CAVE (the Festival of Cinematic Audio Visual Experimentation) is now officially annual, and once again taking us to a place of light and sound on some of the coldest winter days. You enter CAVE 2 at the Bryant Lake Bowl past all the crashing of bowling balls on pins around the corner of the kitchen and that strange box office inserted in a cubby that could have once held a phone booth and grab the luscious printed program in black and blue with a brown paper insert of Andy Sturdevant words about other equally cold nights when people gathered to watch movies together in town and found warmth and inspiration, wonder and community.
The 7 pm Friday show featured local work, mostly videos that featured images and sounds of nature, of water and waves and physically improbable human shadows in Julie Kouneski's Shapeshifter, of the interplay of water and rock with fingers and insects as landscape in Jonathan Kaiser's Canyons, with water and ice holding and releasing in Jason Cole's Same Bare Place and Kate Casanova's Slow Black Glow. Trevor Adams' Rumors of Train Barn broke the nature line with his images of night and people-rich places filled with ghosts etched and painted over and behind the lights and shadows of somewhere somewhat familiar but also maybe not. There were also a couple short videos by me.
For the 9 pm slot, both the cinema and the audience expanded, with people sitting on the walls and standing by the door and John Marks starting things out with his great wall of 16mm projectors to show Spirit Leveling, a four movement sonata for trees, water, water lilies, sun and sound. The sound was created on the spot with his analogue synthesizer, which he operated while turning projectors on and off. At one point the side by side sun was two eyes reflected in water looking back at us. The piece ended with one joyous sun reflection circling and sketching delirious commas on gently lapping water.
HIJACK (Kirsten Van Loon and Arwen Wilder) performed Volleyball, Basketball, Hanky, a dance that doubled down on Janis Ian's "At Seventeen," channeling teenage awkwardness into movement of body with repeated shadows on the screen and a dance-partner TV set with a clip of the volleyball/basketball they didn't get called to play. Kleenix turned into the pom poms of beauty queens but also reminded me of the snow and cold outside, and the cold inside that sometimes comes from seeing yourself through the eyes of others rather than just thinking about how great you really are.
The last piece, Kinski Wanted Herzog to Direct but He Turned It Down by Guillaume Vallee and Hazy Montague Mystique of Montreal, combined a film clip of Klaus Kinski that was transferred to videotape, distressed, and then transferred back to film and expanded and repeated with live video feedback to give us a multiplying brightly hued approximation of Kinski's grinning theatrical madness, or impatience and recalcitrance in general. Film scratches and dust conspired with the teeth of TV static to take us further and further down into a place of extreme color and lunar brain echoes. Mystique's synthesized sounds reprocessed voices and other kinds of unidentifiable blips and beeps and hums that kept on rising and up falling to match the feedback of the images. It was both cave painting primal and futuristic techno, eye opening and closed-eye rattling.
And then it was time to get out of there quickly to catch our bus. There are still two more days of CAVE! CAVE is presented by Cellular Cinema, which is a monthly series of screenings at the Bryant Lake Bowl.