Merce In Three Parts

Mar 09, 2011

(Nam June Paik and Shigeko Kobuta, USA, 1973, DVD, 30 min)
(Benoit Jacquot, France, 1982, Beta- SP, 45 min)

Introduced by  Cornish College Dance Professor Tonya Lockyer

Continuing our celebration of the year of Merce Cunningham, we present three historic films made with the late legendary choreographer.

Merce By Merce By Paik
(Including Part 1: Blue Studio – Five Segments and Part 2: Merce and Marcel
"Television obscures art in life, and life in art. Can we reverse time?" In Merce by Merce by Paik, a two-part tribute to avant-garde choreographer Merce Cunningham and 20th-century master Marcel Duchamp, Paik and his collaborators question art, life and time through video. Paik's electronic manipulations cause time and space to be layered and transformed.

Part I: Blue Studio - Five Segments is a groundbreaking work of videodance by postmodern master Merce Cunningham and his then filmmaker-in-residence, Charles Atlas. In a series of short pieces choreographed and performed specifically for video space, Cunningham is multiplied, overlaid and transported from the studio to a series of unexpected landscapes. Cunningham's gestural dance is manipulated to the accompaniment of a disjunctive audio collage that includes the voices of John Cage and Jasper Johns.

In Part II: Merce and Marcel, Paik and Shigeko Kubota create a densely textured, transcultural collage that pays tribute to the eponymous artists by addressing the relationship of art and life. Paik and Kubota link art to the movements and gestures of the everyday. A rare interview with Duchamp by Russell Connor is re-edited by Paik in a rapid, stutter-step progression. In a witty temporal layering that Paik terms a "dance of time," an interview with Cunningham, also by Connor, is intercut and superimposed with the earlier interview of Duchamp,  "Time reversible—Time irreversible."

Screens with
Merce Cunningham & Company
This remarkable documentary from one of France's most brilliant filmmakers explores Cunningham's methods of choreography, including his employment of chance methods through the use of the I Ching, his collaboration with composer John Cage and his relationship with the dancers. Cunningham candidly reveals his ideas on dance through interviews and footage from rehearsals at the Cunningham dance studio. 



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