Filmmaker/photographer Jem Cohen established Gravity Hill Sound + Image in 2014 as a forum for exploring film with live soundtracks. With guitarist Guy Picciotto, drummer Jim White, master lute player George Xylouris, and Cohen mixing audio from the films, shows were presented in Portugal, Turkey, and France. Reconvening for the first time since 2015, the ensemble will experiment at ISSUE with new films and a more improvisational approach.
Says Cohen: “There’s too much manipulative music in the movies, and more often than not, films projected at concerts are distractions, adding little to the aural experience. The intention with Gravity Hill Sound+Image is to encourage committed viewing and deep listening; to create situations where neither sound nor image get the upper hand. If the idea is to challenge complacency, we need to make sure that also applies to our own work. These are some of the most adventurous musicians I know, and ISSUE is a good place to take chances, so this will be a night for discovery…”
Film subjects include a sudden Manhattan rainstorm, a sleeping infant, and an Istanbul city portrait.
This performance is a precursor to a more extensive series of events taking place the following week at Big Ears Festival with Cohen and other musicians, including those performing at ISSUE.
Director and live soundtrackist Jem Cohen's feature length films include Museum Hours, World Without End (No Reported Incidents), Counting, Benjamin Smoke, and Instrument (Fugazi). Cohen works from an evolving archive of landscapes, portraits, and sound. His films are in the collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and D.C.’s National Gallery. Retrospectives include London’s Whitechapel Gallery and NFT. His We Have an Anchor was a main stage show at BAM (Next Wave) and London’s Barbican. Grants include a Guggenheim Fellowship, Alpert Award in the Arts, Creative Capital, NEA, Independent Spirit Award. Cohen has worked extensively with musicians including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Patti Smith, Terry Riley, R.E.M., DJ Rupture, the Ex, Vic Chesnutt, and the Orpheus Orchestra.
Program Guest Curator: Kathleen Forde
Kathleen Forde is a curator based in NYC and Istanbul. Forde is the Artistic Director at Large for Borusan Contemporary, a collection-based space for media arts exhibitions, commissions and public programming in Istanbul. Concurrently she is working as an independent curator with various institutions both nationally and abroad. From 2005 to 2012 Forde was the Curator of Time-Based Visual Arts at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, NY. At EMPAC she commissioned and/or produced a broad range of new work by artists that included The Wooster Group, Laurie Anderson, Japanther, Jem Cohen and Ben Rubin, and curated exhibitions such as Dancing on the Ceiling: Art and Zero Gravity. Prior to EMPAC, Forde was the Curatorial Director for Live Arts and New Media at the Goethe Institut Internaciones in Berlin and Munich and Assistant Curator for Media Arts at SFMOMA. She has also written and/or curated on a freelance basis for various organizations that have included the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology; The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA); Independent Curators International; The Transmediale Festival, Berlin; Kunstverein Dusseldorf and Cologne; VideoZone, Tel Aviv; the Rotterdam Film Festival; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.