Once again, two bewildering/enlightening afternoons of filmic pleasure await you at TUSK courtesy of the programming of Hasan Gaylani and Joe Murray. Films take place in the Northern Rock Foundation Hall from 2pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The Filmballad Of Mamadada
Lily Benson & Cassandra Guan
The Filmballad of MAMADADA tells the story of Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, unsung member of the New York Dada movement. A poet, artist, model, and public provocateur, the Baroness defied the social and artistic codes of her time. As with many of her female contemporaries, the Baroness’s cultural legacy has been obscured, and in some instances appropriated into the oeuvres of better known male peers. Accounts of her personal life are scarce and often conjectural.
According to recent scholarship, the Baroness was born Else Hildegard Plötz in 1874. At age 18, she ran away from her middle-class Prussian home and survived as a vaudeville performer in Berlin. After a series of bohemian lovers and three failed marriages, she found herself penniless in New York City, a widow with the impressive title of Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven. The Baroness was notorious for wearing outlandish costumes and cross-dressing in public, and her overtly sexual poetry caused such scandal that she was blacklisted from the most avant-garde publications. She pioneered an assemblage aesthetic, making sculptures and clothing from everyday objects. Many believe she gave Marcel Duchamp the porcelain urinal that later became Fountain. An important figurehead for the fledgling Dada movement in America, the Baroness was a close friend of avant-garde luminaries such as Djuna Barnes, Berenice Abbot, William Carlos Williams, and Ezra Pound.
The Baroness died under mysterious circumstances in 1927. In 2012, Lily Benson and Cassandra Guan recruited a group of over fifty artists and filmmakers to produce a collective biopic about her life. Participants were invited to interpret specific biographical fragments and create filmic adaptations on their own terms. The results varied wildly in style and content: from a re-contextualized Jane Fonda interview, to an animation depicting the effects of syphilis, to a reconstruction of a lost 16mm film by Duchamp and Man Ray. Benson and Guan then assembled the vignettes into a feature-length film. Unfolding like an exquisite corpse, the final narrative reveals a gloriously conflicted historical portrait. A myriad of contemporary feminist voices confront the viewer with more questions than answers.
The Invisible Hands
Marina Gioti, Georges Salameh
Maverick underground American/ Lebanese musician and ethnomusicologist Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls, Sublime Frequencies), lands as a stranger in Cairo, soon after the 2011 uprisings and teams up with three young Egyptian musicians for the translation of his old songs into Arabic. Under Bishop’s mentorship, this unlikely collaboration transforms into a band, The Invisible Hands. Structured around fly-on-the-wall scenes, archival ghost apparitions, absurd cameos and poetic diary narrations by Bishop, and unfolding between the two critical elections, that marked the post ‘Arab Spring’ period in Egypt, the film juxtaposes the tragicomedy of politics and art-making in the so-called periphery.
Ludo is Fantastic
Ludo Mich is the living, breathing link between 60’s let-it-all-hang-out freakdom and our more modern outsider/no-audience scene. A drinking, smoking, manically laughing creative force of nature Ludo is filmed in action and at ease, with collaborators, family and friends as he paints, sings and reminisces about an extraordinary and ongoing life’s work.
For those unfamiliar with Ludo Mich this is an essential springboard into the ‘M Dimension’ an artistic wildness; a bareback and naked ride through fluxus, dada and plain oddness that surrounds the man. For those of us with years invested in the Mich-experience his honesty and openness make the work even more inspiring, deeply complex and hilarious.
A sensitive and respectful film, director Willie Stewart lets Ludo’s everyday actions speak for themselves as the man turns everything he touches into pure innocent art. What can I say…Ludo is fantastic!
(warning: contains loads of 1960’s style nudity!)
Quies is an experimental documentary made by filmmaker Ezra Eeman. We follow the Belgian sound-artist Peter Lenaerts on his quest to record silence in Australia’s arid and empty centre. Lenaerts has been obsessed with silence for years. Not as absence of sound, but as space; space in which sound happens. As he attempts to capture these quiet spaces, each take reinforces the absurdity of his quest. Open your ears to the gritty and granular, the corporeal insect buzz and stiff-legged bristle Lenaerts uncovers.
What is your identity if you are not your name?
Harry Wheeler & Mandi Solk
Filmmaker Harry Wheeler has been part of the TUSK family from the start, filming and archiving our live performances.
His film, featuring Mandi Solk (author and non-duality poet), ‘What is your identity if you are not your name?’ is a quest to unravel the mystery of consciousness and investigates the profound realisation: there is only one awareness.
In the 1970’s Mandi was involved in a motorbike crash that saw both the bike and the other car written off. She had the first of her after-death experiences in which she left her body, could see through buildings and people, coming to the realisation that nothing is ‘real’ in the sense that we perceive things day-to-day.
Mandi narrates a channelled truth in the form of a poem as Harry weaves images of imagination, chaos and eventually calm, clear stillness with his unblinking lens.
Astral soundtrack by Dean McPhee
The official artist of brain-pan fry! Karen Constance has been a vital presence at almost all our TUSK festivals, offering her retina-scouring images for posters and flyers. This year we are humbled by a triple-whammy of Constance action: the TUSK 2019 skull/butterfly motif, her trio Ceylon Mange playing in Hall 2 and this here specially crafted animation!
Expect a perfectly balanced match of creepy demonic soul and bobby sox sweetness. These hand-coloured images wobble and writhe, a complex collage come to life! The overlaying and undercutting images create a sinister narrative while frantically jogging and jostling to the whacked-out Blood Stereo sounds.
What starts out as innocent as them ladybird books gets all ‘satanic rites’ in a heartbeat. Heads roll, snip out and reappear; blind eyes roll back, blank out and blister from the radiation of an invisible sun. The art of collage reveals the hidden wiring of the universe; sense nodules spasm against the memory gongs letting a deep rolling hum rattle inside your noggin.
Someone buy that woman a damn cocktail!
Hot Slime Movie // Rat Movie
5 minutes collectively
A soiled envelope flopped onto the door mat emblazoned with the words ‘MOIST DANGER’ scrawled in lavender felt tip. It can only be another missive from the mysterious Dai Coelacanth! Not one, but two short sharp visual blasts, judder, fizzle and hop like God’s hand is on the fast forward button. Meaning is run through the mangle for sure but this is no directionless exclamation into the cosmos. If seated correctly with mind aligned with bristling ears and damp eyes another dimension opens up. Are you free enough to see?
Dai Coelacanth is an old-time radio man. A producer of graveyard radio for radio graveyards. His fingers carry the musty recognisable aromas of soap opera, melodrama and horseplay. On any given day he can be found staring deep into the bucket, reciting his lines and questioning the alphabet.
Extreme cut-up and repetition coupled with grasping lo-fi Dictaphone sound. Wonky angles can unshackle you buster – moist danger innit?
Hellmouth, Cats Paw, Landlord // Words are Angular Sharp, Tennant
5 mins collectively
We are delighted to show two short films from polymath artist, sound poet and film-maker Rebecca Lennon. These micro-studies of language, meaning and repetition are powerfully hypnotic; a true expressway to yr skull.
Rebecca expertly captures ‘the sinister’, hiding as rancid donut jam does in the playful and benign. Like a clairvoyant tangerine it’s unpeeled to reveal segments of prediction and unease. Political comment drips like hot ice-cream, sticky, covering everything in a grimy patina. But this is no helpless weepie! A clever sprinkle of percussion, a deft hand with the echo button gives the narration a swing many a jazz cat should blush for.
And hope is what we are left with – us lucky Pandoras.
Daniel Carter Plays Piano
Tim K Smith
What happens when two avant-garde musicians of different generations come together to ruminate about the nature of improvisation? This damn film happens yeah! Born in 1945 Daniel Carter is one of most respected multi-instrumentalist in jazz & improvised music. He’s played with them all: Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor and Yoko Ono. Daniel is joined by thrusting young buck (and TUSK legend) Fritz Welch: scat-drummer, goof-vocalist, sculptor and renowned raconteur to chew the fat, gnaw on the gristle and spit out the chunks.
Using groovy split-screen and clever edits Daniel and Fritz lay out the law (verbally) and then blow the bloody doors off (sonically) in sizzling live-in-the-studio footage. Daniel attacks the piano like a drummer; Fritz clacks the traps like an octopus.
When Daniel invites you to ‘catch the wave’ you gotta ask yourself…are you suited up?
Directed by that guy that made the freakin’ WFMU doc.