UnionDocs: Peter Hutton - Old and New
Saturday, December 11th 19:30h $9 suggested donation.
322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Peter Hutton in attendance for discussion along with film scholar Scott MacDonald
Peter Hutton is one of cinema’s most ardent and poetic portraitists of city and landscape. A former merchant seaman, he has spent nearly forty years voyaging around the world, often by cargo ship, to create sublimely meditative, luminously photographed, and intimately diaristic studies of place, from the Yangtze River to the Polish industrial city of Lodz, and from northern Iceland to a ship graveyard on the Bangladeshi shore. This screening includes works both old and in progress.
- New York Portrait 1 (Peter Hutton, USA, 1978–79, 15 minutes, 16 mm)
Hutton’s sketchbook of mid-1970s New York, edited in three parts over twelve years, is a chronicle of indelible impressions and an act of urban archeology. The artist evokes the city’s delicate rhythms, tonal contrasts, and shifts of scale—scrims of white mist and black smoke, of gauze, cloud, and fluttering pennant; the shadowy geometries of tenements and water towers; palimpsests of graffiti, skywriting, and painted signs; ecstatic sunlight glinting off the wings of homing pigeons as they traverse a pillowy sky; the slight rustle of a homeless man’s shirt; the flowery patterns of rainwater draining from a flooded street; a blimp’s lazy progress between two buildings whose balconies resemble film sprockets; and a winter fog rolling over the sandy rivulets of Coney Island, making of it a lunar park, removed from time.
- Lodz Symphony (Peter Hutton, USA, 1991–93, 20 minutes, 16 mm)
Images of a vanishing world—the nineteenth-century manufacturing city of Lodz in Poland—are rendered with Atget-like devotion. As he wanders a ghostly city trammeled by history’s cruel progress, Hutton finds poetry in its empty cobblestone streets, its crumbling stone facades, and its cemetery overflowing with the toppled gravestones of Jews. His camera documents vestiges of the city’s dying traditions: the proud guild of chimney sweeps, recognizable by their shiny brass buttons; and the textile looms with their beautiful mechanized movements.
- Study of a River (Peter Hutton, USA, 1994–95, 16 minutes, 16 mm)
The first part (winter) of a seasonal study of the Hudson river in New York.
- Detroit (work-in-progress excerpt from 3 Landscapes) (Peter Hutton, USA, 2010, 20 minutes, 16mm)