AFW + NFSA #45: (in memorium) Jonas Mekas and Andy Warhol

8pm Thursday, February 28, 2 Kerr St Fitzroy

Jonas Mekas -  Notes on the Circus  (1966)

Jonas Mekas - Notes on the Circus (1966)

Jonas Mekas - Notes on the Circus (Walden) - 1966, 16mm, colour, sound, 12mins

“Ringling Bros., filmed in three sessions (three-ring circus), with no post-editing of opticals, five rolls strung together as they came out of a camera. Jim Kweskin's Jug Band prepared the soundtrack. Film can also be watched with soundtrack turned off (if you're a "purist" which I'm not).”

—Film-makers’ Coop Catalogue

Andy Warhol - Blow Job - 1964, 16mm, black and white, silent, 36mins

Andy Warhol's Blow Job, made at the Factory in New York in 1964, is a masterpiece of the complexities of voyeurism and duration. The 36-minute film shows a young man apparently receiving oral sex, though the viewer only ever sees his head and shoulders - leaving the person performing the act in our imagination. Sometimes the man looks bored, sometimes as if he is thinking, sometimes as if he is aware of the camera, sometimes as if he is not. What might have been pornographic becomes an extended examination of the passing of time and the materiality of film. The silent, black-and-white film is exemplary of Warhol's works produced during the early 1960s.

—Peter Gidal, Afterall

Andy Warhol - Sleep (excerpt) - 1963, 16mm, black and white, silent, 28mins

By September of 1963 Warhol’s own use of repetition had already become well established in series of paintings made with stencils, hand-cut stamps, and silk screens. If he was particularly interested in Cage’s Satie concert, then, it was no doubt on account of his search for a means of translating such repetition into the temporal medium of film. Shortly after the performance [of Eric Satie’s Vexations arranged by John Cage], an inspired (or, perhaps, provoked) Warhol screened the first footage of Sleep for Jonas Mekas, who announced in the Village Voice,  “Andy Warhol . . . is in the process of making the longest and simplest movie ever made: an eight-hour-long movie that shows nothing but a man sleeping.”

—Branden W. Joseph, Grey Room