“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” _Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., from Thoughts of a Free Thinker (commencement address)

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.

Chumlum by Ron Rice
1964, 23 min, 16mm, United States
Pirates and belly dancers and blues and greens and mummy chase scenes and the twangling sounds by Angus MacLise with red eye make-up lovers in cots and Jack Smith in shawls and sparkle sheets and exposure of flesh over superimposition of fabric over beaded Mario Montes and the streets of bohemian New York and Gerard Malanga in dress-up dangle robes with arms becoming legs becoming cross-dressed becoming man as man as woman as both becoming star-crossed, always becoming. –BR

Minong, I Slept  by Vera Brunner-Sung
2010, 5 min, 16mm, United States
If a body of water is an imaginary space, then any island it surrounds becomes its record.  Its shoreline is a map of footprints, its pockmarked woods a museum of minor industry.  Both the visitor and the dreamer know: there will still be fingerprints on the windows, even once the doors have blown in. –BR

Valentin de las Sierras by Bruce Baillie
1967, 10 min, 16mm, United States
“In Valentin I just shot simply but used a telephoto lens with an extension tube on the back, which gives you a very limited focal plane, a few inches. No one I know ever uses it with a long lens, especially with a moving subject, but I really liked the way it looked. I had to get into the flesh of that town, with the merciless sun beating into the bricks of the street and all the death-every night there’d be something or somebody killed, lying in the street in the morning. I had met up with this (archetypal) young girl, riding her pony. And I was afraid to meet her father. I’d sent word out trying to see her, and he sent word back to come meet him, and I thought, “Oh, God!”. But he turned out to be a very nice fellow: Manuel Sasa Zamora, of Jalisco. They were very poor and lived behind a big gate and had a horse and a dog named Penquina. That horse didn’t like me and would not let me film. I had to give it up for a while. Later, I named my horse after the film – Valentina.” –Bill Baillie

My Tears Are Dry by Laida Lertxundi
2009, 4 min, 16mm, Spain/United States
The sun is California-hot, the sky the sort of blue that you’ve only ever seen as recollection through half-lidded eyes.  Palm trees and a naked hand, a song that has long been echoing in your chest.  There is a body-memory that goes by the name of cinema, and this is what it feels like. –BR

Untitled (Pastoral) by LICHENS
25 min, live performance
LICHENS is Robert AA Lowe.  Utilizing a microphone, a loop pedal and sometimes little else, Lowe’s performances are both trance-inducing and transformative.  The resulting music exists as a real-time reflection of internalized experience; a near-mystic illumination of symbiosis, serendipity and synchronicity.  Through collaboration Lowe has worked with White/Light, Michael Zerang, Joshua Micah Abrams, Alan Licht, Hisham Bharoocha (Black Dice / Soft Circle), Rose Lazar, Bird Show (Ben Vida), Doug Aitken, and Om.  He is the main performer in Ben Rivers and Ben Russell’s upcoming feature film A Spell To Ward Off the Darkness.

Please RSVP for this event to events_ps1@moma.org