On Thursday, October 17 at 7:30 pm in Schwab Auditorium, Brent Green will present a live performance of Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, with audio and musical accompaniment. The event is a centerpiece in the programming for the “Uncanny October” series, sponsored by the Penn State Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Green’s work will appeal to students, faculty, and others in a wide range of fields, from popular music (his group of accompanists includes members of major folk and punk bands) to filmmaking, creative writing, and the plastic arts.
Combining stop-motion and live animation with intricate mechanical apparatuses and built environments, Green’s films explore the strange and often moving aberrations of consciousness. His 2010 feature film Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then is based on the true story of Leonard Wood, a Kentucky hardware store clerk who rebuilt his house as a “healing machine” for his dying wife, Mary. The project took on tragic grandeur, as Leonard pursued his construction project for years after Mary’s death. In preparation for his film, Green painstakingly rebuilt Wood’s then-demolished house, along with its specially altered piano-like “sound machine” and furniture, based on the plans Wood had left behind after his own death. “All my films,” Green explains in an interview with Art in America, “are about wonder, urgency.” The films also give uncanny insight into the desperate workings of the unconscious, even as the film’s protagonists struggle against the mysteries of death, love, and the workings of their own minds. One of the especially wondrous aspects of Green’s films is that he accompanies them with live music and sound. Working with a group of musicians and Foley artists, Green narrates the films and provides a live soundtrack. The effect is a mesmerizing and deeply moving creation of a live performance environment that incorporates audiences into the uncanny dramas of the films.
Brent Green, a 2005 Creative Capital Grant-winning artist, is a visual artist, filmmaker, and storyteller working in the Appalachian hills of rural Pennsylvania. Green has crafted his rickety folk-punk style, in which he applies new technologies to staunchly DIY roots, into everything from an animated feature film (Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, 2010) to a hacked LCD and steel animation machine (To Many Men Strange Fates Are Given, 2012) to an in-progress film combining live action and photography collage (Anatomical Maps With Battle Plans). His films have screened, often with live musical accompaniment, at MoMA, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Rotterdam Film Festival; and the Sundance Film Festival. Often, his sculptural work and large-scale installations are displayed alongside his animated films, most recently with solo exhibitions at the Arizona State University Art Museum, SITE Santa Fe, Art Without Walls, Diverseworks Houston and the Berkeley Art Museum. He is represented by Andrew Edlin Gallery in NYC. Visit Green's website at http://site.nervousfilms.com
Text courtesy of Jonathon Eburne