Magic Lantern Presents: Print/Process
16mm Films by J.J. Murphy, Phil Solomon, and Karl Kels
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 20h
95 Empire Black Box Theater, Providence, RI, USA
Film, tape and digital video are all subsets of cinema, much like oils, acrylic, egg tempera, spraypaint and watercolor are all included under the heading of painting. Nevertheless, while sharing the predominant qualities of what we generically call "cinema," each material has its own specific aesthetic materiality that is perhaps best revealed in the event of its own failure or deterioration. The video image becomes filled with horizontal lines of interference or static noise; digital images break down into smears of pixels and stuttering motion; similarly, film has its own special form of visual decay. In 1974, J.J. Murphy re-photographed the same minute of footage fifty times; the product of this experiment was Print Generation, a supremely structuralist work that plays at the cinema's limits of abstraction and representation both on the levels of image and sound. Rarely screened and long available only in the most faded of 16mm prints, Print Generation is shown here in a new, immaculate restoration that brings the alchemical of play of Murphy's film back to life. *Print Generation* is complemented by two other works that engage directly with the theme of generation and decay: the enigmatic *Secret Garden* by American filmmaker Phil Solomon, and *Starlings*, an early work by Austrian filmmaker/documentarian Karl Kels. Like the car dredged up from the marsh at the end of Hitchcock's *Psycho*, these pieces put film's materiality on display as a field of potentiality from which a figurative image, like the return of the repressed, may or may not emerge.