Tony Conrad: Completely In The Present
2646 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, US
23rd Chicago Underground Film Festival Opening Night!Wednesday, June 18:00pmTony Conrad: Completely In PresentLacrimal GrooveMV Carbon4 min., video, 2015, USA“An isolated human calls upon the insects to interpret a message sent through the circuitry of a Buchla. Communication gaps are patched between the species as the frequencies surpass the limitations of language.” MCTony Conrad: Completely In PresentTyler Hubby98 min., video, 2016, USA World PremiereThe Chicago Underground Film Festival is proud to present the World Premiere of Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, a two-decades-in-the-making documentary about the legendary artist’s extraordinary life and influential work. One of the great American artists of our era, Conrad’s work has remained largely unknown to the world at large. Conrad’s career has directly touched and influenced most major contemporary movements in art, film, and music since the early 1960s, pushing the boundaries of what moving images and sound can be and providing inspiration for artists and musicians everywhere. Conrad performed in Jack Smith’s legendary underground film Flaming Creatures, for which he also provided the soundtrack. His own work with film commenced audaciously in 1966 with The Flicker, a film composed entirely of black and white frames, which turned the firm world on its head and helped launch the movement of “structural filmmaking” that dominated experimental film for the next decade. Working with composers such as Stockhausen and La Monte Young he was a central figure in the development of Just Intonation and Minimalism which led to his subsequent role in the formation of the Velvet Underground, directly or indirectly influencing all guitar-based rock music that followed. Conrad was an early proponent of public access television as a democratic activist tool. He continued to perform and make groundbreaking works right up until his death in April of this year and had finally begun to achieve the recognition he deserved.Reflecting Conrad’s own unconventional and forward-thinking means of creating art, Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present mixes intimate footage of the artist and his collaborators and accomplices shot by Hubby over the past two decades, along with selections from Conrad’s personal archive of recordings and films. Using a nonlinear framework that blends unconventional narration, deafening drones, Pythagorean mathematics, flickering frames of white and black, and of course the always surprising and playful Tony Conrad himself guiding viewers through free associative narratives of his astounding and creative life.“Tony Conrad has slowly been emerging from avant-gardist obscurity over the past few years, and about time. His multifold career — as experimental film and video-maker, composer, musician and sound artist — still looks radical and prescient a half-century after it began” – The New York TimesIncludes admission to festival opening night party at Elastic Arts with performances from Ben Baker Billington, Bruce McClure and Tony Conrad's Drone Strings--"A pioneering force behind the evolution of minimalism, violinist and composer TONY CONRAD introduced the idea of “Eternal Music,” a droning, mesmerizing performance idiom that employed long durations, amplification, and precise pitch to explore new worlds of sound. Through both his solo work and through collaborations with artists including LaMonte Young, John Cale, and Faust, he forged new creative directions that proved enormously influential on successive generations of artists ranging in background from pop to the avant-garde." - Big Ears Film FestivalIn commemoration of Tony Conrad and his work, JIM BECKER (Violin), MV CARBON (Cello), and FRED LONBERG-HOLM (Cello) will perform Tony Conrad's Amplified Drone Strings.--BRUCE MCCLURE is an experimental filmmaker, performance artist and architect. The Brooklyn-based McClure makes films and performances in which 16mm film projectors play the leading role. With his idiosyncratic methods of projecting, McClure may call himself a worthy successor of radical avant-gardists such as Peter Kubelka, Ken Jacobs en Hollis Frampton."Bruce McClure is an artist both increasingly known and unknown. His film performances have been featured (and cultishly coveted) in film festivals, galleries, cinematheques, and in various screening programs throughout the US, and in cities such as Rotterdam and Toronto. His name has become, in recent years, common currency in avant-garde circles, yet it takes time and effort to get to know his work, literally and conceptually. You must travel to see it, or if you’re lucky, it has to come to “a theatre near you...McClure has been called a para-cinema artist, a proto-cinema artist, an expanded-cinema artist, and even a vaudevillian." - Cinema Scope--BEN BAKER BILLINGTON will perform free form jazz with a Chicago-based ensemble. Billington has been an extremely active part of the Chicago music community since 2004 while also steadily touring the country with various projects. Primarily a percussionist, Billington is most often found in improvisational ensembles that lean into free jazz, noise, and psychedelic rock stylings. Current projects include Tiger Hatchery, ADT, ONO, Partner, Banal Anml, and countless more throughout the years. Ben also composes solo electronic music under the name Quicksails. Billington has brought together a special group of musicians tonight that will work within the realms of Tony Conrad's sound sphere by utilizing free improvisation, minimalist approaches to melody, and raw emotions.
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