WHAT IS NAKED EYE CINEMA?
In 1985 artist filmmakers Leslie Lowe and Jack Waters realized the only way people were going to see their films, and the films they liked, was to self-exhibit (and to show the films too!). Using ABC No Rio as home base they showed super-8, 16mm and video in galleries, theaters, lofts, nightclubs, empty lots, street corners — wherever you could fit a projector and find a plug. This open, mixed bag aesthetic was a rare outlet for young cineastes like Todd Haynes, Bradley Eros, Aline Mare, Kembra Pfahler, Carl George, Richard Kern, Peter Cramer, Nick Zedd and Cassandra Stark to screen their work alongside classics like Eisenstein’s Mexican Study Film, the Kuchar Brother’s The Craven Sluck, Maya Deren’s Meshes In The Afternoon, Monterey Pop, and Grey Gardens. Naked Eye Cinema was the ONLY venue of its era consistently showing film and video by women, queers and other miscreants. A center of the newest and most experimental works in contemporary music, performance and visual art, the spirit of Naked Eye Cinema lives!
- Successful preservation The Lost 40 Days by Carl George and Corrective Measures: Politically Speaking by Peter Cramer. With subsequent premiere screenings at Anthology Film Archives. Preservations funds provided by the National Film Preservation Foundation.
- Discussion of Naked Eye Cinema with Dirty Looks on the occasion of Not Over: 25 Years of Visual AIDS.
- Special exhibition of Naked Eye artist, Gordon Stokes Kurtti at Participant Inc.
- Show case of Naked Eye work at the New Museum. You can view the Q&A here.
Significant Others at Participant Inc, June 20, 2013: (l to r) Jack Waters, Esther Kaplan, Rayya Elias and Cynthia Carr
THE PROCESS OF ARCHIVAL ASSESSENT
Gartenberg Media Enterprises has advised and consulted on the construction of a data base that lists all the films shown under the Naked Eye Cinema Banner. The list was culled from printed matter and other documentation from Allied/Naked Eye Cinema’s archived records including publications, programs, fliers, and working files .
The database will be the basis for determining a Naked Eye Cinema imprimatur by virtue of recurrence and frequency of screening, premiere status, screening and production variants, availability of program notes, and critical references; the curatorial perspectives from time to time, and other details as they are made available.
The implementation process involved meetings with Jack Waters, the organizational co-director and a central film maker and co- curator/director of the Naked Eye Cinema. The meetings outlined the esthetics for defining the perimeters of the body of work and surrounding activities whose very nature is critical of restrictive formulations that traditionally define artistic movements. It was determined that tracking and listing the surrounding details of presentation for all work presented under the logo and title “Naked Eye Cinema” should be the primary basis to determine what should be properly construed in the definition of the body of work under scrutiny. The database in its capacity to reorder and reconstruct variably will be made available to curators, archivists, programmers and other professionals in the field, and as an illustration in public forums and conferences as a means to demonstrate how this, and similarly hitherto difficult to define practices can be formulated as a stable, yet fluid art historical construct.