The US Premiere of Evan Calder Williams' film Violent X features a live voice and synth improvisation by Tokyo-based musician Taku Unami with Williams. This performance joins its work of pulp and radical history to early instances of cinema narration and accompaniment and conjures in sound, words, and halting frames the high-speed chases and low-grade rip-offs that marked an era's subterranean thought.
In a second set Unami collaborates with philosopher Eugene Thacker and scientist Jarrod Fowler in a musical and non-musical improvisation. Cryptic, empty, and uncanny concepts and objects will be performed, evoking biological horror, cosmic pessimism, and entomological science fiction.
Written, directed, and narrated by Evan Calder Williams
Music by Taku Unami
In the midst of the street fighting and social collapse of Italy's 1970s, a talented and ruthless police inspector in Rome is fighting his own war on crime when he stumbles onto a disturbing fact: someone is impersonating him, identical down to the mustache and fingerprints. In fact, there may be not just one but an innumerable horde of them scattered across the country. And to make matters worse, all are taking the law into their own hands, inexplicably multiplying his one-man campaign for vengeance into a veritable killing spree. And so, while trying to ward off what what seems to be the ghost of long-dead revolutionary Carlo Pisacane, the inspector sets out to put an end to not only his glitchy and murderous imitations but also the arcane source from which they sprung...
The first part of a planned trilogy, Violent X is an experimental cop horror film constructed from the materials of a dense cycle of low-budget Italian action movies made between 1973 and 1978. For the film, Williams assembled thousands of digital stills and their accidental “ghosting” into an animated and narrated document that draws out the small gestures and social world glimpsed in the background of every shootout. It is joined by a new musical score, composed and performed by Unami for the film, that mines the history of soundtracks, such as those of John Carpenter and Franco Micalizzi, and incorporates sonic elements from the same cycle of films. In both sound and image, Violent X is at once a history of circulation, tracking such films through the working class theaters of Italy into contemporary torrents and bad transfers, and a new speculative tale, one of violent cops and copying, haunted hippodromes and riots and a conspiracy that refuses to quit.
Evan Calder Williams is a writer, theorist, and artist. He has a doctoral degree from the Literature Department at University of California Santa Cruz and is currently a fellow at the Center for Transformative Media at Parsons, where he is writing a history and theory of sabotage. He is the author of two books, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse and Roman Letters, has written for Film Quarterly, Viewpoint, World Picture, Mute, The Claudius App, The Italianist, La Furia Umana, and The New Inquiry, and writes the blog Socialism and/or Barbarism. He has presented work at the Whitney Biennial, the Memory Marathon and ISSUE Project Room, and he is currently developing an audio piece for the Serpentine Gallery.
Taku Unami (Tokyo, b. 1976) is a composer and improviser working with assorted stringed instruments, including guitar, mandolin and contraguitar, laptop and vibrating objects (from which he amplifies the inaudible vibrations). He is part of the group HOSE and has active collaborations with Mattin, Taku Sugimoto and Masahiko Okura. In the past he has worked with Radu Malfatti, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Klaus Filip, Masafumi Ezaki, Burkhard Stangl, Rhodri Davies and Keith Rowe, among others. Unami has also composed for film, including 'Lost My Way' (directed by Takeshi Furusawa) and 'In 1,000,000 years' (directed by Isao Okishima). He has released more than 30 records, both solo and in numerous groups and collaborations. He runs the influential label Hibari Music and co-organizes the Tokyo concert series Chamber Music Concerts with Taku Sugimoto and Masahiko Okura.