Part of Summer 2009
This program (and its title) is based on one of Jean-Luc Godard’s least screened and most ascetic projects, Un Film comme les autres (A Film Like Any Other). Produced in the months immediately following the uprisings of May 1968, this two-hour film primarily documents a group of students and workers laying in a field of long grass (which obscures most of their bodies and faces), while their conversations about the events of May unspool on the soundtrack. Rather than a state of agitation or upheaval, Godard framed the French citizens and their political aftermath as one of reflection; the summer as stasis.
Within the contemporary context, the events of 1968 and its echoes are widely cited as the years of revolution and flux that remain definitive for a generation. However, the next summer not only saw the continuing circulation of Godard’s film but also the release of the debut (self-titled) album by The Stooges. The opening lyrics in the first song of the record, titled 1969:
“Well it’s 1969 okay
All across the USA
It’s another year
For me and you
With nothing to do”
Summer as stasis? A pause from pedagogy? The four works in this program are presented within a chronology that mirrors the languid progression of a summer’s day: Untitled (2007) by Jordan Wolfson (morning), Gas Station (1969) by Robert Morris (early afternoon), A & B in Ontario (1984) by Joyce Wieland and Hollis Frampton (late afternoon) and “O Joan, no…” (2006) by Duncan Campbell (evening) all advance a reflective mode that is simultaneously exploratory and observational. School is out, businesses close, the city empties and you are left to your own devices.