Obsolete Media Miami, our city's repository for 35mm slides, archival motion picture materials, and other legacy media, has brought some of the coolest experimental art events to our city over the last few years: a side-by-side presentation of Dracula and Drácula, a 16mm film presentation brought to the massive stage at the Olympia; a screening of The Clock played backward and forward at the same
This weekend, another great artist will join that legacy for OMM's latest multimedia event, "Project: Alchemy." The filmmaker in question is Craig Baldwin, who creates original works by repurposing existing footage that has been dumped and fallen into the public domain.
Baldwin is both a filmmaker and curator whose interests lie in archival retrieval and recombinatory forms of cinema, performance, and installation. His films include avant-garde shorts like Wild Gunman and RocketKitKongoKit; short-form "pseudo-pseudodocumentaries" like Tribulation 99, which mixes alien conspiracy theories with a factual chronicle of U.S. intervention in Latin America; and Sonic Outlaws, a fascinating documentary on Negativland's parodying of U2 and the intellectual property discussion it sparked.
The filmmaker will be kicking off OMM and the Wolfsonian-FIU's "Project: Alchemy" with the Florida premiere of Mock Up on Mu. The film is a hybrid of spy, sci-fi, Western, and even horror genres based on (mostly) true stories about California's postwar subcultures of rocket pioneers, alternative religions, and beat lifestyles. Paired with this will be "an alchemical, environmental reception featuring an immersive 16mm motion picture film, 35mm slide film, and sound and video experience" created by Miami artists Barron Sherer, Kevin Arrow, and Richard Vergez. The screening begins at 8 p.m. on April 14.
Watching Baldwin's work gives viewers a perfect opportunity to learn about repurposing film, knowledge that'll come in handy at the following day of "Project: Alchemy," when participants can make their own work of art. On April 15, OMM will host a free handmade projected slide workshop, inspired by the Wolfsonian's spiritual exhibition "The Pursuit of Abstraction."
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Guests will be guided through the process of slide collaging and layering and learn how to manipulate light and color with handmade 35mm slides and Polaroid emulsion transfers. It's an opportunity to build your own work of art, which will be projected through Sunday, April 16, at the Wolfsonian and also turned into a collectible piece you can take home.
OMM is also partnering with Miami Beach Cinematheque to have Baldwin himself offer audiences a lecture-demo on how he does what he does. ORPHAN MORPHIN' is an 80-minute presentation in which the filmmaker will discuss the way he reworks marginalized film material toward emerging forms of collage,
As the filmmaker himself says, “There is no 'center' to the art of filmmaking, and — for better or worse — no 'avant-garde' either. The engaged cineaste of our postindustrial times not only looks at, but also — often at the same time — produces all sorts of para-cinematic work on the margins.”