In many ways an animating spirit and catalyzing agent of the NYC underground film scene from the 1980s to the present day, Bradley Eros’s work encompasses filmmaking, expanded cinema performances, curating, writing, sound, and collage, among other more uncategorizable activities.
Eros first became known as one half of Erotic Psyche, a filmmaking and performance collaboration with artist Aline Mare. Though associated with the Cinema of Transgression movement then emerging from the East Village, the films of Erotic Psyche are notably less pulp and more poetic than the work of other members of that scene, closer in affinity to the queer-feminist sensibility of Naked Eye Cinema. Later, in the late 80s and early 90s, Eros joined forces with filmmaker Jeanne Liotta; their films, released under the name Mediamystics, inhabit “an area somewhere between cinema and ritual, finding alchemy in the chemistry of body and film” (Owen O’Toole, SPOOL).
An unflagging champion of New York’s experimental film culture (including as a longtime staff member at Anthology), Eros is active as a curator who, among his innumerable projects, co-programmed the Lower East Side microcinema, the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema. He also has served on the board of The Film-Makers’ Cooperative and, with Liotta, has conducted in-depth research on the films of Joseph Cornell. He exhibits with and is represented by Microscope Gallery, in Brooklyn.
These two programs will feature brand-new preservations of the Erotic Psyche works, MUTABLE FIRE! and PYROTECHNICS, alongside additional Erotic Psyche and Mediamystics films, slide projections, and other relevant documents.
“Out of a fierce decade of exploration (approximately 1983-92), two intense collaborations emerged ~ at times tender, provocative, rapturous, subversive, and full of myth & mystery. In late 1982 began the Quest of the Erotic Psyche (Aline Mare and Bradley Eros), signaling ‘pleasure in resistance & resistance in pleasure’ through an investigation of desire and its discontents. This partnership thrived, seeking some kind of transmedia metamorphosis among the detritus of New York’s Lower East Side. In 1988, a bold third-mind erupted, irrepressibly concentrated as Mediamystics (Jeanne Liotta and Bradley Eros), initiated by the creation of myriad poetic works in film, video, slides, performance, sound & text, all ‘booby-trapped for revelations.’ They conspired to invent ‘a techgnosis as resilient as love, as exquisite as transformation,’ evoking a natural philosophy in action.” –Bradley Eros
Thursday, September 29, 19:30h
Erotic Psyche: Bradley Eros & Aline Mare (Works: 1983-87)
“Erotic Psyche’s richly layered tapestries of hallucinatory images are riddled with provocative rituals, from sex to science to surgery, that are guaranteed to produce frissions of pleasure.” –Ann-Sargent Wooster, VILLAGE VOICE
“They fuse the dynamics of dream, blood, fire & flesh!” –WANGLUNG, Berlin
“Technologists of the flesh, they create hypnotic and voluptuous montages, reminiscent of Kenneth Anger’s mystic incantations.” –Manohla Dargis, VILLAGE VOICE
- Venus To Penis (1983, 14 min, video)
Multi-Media Modern Myth. A transmission between Eros & Psyche: sexual politics, the juice and the friction, with lucid poetry rising to the surface. Interrogation, tenderness, rage, rapture, quest.
- Mutable Fire! (1984, 7.5 min, Super 8mm-to-16mm.)
Totems of destruction & desire. An operation on the combustible urges in a junk black mass. A swiftly-sliced nightmare of history and erotic autobiography.
- Pyrotechnics (1985, 10.5 min, Super 8mm-to-16mm.)
Telepathic music from the lab. The human tabula rasa and the pregnant androgyne in the ecstasy of transmissions. Science-friction myths of bio-electric energy.
- Cassandra: Seething At The Mouth (1985, 6 min, video)
Revenge of the dirty words in a raging tongue.
- Hystèry (1985, 11 min, Super 8mm-to-video. Soundtrack: Einstürzende Neubauten & Psychic TV.)
A transmutation of mystery/history/hysteria, where sex and sacrifice mix with death and voyeurism. 1) intoxicating media, 2) the tenderness of wolves. The dream/play of Hypnos and Thanatos.
- Creatures Of Myth-Taken Identity In The Laboratory Of Hystèry (1986, 6.5 min, video)
An electronic healing ritual in the laboratory of the double-sex.
- Electramorphic (1987, 14 min, Super 8mm-to-16mm.)
Visions of creation & destruction: the birth of pyromania and explosive technology. Promethea’s homage to Reich & Tesla and the Orgone of Alternating Current. ‘Very Kali-graphic.’
Friday, September 30, 19:30h
Mediamystics: Bradley Eros & Jeanne Liotta (Works: 1988-92)
Investigating living myths & materials of the body and culture, collaborating on film and multi-media work.
“The films and performances of Eros & Liotta are dark, mysterious, biomorphic, psychedelic and subterranean, while the poetic nature of their work is substantiated by equally haunting soundtracks.” –FILM THREAT
- Soma Sema (1988, 13 min, Super 8mm-to-16mm.)
Fire, water, sex, resurrection.
A classic work of anthropomorphic alchemy. The mummy signals from the threshold of the living and the dead. Secrets seep through the skin, and tattooed oracles reveal the body is a sign divine. Ikonsciousness in full force. This film is an inscription of the mysteries in action.
“The imagery evokes the erotic on a mythic, cosmic-consciousness level, encompassing tribal and sacred elements.” – Tom Chomont
- Open Sesame (1989, 7 min, video)
Minotaur of the monitor met a sphinx through the riddles of the LAByrinth.
A ritutal shadowplay in 7 hieroglyphic movements & inter-titles.
“Creates an intense aura in the blue light of the electronic cave, by telegraphing actions of two creatures in conflict, creation, communication, and the urge to liberate.”
- fungus eroticus (1990, 30 min, Super 8mm-to-16mm.)
‘In history as in nature, decay is laboratory of life.’
A fantastic voyage through the cycles of decay and regeneration in the body and the world. Sublime psychotropic sound and a dark sensibility compels us into molecular memory, the structure of living culture, and the electronic architecture of Apocatopia, where beauty and terror merge. Unique chemical treatments emphasize the film’s seething materiality.
“A fermented vision, both sensual & disturbing, raw & lysergic.” – Craig Baldwin
- Dervish Machine (1992, 10 min, Super 8mm-to-16mm., b&w/color)
‘M’elevasti!, Lift me up!’
Hand-developed meditations on being and movement, as inspired by Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine, Sufi mysticism, and early cinema. A knowledge of the fragility of existence mirrors the tenuousness of the material. The film itself becomes the site to experience impermanence, and to revel in the unfixed image.
“Seen and unseen meet in the place between image and emulsion.”
About Re-Visions: American Experimental Film 1975-90
With the new monthly series RE-VISIONS: AMERICAN EXPERIMENTAL FILM 1975-90, Anthology spotlights the generation(s) of experimental film artists who emerged after the final formation in 1975 of our Essential Cinema repertory screening cycle. As hotly debated as it was widely celebrated, the EC had a seismic effect (for better or worse) on both cinema studies scholarship and international film curatorial practice. Even though the EC was intended as a direct response to the exclusion of the avant-garde from official Film History, by so concisely outlining a canon it effectively shifted critical and public interest away from the still developing experimental film movement and focused attention squarely on certain artists and works considered to be historically important. Subsequent generations of cinema artists have never received the same level of intellectual/institutional recognition or encouragement. While it is plainly wrong to claim that the quantity and quality of experimental filmmaking declined after the mid-70s, it is very true that the artists who emerged immediately following the completion of the EC have enjoyed far less attention from critics, programmers, or the public than those who preceded them. We believe that it is high time for a re-evaluation.
With the support of a significant grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Anthology has been engaged in a multi-year project to preserve significant works by a wide range of cinema artists who largely became active or reached their prime after 1975.
Rather than attempt to amend the EC, RE-VISIONS uses it as a starting point from which to explore the continuities, fractures, corollaries, and connections between cinema artists of the last 40 years and the previous avant-garde film movements. Not surprisingly, the artists included in our project traveled in tight-knit communities and were often students of EC filmmakers. Their works screened in self-run cinematheques, nightclubs, alternative art spaces, and classrooms. Their productions centered on issues ranging from feminism and gender to racial and cultural identity; they presented contrarian punk attitudes and values; they often ignored abstraction for aspects of documentary and essay, involving themselves in the work in ways that the previous generation never attempted. Much like their predecessors, these artists continued to tirelessly push at the parameters of cinematic form. While recognized for their accomplishments within the relatively small independent filmmaking community, their work is still too new, too unruly, or else too marginalized to be sold in galleries, collected by museums, or preserved by most film archives.
RE-VISIONS will feature single-artist screenings of our new preservations alongside other exemplary and enticing titles spanning each artist’s career. We are as interested in seeing what they made way back then as we are in what they are doing today. When possible, artists will appear in person to discuss their work and answer questions.
Special thanks to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Audio Mechanics, BB Optics, Cinema Arts, Cineric, Colorlab, The Film Foundation, FotoKem, the Mike Kelly Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Film Preservation Foundation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Trackwise, video and Film Solutions, and all the artists who were involved in this project.