Wavelengths 2: Documenta  [2012]
Handmade 35mm Glass Slides, Phantoms Of A Libertine, A Minimal Difference, Shoot Don't Shoot, Sorry Horns, Orpheus (outtakes), Pipe Dreams, Ufos
DirectorAli Cherri, Mary Helena Clark, William E. Jones, Jean-Paul Kelly, Luther Price
A diverse grouping of resuscitated materials and curios simultaneously partakes in today's pervasive archive fever and points to forever changing contexts and attendant shifts in meaning.
One of the major discoveries of this year's Whitney Biennial, Luther Price's handmade 35mm glass slides are individual miniature collages that incorporate battered or decaying 8mm found footage with assorted detritus (glitter, candy, strands of hair, insects), creating miniature worlds that transcend their thrifty materials with an intense, sombre beauty. A selection of Price's original slides from his ongoing Sorry series (starring Jesus Christ) will be shown alongside a set that radically recycles the artist's fascinating collection of movie trailers.
Evoking the still photographs that mysteriously punctuate his feature Two Years at Sea, Ben Rivers' Phantoms of a Libertine is an enigmatic portrait (channeling Marcel Broodthaers as much as Raymond Depardon) of a lost friend, told through two sets of photographs — professional and private — and the objects that remain.
Shot on Super 8mm using a multi-plane camera setup (much like early Fleisher or Disney animations), Jean-Paul Kelly's A Minimal Difference presents receding-depth images — both metaphorical and factual (political protests in Bangkok, bodies piled after the 2010 Haitian earthquake, destruction in Gaza) — with each tableau separated into planes that mimic the perception of optical distance based on a parallax error.
A master of ironic archival recovery, William E. Jones in Shoot Don't Shoot adapts a law enforcement instructional film that trains officers to decide whether or not to fire their guns at “a black man wearing a pinkish shirt and yellow pants.”
Luther Price's 16mm Sorry-Horns bookends a found footage scene with abstract inkblots, creating an odd sensation in disjunction.
Using footage from Cocteau's Orphée, Mary Helena Clark's outtakes (Orpheus) optically prints an interstitial space where the ghosts of cinema lurk beyond and within the frames.
The all-seeing, omniscient late Syrian president Hafez El Assad is the subject of Ali Cherri’s cunning docu-collage Pipe Dreams, which unearths a historic phone call between the eternal leader and Syrian astronaut Mohammad Fares, at a time when statues of El Assad were being dismantled as a precaution during recent upheavals.
Blasting off into cosmic visual abstraction, pioneering computer artist Lillian Schwartz's recently restored UFOs (shown here in eye-popping 3-D) is a kinetic tour-de-force whose innovative pixel pigmentation predated advances in stereoscopic technology by decades.
2012 Screening Schedule

“WAVELENGTHS 2: DOCUMENTA” (2012 presentation)
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