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A Gathering of Crystals

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Regional Support Network + The Loop Collective + Pix Film present:

A Gathering Of Crystals
by R. Bruce Elder and Ajla Odobašic
(Canada, 2015, HD video, 139 minutes)
Introduction by Ajla Odobašic
Friday, July 21, 2017
Screening outdoors @ sunset
Preceded by a BBQ @ 7:30PM, BYOB.
Admission is free

Location:
Madi Piller’s backyard,
140 Three Valleys Drive, Don Mills, Toronto
(east of Don Mills Rd., between Lawrence and York Mills)
TTC directions and limited shuttle service to be provided

“Just before I began work on my book Harmony and Dissent, I discovered a trove of photographs depicting participants in a radical German movement, Freikörperkultur (free body culture), the early years of which constituted something of a prototype for the hippie movement that would emerge in California in the 1960s. Many of the photographs were strikingly well composed, unlike more recent images of practitioners of social nudity. But these formal rigours were responsible for only a small part of their charm. More important was this: there was something unbearably sweet about these images of groups of people who were convinced that they might alleviate modernity’s depredation of charity through exposing, completely and frankly, their vulnerable naked selves to one another. Though these social activities too soon ramified into more pernicious forms (including the body amplification taught by Hans Surén, who was admired by Adolf Hitler), Freikörperkultur did experience one brief, innocent, paradisiacal moment that reverberated through subsequent decades as an ideal. This moment was captured in these photographs. Reading texts produced by the advocates of social nudity, and especially Kehrt zur Natur zurück! Die wahre naturgemäße Heil- und Lebensweise. Wasser, Licht, Luft, Erde, Früchte und wirkliches Christentum had made me aware that early forms of Freikörperkultur were associated with a distinctive aesthetic, one that was reflected in their use of an exercise regimen the purpose of which was develop participant’s awareness of the deeply rhythmic character of fundamental coporeal energies. Similar aesthetic theories, I knew, had cosmological underpinnings, and the pagan character of the more important strains of Freikörperkultur connected these practices to such lofty metaphysical speculations. I decided to make a film that, I hoped, would reconnect these photographs to the cosmological yearnings I felt they harboured by creating a thoroughgoingly Pythagorean work. Like my previous film, whose title I borrowed from the extraordinary book I mentioned, this work is dedicated to Adolf Just.” - R. Bruce Elder


R. Bruce Elder is a filmmaker, critic and teacher of film studies at Ryerson University. Described by New York filmmaker and critic Jonas Mekas as “the most important North American avant-garde filmmaker to emerge during the 1980s,” Elder combines images, music and text to create works that reflect his interest in philosophy, technology, science, spirituality and the human body. His first major film cycle "The Book of All the Dead" (1975-1994, 20 films), inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Commedia and Ezra Pound’s Cantos, grew out of his preoccupation with the horrors of modernity, its faith in progress and the loss of a sense of what is good and evil. His current film cycle, "The Book of Praise" (1997- ), makes extensive use of computer-image generation, highlighting his fascination with mathematics and digital technology. Elder has been a guest lecturer at institutions across North America and around the world and has written books and articles on film, music, poetry and the visual arts, including "DADA, Surrealism, and the Cinematic Effect", and "Harmony & Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century", recipient of the Robert Motherwell Book Award. In 2007, Elder received a Governor General's Award in Visual Arts, the jury describing him as “highly innovative,” “influential” and “acutely intelligent,” noting the enormous span of his practice and the demanding nature of his films.

Ajla Odobašic is a multimedia artist, soundtrack composer, editor and filmmaker. Her films have screened at Leeds International Film Festival, Alucine Festival, EXiS Festival and WNDX Festival of Moving Image. She has collaborated with R. Bruce Elder on soundtracks for "The Young Prince" (2007), "What Troubles The Peace in Brandenberg?" (2011), and "A Gathering Of Crystals" (2015).

Regional Support Network is a Toronto-based nomadic screening series organized by Clint Enns & Leslie Supnet. RSN was started out of a desire to show experimental moving images from other cities unmediated by a Toronto curatorial lens, with programmes curated by guests invited to present works from their communities with the only condition that the curator must be an active member of their community and must present their own work in the program. RSN attempts to challenge a culture of moving image curation in Toronto, and offer a paradigm shift away from old routines. The oppressive conservatism we struggle with politically in our day to day lives, we see in our community of experimental moving images and this must be challenged with at least another voice to speak alongside the dominant ways of working. In addition, RSN hopes to challenge Toronto moving-image aesthetics by allowing work to show that may offend sensibilities, both in terms of content and form. What we desire is evolution.

The Loop Collective is a group of independent media artists formed in 1996 to develop a public platform integrating experimental film and video with other art forms. We program and produce works for presentation through exhibitions and events in both traditional and non-traditional spaces. Our mission is to explore the roots of experimental film and video by creating a dialogue with other art media. We strive to promote experimental film and video for critical engagement by cultivating relations among different artistic communities. Loop has presented gallery installations, screenings, and artist talks by renowned avant-garde figures including Michael Snow, Carl Brown, Chris Welsby, Christian Lebrat, Double Negative Collective, Richard Kerr, Carolee Schneemann, and Jósef Robakowski. Programmes of films by Loop Collective members have screened at venues including The National Film Board of Canada (Toronto), Cinema Parallele (Montreal), WNDX Festival of Moving Image (Winnipeg), NASCAD (Halifax), TRUCK Gallery (Calgary), Cineworks (Vancouver), Factory Media Center (Hamilton), Leeds International Film Festival (UK), and the 2010 Canadian Retrospective at EXiS Festival (Seoul). Most recently, Loop celebrated its 20th anniversary with the publication of a monograph on the collective's history, launched alongside a touring programme that visited seven Canadian provinces from coast to coast.

Pix Film is a unique modular space located at 1411 Dufferin Street, Unit C, coordinated by Madi Piller. PIX Film was established to accommodate the needs of individual artists, community arts groups and arts collectives. We facilitate space for exhibition, research, creation and study.

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