Media Arts Preview: Jon Jost, Rose Lowder and Chunky Move

Chunky Move

Radical, experimental and avidly political filmmakers are featured on the screens of L.A. theaters this week, from Jon Jost to Rose Lowder, Dziga Vertov to Kurt Kren.
Couleurs Mecahniques
Thursday, March 15
The Echo Park Film Center turns its attention to the avant-garde films of Kurt Kren, Rose Lowder and Robert Schaller tonight. Writes Lowder of her work, "Underlying these studies is a search for meaningful ways to work with film regarding our contemporary society controlled by multinational economics. As the totalitarian environments of urban landscapes become more and more uninhabitable, I seek, against the grain in our 'virtual' space age it seems, a more human physical home." The show - featuring projected 16mm film! - starts at 8:00 p.m.

Friday, March 16
Los Angeles Filmforum celebrates the work of the radical and prolific filmmaker Jon Jost with a three-show event. On Friday, the Echo Park Film Center will screen Jost's 1978 film Chameleon at 8:00 p.m. On Saturday at 5:00 p.m., Cinefamily will present Angel City, from 1977. The curators write of the film, "In an inventive and playful post-Godardian neo-noir riff, Angel City's loose narrative gives us both the satisfying shape of a hardboiled detective fiction, and a densely-layered lasagna of Hollywood trope mockery, gleefully disruptive textual asides and pure love for the cinematic form."

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Swimming in Nebraska
On Sunday, you can catch the U.S. premiere of Jost's Swimming in Nebraska at 7:30 p.m. at the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian. Jost describes the film as "an essay-documentary of what I suppose most would call an experimental kind. It is meant as an oblique critique of the kind of provincialism in which New Yorkers or Parisians or Angelinos say things like, 'Nebraska, there's nothing there' or refer to the American mid-West as 'fly-over country.' This film is a celebration of the provincialism where there's 'nothing.' A rich tapestry of color, ideas and a kind of spirituality. An electronic essay." Jost will be present at all three screenings.

Saturday, March 17
The Melbourne-based dance company Chunky Move, founded in 1995, has built a reputation for creating genre-defying performances that often include various kinds of media. On Saturday, the group will visit the Luckman Fine Arts Center at Cal State LA to present Connected in a performance that "animates both the body and the machine," which in this case is a kinetic sculpture. The event starts at 8:00 p.m.

Three Songs of Lenin
UCLA's tribute to acclaimed Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov continues tonight with a screening of Three Songs of Lenin, a film that H. G. Wells called "one of the greatest and most beautiful films I have ever seen." The screening begins at 7:30 p.m., and will include Vertov's Lullaby from 1937 as well. In this case, Vertov was commissioned to make a film that demonstrated Soviet attention to maternal care, and Vertov responded with a film containing 600 shots of women, with great attention to Stalin. "The film was shelved as soon as it was finished; rumor has it that Stalin was unhappy with the interminable images of him being smothered by all these women." The films will screen at the Billy Wilder Theater.

Machine Project presents a four-session workshop series starting today devoted to sound synthesis taught by Christopher Mckinlay. The topic mixes "mathematics (harmonic analysis and linear differential equations) and electrical engineering (analog and digital signal processing)," and promises to introduce the fundamentals of sound synthesis for applications in music and sound design. The course will use SuperCollider, an open source platform and programming language for real time audio synthesis, and it starts today, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 18
The celebrated collage film Baraka, described as "a mind-expanding spiritual journey around the globe," screens tonight at the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre at 7:30 p.m. with producer Mark Magidson on hand for a post-screening discussion.

Monday, March 19
LACMA will screen David Hockney: A Bigger Picture tonight at 7:00 p.m. The film, created by award-winning documentary filmmaker Bruno Wollheim, looks at the full range of Hockney's work, including his recent digital projects. The director will be on hand to discuss the film following the screening.

Thompson Book

Wednesday, March 21

Nato Thomospon, curator at Creative Time in New York, visits L.A. to talk about his new book, Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Age of Cultural Production, at the Hammer Museum tonight at 7:00 p.m. After the talk, which focuses on "how to find one's voice and make change in a world flooded with information and images," Thompson will sign copies of the book.

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