Magic

George Kuchar’s Acid Redux is a raucous journey into the murky domains of mysticism and liminality. Featuring zombie seductresses, erotic interspecies adventures and an animatronic chimpanzee, Acid Redux creates a strange and uncanny world where the familiar falls apart. Meaning and identity become increasingly unstable as the boundaries are blurred between genders, species and even life and dead itself.

— Kyle Riley

"...Roy has set in and spread across the fabric of their lives."

— Mike Kuchar

Angels We, 2015

"No man can stay in bed forever...He must rise up; up the steep steps of perfection."

—Mike Kuchar

Ascensor, 2019

Ascensor is an exploration of grief, longing and mysticism through a queer lens. It documents a syncretic ritual that culls from the magical reverberations in Mexican culture to process the unexpected loss of a dear friend. The repetition of the ritual eventually leads to the transcendence of physical space, transforming unrelenting ache into shining resilience.

Zach Blas is an artist, writer, and filmmaker whose practice spans technical investigation, research, conceptualism, performance, and science fiction. Currently a Lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, Blas has exhibited internationally, including at the Walker Art Center, Gwangju Biennale, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Whitechapel Gallery.

"...will somebody lend him their sins, because his old worn out ones have become tiresome."

—Mike Kuchar

A kiss can be devine or demonic.

A kiss can change your life...alter it.

-Mike Kuchar

In a broken near future, a band of listless vagabonds ambles across a war-torn coastal territory, supervised and sorted by a group of idle soldiers. Rummaging, stuttering, and smashing through the leftovers of Western culture, these ragged souls conjure an unstable magic, fueled by their own apathy and the poisonous histories imbedded in their unearthed junk. Suspicion, boredom, garbage, and glamour conspire in the languid pageantry of ruin. Feel the breeze in your hair, and the world crumbling through your fingers.

Stephen Varble (1946-1984) staged gender-confounding costume performances on the streets of 1970s Manhattan, and he became infamous for his anti-commercial disruptions of galleries, banks, and boutiques. In 1978, he retreated from this public work to focus on the making of an epic, unfinished piece of video art, Journey to the Sun, until his death in the first days of 1984. Lush, ribald, and unorthodox, the video mixed non-narrative costume performances with a surrealist fable of a messianic martyr, the Warbler.

An homage to the death of the soap opera, The Evil Eyes is a 1960's era story of a grandmother faced with her mortality, a mother in mid-life crisis, and a son realizing his sexuality - a dysfunctional family whose unspoken angst manifests in the latest episode of their beloved supernatural soap opera, Before Dawn.

In this 2014 interview, South African artist Kendell Geers (b. 1968) discusses the function of magic, myth, and memory in his work. Beginning at childhood, Geers charts the path he has taken in his understanding of his own biography as a site of resistance. This interest in the use of personal biography culminated in 1993 with his decision to change his date of birth to May 1968 as a way to reference both the May 1968 student protests, and the fact that 1993 was the first year that South Africa had participated in the Venice Biennale since 1968.

Set between Swaziland and South Africa, in a region still struggling with the divisions produced by an apartheid government, Greetings to the Ancestors documents the dream lives of the territory’s inhabitants as the borders of consciousness dissolve and expand. Equal parts documentary, ethnography and dream cinema, herein is a world whose borders are constantly dematerializing.

Stephen Varble began Journey to the Sun as a series of performances with projected slides in 1978. After becoming notorious for unauthorized costume performances on Soho streets in the mid 1970s, Varble receded from his public persona at this time. Deriving from his identification with his idol, the reclusive actress Greta Garbo, and informed by the spiritual practice of Subud, Varble began writing an allegorical epic about a musician, the Grey Crowned Warbler, who undergoes tribulation and metamorphosis on a journey to transcendence.

The performance artist Stephen Varble spent the last five years of his life working on an epic, unfinished performance-turned-video titled Journey to the Sun (1978-1983). Only partially complete and under constant revision, this complex work combined Varble’s history of making costumes for performances with his fantastic stories involving metamorphosis and martyrdom. In 1982, Varble decided to make a “prelude” to Journey to the Sun, combining existing footage with new video taken in Riverside Park in New York City.

He was born from the Maker's rib, - asked into existence...made Human for another step in the 'Dance.'

Obsessive, 2009

A boy endures sleepless nights of desire and obsession in this haunting visualization of erotic possession.

“A documentary about the Arkestra, but it's one whose presentation reflects the multilevel approach Sun Ra had to music and life in general. Jump cuts and split screens dot the visual stream with home movie footage from the Arkestra in Egypt during the 1970s to the Arkestra of today led by Marshall Allen. Director Ephraim Asili wisely divides the 40 minutes into distinct chapters, illustrating each with band interviews, live footage, visuals of planets and NASA launches, and his voice quoting writings from Ra.

A girl with two male companions in a room is a space where the mind's eye wanders!

Pulling Up Roots is the emotional journey of a woman who is navigating the tenuous strain between the past and the future.

Filmed in an abandoned housing project in Western Ireland, she uproots exotic plants and flowers, as one might collect stories and memories one can’t understand. Condit’s operatic songs and childlike rhymes give a sense of naiveté and strength that comes from her solitude. From a playful skip around the yard, to a moment where profound sadness gives way to unexpected laughter, she explores an entire lifetime of emotions in mere minutes.

 

“Animists are people who recognise that the world is full of persons, some of whom are human, and that life is always lived in relationship with others.”

-- Graham Harvey, Animism

Trance dance and water implosion, a kino-line drawn between secular freak-outs and religious phenomena. Filmed in a single take at a sacred site on the Upper Suriname River, the minor secrets of a Saramaccan animist's everyday are revealed as time itself is undone. Rites are the new Trypps -- embodiment is our eternal everything.

"In Some Dark Place, filmmaker Cecelia Condit explores the dislocations of identity and memory that aging forces upon us, without losing sight of life's beauty."

— Milwaukee Film Festival, 2016

"I have always explored the eerie, dark side of human nature."

— Cecelia Condit

... There is a garden in the dark hunger of his psyche where forbidden fruit grows.

— Mike Kuchar

Trypps #7 (Badlands) charts, through an intimate long-take, a young woman's LSD trip in the Badlands National Park, before descending into a psychedelic, formal abstraction of the expansive desert landscape. Concerned with notions of the romantic sublime, phenomenological experience, and secular spiritualism, the work continues Russell's unique investigation into the possibilities of cinema as a site for transcendence.”

-- Michael Green, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago