Rotten Love Redux tips its hat to the days of theatrical porn-going with a celebration of tactility, eroticism and utter decay. The program features 16mm porn and erotic films, each which incorporates decomposed or manipulated film stock in its depiction of erotic femme bodies. Working with both found and original footage, the filmmakers in this program employ a wide range of analog techniques—soaking, solarization, painting, scratching, burning—to alter celluloid’s chemical make-up and add a material element to the onlooker’s gaze. Treating film stock as continuous with the human body, Rotten Love Redux revels in the entangled acts of sex, fetish, and image-making.
dir. MM Serra & Josh Lewis, 2015
14 mins. USA.
Digital file courtesy of The Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
Sourced from five 16mm filmstrips found outside of a closing adult bookstore on New York’s former 42nd Street sex district. Making use of a salvaged contact printer and chemical alterations applied directly to the subsequent prints, these storied images transform into a primordial celebration of bodily spectacle. Threaded throughout the film is the exuberant compound word poetry of Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven, giving voice to an immediate and transgressive consciousness.
dir. Carolee Schneemann, 1965
30 mins. USA.
*brand new* 16mm print courtesy of Canyon Cinema.
“Pornography is an anti-emotional medium, in content and intent, and its lack of emotion renders it wholly ineffective for women. This absence of sensuality is so contrary to female eroticism that pornography becomes, in fact, anti-sexual. Schneemann’s film, by contrast, is devastatingly erotic, transcending the surfaces of sex to communicate its true spirit, its meaning as an activity for herself and, quite accurately, women in general. Significantly, Schneemann conceives the film as shot through the eyes of her cat – the impassive observer whose view of human sexuality is free of voyeurism and ignorant of morality.” —B. Ruby Rich, Chicago Art Institute
dir. Naomi Uman, 1999
7 mins. USA.
16mm print courtesy of Canyon Cinema.
Using a piece of found European porn from the 1970s, nail polish and bleach, this film creates a new pornography, one in which the woman exists only as a hole, an empty, animated space.
SOLITARY ACTS #4
dir. Nazlı Dinçel, 2015
8 mins. USA.
*brand new* 16mm print courtesy of Canyon Cinema and the artist.
Wittnerchrome, Exacto Knife, Typewriter
The filmmaker films herself masturbating the object of debate. She hears others claim her body, her habits: those in her conservative surroundings as a child.
THE COLOR OF LOVE
dir. Peggy Ahwesh, 1994
10 mins. USA.
16mm print courtesy of The Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
Ahwesh subjects an apparently found pornographic film to coloring, optical printing and general fragmentation; the source material threatens to virtually collapse under the beautiful violence of her filmic treatment. What emerges is a portrait at once nostalgic and horrible: the degraded image, locked in symbiotic relation with an image of degradation.
Rotten Love Redux is curated by Emily Apter. The first iteration of this program took place at the Film-Makers’ Cooperative on February 13, 2019.
Prismatic Ground is a film festival centered on experimental documentary. Its inaugural edition was hosted virtually from April 8-18, 2021, in partnership with Maysles Documentary Center and Screen Slate, and presented with support from Canyon Cinema, Icarus Films, Video Data Bank, and Microscope Gallery. Over 6,700 unique visitors logged on from around the world to watch work by 70 filmmakers across a period of 11 days. Prismatic Ground was founded by Inney Prakash.