Last Thursday and Friday, EMPAC hosted the avant-garde film artist, Ken Jacobs. Jacobs’ work involves films and studies of movement, which are showcased. On Thursday, he presented his film, Blankets for Indians, a stereoscopic film that starts about a water fountain, but is soon enveloped by the event surrounding it, Occupy Wall Street.
Time Squared, held on Friday, was quite different. Rather than a film, it was a performance, that made use of projected light, slides, and an oscillating disc to make a quasi-film. The disc had a slit inside, allowing the magnified slide being projected by the light to flash on screen in quick intervals, creating an illusion of implied movement. As well, Jacobs and his assistant rotated the slides, made of random items such as melted plastic, to shift movement in an extreme way on screen.
In the background, Jacobs’ soundtrack involved himself returning home on the subway from Times Square. It was interesting to hear the rumble of trains, street performers, and rabble from passersby being played concurrently with magnified plastic. As the movement and bustle from the sounds were projecting themselves on the performance, the illusion of movement from the slide seemed more real.
I do have one major complaint however, which would be the incredible eye sore. The run time of the performance was over an hour, with flashing images; it certainly strains the eyes. I know a fair amount of people besides myself reported having an issue with the images. While I would recommend others to check out Jacobs’ other works, be careful if you are epileptic or are prone to eye strain.