All Smiles and Sadness
Saturday 16 June 2012, 7:00pm
118 -120 Trafalgar Street
Sheffield S1 4JT
Identifying uncertainty, and more to the point, the value of uncertainty, might be an impossible task. Value, how we understand things as holding value or gaining value, is often only grasped in terms of some measurable quantity; a currency, a weight, a function. Uncertainty, on the other hand, is typified by a sort of ambiguous – or at least confused – status, either or, maybe this or maybe that, a push and pull in either direction. If an attempt were made to understand how to value something like uncertainty then it would likely be through the effort of positioning oneself between or beyond these oppositional states. Perhaps the value of declaring such a nebulous position is that it gives us a little distance on how we reach a state of certainty in the first place, why we care and how we act.
From Philip Hoffman’s diary format, Anne McGuire’s continuity lapses reminiscent of television, to Duncan Campbell’s collation of still images and voice, these works attempt in some way to at least confront or embrace their own uncertainty. – Gil Leung
A discussion with Gil Leung will follow the screening.
“Philip Hoffman’s ?O,ZOO! (The Making of a Fiction Film) uses a diary format to skirt along the edge of someone else’s filmed narrative (Peter Greenaway’s A Zed & Two Noughts), and to trace the anatomy of pure image-making. ‘Pure’ is both the right and the wrong word: Hoffman is a man addicted to the hermetic thisness of filmed images, and plagued by the suspicion that these images, far from being pure, are really scabs torn away from the sores of the world.” – Robert Everett-Green
Joe DiMaggio 1, 2, 3 is a video in three parts about a chance encounter. The artist stalks and serenades Joe DiMaggio in her car as he strolls the docks unaware that she is videotaping his every step. Sitting in her parked car in San Francisco’s Marina, McGuire’s camera was running when elderly baseball legend Joe DiMaggio unexpectedly walked into the shot. In the tape, she follows him, continuing to shoot while beginning to make up songs about her feelings for him as she drives. The audio has been processed to the point where it’s impossible to identify its source. McGuire abandons singing altogether and begins to plead, her electronically processed voice sounding desperate and predatory.
“The Telling shows McGuire telling two acquaintances a secret about her past using a three-camera set-up in the Desi Arnez style. That intimacy is commodified is not the strangest thing about this work. The fractured editing, silences and lapses in continuity imply vast narratives far more evocative than anything revealed on screen. McGuire uses television vernacular to open up ambiguity and discomfort, two things which televisions strives to elude at all costs.” – Nelson Henricks
All Smiles And Sadness is like a very short TV show. Nothing is resolved and it leaves the viewer wishing it would go on forever. “McGuire constructs a murky black and white soap-opera world of endless, timeless, and placeless limbo, where the characters talk to each other entirely in cliches, bad poetry, and culminates in an absolutely stunning monologue performance by legendary underground film and videomaker George Kuchar.” – Video Data Bank
“Duncan Campbell’s film Falls Burns Malone Fiddles draws out the processes whereby people do nothing and something happens. It is a sort of aestheticisation of everyday existence visible in the hairstyles, the fashions and aspirations of the moment. This style of documentary film with an off screen voice-over combined with still images and bootlegged sources brings to mind the work of John T Davis and Chris Marker. Duncan’s work is built up from Belfast community photographic archives and partakes in and comments on the DIY aesthetic that comes with these sources.” – Mike Kelly