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November 2: Cybernetic Cinema

Larry Cuba, Calculated Movements, 1985

Cybernetic Cinema

November 2, 7 PM

Following our August screening “Cosmic Cinema,” this program of “Cybernetic Cinema” (to borrow another term from critic Gene Youngblood) is comprised of experimental films made by Lillian Schwartz, Larry Cuba, and Stan VanDerBeek in the 1970s and 1980s. Just as early psychedelic films transformed the counterculture’s interest in altered states into a new cinematic language, early cybernetic films heralded major social changes by utilizing computers to create both abstract and figurative moving images. On one level, these works argued that the computer was an appropriate tool for artists working in a new information age, and should be considered a viable artistic medium; more profoundly, by substituting traditional forms of artistic labor with the programming of code and digital manipulation of forms, these works implicitly challenged commonplace definitions of both “art” and “artist.” Even as the films by Schwartz, Cuba, and VanDerBeek connect to the long history of the avant-garde’s flirtation with both high-tech aesthetics and the synaesthetic language of “visual music,” they anticipate contemporary art’s tricky imbrication with post-industrial, post-modernist forms of technology and communication.
Curated by Tina Rivers.


Lillian Schwartz, Pixillation, 1970, 4 min, 16mm
Lillian Schwartz, UFOs, 1971, 3 min, 16mm
Larry Cuba, Two Space, 1979, 7.5 min, 16mm
Larry Cuba, Calculated Movements, 1985, 6 min, 16mm
Stan VanDerBeek, The Computer Generation, 1972, 29min, 16mm (including Symmetrics and Poem Field 8 )