In Wavelengths shorts program 2, Something in the Atmosphere, we have strange encounters with both the past and present through a series of jarring, evocative and visually arresting films.
Toronto artist Jean-Paul Kelly channels Truman Capote’s desire in his short film The Innocents. The focus is a shot-by-shot re-enactment of a scene from With Love from Truman, a 1966 documentary wherein Truman Capote discusses his creation of the non-fiction novel with legendary documentarians the Maysles brothers. He introduces jarring photographs of death and destruction, as well as pornographic gay images and photos of figures such as Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch. Themes of gay desire, privacy invasion, and the exploitation of emotion for art are brought out, but in other portions, it was unclear what Kelly was trying to demonstrate.
Calum Walter’s Relief presents scenes from a car accident in grainy black-and-white, often eerie and obscured. He achieves this technique by printing and re-photographing stills he shot on digital video. The effect is to produce a scene that is confusing and jarring, a perfect effect for a car accident. Our memory is toyed with- what did we see? Are we certain? It’s an interesting technique and well suited to its subject.
As the name might suggest, Red Capriccio by Blake Williams in a free-form piece drowned in vibrant red. The three-part found footage short begins with a Chevy Caprice police car with vibrant lights, proceeds to footage of a Montreal highway and ends with a rave in a basement. Each scene takes the dramatic turns of the Stravinsky composition The Rite of Spring, and the colours are as rich and assaulting to the eye as the music was to shocked Parisians upon its debut in 1913. While the images are arresting, little cohesion seems to exist between the scenes- but perhaps that is exactly the point.
Lastly is Under the Atmosphere by Mike Stoltz, who uses his childhood stomping grounds Cape Canaveral as his subject. He blends images of a rocket graveyard with the modern office buildings that take up the space now, with the camera always looking up, up into the sky. His nostalgia for his dilapidated home is evident, as is the humour about its undesirability as a place to live, but the epileptic camera work was a bit much and didn’t add anything to the work to my mind.
Three other shorts round out this program: The Pimp and his Trophies by Antoinette Zwirchmayr, Catalogue by Dana Berman Duff and Beep by Kim Kyung-man. (Cameron Bryant)
Saturday, September 6th, 7:45pm, Jackman Hall AGO