Circles and Spinning Wheels and If I Could Crowd All My Souls into That Mountain
By Jens Larson
The video works in Melody Owen’s curated collections (Circles and Spinning Wheels and If I Could Crowd All My Souls into That Mountain) have very little time to develop their themes, shape their characters and elicit reactions from viewers. While it’s unlikely any viewer will like all the works (there are more than 20!), the collection’s strength is its ability to expose viewers to diverse styles, techniques and multiple schools of cinema.
And certainly it’s more interesting than most anything you’ll see at the multiplex.
E*Rock uses animation for Ratatat’s music video to “Cherry”; it’s a stunning piece that owes as much to the music as it does to the creative use of imagery and motion.
Ma Quisha’s piece “Must Be Beauty” is startling: over the period of several minutes, Quisha drinks several dozen bottles and canisters of makeup products. (Quisha has an exhibit at The Works; it, too, involves self-harm.) Its political, aesthetic and personal message is fairly damning.
“Autogene” by Peter William Holden syncs the mechanical openings and closings of eight umbrellas to Gene Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain,” a fine blend of nostalgia, playfulness and modern technology.
“Eventide” by Cassandra C. Jones, which is one of the few silent films in the series, follow the trajectory of the sun as it arcs through sky. Viewers see a single day as told by several thousand photographs from around the world, each photography with the sun several fractions of an inch closer to the horizon, each image on the screen for a fraction of a second.
And these are just four of films. Most films really are deserving of praise, and even those that do not succeed are remarkable for their variety and novelty.