THIS year's WNDX Festival of Moving Image, which is devoted to innovative cinema and art performance, stacks its programming deck in its eighth year with the participation of one of Canadian cinema's most celebrated experimenters.
Michael Snow, 83, is best known in the realms of film academia for his 45-minute Wavelength, a 1967 work that influential critic Manny Farber memorably described as underground cinema's Birth of a Nation.
Irene Bindi, a Winnipeg artist and experimental filmmaker who curated a whole program of Snow's works for WNDX, was as surprised as anyone that Snow accepted an invitation to come to Winnipeg.
"You think of him as this untouchable giant in visual art and film, but we just called him up and he said, 'Sure,'" she says.
Snow himself apparently doesn't harbour any preciousness towards his own works. He playfully contracted the running time of Wavelength by dividing his best known work into three pieces, superimposing them over each other. It is titled WVLNT (Wavelength for People Who Don't Have the Time), and it will screen continuously at Plug In ICA beginning Saturday, Sept. 28, at 9 p.m. and remain shown all through the night. (Admission is free.)
"Wavelength was the perfect film to recreate because that's the one everyone has seen," says Bindi (and by "everyone," she is probably referring to anyone who has taken a university film class.)
She says WVLNT is an example of a droll side to Snow's work.
"There is this humorous element to it that there is in a lot of his work," she says. "It doesn't get talked about, but there is this poking fun at the idea of not having the time to experience an art work, so let's layer it over top of itself three times."
-- The Snow show starts with a double bill on Friday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. including <--> (Back and Forth), a 1969 work that, in contrast to Wavelength's relentless forward zoom, is a frenzied side-to-side pan. It is paired with To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror, Snow's 1991 homage to the French chemist who first explained fire.
-- On Saturday, Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. is a triple bill of short films including SSHTOORTY (2005) a "short story" divided in halves with one half superimposed over the other. Triage (2004) is a dual-projection collaboration between Snow and artist Carl Brown in which two 30-minute works are randomly projected over each other without any creative collusion between the two artists. Prelude (2000) depicts a dramatic scene in which the sound is not synched to the visual actions, with compelling results.
Snow himself appears at Plug In ICA Saturday Sept. 28 at 1:30 p.m. for a conversation with renowned American artist Dan Graham. Admission is free.
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The WNDX Festival opens tonight with Fire Works at 7 p.m. at Cinematheque, a showcase of short films and videos including city artist Rhayne Vermette's Tudor Village: a one shot deal. Also opening at 8:30 p.m. is the art installation Christina Battle: The Twelve Devil's Graveyards Around the World in the Black Lodge studio on the third floor of Artspace.
For complete WNDX listings, go to www.wndx.org.