3D Coming and Going: Brambilla Closes, and Jacobs Visits

As one stunning example of 3D filmmaking disappears this weekend, another one appears.

Marco Brambillo's exquisite exploration of spectacle and space in two large-scale 3D video projections at the Santa Monica Museum of Art closes this weekend, on Saturday, August 20, and if you haven't seen it yet, GO THERE NOW! Civilization (Megaplex) and Evolution (Megaplex), both part of a larger exhibition of seven video installations titled "The Dark Lining," are gorgeous, scrolling landscapes filled with mini three-dimensional scenes that underscore the dazzling visual flourish of Hollywood, simultaneously reveling in its power while commenting on its vacuity. While Brambilla showcases examples of his work very nicely on his website, the experience of standing in the dark, glasses on, sandwiched between the two large moving image tapestries confirms the power of 3D, despite the disappointments this summer in movie theaters.

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If Brambillo reimagines Hollywood's contemporary 3D language, iconic avant-garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs tackles its broader history, from its origins in the 19th century to its possible permutations in the digital era. The New York-based Jacobs has visited LA many times - a few years ago, he presented several of his Nervous System projector performances that pair two projectors to screen two prints of the same film simultaneously, but just slightly out of sync. The resulting visual cacophony resembles 3D and creates a spellbinding experience of visual perception that's visceral as much as it is perceptual and even magical.

For his upcoming visit, Jacobs will present two shows. He'll be at the LA 3D Club on Sunday, August 21, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Downtown Independent Theater to show recent experiments in 3D. Ray Zone will be on hand to offer context, drawing on his longstanding interest in 3D, as well as his great expertise. Then, on Tuesday evening, August 23 at 8:00 p.m., Jacobs will be at the Silent Movie Theater in a show co-presented by LA Filmforum and Cinefamily. Titled The Intimacy of Intervention: An Evening With Ken Jacobs, this show features several shorts from Jacobs larger body of work curated by Mark Toscano. This is a chance to witness Jacobs' fascinating experiments as he interrogates and manipulates existing footage, looking for the magic latent in the image.

Speaking about 3D in filmmaking recently, Zone said, "We are in the midst of a paradigmatic shift right now. Having 3D is like having a new color. It's a new parameter of storytelling, and we'll see a shift from editing to mise-en-scene, and what's happening in the shot." With the experiments undertaken by Jacobs, viewers witness a playful exploration of that paradigmatic shift, not in service to story, but for exploring perception, space and what our minds do in the interchange between image and experience.

About the Author

Holly Willis teaches in USC's School of Cinematic Arts and writes about new media art.
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