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Inspired by the story of the Roebling family, A Primer in Sky Socialism is a 3D mediation on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Jacobs returns here again to the subject of his 1964 film The Sky Socialist. Washington Roebling became chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1869. Developing new building techniques, he designed the pneumatic caissons that became the foundations for the two towers, where a construction accident forced him off-site and his wife Emily Warren Roebling continued to manage the bridge‘s complex construction. “Each new year Flo and I join the young and many-languaged crowd walking to the top of Brooklyn Bridge ostensibly for the fireworks. Fact is, the crowd, the bridge, comprise the spectacle. The bridge has been particularly dear to us since the ’60s, when we learned the story of the Roeblings, father, son and daughter-in-law. The bridge embodies their wishes for America, their blessing, nothing less. I filmed (on 8mm) The Sky Socialist back then and this is a follow-up.” (Ken Jacobs) “An imaginary explanation: Assuming they wished to be understood, and that being understood was cool with their dealer, Picasso and Braque only had to say the following to the public: We are no longer attempting to capture the spirits of animals on secret cave-walls. The Church no longer rules, not among this set. The Impressionists and Symbolists and Futurists cannot be improved upon, and their examples can‘t be followed if we‘re to earn a name for ourselves. So we must start again, a radical departure starting from ... illusion of depth. We will make it the main thing and we will make it arbitrary! Picking up on Cézanne, depictions of depth will fly in the face of expectations.” (Ken Jacobs, January 2014)

Ken Jacobs, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933 is an artist and filmmaker. He studied painting with Hans Hofmann from 1956 to 1957 and started making films in 1955.  He created and directed The Millennium Film Workshop, NYC from 1966–68, started the Department of Cinema at SUNY at Binghamton in 1969. He is Distinguished Prof. of Cinema Emeritus. His films and videos have been shown worldwide.

3-D HD, silent, color, 58 minutes

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur