Blogs Walker Seen Andrea Brown

After years of being a Walker superfan (highlights include every Out There performance I've been to, meeting John Waters and Jessica Chastain—not at the same time, and wrangling my high school feminist club to see the Hannah Höch exhibit in 1996), I joined the Walker's Marketing department in 2010.

Cinefile: From the Coasts to The Clock

Linda Blackaby,  Sheryl Mousley, and Marian Marone at Christian Marclay: The Clock
Marian Masone, Sheryl Mousley, and Linda Blackaby at Christian Marclay: The Clock

Linda Blackaby, Sheryl Mousley, and Marian Masone at Christian Marclay: The Clock

In advance of the final 24-hour screening of The Clock (August 23–24: Saturday, 11 am–Sunday, 5 pm), I caught up with two special visitors from the last 24-hour screening. I’m on my own quest to see all 24 hours, so I wanted to get some thoughts and tips from two professional film-watchers who ended up fitting in 13 hours in just a couple of days!

Marian Masone and Linda Blackaby are used to watching films—Masone is Senior Programming Advisor at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, while Blackaby is Director of Cinema Projects and consults on film festival programming around the country. But watching The Clock was a new and unique experience, one that brought them from the coasts to meet in the middle at the Walker Art Center.

Both enjoyed the excuse to come to Minneapolis, and to the Walker specifically to see their friend and colleague, Walker Senior Film/Video Curator  Sheryl Mousley. While they didn’t have the chance to sightsee (“Sorry, the rest of town,” said Masone, “we were there to see The Clock and that’s what we did.”), Masone said that crossing the Mississippi River at least twice a day was a highlight of her trip.

Altogether, the pair watched 13 hours of The Clock over the course of the weekend. (Blackaby noted that a cup of coffee at 2 am would have got them a few more hours.) Though it showed in their hometowns (at the Lincoln Center Festival and MoMA in New York and at SFMOMA), “it’s difficult to incorporate something like this into your daily busy life, so it made sense to do it as an excursion,” said Blackaby, noting that they travel to see films at festivals professionally, “so it fit into that model.”

I wanted to learn how these cinephiles, who have had experiences with “durational” pieces like SATANTANGO and The Coast of Utopia, watched The Clock. For both Blackaby and Masone, it was less about the specific clips selected and more about how the editing created rhythms and moods, and showed a wide span of cinematic styles over time.

One thing I’ve noticed about The Clock is its consistent state of narrative tension—Marclay uses sound and editing to build things up, but there is no chance for true resolution. Masone said that “it’s actually kind of a gas to get all excited, or scared, or… something, and then: poof! We’re at the top of the hour and things start to shift.”

Masone’s “big question” for Marclay would be if he considered any part of the 24 hours to be the beginning—or the end. “If there is none of those, then of course there is no climax! Very cool.”

For Blackaby, “the whole experience was really a lot of fun—I wish The Clock were running here now so I could pop in and revisit it.”

Jérôme Bel Roundtable Lunch

Today over the lunch hour, Walker staff from all departments, along with artist-in-residence Fritz Haeg, Lucky Dragons, and J. Morgan Puett (who performed at the Walker last night) had a conversation with Jérôme Bel. Bel is in town for Disabled Theater, a collaboration with Theater HORA. This wide-ranging conversation, full of humor, stories, and “mistakes were made” confessions from Bel, […]

Today over the lunch hour, Walker staff from all departments, along with artist-in-residence Fritz HaegLucky Dragons, and J. Morgan Puett (who performed at the Walker last night) had a conversation with Jérôme Bel. Bel is in town for Disabled Theater, a collaboration with Theater HORA.

Performing Arts Curator Philip Bither, Jérôme Bel, Director of Education and Curator of Public Practice Sarah Schultz, and Executive Director Olga Viso

Performing Arts Curator Philip Bither, Jérôme Bel, Director of Education and Curator of Public Practice Sarah Schultz, and Executive Director Olga Viso

This wide-ranging conversation, full of humor, stories, and “mistakes were made” confessions from Bel, explored some of these questions—questions that are often top-of-mind at an interdisciplinary institution like the Walker:

  • Why use theater as a platform, when there are so many other forms of expression? What is so attractive about the “black box,” the lights going down, and people taking their seats?
  • How do visual arts folks experience theater differently than those grounded in the world of performance?
  • How can you collect dance, when it is so closely connected to the body of the dancer? And what happens when collectors want to own it, and monetize it?
  • Is bringing the performing arts into the museum gallery context just a trend?

Towards the end of the conversation, Viso remarked that, instead of trying to translate his existing work into the “white cube” of the museum,  perhaps the real question is “What can Bel produce within the context of the white cube?” After seeing his works in the theater and spending time him this afternoon, I’m fascinated to know how he might answer that question.

Filmmaker on Site: Joshua Oppenheimer with The Act of Killing

Last week, Copenhagen-based filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer wrapped up his tour of the United States with screenings of The Act of Killing at the Walker. In addition showing the theatrical release (now playing at the Lagoon Cinema), he screened the full director’s cut, and held a Master Class on Saturday in the Walker Cinema. The Act […]

Oppenheimer discussing The Act of Killing during the Master Class.

Oppenheimer discussing The Act of Killing during the Master Class

Last week, Copenhagen-based filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer wrapped up his tour of the United States with screenings of The Act of Killing at the Walker. In addition showing the theatrical release (now playing at the Lagoon Cinema), he screened the full director’s cut, and held a Master Class on Saturday in the Walker Cinema.

The Act of Killing has been winning awards on the festival circuit and getting rave reviews from the New York Times, New York Magazine, and from filmmakers Werner Herzog and Errol Morris — who, immediately after viewing an early version of the film, signed on to be executive producers.

Attendees of the Master Class heard Oppenheimer talk about his next film — coming next year — which is drawn from Oppenheimer’s experiences making The Act of Killing. Footage from the new film — about a family who confronts those involved with their son’s death in 1965–66 massacres in Indonesia — will be drawn from the same 1,200 hours that made up The Act of Killing, as it is unsafe for Oppenheimer to travel back to Indonesia.

Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, introduced by Sheryl Mousley (Senior Curator, Film/Video)

Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, introduced by Sheryl Mousley (Senior Curator, Film/Video)

Film/Video Senior Curator Sheryl Mousley saw The Act of Killing when it debuted at the Telluride Film Festival almost a year ago and immediately knew she wanted to bring it, and Oppenheimer, to the Walker. (Executive director Olga Viso also saw the Telluride screening, dubbing The Act of Killing one of the top cultural moments of 2012.)

One of Oppenheimer’s biggest highlights from his visit? Witnessing the joyful celebrations of marriage equality as the first same-sex couples got married in Minneapolis on August 1.

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