October 7, 2008
Views from the Avant-Garde: Short Notes (2008)
Novel City, 2008 (Leslie Thornton) - While Leslie Thornton's 1983 film Adynata posed questions of exoticism and alterity in its cultural examination of China, Novel City represents a different, yet equally jarring notion of otherness - one borne of China's rapid industrialization, economic transformation, and cultural amnesia at the turn of the century. Interweaving excerpts from Adynata with modern day shots of China from Jin Jiang Hotel - the site of Mao Zedong and Richard Nizon's meeting in 1987 - Thornton creates a sense of alienation and displacement through the paradoxical sameness of mimicking, familiar images: ubiquitous Jumbotron advertisements, a Chinese opera singer dressed in a Western tailored suit, a promotional photograph of Barack Obama.
Horizontal Boundaries, 2008 (Pat O'Neill) - Composed of overlapping and bisected frames to create composite, dynamic, often accelerated images of California landscape, the film suggests convergence with Michael Snow's WVLNT, creating an oppositional visual image that is equally natural in its presentation of nature and unnatural in its superposition of disparate landscapes, where the idea of a permanent, static landscape is subverted by diurnal movement and human interaction.