Focus Pull: Onion City Off Screen

Nicky Hamlyn, Ken Jacobs, Jon Jost, Lewis Klahr, and Jorge Lorenzo

Nicky Hamlyn Head ShotNicky Hamlyn’s (born 1954) films, mostly silent and shot using a Bolex 16mm film camera, focus on the relationship between camera and place. All films incorporate various in-camera techniques such as lap dissolves, exposure variables, focus shifts, single-frame sequences and time-lapse photography that alter and expand our perception of common objects.

Ken Jacobs Head ShotFor more than 35 years, drawing on his skills as an imaginative illusionist, a workman-like tinkerer, and a worshiper of film frame by frame, Ken Jacobs (born 1933) has confronted reality and unmasked established powers. He creates, through his art, disorienting experiences which strangely empower the viewer. Combining elements of comedy, tragedy, history, and mystery, his artistry connects the viewers with their feelings, their visual faculties, and most importantly, with experience.

Jon Jost Head Shot

Jon Jost (born 1943) is an American independent filmmaker and a good example of an auteur, a director who exerts complete creative control over his films. Deeply rooted in Americana, Jost's films operate as psychological studies that seem both experientially ingrained but also culturally endemic and capture a sense of profound alienation. Rosenbaum considers Last Chants for a Slow Dance to be Jost's best film—and also his most disturbing—a portrait of a killer devoid of conscience or reason.

Lewis Klahr Head ShotOne of the most evocative, accessible, and culturally aware experimental filmmakers alive and working, Lewis Klahr (born 1954) uses what we—and our parents—have discarded to tap into the 20th-century American spine. Locating a lost, damaged dreaminess in the magazine illustrations, product ads, furniture catalogues, comic books, and porn of the post-war era that define, whether we know it or not, our shared past, Klahr's films construct archetypal narratives and mood trances out of the middle-class utopia we promised ourselves and never got.

Place Holder Image Square 225x225When Jorge Lorenzo’s handmade PIN WHOLE Series Application 1: Bulb is screened, the lens of the projector is off. It is a 16mm magnetic sound film-loop, pinholed frame-by-frame. Every pinhole is made in a different place within each frame in order to make a reading of the light coming from the bulb of the projector from a slightly different angle every time. Thus, the reflection of the bulb comes through the holes producing the effect of animation. By putting pressure on the possibilities that the medium of film affords, this installation comments, experiments, and defies the reproducibility of film and its traditions of watching a recorded event on film by avoiding the film’s own viewing. In addition, the immediacy with which video is usually associated is here brought onto the medium of film, enabling it to portray images of the present rather than the past.