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Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday, March 20, 2011
5:00 p.m. Experimental Animation

Featuring PFA Preservation Prints

Karl Cohen in Person

Tonight’s program features a number of little-known animations by Bay Area artists, focusing on abstract films from the late 1940s and 1950s but extending into the late 1980s. Hy Hirsh’s
Come Closer is one of his many experiments with oscilloscope patterns on his homemade optical printer, while in Sol, Edward Silverstone Taylor created abstractions on an optical projector. Hirsh and Taylor, together with Dorsey Alexander (who died in 2009), Leonard Tregillus, Ralph Luce, and others, were loosely associated with the California visual music movement and made some of the earliest local experimental films. We’ll also present animations from the 1950s by Jane Conger Belson Shimane and Dion Vigné. Lawrence Jordan’s Our Lady of the Sphere is one of his classic surrealistic collage animations, presented in a 35mm blowup. Gunvor Nelson’s collage and live-action film, Light Years, is haunted by her memories of Sweden. Karl Cohen’s Sidereal Passage, drawn from the live show Flight to the Future, will be followed by a light show interlude highlighting Cohen’s psychedelic slides. His re-creation will also include Scott Bartlett’s 1968 OffOn.—Kathy Geritz

Life and Death of a Sphere (Dorsey Alexander, 1948, 4 mins, B&W, PFA Preservation Print). Proem (Leonard Tregillus, Ralph Luce, 1949, 11 mins, B&W, Karl Cohen Collection). Come Closer (Hy Hirsh, 1952, 7 mins, Color, From Iota Center, permission Angie Pike). Paper Collage (Dion Vigné, 1955, 3 mins, Silent, Color, PFA Preservation Print). Logos (Jane Conger Belson Shimane, 1957, 2 mins, Color, From Academy Film Archive). Sol (Edward Silverstone Taylor, 1958, 5 mins, Silent, Color, PFA Preservation Print). Sidereal Passage (Karl Cohen, 1977, 6 mins, Color, From the artist). Light Show (Karl Cohen, c. 10 mins, Color, Slides/16mm). Light Years (Gunvor Nelson, 1987, 28 mins, Color, PFA Preservation Print). Our Lady of the Sphere (Lawrence Jordan, 1969, 9 mins, Color, 16mm blowup to 35mm, PFA Collection)

• (Total running time: c. 85 mins, 16mm, unless indicated otherwise)