“Our business here is to be Utopian, to make vivid and credible, if we can, first this facet and then that, of an imaginary whole and happy world.” –H.G. Wells, A Modern Utopia

A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS, a screening series curated by Ben Rivers and Ben Russell, conceived around themes explored in their collaborative film, A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (2013). The screening series is organized for EXPO 1: New York by Aily Nash in conjunction with the EXPO Cinema and the EXPO  Colony.

The External World by David O’Reilly
2010,17 min, video, Ireland
The social fabric that separates analog-us from digital-them is tearing at the seams, and once it’s ripped entirely (if it hasn’t already), this is how our everyday will live-stream.  Magic Mario Mushroom vending machines, shitty poo jokes, glorious Rent-A-Cop explosions – all the dark comedy and violent turmoil of pixel-city living datamoshing us towards one single beautiful moment.  Sitting together in a darkened theater – come to think of it, it’s not so different than what we’re doing right now…–BR

Lord of the Flies by Vladimir Tulkin
1991, 45 min, 16mm to video, Russia
Beelzebub, or Savaofa, or the inventor of the ‘fly throne’, a trough filled with rotting carcases that will attract millions of flies, which in turn lay their eggs, which then get drowned and boiled and turned into food for his chickens. Beelzebub reigns supreme over his happy commune of animals. Wide-angled weirdness pursues with some camera trickery, while our hero waxes lyrical about biosocial utopian subjects and teaches Michael Gorbachev how to run his all-Union farmstead. –BR

Prince Hotel by Karl Kels
1987–2003, 8 min, 16mm, Germany
If you could only be so lucky, one of those drunk old men across that New York City street is your future self; all man-titty-grabbing and cheap-beer-swilling, arguing and sleeping it off, mugging and forgetting to mug for the funny German guy with the wind-up 16mm camera, the one who has been hanging around for days.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this is how and where we all end up. –BR

Christmas on Earth by Barbara Rubin
1963, 29 min, 16mm double-projection, United States
An admission: I’m in love with love, especially the sort of love that involves 18-year old filmmakers, transistor radios, colored gels, two 16mm projectors, and the kind of 1960s progressive pan-sexuality that reveals fucking (in all of its incarnations) to be the most wonderful gift that your body can give to itself, to other bodies, and the Earth itself.  –BR

Please RSVP for this event to events_ps1@moma.org