CAVE, the Festival of Cinematic and Audio Visual Experimentation, began the first of three nights of its third year with films curated by Molly Garrett and Caitlin Horsmon of Plug Projects in Kansas City, Missouri at 7 pm and films from local filmmakers at 9:30.
The opening program, named, "Not Found," featured work from a number of artists appropriating, recreating and commenting on images and sounds discovered and rediscovered in various archives.
Sanaz Sohrabi's "Auxillary Mirrors" starts with representations and recollections of a soccer head bump before it enters a world of mirrors utilized by photographers in the past as well as Sohrabi to twist and turn and deepen the mystery of the moment a single image is taken. Afrikaus Okokon's "Nsibid Loops" erupts into a grid of repeating hand drawn metamorphic symbols that frame found images. In "Nike AFI (from white to red)" Jose Guadalupe Garza recreates the one shot tomato juice and hunting knife massacre of a pure white tennis shoe that Garza found on YouTube and then never found again. Garza's own foot and hand act out visually the strange actions without the thoughts in the head that the original video's creator had.
With "Answer Print," Monica Saviron of Madrid Spain cuts found faded 16mm film in 26 frame lengths, which insures that the sound that you are hearing at any moment went with the image you just saw, creating a thump and click track of splices and sprocket holes and sounds that sometimes match the action and sometimes make you want to recreate in your own head what you just saw a second ago.
The other films in the showcase also used found sounds and images to collage culture, YouTube performance, mirrors and mainstream media to consider identity and who controls representation.
All the films in the program seemed to be responding to the essay in the glossy CAVE program, "Incomplete Notes on the Character of the New Cinema," by Travis Wilkerson, in which he writes, "The new cinema recognizes that any apprehension of the present is predicated upon an understanding of the past. Likewise, a new future can only be imagined after an understanding of the present is attained."
The present was well-represented in the 9:30 Local Program, where the 16mm projector and video projector played a kind of Dueling Banjos back and forth. 16mm played the first notes, Eddie Weinstine's nightime city symphony "At Night Parts I-III," where pearls of city light on black multiplied with superimposition as vertical movement was paired with horizontal stillness only to be flipped and angled by the end.
Video plunked the next strings with Maret Polzine's "Object Permanence," in which abstracted and very real human eyes interact with a nature brain of fossil and technology before returning to roots in wavy water. And also on video, Peixuan's Ouyang's "They'll be gone, just in time" also spoke about objects and brain, examining a well-used library book by Plato and its journey from many hands and brains to bedding for turkeys.
Video took a break and film reignited for Sarah Hubner-Burns' "River Loop 1," a single shot of a staircase to the sky walked up and down by ghosts looking for themselves, or for a reason to go up and down. Then film switched off and video came back for Kelley Meister's "Now I Am Become Death," a hand-drawn animated silent essay on the eternal dangers of nuclear waste that shudders at the horror with every transforming ink line.
Film shot back with Sam Hoolihan's "Class Portraits 2016-2018," silent screen tests with commentary first scratched and painted upon the film and then with double exposed nature that eventually obscures the faces and takes over everything.
All the lights went out for John Marks' Room Tone, an evocative audio-only piece that made me remember all the times I searched everywhere I could think of to find something that I couldn't find.
The film projector had the last word with Trevor Adams' "We Hang Christmas Lights," with a soundtrack by Marks. Adams says goodbye to 2018 with a corn maze (maize?) of a dream brain home movie haunted by multiple exposures, scratching and painting on film, puns and revelations in words and speed ups. A dental operation on a freeway and a Fair with fifty Ferris wheels are some of the Christmas lights that I am still seeing as if this moment were still last year.
Also featured as the video projector lamp warm up acts were my three short pieces titled, "Hats of the New American Cinema."
With hand-scratched end titles and the film on the reel rewinding, the first night of CAVE 3 came to an end.