer, electronics

In his 1970 book called „Expanded Cinema” Gene Youngblood defined one of the features of the genre by referring to artistic practices leaving behind the „objecthood” of art and drifting towards environments in which certain, not always controlled and intended events and actions occur. In this sense, expansion of cinema means that the focus of attention cannot be limited to cinema screen and can include various ways of projecting sound, choreography, scenography, audience behaviors and others. In case of Inconsolable Ghost it also means turning a cinema into a space of spiritual seance of audiovisual channelling. The history of tension between cinema and ghosts is again quite old and definitely older than the history of expanded cinema. Not unlike tableau vivant, the earliest history of cinema is full of paranormal activities, the most obvious of which were characters on screen gaining its second life, either after death life or life parallel to their everyday existence. Cinema from its beginnings had something of an occult machine to it and until today there is a strong trend in experimental cinema to relate to that – from the famous „Flicker” by Tony Conrad (1965) to „Capitalism: Slavery” by Ken Jacobs (2006) which are just a couple of exemples of films reaching out to unknown realities. 

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