Marc Downie, Ken Jacobs, Flo Jacobs, Paul Kaiser

Ulysses in the Subway
2016

For further information please download the respective Forum Expanded sheet (PDF).

A picturing of sound in 3D. We hear a recording of Ken’s subway ride up to 42nd Street, his wanderings in the Times Square station, his ride downtown on the A train, and his return to street-level on Chambers Street. Finally, his climb to the 5th floor loft where Flo (Penelope) awaits him. Sound-as-image turns fleeting presences (voices, footsteps, a steel-drum performance) into epic visual events. A still image may linger, allowing our gaze to wander through the complex particularities of a moment of ordinary noise. This richness of imagery reflects the fact that for every 1/24th of a second, there are 2000 audio samples recorded. Each frame, then, is built from these 2000 sources; constructed, that is, in 3D from more than 21 different ways of algorithmically analyzing and visualizing sound. So while the sound is always pictured accurately, the way it's pictured can change dramatically. Past intrudes on present as Edison’s 1905 film of this very path through the NY subway appears, also rendered in 3D. Long-gone passengers on the Grand Central platform connect to sounds of passengers today. Near the end, Betty Boop also puts in an appearance.

Marc Downie, born in 1977 in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a digital artist, filmmaker, and programmer based in Chicago whose pioneering approach to digital art frequently combines three signature elements: non-photorealistic 3D rendering, the incorporation of body movement by motion-capture and other means, and the autonomy of artworks directed or assisted by artificial intelligence. He has enjoyed a long-standing artistic collaboration with Paul Kaiser as part of OpenEndedGroup. Since receiving his PhD from the MIT Media Lab in 2005, he has expanded his thesis work into the open source software Field, which the group relies upon to this day in creating works of cinema, dance, installation, music, public art, and virtual reality.
Paul Kaiser
, born in 1956 in Munich, Germany, is a digital artist, filmmaker, and writer based in New York who frequently practices the art of collaboration. Together with his OpenEndedGroup colleague Marc Downie he has created works that span a wide range of forms and disciplines, including 3D film, dance, installation, music, and public art. Outside collaborators in the performing arts have included Robert Wilson, Merce Cunningham, Bill T. Jones, and Trisha Brown.
Flo Jacobs
, born in 1941 in New York, USA, is a New York-based painter. She has been working with Ken Jacobs since leaving art school in the very early 1960s. She is a performer in his films and shadowplays and mother to two artists (see her in MOMMA’S MAN by Azazel Jacobs). Still a painter, she has effectively pulled Ken’s art away from narrative and into essence, that which exists.
Ken Jacobs was born in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He studied painting with Hans Hofmann from 1956 to 1957. He started making films in 1955. In 1966, Jacobs founded the Millennium Film Workshop, of which he was the director until 1968. A year later, he started the Department of Cinema at the State University of New York in Binghamton. He taught there from 1974 until his retirement in 2000. Along with teaching cinema, he has made a number of experimental films and videos, which have been shown worldwide.

Production: OpenEndedGroup, New York

Format
: 3D, Color & Black/White
Running time
: 59 min
Language
: English

Foto: © Marc Downie, Paul Kaiser, Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs