Bjorn Melhus: Out of the Blue
Sunday, February 28, 7:30 pm
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Bjorn Melhus: Out of the Blue
Bjorn Melhus has developed a singular position, expanding the possibilities for the critical reception of cinema and television. His practice of fragmentation, destruction, and reconstitution of well-known figures, topics, and strategies of the mass media opens up not only a network of new interpretations and critical commentaries, but also defines the relationship of mass media and viewer anew.
He visited Filmforum in the late 1990s, while doing time at Cal Arts, and were delighted to show some work form that period and of more recent vintage
Born in 1966 and since 2003 Professor of Virtual Realities at the Kassel School for the Fine Arts, Bjrn Melhus has become Germanys foremost experimental filmmaker and is internationally renowned.Most of his work is in English and addresses the global pervasiveness of American television and Hollywood cinema. Melhus grew up as one of the first generations in Germany watching television as a child, which at the time meant dubbed versions of popular American TV series, such as Lassie, Flipper, Fury, and Bonanza, as well as reruns of classic Westerns and The Wizard of Oz. It is here important to stress that for Melhus Hollywood films are always mediated via other reproductive technologies of sound and image (such as television, VCR, and vocal recordings), which is why, although the Hollywood imaginary plays an immense role in his work, he is a phenomenon of a post-cinematic age. Alice A. Kuzniar, in After the Avant-Garde: Contemporary German and Austrian Experimental Film, edited by Randall Halle and Reinhild Steingrver (Camden House, 2008)
Previews available at his website: www.melhus.de
BLUE MOON (1997, Video, 4:00 loop)
Smurf meets Elvis
OUT OF THE BLUE (1997, Video, 6:24)
Autobiography from within a paper bag
THE ORAL THING (2001, Video, 8:00 loop)
The best video, and perhaps the best in the show, is The Oral Thing, where Melhus plays a cast of weird characters in a disturbing spiritual self-help parody using game and talk show sound bytes. The "host" offers redemption, while the "guests" confess terrible secrets in front of an "audience" of hooded clones. Melhus channels everything from Heavens Gate to The Running Man in this unsettling 8 minute Loop. The narrative is punctuated by pseudo commercial breaks where the shows logo is redrawn on the screen and the set glides into view, all done in low grade computer graphics that dont feel dated so much as completely alien. While the sound effects and voices sound familiar, they arent recognizable, which gives the strangeness of the videos authenticity. -- William Powhida, The Brooklyn Rail, http://www.brooklynrail.org/2003/12/artseen/bjorn-melhus
AUTO CENTER DRIVE (2003, 16 mm film on video & installation, 28:00)
Filmed in Southern California, Melhus reincarnates/performs various roles Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, James Dean, and more playing with Americas obsession with pop culture, with the landscapes of our region, and more.
THE MEADOW (2007, video, 28:38)
THE MEADOW is a moved personality profile of stagnancy in the form of an endless rite through the night. In the course of the journey Jimmy continually leaves for excursions into the woods, but after diverse confrontations, returns quickly to the questionable shelter of the car. Bjrn Melhus
Bjrn Melhus (born 1966) studied at the Brauschweig School of Arts in Germany and 1997/1998 with a DAAD grant at CalArts filmschool. In 2001/2002 he participated in the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP in New York). Since 2002 he lives and works in Berlin. His works have been shown and awarded at numerous international film festivals and he has held screenings at Tate Modern and the LUX in London, the Museum of Modern Art (MediaScope) New York, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris - amongst others. His work has been exhibited in shows like The American Effect at the Whitney Museum New York, the 8th International Istanbul Biennial, solo and group shows at FACT Liverpool, Serpentine Gallery London, Sprengel Museum Hanover, Museum Ludwig Cologne, ZKM Karlsruhe, Denver Art Museum - to name just a few. More info: www.melhus.de
Admission for Filmforum screenings: $10 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members
Advance ticket purchase available through Brown Paper Tickets at
Links also found on the Los Angeles Filmforum website, www.lafilmforum.org
For the screenings at the Egyptian Theater:
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Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation. 2010 is our 34th year.
Memberships available, $60 single or $95 dual
Contact us at email@example.com. www.lafilmforum.org
This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque.
Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
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