Fine Pain

  • A Film by Carl Brown, Sound by John Kamevaar (In Person)
  • Friday, March 17, 8 pm
  • @ Cinecycle, 129 Spadina Ave.

Part of Winter 2000

+ A Two-Day Film Processing Workshop

Saturday, March 18, 1-6 pm & Saturday, March 25, 1-10 pm

@ Niagara Custom Lab, 254 Niagara St.

$100 per person + $35 minimum for materials

Call 416-656-5577 to enroll by March 10.

The master of alchemy returns to Pleasure Dome for the world premiere of Fine Pain (16mm, 58:00 min., 1999). This two-screen dual projector film extends Brown’s use of chemically tortured celluloid to the breaking point. A collaboration with his long-time sound colleague John Kamevaar, Fine Pain is an extended dialogue between image and sound – like a prolonged riff of free jazz between two masters. The discordant tensions of this film will keep you on the very edge of your seat, astonish you with the mesmerizing range of colour and abstraction and the over-modulated sound vibrations.

Join us for a CD release party after the screening for John Kamevaar’s “Staring in the Dark; From the Soundtracks of Carl Brown’s Films.”

On Saturday, March 18th and 25th Carl Brown will host a two-day Film Processing Workshop to be held at the new Niagara Custom Lab. On the first Saturday from 1 to 6 pm Brown will begin with an introductory discussion on the nature of chemical processing. On the following Saturday from 1 to 10 pm Brown will demonstrate and lead an intensive hands-on processing workshop. Between the two dates participants are encouraged to shoot a short film (16mm or super 8) in order to process, tone, and otherwise degrade the image to your hearts content. The completed films will be screened at the end of the workshop. This is Brown’s first Toronto workshop and should not be missed by anyone interested in chemical manipulation. The cost of the two-day workshop is $100 per person plus a minimum of $35 for materials. Please enroll by March 10th.

+ Two Pictures, Carl E. Brown and Rose Lowder (12:00 min., 1999)

“In the film Two Pictures my intentions were twofold. Firstly I would have Rose Lowder take a roll of 16mm 7373 film stock, which is a black and white stock used in the printing of opticals and have her shoot it in her native country of France. I chose this stock for its beautiful and rich black, and its very crisp transparency. There is, for all purposes, no middle ground, that is to say no gray area, no in-between, no confusion. Secondly, I have found that this particular stock has a great propensity for absorbing the kind of alchemy that I perform on the surface – its silver halide takes much more to the iron oxide conversions. When I first received the three minute roll of film back from Rose, I hand processed it with a combination of black and white chemicals and a bleach wash. The 7373 film stock is not a panchromatic stock which allowed me the ability to view these various stages of development in red safelight conditions, thus affording me the opportunity to affect changes on the film in the form of over and under development which would begin the base of the texturing process of two pictures. That being,one picture is this intensity of colour and form with edges hard and steely. The other picture contained all the attributes of watercolour on paper, the beautiful wash and blend softly moving across the surface. This would bring an intentional flatness that would oppose and collide with the first picture, bringing about an awkwardness that would be the films theme. The soundtrack for this film is totally produced by the working of the surface tensions and myself. There was no composer or instrumentation of any kind, simply the projectors optical light is reading and conveying all of the techniques and procedures and organizing into a chromatic scale what is heard and felt. In the end this film was reprinted to its final form some twenty odd generations, with five final cut rolls, misaligned slightly to create the visually shearing effect you experience. This film represents four years of work. ” (Carl Brown)

Fine Pain. A Film by Carl E. Brown Sound by John Kamevaar

At first occurring only as an appalling but limited internal fact, the pain eventually occupies the entire body and spills out into the realm beyond the body, it takes over all that is inside and outside, it dictates your response to events, makes the two (mental & physical) obscenely indistinguishable, and systematically destroys anything like language. Terrifying for its narrowness, it nevertheless exhausts and displaces all else until it seems to become the single broad and omnipresent fact of existence and its mastery of the mind and body – a term I call “fine pain.”

In my latest film Fine Pain, I have brought a new element into my work, this being double screen projection. The reason for this was that I wanted to further expand my lexicon on anxiety and panic attacks. I want the audience to simultaneously experience what it is like to see and feel in this manner. What I mean by “simultaneously,” is just this. When you experience one of these attacks, there are two main elements to the event: one is that of what those around you see as the attack, meaning can they see I am in trouble/scared/may lose control, hence the Fine reel to my film. In this contains all my experiences, which have related to the feeling “fine.” When someone asks how you are when the attack takes place, my response is “fine.” Sometimes I want to search someone out during the attack and tell them I am “fine” just to reaffirm that I am fine and I am not losing control. This being said I have come to learn over a lifetime of experience that to the casual observer, the pure white-hot fear that is pulsing through your mind and body mostly remains undetectable to those around you. And because of the state you are in, your fear refuses to allow you to really admit what is happening for fear of being found out that you are fearful. Nice little psychological Catch 22. The little bit of perceived control you may have left may leave with any revelation that in fact you are not fine. Thus the images on the Fine reel are a reflection of my contact with their reaction to my consciousness when “fine” is a reality to me.

The second element to this event, is the reel of the film entitled Pain. This is the recreation of the emotions, electrical charges, and angst that is bouncing around inside me at the very moment an attack takes place. I take the audience inside for a very uncomfortable view of this process, if one can call it a process. I did this reel not only in re-creation of these attacks, but in fact as they were happening in real time, during periods of shooting, developing, colouring, editing etc. This has created a rather interesting combination that is Fine Pain.


Fine Pain 59:00 min. 2000

Two Pictures 12:00 min. 1999

Air Cries, “Empty Water” Part 3: Le Mistral, beautiful but terrible 117:00 min. 1997

Air Cries, “Empty Water” Part 2: The Red Thread 60:00 min. 1993

Air Cries, “Empty Water” Part 1: Misery Loves Company 60:00 min. 1993

BROWNSNOW 134:00 min. 1994

Cloister 31:00 min. 1990

Re:Entry 68:00 min. 1990

Drop 4:00 min. silent 1987

Condensation of Sensation 73:00 min. 1987

Full Moon Darkness 90:00 min. b/w 1985

Urban Fire 15:00 min. b/w 1983

Mind’s Bedlam 7:00 min. b/w 1981 (super 8)

“Went to an institution so long ago I can’t even remember…started my style…have been refining and defining ever since…I guess that makes twenty years of working and creating in art in various forms…film, photography, holography, writing…all give a great sense of purpose and allow me to keep focus.” (Carl Brown, March 2000)

John Kamevaar is a conceptual artist who works in visual media, recently in text, and predominantly in sound. From 1981 to 1994, he was a member of the improvisational music ensemble CCMC, recording and performing regularly at the Music Gallery as well as numerous international tours. He formed a studio based sonic explorations project with Thomas Handy and David Scurr in 1987. This resulted in several releases under the rubric of Kaiser Nietzsche. He has created almost all of Carl Brown’s soundtracks over the last 12 years. His most recent CD release “Staring in the Dark; From the Soundtracks of Carl Brown’s Films” is a selective compilation of excerpts from these films.