phantom limbs

journal by Sam Zimmerman concerning new media arts in New York City, curated events at Monkeytown (the video dinner theater in Williamsburg) and his personal projects

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Monkey Town at Scope New York 2009

Big thanks to Lilah and Alexis at Scope for inviting me to show 6 hours (!) of video on Saturday, March 7 from noon to 6pm.

It was a bit much to take on by myself, so Genesis P-Orridge kindly shared from her collection for the first program.

Program 1
Regeneration Hex- You Are Your Own Screen
Curated by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
Rare films exploring the CUT-UP revelational process, including works by William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Anthony Balch, BREYER P-ORRIDGE, Scott Treleaven, Hermann Nitsch, Marie Losier, Sam Zimmerman and Derek Jarman. The screening will include a supplemental program of cut-up pieces by Nate Boyce, John Michael Bolig, Davy Force, Yoshi Sodeoka and Antoine Catala.

Program 2
You Can Rebuild You
Curated by Sam Zimmerman.
Assorted investigations into the future of the body: remodeled, reimagined, realized. Artists include Adam Zaretsky, Micah Moses, Geoffrey Pugen, Julia Reodica, Caz McIntee, William R. Skullmaster, Boryana Dragoeva, Marie Losier, Marianna Ellenberg and C-TRL. Includes biofeedback analysis by the Metasynergistics Evaluative Media Experience.

Thanks to the artists for sharing their work and to everyone who came by to visit!

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Monkey Town does Mago

Following up on our 2006 project, Bacchanale, Monkey Town has assembled a team of 50 audio artists to re-imagine the sound for Mago (2002).

Mago, from Korean director Kang Hyeon-Il and writer Jang Kyung-Ki is one of the largest-ever Korean film productions, though few souls outside of that country have experienced its unique charms. Described alternately as "dazzling and daring, mind-blowing and surreal, beautiful and horrifying" or "pretentious, vulgar, unbelievable, mind numbing, and appallingly hypocritical," the film is most notable for the acreage of epidermis employed in telling its tale. Although the Korean government is very conservative about nudity and sexuality depicted in mainstream movies, Mago escaped the ban by relentlessly and with grim precision neutralizing sex with anti-sex for the duration of the film - a monumental and alchemical artistic feat with dubious and discomfiting results.

Purportedly depicting the zen story of creation, beginning with paradise and progressing into man's destruction, Mago is a mashup of nostalgic pre-Christian Korean creation mythology and critical vignettes from this misguided modern world we call home. The visceral implication: our hospitals, cyber cafes, discos and subways are a very poor substitute for a world where 825 care-and-clothing-free elemental goddesses spend their days frolicking or in benign appreciation of the air and nakedness.

Is it art caught in the culture gap or heartless exploitation fare? As with all misfit masterworks, opinions run the gamut:

"although I don't know much about Zen or the YinYang symbol, I found the film to be unique and a very moving experience. It's like nothing I've ever seen in American cinema! 10/10"

"It's quite beautiful and surprisingly wholesome, proving that the unclothed human body is a work of art and nothing to be ashamed of."

"yet more proof that Korean cinema is a force to be reckoned with."


"Mago's incoherence is only outstripped by its pretentiousness. It’s like the Cremaster cycle with a dub track by Greenpeace."

"ends up feeling like being locked in a room with a snotty teenage zealot who beats you with a stick"

"One of the biggest "HUH?" movies ever made."

For this exclusive remixed presentation, Monkey Town distributed short silent clips from the film to 50 audio artists. The artists composed a new soundtrack for their clip, and the film was reassembled as a 65 minute feature. Additional edits by Sam Zimmerman. Inserts by Shu Lea Cheang.

Screenings at Monkey Town in December 2007 were feature recommendations in Time Out, Village Voice, and Flavorpill.

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