What is life without the living?

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A (Luther Price, 1995)What is life without the living?
Thursday October 21st, 20h
NP Contemporary Art Center
131 Chrystie Street, New York, NY 10003-2813

Two experimental queer works will inaugurate the new media room at NP Contemporary Art Center on Thursday, Oct. 21st, 2010. The title, ‘What Is Life Without The Living?’ misremembers the opening lyric to the theme of Imitation of Life. The tune hauntingly floods Luther Price’s A. Alongside David Scheid’s video, Margot Kidder, these works reconstruct Hollywood from a space of queer fantasy with their drag and collage editing tactics. The event is curated by programmer and moving-image scholar Bradford Nordeen, featuring a very special digital introduction by critic and author Kevin Killian and a post-screening discussion with David Scheid.

- Margot Kidder (David Scheid, 2005, 13 min, video)
- A (Luther Price, 1995, 60 min, S8) (screened on DVD)

Named one of the top-20 living avant-garde filmmakers in Film Comment’s recent poling, Boston-based super-8 filmmaker Luther Price has been frequently likened to Jack Smith, Karen Finley and Matthew Barney for his raw, visceral cinema. In A (1995) Price concocted the most narrative tale of his 25-year career: a cyclical feature in which a faded starlet (Edie) courts suitor after suitor and fades into an alcoholic Lassie-laden haze. Price portrays the heroine as she spirals deeper into destructive delusions, turning on her lovers like an amped-up Jeanne Dielman. Edie is also a ghostly, childhood memory, based on Price’s mother and her obsessive viewing of woman’s pictures.

David Scheid is a video artist whose work addresses pathology and obsessive compulsive disorder. Margot Kidder meticulously reconstructs 3 films from the actress’ golden period to illuminate Kidder’s peculiar personal narrative. Scheid infers that Kidder’s infamous downfall was present all along in these fragile performances. Margot Kidder throws these clues into plain view, presenting a dismaying decoding of these otherwise commercial films. Like Price’s work, the film also serves as an intimate portrait of a male fan’s obsession with a female star. The 13-minute found-footage film is an alarming depiction of the filmmaker’s arousal, disdain, compassion and compulsion towards the eponymous subject.

What Is Life Without the Living is a touring program that has seen screenings at Artists’ Television Access in San Francisco and Mandrake in Los Angeles. The New York event will be accompanied by a free publication of images, illustrations, an essay, and artist writings designed by Deric Carner.

Luther Price is an internationally exhibited super8 filmmaker, sculptor and performance artist. His work has been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Thread Waxing Space and San Francisco Cinematheque, among other institutions. He is a professor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Massachusetts College of Art. His work is distributed by the Filmmakers’ Coop, Canyon Cinema, Lux and Lightcone.

David Scheid received his M.F.A. from CalArts in 2005. His videos were shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, REDCAT, and Highways Performance Space. Scheid lives in Pittsburgh, PA, where he paints abstract landscapes, trains for marathons, and is pursuing his medical degree. His interests include psychiatry and pathology.

Bradford Nordeen is a New York-based programmer and moving-image scholar. He has organized screenings internationally at venues in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He has contributed articles to The Fanzine Press, X-TRA and Animal Shelter. His essay on Luther Price, ‘Watching, Wounded: Avant-Garde Psychodrama and Aversion in Luther Price’s Meat’ is forthcoming in Film-Philosophy.