Screening followed by q&a led by the artist.
MICHAEL ROBINSON is one of the key film and video artists to have emerged in the last decade. His work explores the joys and dangers of mediated experience, engaging with popular forms as well as the more rarefied history of his chosen medium, riding the fine lines between humor and terror, nostalgia and contempt. Robinson has screened in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, The International Film Festival Rotterdam, The New York Film Festival, The Sundance Film Festival, and the San Francisco, Melbourne, Leeds, Vienna, Singapore and Hong Kong International Film Festivals. Michael was listed as one of the top ten avant-garde filmmakers of the 2000’s by Film Comment magazine, one of the “Best 50 Filmmakers Under 50” by Cinema Scope magazine in 2012, and his work has been discussed in publications such as Artforum, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, The Nation, BOMBlog, and The Brooklyn Rail. He has curated programs for San Francisco Cinematheque, Whitechapel Gallery, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, and The State Contemporary Art Center in Moscow. Michael holds a BFA from Ithaca College, an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema at Binghamton University.
“Robinson’s films describe a pop-cultural terrain, found-footage puzzles culled from the media archive of his own childhood. Instead of ironic detachment, however, Robinson taps directly into the powers of pop. He allows the jumbled fragments of Top 40 hits and after-school specials to crash spectacularly, and in doing so exposes their overwhelming force, still potent even when severed from their sources. Robinson gives in to the seductions of media, the hallucinatory spell of melodramatic or horrific excess, the rush of science fiction’s utopian promises, and even the austere aesthetics of 16mm experimental film, and emerges on the other side, though not entirely unscathed. The viewer, too, is sometimes left with a momentary retinal burn.” (Genevieve Yue, Cinema Scope, “50 Filmmakers Under 50”)
SCREENING WILL INCLUDE:
And We All Shine On (7:00 / 16mm color film with optical sound / 2006)
An ill wind is transmitting through the lonely night, spreading deception and myth along its murky path, singing the dangers of the mediated spirit.
These Hammers Don’t Hurt Us (13:00 / digital video / 2010 )
Tired of underworld and overworld alike, Isis escorts her favorite son on their final curtain call down the Nile, leaving a neon wake of shattered tombs and sparkling sarcophagi.
The General Returns From One Place to Another (10:45 / 16mm color film transferred to digital video / 2006)
Shaping a concurrently indulgent and skeptical experience of the beautiful, the film draws an uneasy balance between the romantic and the horrid. A Frank O’Hara monologue (from a play of the same title) attempts to undercut the sincerity of the landscape, but there are stronger forces surfacing.
Hold Me Now (5:00 / digital video / 2008)
Plagued by blindness, sloth, and devotion, a troubled scene from “Little House On The Prairie” offers itself up to karaoke exorcism.
Light Is Waiting (11:20 / digital video / 2007)
A very special episode of television’s “Full House” devours itself from the inside out, excavating a hypnotic nightmare of a culture lost at sea. Tropes of video art and family entertainment face off in a luminous orgy neither can survive.
If There Be Thorns (13:20 / 16mm color film transferred to digital video / 2009)
A dark wave of exile, incest, and magic burns across the tropics, forging a knotted trail into the black hole. Three star-crossed siblings wander in search of one another as a storm of purple prose and easy listening slowly engulfs them.
Line Describing Your Mom (5:50 / digital video / 2011)
This is the new choreography of devotion, via the vlog of southern nightmares. This is the light that never goes out. This is the line describing your mom.
Victory Over the Sun (12:30 / 16mm color film with optical sound / 2007)
Dormant sites of past World’s Fairs breed an erruptive struggle between spirit and matter, ego and industry, futurism and failure. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory; nothing lasts forever even cold November rain.
On Screen @ Blaffer is organized by film and video scholar Michael Sicinski, who also teaches courses on experimental film and video, video art, and contemporary global cinema at the UH School of Art.
On Screen @ Blaffer is supported through the Innovation Grants program of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, which is funded in part by the Houston Endowment, Inc. Support for Michael Robinson’s visit is sponsored by Experimental Response Cinema and the Visual Arts Center (VAC) in Austin, Texas.
Experimental Response Cinema is a collective of avant-garde film and video artists, devoted to bringing local, national, and international experimental cinema to Austin screens.
The Visual Arts Center (VAC) is a place where art exhibition and education intersect, drawing together a uniquely diverse community of students, faculty, guest artists, and creative voices from around the world. Situated in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin, it provides pivotal exhibition and research space through five distinct galleries, and serves as a creative hub in the university’s dynamic arts community.