Tony Conrad in Brussels!

tony conrad

Tony Conrad (One of the pioneers of structural filmmaking, video art, and minimalist music) is coming to Brussels, and what’s more, he’s playing, for the first time in Europe, a re-worked version of his Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain (1972). This “minimalist spectacle” features a projected film loop of black and white images, alongside a stellar group of string players. Earlier versions of this performance featured musicians like Jim O’Rourke (in The Kitchen, NY), but also Mick “Mike” Flower (of Vibracathedral Orchestra), Angharad Davies and Ryoko Kuwajima (at Leeds City Art Gallery, UK on Monday 3rd April 2006 – see this video for an example):

While this performance will take place at Bozar on Saturday, the day after he’s doing a performance/screening/lecture at Argos. We don’t really know what to expect (he will probably present and talk about a range of films and videos), but this video might give you a lead, it’s part of a lecture he did a few years in Brussels.

Tony’s home page
interview with Tony Conrad

tony conrad

Some more info on the performance (this was in a mail he sent us):

Forty-five Years on the Infinite Plain (1972-2007)
A work that relates to time but exists independent of points in time refers to the obverse side of time, beyond the possibility of measuring it with markings: duration. Yet unmeasured duration, in principle, is a kingdom entirely at the command of the recipient and his or her subjectivity.
Diedrich Diedrichsen, Time and Dream: Tony Conrad’s “Yellow Movies”

Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain (1972), like some other works of the psychedelic era, commingles starkly formal abstraction with introspective romanticism. Its insistent conflation of quasi-religious spectacle with materialist minimalism follows a path marked out by Rothko, Cage, Andre, and many others. Today these elements have lost their radicalism; even the political conviction of that time, that such work could make contact, through its spiritual insistence, “with the political real behind the culture of commodity and spectacle” (as Diedrichsen puts it), seems problematic and thin.

In revising “Ten” to “Forty-five”, I am addressing a broader chronological perspective, relocating to a different social allegory, and accessing the plural tools that encompass a more contemporary “minimalism.” The “subject”—that is, the viewer—is still at the center of the work; but now the polyvalence of subjectivity is recognized in a figural usage of heterophony and antiphony. A solo cello challenges the lead instrument, and the audience area is divided in half. Musical figures invoke divisiveness, over the unitary ground of the drone. There are two distinct rhythms to follow, further dividing the subject’s attention.

These elements of what would have been seen in 1972 as “confusion” instead, in today’s heterotopia, reflect and invite access to a subjectivity that is more “true to life,” more centered on the plain where we stand.

As indicated below, this piece will require five local performers and a local projectionist, in addition to Tony Conrad and MV Carbon (she’s, amongst other things, a member of Metalux! Huurah!). The performance itself will last about 95 minutes.

Music ensemble 1:

Long string instrument
Violin (Tony Conrad)
Viola or cello drone
Bass (acoustic bass or bass guitar)

Music ensemble 2:

Cello with reel-to-reel tape recorder and electronics (MV Carbon)
Violin drone
Violin or Viola drone
Bass (acoustic bass or bass guitar)

Projectionist (four projectors with loops)

The Participants will be Julia Eckhardt, Stefaan Quix, Timo van Luyck, Stefaan Smagghe, Jürgen De Blonde, Dominica Eyckmans and Els van Riel. Huurah!

Video Vortex: Andrew Lowenthal programme

Andrew Lowenthal is a media and technology activist based in Melbourne, Australia. He is the co-founder of EngageMedia, a video sharing site focussed on social and environmental issues in Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific. EngageMedia also produce Plumi, a free software video sharing platform. In 2006 EngageMedia coordinated Transmission with Rome’s Candida TV, a global meeting of social justice online video distribution projects.

In his other work Andrew collaborates with the Tactical Technology Collective producing a series of free and open source multimedia toolkits. His video work has screened at the National Gallery of Indonesia and the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow among others.

Watch his programme here

The Argos event space

The last couple of days we worked to get the Argos ground floor ready for the upcoming events. This is what it looks like.
The space is rather limited, so please register for the two international conferences (‘Video Vortex’ on the 5th and ‘Media memory and The Archive’ on the 6th) via

We’ll be publishing video registrations of all events online, via this blog. So please come and visit us regularly.

Video Vortex: Keith Sanborn programme

Keith Sanborn is a media artist, theorist and translator based in New York. His work has been the subject of numerous one person shows and has been included in major survey exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial, and festivals such as OVNI (Barcelona), The Rotterdam International Film Festival, Hong Kong Videotage, and Ostranenie (Dessau). His theoretical work has appeared in a range of publications from journals such as Artforum and books, such as Kunst nach Ground Zero to exhibition catalogues published by MOMA (New York), Exit Art, and the San Francisco Cinematheque. He has translated into English the work of Guy Debord, René Viénet, Gil Wolman, Georges Bataille and Napoleon among others. He has also acted as an independent curator, working with such institutions as the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Exit Art, Artists Space, the Pacific Film Archive, CinemaTexas and others. He teaches at Princeton University, where he is a Lecturer in the Program in Visual Arts.

“Since it has existed, the net has displayed a dialectic of potlatch and recuperation, followed by detournement. Intelligence and generosity are exploited for fantastic profits, but the exploited can be hijacked as well. My work intersects the current phase of exploitation of user-supplied content on, etc., where 15 nano-seconds of fame are exchanged for consigning the aura of individual subjectivity to the ads framing it; in becoming part of a network of interchangeable, equivalent elements, selfhood is sold as commodity. In a necessary irony, my work functions by translating the offerings of Youtube to other contexts, repurposing them as commentary upon that context. Since this violates the principle of “host” ownership, they may not be, nor do I necessarily wish them to return directly to the scene of the crime. In place of one-way broadcast communication, the “new” spectacle offers inter-passivity, pseudo-agency. Creating resistance requires bringing forward the background. “Pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain,” indeed; pay attention to the curtain.”

1. Miss South Carolina on Ms. Teen USA answers a question:

2. Her text as a song:

3. Call2prayer or Why they hate us (i.e. the US)4. Sex Machine

5. Japanese game show Lenin’s body

6. In my Language:

7. Thriller by Prison Inmates:

8. Sarcasm

9. Kate Moss Dancing

this video has been deleted on most videosharing sites, but you can still watch it here

10. Mia’s Christmas

11. Christmas Variant: Equal time for boys