ATLAS: SCREENING AND ARTIST TALK
September 19, 2007
Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10011
Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) proudly presents a screening of the work of acclaimed video artist Charles Atlas, followed by an in-depth artist talk. The recently restored Hail the New Puritan (1985-86, 85 min.), Atlas' groundbreaking collaboration with choreographer Michael Clark, will be screened, along with excerpts from his recent Instant Fame installation series and his live collaborations with Fennesz and Antony and the Johnsons. Atlas will discuss his work and take questions from the audience.
Hail the New Puritan feels as fresh and audacious today as it did more than two decades ago when first released. A mesmerizing blend of dance, music, drama and "mockumentary," it engagingly presents the prodigiously talented Clark as choreographer, dancer, celebrity, lover and nightclubber. It portrays the vitality of London's mid-'80s underground scene in the face of economic turmoil and political division, through the lens of athletic, post-modern dance.
Atlas has collaborated live with many eminent performers. In Turning, his recent partnership with celebrated singer Antony, he captured and processed images of thirteen "beauties" as they literally turned on a podium onstage, projecting their refashioned images onto a large screen. Atlas' video intensified Antony's intimate investigations of image, identity and metamorphosis.
In his collaboration with Austrian electronic music composer and performer Fennesz, Atlas processed visual samples live, while Fennesz played guitar and manipulated appropriated sounds. In dialogue with the composer's moody, atmospheric music, Atlas' poignant collages were a dramatic mix of found film footage and video clips.
Altas also used live mixing in his recent video installation Instant Fame. In a Warholian celebration of exhibitionism, he set up a studio in a gallery and shot footage of anyone who wanted to be videotaped: they could perform or simply sit for the camera. The images were reworked in real time and simultaneously projected in an adjacent exhibition space. When Atlas was not in the gallery, a compilation of the performances was screened. With no script or scenario to work with, and usually no prior relationship to his subjects, he pushed the boundaries of collaboration to its limits.
Atlas began working with Merce Cunningham in the early 1970s, inventively and intuitively bringing the dance master's innovative choreography to the screen. Rather than just documenting Cunningham's pieces, or attempting to produce filmic versions of them, Atlas explored video's technical possibilities in order to pioneer a new genre: interpretative dance video. He has applied his practice to a range of films, videos and performances in his work with such luminaries as Marina Abramovic, Karole Armitage, Leigh Bowery, Diamanda Galas and John Kelly, among many others.
Atlas' films and videotapes have been exhibited at institutions around the world, including Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Participant Inc., New York; Performance Space, Sydney; and Tate Modern, London. He has performed live video collaborations with Michael Clark, Merce Cunningham, Yvonne Rainer, among many others. His television commissions have been broadcast across the globe. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, three Bessie Awards, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts' John Cage Award Grant, as well as grants from the Jerome Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Atlas lives in New York.
Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is one of the world's leading nonprofit resources for video art and interactive media. EAI's core program is the international distribution of a major collection of new and historical media works by artists. EAI's activities include a preservation program, viewing access, educational services, online resources, and public programs such as exhibitions and lectures. The Online Catalogue provides a comprehensive resource on the 175 artists and 3,000 works in the EAI collection, including extensive research materials. www.eai.org
Please visit EAI's new project, The Online Resource Guide for Exhibiting, Collecting & Preserving Media Art, a comprehensive source for information on single-channel video, computer-based art, and media installation: http://resourceguide.eai.org
Electronic Arts Intermix
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10011
(212) 337-0680 tel
(212) 337-0679 fax
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Experimental Television Center. The Experimental Television Center's Presentation Funds Program is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts.