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Last night (March 6) I attended PSYCH-OUT 2K3 at Anthology Film Archives, which was part of the New York Underground Film Festival. Here's the blurb from the organizers, followed by my notes:
BEIGE and Seth Price Collective present:
Cartoons & consumer electronics in the 70s and 80s were bigger and trashier than ever and they had freaked kids out to the point of a whole generation got A.D.D. so now they are older and freak every person else out using this same old throw-away trash shit culture mind warp reversal....MESSY. You're either with us or against us.... Never fess.
PSYCH-OUT 2K3 = one night only live performance freak out featuring live music/video by the Extreme Animalz / PAPER RAD crew, NAUTICAL ALMANAC, and LOVID
In between bands there are videos by Leif GOLDBERG and Matt BRINKMAN, Forcefield (from the archives), Devin FLYNN, MUMBLEBOY, Ray Sweeten, Andy PULS, Seth PRICE/Michael SMITH WEB INFANTILISM, Billy Grant and Joe Grillo, US Military Games and anon. Commodore n64 video HACKERZ. MTV circa 1990,
That's LoVid in my underexposed photo at the top of the post, with Kyle Lapidus standing on the right wearing a video monitor cap and Tali Hinkis, also capped, disappearing into the murk on the left. They video-projected sizzling static patterns made in real time with a sound interface that disturbs the raster scan in the guts of the TV; these minimal-but-eye-assaulting patterns towered behind them on a fifteen foot screen. Nautical Almanac and Extreme Animalz also played live, with prerecorded video accompaniment. Extreme Animalz (logo above right) is an offshoot of PAPER RAD, out of Providence RI: to get a flavor of their visual presentation, check out the dense psychedelic jungle of blinking gifs on this home page (while you're there, be sure to look at the cartoons). Nautical Almanac's video was more performance based, with the two masked artists doing eccentric body art type things (e.g., trying to climb into a cabinet wearing a leg brace) inside a ruined building at night. Think Paul McCarthy meets the Blair Witch Project. Their music, which I described here, is intense, bleeding-edge noize that synched well with the frenetic video.
In between acts a variety of short vids rolled: a lot of high-speed, insanely pigmented hallucinations, as promised, heavy on recycled/mutated kid imagery: Ronald McDonald on acid, My Little Pony in slo-mo, and some butt-awful karaoke footage. Other highlights included video art legend Michael Smith in full-on diaper mode destroying a birthday cake and blowing on a noisemaker till he got bored, an Army training film defaced with an 8-bit "PSYCH-OUT 2K3" logo (right on), and Devin Flynn's manic vision of everything in the world competing with everything else. One video really stood out, enough that I want to describe it in a separate post: a ten minute work called Assassins Ride, by Forcefield, another Providence collective which has apparently broken up recently in the (disgusted?) wake of the Whitney/Artforum/NYTimes' drive to turn them into stars. In this eerie piece, three masked figures in overcoats stand around a trash barrel fire, unmoving, while an industrial/tech score pulses. The fire flares erratically, and every so often the screen fills with glowing green light, as if some weird energy is breaking through From Beyond. The mood is hypnotic and unsettling. More later, but above is a frame I snapped off my TV at home, after I picked up a copy of the tape.
[More (or rather, better) images from this event, taken by Aya Kanai, are here.]