Zoe Beloff and The Somnambulists | KCET
Zoe Beloff and The Somnambulists
But I'm not here for flies. I've come to view hysterics and sleepwalkers.
Inside the dark hall that is home to the upstairs panorama is a small gallery featuring four colorful miniature wooden theaters, inside of which are tiny projections of people suffering psychic maladies. Titled "The Somnambulists" and created by New York-based media artist Zoe Beloff, who is known for her fascination with the techniques of early cinema, the pieces invite you to move in close to catch looping glimpses of hysteria shot more than 100 years ago as psychologists sought new ways to solve - or at least document - the often torturous mysteries of the unconscious. In one, a young woman writhes on the floor; in another, a woman walks with a jagged gait. You hear breathing, words, screams. The black-and-white images are ghostlike, and it's as if you're viewing the past, but an obsessive, repetitive past that cannot relinquish its traumas.
Together, these mini-theaters and their films unite cinema and the psyche, showing us the technologies of film as a correlate to the psychic system. The small pieces are especially powerful, honoring the enigmatic experiences captured on film, but underscoring their unruliness in dream-like structures. "I wanted to reference these ideas in my own museum of madness," Beloff has explained in an essay. "The viewer looks into another world where patients from a hundred years ago, resurrected by electricity, reenact their traumas indefinitely."
Coming up at the Velaslavasay Panorama May 12 - 14: the 6th Ever Los Angeles Old Time Social with concerts, workshops (including Square Dance Calling) and a big family dance and cakewalk.
Located at 1122 West 24th Street, the Velaslavasay Panorama is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6:00 p.m. Beloff's projects will be on view through May 29. But beware the hungry carnivores in the garden.
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