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Book Launch 8:30 pm @ YYZ Artist’s Outlet #104, 401 Richmond St. West (Party in the lane behind YYZ and Cinecycle!)
Get ready for Toronto’s screening of the decade! In almost 200 screenings since the fall of 1989 Pleasure Dome has been bringing audiences the most exciting artists’ films and videos that we could find. From Toronto’s own hardcore super 8 of the early 90s and the visionary Escarpment School to the sublime beauty of hand-processed films, and the raw performance videos that seemed to literally resurrect Vito Acconci. Pleasure Dome has helped to redefine the very notion of “experimental” cinema by featuring the most daring and transgressive work from the underground bunkers of San Francisco, New York, Berlin, Potsdam and Toronto.
As a way of marking this 10th anniversary we have asked each of the founding members of Pleasure Dome (Philip Hoffman, Mike Hoolboom, Jonathan Pollard, Gary Popovich and Barbara Sternberg) to revisit works that helped to define the outer edge of fringe film and video culture. The 10+ works in this programme attempt to do the impossible – greatest hits of the 90s, a summation of thousands of flickering frames, an acknowledgment to the hundreds of artists, programmers, designers, projectionists, volunteers, and audiences who have made Pleasure Dome such an alluring and essential place to be. Join us for a glimpse of the last decade’s most evocative artists’ films and video work from around the world and around the block.
After the screening join YYZ Books, Pleasure Dome and the over 40 contributing writers and artists as we celebrate the publication of Lux: A Decade of Artists’ Film and Video @ YYZ Artist’s Outlet, #104, 401 Richmond St. West 8:30 pm.
10th Anniversary Programme:
Perils and Mercy, Abigail Child (USA, 16mm, 1985, 5:00 min./1989, 10:00 min.)
“I selected Abigail Child’s Perils and Mercy not over her other films – any and all could have been picked, because the superb editing and visual look of her films thrilled me from the first encounter with Child’s work (I love her name). Her homage in Perils to early silent-era films points to film as first and foremost a visual medium. In Mercy she is working with found footage wherein editing is all. Pleasure Dome more recently showed B/side, a combination of experimental, documentary, and narrative films cut beautifully together into a whole, which only reinforced for me my appreciation of this great filmmaker.” (Barbara Sternberg)
The Epic of Gilgamesh [or This Unnameable Little Broom], Brothers Quay (UK, 16mm, 11:00 min., 1985)
Pomegranate Tree, GarinÃ© Torossian (Toronto, super 8 blow-up to 16 mm, 3:00 min., 1998)
“These two pieces are both inspired by breathing new life, perspective, animus into old stories and images. The Pomegranate Tree erupts in celluloid layers as lush, dense, hard to crack, erotic and sweet as the sticky red seed that is its fruit. The Epic of Gilgamesh traps its animated meditations in an ecstatic detail, a rough handling and sweeping of diasporic myth, clipping the wings of the heroic.” (Gary Popovich)
Pleasure Dome As Provocateur: PD’s 10 Years as Video/Film in 14.5 Minutes
“Pleasure Dome’s first season included The Almanac Project, in which Owen O’Toole got both filmmakers and non-filmmakers from around the world to make one reel super 8 films (2:30 minutes), each to represent a day of the year. He managed to convince people to make over 130 “filmdays.” Owen’s double projection extravaganza was a real inspiration to Pleasure Dome in showing how screenings could instigate or provoke film and video work. Over the past 10 years Pleasure Dome has thrown down the gauntlet for video and filmmakers to produce works on: the manmade world (Antic Architecture Cinema), rites of passage (The Puberty Show), surviving “mental health” (Survivors), the body (Exquisite Corpse) or on anything else they wanted to vent about (Open Screenings). These screenings are uniquely suited to provoking off-the-cuff kind of work. Attracting the experienced and novices alike to pick up a camera and make quick, loose, immediate work with little or no post-production, usually on small formats like super 8, regular 8, pixelvision or edit-in-camera video. The short length of these works has allowed me to squeeze eight pieces into my allotted fifteen minutes and form sort of a mini pleasure-spective.” (Jonathan Pollard)
January 7, CÃ©cile Fontaine – Paris, July 16, Myke Dyer – Toronto and November 27, Volker SchÃ¶nwart – Braunschweig (super 8, 1990) From The Almanac Project, July 1990, three “filmdays” from three cities shown in double projection as per the original screening.
I Want To Be Macho, Milada Kovacova (super 8, 1995) From The Puberty Show November 1995, participants made pictures to go with their favourite song from high school, in this case haute 70s homage to The Village People.
Airdrie Grain Elevator: February 15, 1991, Stephanie White (super 8, 1991) From Antic Architecture Cinema July 1991, bombs on architecture mainly of the big city variety. An exception is this “beginning of the end” in rural Canada.
The Four Truths, Marnie Parrell (Fisher Price pixelvision, 2000) A new work “provoked” especially for tonight’s screening in glorious pixelvision.
grampy’s homemovies from down east, Don & Sherri Higgins (regular 8) From Home Made Movies March 1999, in this case provoking found films. It’s amazing what some people dug up from their parents’ basements.
All Artists Have Daisies Up Their Ass, David Wilcox (super 8, 1992) From Exquisite Corpse June 1992, a map of the body, each part = a film/video.
Obsessive Becoming, Dan Reeves (UK, video, 6:00 min. excerpt from 55:00 min., 1995)
“Five years in the making, this heart-stopping digital collage is an hour-long work of mourning dedicated to the artist’s grandmother. Heavily reworked moments of family are drawn together to provide a generational portrait of armed robbers, sexual abuse, missing persons, beatings and disappearances. What is remarkable about this piece is its tone, as Reeves shuffles his way through the family archive, ordering and reordering these faces, these stories, into a grandiloquent sweep
of reconciliation. What words, what pictures, could begin the acceptance of a man who had sexually abused and beaten you? That the computer has made this grace possible lends new light and hope for digital artists and family members everywhere.” (Mike Hoolboom)
The Memo Book [Aus Der Ferne], Matthias MÃ¼ller (Germany, super 8 blow-up to 16 mm, 28:00 min, 1989)
“Matthias MÃ¼ller updates the trance film with this ground breaking work that harrows in a decade spilling over with disease and death. The last decade of the 20th century was for so many of us one of grieving, again and again. In The Memo Book the protagonist, MÃ¼ller, is in search of a self he cannot recognize after his lover’s death from AIDS. Pleasure Dome brought this film to Toronto in 1990, 1992 and 1997 and as I watch it now for maybe the third or fourth time, I realize it has been
with me through my own trajectories. I am watching this film, I write as I watch, explosions of hand-processed and colourized grief…the Wall cracks, it is `89…snapshots appear like visitations…looking with wonder at sparkling diamond chandeliers…two men dance…a chorus of endings…two men dance, appropriately appropriated…thru doorway passages a body moving… opening his shut eyes…there is! still a body…I bite through storyteller’s faint verse…nothing is important anymore…wounds reopened? how many more time…erupting hands and organs looped forever…only blowing papers in harsh light…opening sharply to the blinding beach of…Camus!?… struck down by the hard shadows, venetians still intact…and then a pen –
&lrquo;˜I am filming this writing, as I write I film’. The old child slides into new skin.” (Philip Hoffman)
Over the past 10 seasons (the current 1999/2000 season is our 11th year) Pleasure Dome has brought together an extraordinary range of film and video makers, curators, co-presentors, projectionists, designers, writers, film and video distributors and cultural workers far and wide, art council reps, hundreds of volunteers and audience members as well as the individuals who steadfastly brought you the most daring and engaging fringe film and video in the 90s – the Programming Collective/Board Members. As the programming co-ordinator since 1991 I have had the opportunity of working with these brave souls and to all of them I salute you for your extraordinary creative efforts in viewing, programming and writing about all the programs assembled since 1989 and for helping with all the thankless tasks required to keep Pleasure Dome rolling. To all those audience members who walked away feeling somewhat changed and somehow altered from those ephemeral flickering moments, I thank you for coming. (Tom Taylor June 2000)
1989 – 2000 Pleasure Dome Programming Collective/Board Members:
1989/90 Philip Hoffman, Mike Hoolboom, Jonathan Pollard, Gary Popovich, Barbara Sternberg
1990/91 Liz Czach, Philip Hoffman, Robert Kennedy, Jonathan Pollard, Barbara Sternberg
1991/92 Liz Czach, Philip Hoffman, Robert Kennedy, Marnie Parrell, Jonathan Pollard, Kika Thorne
1992/93 Liz Czach, Philip Hoffman, Robert Kennedy, Marnie Parrell, Jonathan Pollard, John Porter, Kika Thorne
1993/94 Liz Czach, Chris Gehman, Philip Hoffman, Robert Kennedy, Marnie Parrell, John Porter, Kika Thorne
1994/95 Liz Czach, Chris Gehman, Robert Kennedy, Marnie Parrell, Milinda Sato, Beverly Taft, Kika Thorne
1995/96 Liz Czach, Chris Gehman, Robert Kennedy, Jeff Moore, Milinda Sato, Beverly Taft, Steve Reinke
1996/97 Tracy German, Mike Hoolboom, Scott McLeod, Sarah Lightbody, John McCollough, Jeff Moore, Steve Reinke
1997/98 Larissa Fan, Tracy German, Carolynne Hew, John McCollough, Scott McLeod, Sarah Lightbody, Steve Reinke, Ger Zielinski
1998/99 Sarah Abbott, Larissa Fan, Tracy German, Carolynne Hew, Sarah Lightbody, Steve Reinke, Ger Zielinski
1999/2000 Jubal Brown, Rob Butterworth, Carolynne Hew, Tim Muirhead, Sarah Lightbody, Steve Reinke, Karyn Sandlos, Stefan St-Laurent, Scott Treleaven, Jacob Wren, Ger Zielinski
Thanks to Greg Van Alstyne and Jay Wilson for their exquiste poster design over the years.
The complete poster collection 1989 &lrquo;” 2000 is on display tonight only at YYZ Artist’s Outlet.
Edited by Steve Reinke and Tom Taylor
by Dan Reeves