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Time lines

Faux Mouvements, Pip Chodorov

The British Library, London
16 November 2007 | 7pm

no.w.here present an evening of avant-garde films, sonic art and live performance that conceptualizes the railway as a transcendental timeline, capable of moving us though undiscovered territories. Featuring a new sound installation by Chris Watson, a programme of contemporary and historical avant-garde film, and a unique new improvised performance by percussionist Paul Hession and filmmaker Guy Sherwin.


The Ghost Train
surround sound installation by Chris Watson
Take the ghost train across Mexico, coast to coast, Pacific to Atlantic, Los Mochis to Veracruz. Ride the rhythm of the rails on an acoustic journey that has now passed into history. Travel through the heart of Mexico on board the most exciting, beautiful and dynamic feat of engineering that this country has ever seen. The Ghost Train celebrates the sounds of a project that fuelled a revolution. — Chris Watson

A member of the experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire, Watson is now know for his acclaimed work as a sound recordist with a particular passion for capturing wildlife, habitats and atmospheres. His work is released on Touch.

Faux Mouvements (Wrong Moves)
Pip Chodorov, 2006, France, 12mins, sound
Images from a train – forward and backward motions occur together and opposing directions are combined to create a spiraling hinterland of colour, motion and volume.

The Georgetown Loop
Ken Jacobs, 1997, USA, 11mins, silent
I've called it the first landscape film deserving of an X-rating, and that it is, yet its secret subtitle is – I must whisper – (Celestial Railway). — Ken Jacobs

Robert Breer, 1973, USA, 8mins, sound
Breer collapses footage shot from a window seat of a train passing through an area overlooking Mount Fuji – creating a lyrical and abstract combination of everyday objects and geometries.

München-Berlin Wanderung (walking from Munich to Berlin)
Oskar Fischinger, 1927, Germany, 5mins, silent
For an airplane, this is a laughable stretch, only about two and a half hours from Munich to Berlin. But it took me three and a half weeks, wandering as I did through hop-fields, over mountains, across the Danube, through forests and little villages, and again over mountains…— Oskar Fischinger

Night Train
Guy Sherwin, 1979, UK, 2mins, sound
Time and light trace a nocturnal train journey – the image is inscribed across the filmstrip through a series of extended exposures.

Interior NY Subway, 14th St. to 42nd St.
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company (directed by G.W. ‘Billy’ Bitzer), 1905, USA, 6mins, silent
Filmed only seven months after the opening of New York’s subway, this film travels from 14th Street to Grand Central at 42nd Street. As the train advances the tunnel’s strobing structure begins to reference time itself, marking our progress from cinematic past to cinematic present and recalling the mechanics of film itself.

Études Aux Chemins De Fer (Railroad Study)
Pierre Schaeffer, 1948 France, 3mins, please note this work is sound only
Based on recordings that Schaeffer made at the Gare des Batignolles in Paris with the aid of six engine drivers improvising according to his instructions. Études Aux Chemins De Fer signaled the birth of musique concrète, an avant-garde approach to music that relies on natural environmental sounds and noise to create abstract compositions.

Jeux des Reflets et de la Vitesse (Plays of Reflections and Speed)
Henri Chomette, 1923–5, France, 6mins, silent
From the first wave of the avant-garde, accelerated and blinking visions of Paris, traveling along the metro – underground and overground – then down the Seine, intersecting the bridges we have just traversed.

Terminus For You
Nicolas Rey, 1996, France, 10mins, sound
Shot in the halls of the Paris Metro, solemn commuters are captured in stark black and white as they glide along conveyor belts – gigantic advertisements speak of ideals – and the whole image breaks down.

The Train Rolls
live improvised film/music performance by Guy Sherwin and Paul Hession
Filmmaker Guy Sherwin and percussionist Paul Hession collaborate on a unique improvised performance, made especially for the occasion. Through the live manipulation of multiple 16mm projectors, Sherwin choreographs filmic time with sublime deftness. He will re-shape and combine material from his extensive train films series, a theme that has pre-occupied his work for over thirty years. Hession who is renowned for his total improvisations and torrential polyrythmical style will reciprocate with a spontaneous musical accompaniment.


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