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Abstract landscapes made from crumpled up aluminum foil, in gold and silver, tangled up, rotating, inverted, turned upside down, looped, caught in a spin that goes on endlessly, but still always remains at the very same spot. Ken Jacobs has been experimenting with animating stereoscopic images for many years, putting them in conflicting movement so that looking at them mystifies perception: by means of a patented editing technology, a fluid motion is generated from only two still images. The image always seems to be progressing, but somehow never makes any headway. In SEEKING THE MONKEY KING, Jacobs combines this technology with a burning, infuriated text that constantly interrupts the delirious film images, commenting on the political situation in his homeland, and its history and current status as the motor of turbo-capitalism.

„Covering 500 years of American history, this furious beatnik analysis makes a people‘s historian like Howard Zinn seem like a Chamber of Commerce booster, particularly as delivered amid JG Thirlwell‘s industrial-strength rhapsodic noise drone, against the seething apocalypse of melting glaciers and crystallized lava that soon becomes an ongoing Rorschach test. This homemade slingshot has the capacity to resist and pulverize the idiotic visual aggression of a commercial behemoth like Transformers. It‘s a ‘60s vision happening today – beautiful, terrifying, and determined to storm the doors of perception.“
J. Hoberman

„SEEKING THE MONKEY KING is a reversion to my mid-20s and that sense of horror that drove the making of Star Spangled to Death.“
Ken Jacobs

Ken Jacobs, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933 is an artist and filmmaker. He studied painting with Hans Hofmann from1956 to ‘57 and started making films in 1955.  He created and directed The Millennium Film Workshop, N.Y.C. from 1966-68, started the Departement of Cinema at S.U.N.Y. at Binghamton in 1969. He is Distinguished Prof. of Cinema Emeritus. His films and videos have been shown worldwide.

1-channel HD videoprojection
Running time: 40 min
Music: JG Thirlwell
Coloring and assistant digital editing: Jason Drakeford

Funded by:

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