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"Our Lives Are Not Negotiable: A Reading Group" blog

Fri at Millennium - Personal Cinema: Matt Peterson

Personal Cinema: Matt Peterson

15 June 2012 - 8PM
Millennium Film Workshop
66 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003

A program of film and video by Matt Peterson, often made in collaboration. Produced along with the collective Red Channels (2009-2011), Dan Meyerson, and others, these works include actualities, assemblages, cinema engage, city portraits, direct cinema, documentaries, essays, screen tests, etc.

This will be a multi-media presentation/live cinema event, with musical accompaniment and narration for select works, followed by an open discussion.

--San Francisco Earthquake and Fire - Made with Red Channels, 1906/2009, Film/Video, 17 minutes [with live music]
--Late Autumn - Made with Dan Meyerson, 2009, DV, 20 minutes [premiere screening]
--As a Crowd Gathers [excerpt] - Made with Red Channels, 2011, Video, 7 minutes [with live narration]
--Scenes from a Revolt Sustained [excerpt] - 2012, HD, 20 minutes
TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 64 minutes | Digital Projection

SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE AND FIRE is a video produced for the Red Channels program "The Banality of Disaster: Mapping Materialism" which took place during the Brecht Forum's 2009 Visual Liberation Film Festival. This program featured the premiere of Dan Meyerson and Matt Peterson's film September (2008), screened alongside Alain Resnais' Night and Fog (1955) and the Army-Navy Screen Magazine's A Tale of Two Cities (1946). While looking for additional footage of cities being destroyed by either environmental or manmade disaster, Matt and Dan came across a number of films that had been uploaded online featuring contemporaneous footage of the self-described earthquake and fire in San Francisco in 1906. Unsatisfied that any of these films could on their own document this moment, they created their own compilation video from the silent black and white actuality footage found on the Library of Congress and Prelinger Archives websites. As it was produced especially for a Red Channels film program, it was the first video production credited to the project. The film was later screened as part of a three-channel installation with September and the Army Pictorial Service's The Atom Strikes! (1945) as part of the "End Times" edition of the Get Ahead Festival, a program we called "Apocalyptic Architecture"; then again as part of "Archive Fever" series at the International House Philadelphia, with live musical accompaniment and narration, and paired with Rick Prelinger's own Lost Landscapes of Detroit (2010) as "A City in Two Movements"; then again silently as part of Red Channels' "Gentle People in Motion" series in San Francisco, on a program at New Nothing Cinema called "History is a Prison", alongside the James Baldwin film Take This Hammer (1964), and a new Red Channels video produced for the screening, Take This Hammer Walking Tour (2011); and finally, again with music, as part of Red Channels' "Our Friendships are Constructed on the Basis of Conflict: Collectively Produced Film & Video", with other early silent films by La Coopérative du Cinéma du Peuple and Prokino. This projection will feature live musical accompaniment by Ras Moshe.

LATE AUTUMN is a film produced with Dan Meyerson, their follow-up to September. Created out of footage shot in the fall of 2007, initially meant for a more traditional man-on-the-street direct cinema documentary, the film continued to experiment with the silence used in San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, and became an attempt at combining documentary film's interview approach with Andy Warhol's screen tests, as a different kind of city portrait/cinema verite project. The film has never been screened publicly or placed online, only a handful of copies having been distributed on DVD to friends.

AS A CROWD GATHERS is a video that came out of Red Channels' series in Chicago which had the same name. For the Cultural Studies Association's "New Directions in Cultural Studies" conference at Columbia College, Red Channels prepared six short multi-media presentations as a sort of live film panel. With the original title "The Mob in Contemporary Political Cinema", we "collectively studied a genealogy of historical and represented crowds, including the ways artists and social theorists, as well as evolving media and technology, have used the crowd as a subject." We titled this "The Transmission of Affect through Crowds in Cinema". These presentations/performances were edited together as a single-channel video essay for Amanda Matles' Whitney Independent Study Program's Studio Exhibition. This video later screened at West Germany in Berlin during another version of our "Collectively Produced Film & Video" series; and again at Eyebeam for Red Channels' "Invisible Crowd" program. This screening will again feature a live reading of the essay over video, as initially presented.

SCENES FROM A REVOLT SUSTAINED is Matt's latest work, as-yet-unfinished, produced with former members of Red Channels Luhuna Carvalho & Nate Lavey, as well as Oriane Jouno. Scenes, a landscape/essay film on the insurrection in Tunisia, is a series of encounters with militants, rebels, fighters, still in the process of finding their voice, articulating their analyses, and organizing interventions towards the creation of a new society in Tunisia and the Arab world. Working through an unknown political culture and history, the film experiments with various beginnings, 2010, 1987, 1956, the present. This segment will be the first time any the footage has been screened publicly. More details here:

Matt Peterson is an archivist, curator, filmmaker, and writer based in New York City. He is a part of the 16 Beaver Group, organizes with Strike Everywhere, and participates in the reading group Our Lives Are Not Negotiable. He was formerly a member of the collective Red Channels, and Assistant Editor of Evergreen Review. His film and video work, including those produced collectively with Red Channels, have screened at arts centers, bookstores, cinemas, community gardens, conferences, convents, cultural centers, galleries, lofts, microcinemas, museums, online, public-access television, social centers, squats, theaters, and universities throughout North America and Europe.


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