This presentation and discussion of short films by Bill Morrison from the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection features Light Is Calling (2004), Outerborough (2005), and Release (2010).
Light is Calling (8 minutes) traces the ephemerality of human existence as it is captured on film. In collaboration with composer Michael Gordon, Morrison rephotographs severely decayed footage from a 1926 film called The Bells (directed by James Young) and pairs it with Gordon’s wistful score.
Outerborough (9 minutes) recontextualizes archival footage shot in 1899 when a cameraman for the Biograph Company mounted a camera to the front of a trolley as it crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. Morrison portrays the footage on a split screen, recreating a journey that is now no longer possible (the Brooklyn Bridge can only be traversed by foot or car).
Release (13 minutes) reframes Al Capone’s 1930 release from Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, with music composed by world-famous jazz pianist Vijay Iyer. In a single panning shot, the work reveals a large crowd gathered on Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia as they wait to see the infamous mobster who spent eight months at the prison.
The playlist will be available in the Bentson Mediatheque throughout the month of March.