October 16 2016 – Lewis Klahr’s SIXTY SIX in Beijing

This October at the 5th China Independent Animation Film Forum (CIAFF), Crows & Sparrows co-presents the American filmmaker Lewis Klahr’s collage feature SIXTY SIX (2002-2015) as the closing night film of this year’s Forum. 

While many have viewed Lewis Klahr’s work within the realm of animation, Klahr resists being called an animator, and instead refers to himself as a collage filmmaker. Originally working on 16mm and Super 8 before transitioning to digital video, Klahr applies experimental, narrative, and autobiographical film techniques to a trove of found materials and personal archives. Old pop music is often a central element within the cut-and-paste worlds of Klahr’s creation, and the songs imbue his films with the emotional highs and lows of heartache, longing, and the uneasy delirium of lost time.  Programmed by Genevieve Carmel, Crows & Sparrows.

This October screening in Beijing takes place after Crows & Sparrows and CIAFF co-presented a program of Lewis Klahr’s short films with the filmmaker in person on August 20. On August 21, Crows & Sparrows presented the mainland Chinese premiere of SIXTY SIX at OCAT Shanghai with Klahr in person.

SIXTY SIX is Klahr’s newest work within the ongoing series “Prolix Satori”, which also encompasses many of his short films.

Program Details: 

The Silver Age 1

SIXTY SIX, Lewis Klahr, USA, 2002-2015, 90 min, digital video, sound, color
5th China Independent Animation Film Forum, Closing Night Film
Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 7:30pm
Venue: Frontier Center, Beijing
Program Length: 90 minutes
CIAFF Event Details

“A pulp serial that shimmers with potent emotions and fragmented memories, SIXTY SIX is made up of digital films Klahr began working on in 2002 and fittingly opens with an epigraph from Paul Eluard and André Breton: “Let the dreams you have forgotten equal the value of what you do not know.” – Kristen M. Jones, Film Comment

“Organized in 12 discrete chapters, SIXTY SIX is a milestone achievement, the culmination of Klahr’s decades-long work in collage filmmaking. With its complex superimpositions of imagery and music, and its range of tones and textures at once alluringly erotic and forebodingly sinister, the film is a hypnotic dream of 1960 and 1970s Pop. Elliptical tales of sunshine noir and classic Greek mythology are inhabited by comic book super heroes and characters from Portuguese foto romans who wander through midcentury modernist Los Angeles architectural photographs and landscapes from period magazines. SIXTY SIX is the latest, and perhaps most magisterial, entry in Klahr’s open-ended digital series Prolix Satori, in which the artist mines his vast 30-year archive of collage materials. As the historian Tom Gunning observes, ‘Klahr’s films generate a blend of melancholy and desire from this interplay of grasping and losing, remembering and forgetting.’” – MoMA

Helen of T

“Working from his personal archive of found print and sound materials, Lewis Klahr has developed a significant body of analogue and digital stop-motion collage films over the last forty years. Structured into twelve chapters, SIXTY SIX brings together a number of short works produced since 2002 into a filmic anthology that foregrounds the many visual and aural motifs, obsessions and thematic threads that run through his oeuvre.

The title itself refers to one such motif – the number sixty-six – which is always somehow present in the film, whether through imagery and dialogue drawn from the American energy company Phillips 66 and the television series Route 66, or through references to the year 1966. This provides a general temporal context for much of the pop art, architecture and advertising material from which the film is composed.

Ranging from three minutes to over twenty minutes in length, the film’s twelve chapters comprise an elliptical narrative that takes on the melancholic, nostalgic and poetic characteristics of its composite short films. With titles such as Erigone’s Daughter, Lethe, Helen of T, Saturn’s Diary, Mercury and Ichor, these works invite as well as complicate attempts to read the work through the lens of Greek mythology.

With central characters and backdrops culled from a wide array of genres including comic books, ‘sunshine noir’ literature, Portuguese photo novels and architectural magazines, SIXTY SIX offers a highly textured, dream-like vision of the iconography of post-war America.” – Tate Modern

erigone's daughter 1