Objects to be Destroyed - Sharits


For this years edition of TIFF, Kurant presents a screening program curated by Greg Pope, in collaboration with installation and performance artist Anastasia Ax and sound artist Lasse Marhaug. The program will open with a performance by Ax and Marhaug on Tuesday 16th at 18.00, followed by four different screening programs the following four days. See the full program and detailed information below. Most screenings start at 20.00, except on Friday 19th, when it will start at 15.00. Each screening lasts about two hours. There will be a bar available during the screenings, and later in the evenings as long as it lasts. Free entrance every day.

Please note that the program will be shown at Tromsø Kunstforening, on the first floor.

Text by Greg Pope


When a scientist needs to find out the properties of a material she will heat it, freeze it, hammer it and subject it to extreme force in as many ways as possible in order to know what it is capable of. Some artists also treat their medium in this way, and it is these practitioners we are interested in here. This is by no means an all-inclusive programme, in fact it is a very selective take on art and artists who have pushed the boundaries until they broke and through this strategy create objects of rare beauty and awe.

The idea behind these screenings, the installation and the performance is the investigation of creative forces unleashed through acts of erasure, deletion, abrasion, and fragmentation. To expose “beautiful acts of Vandalism” as captured on the moving image, by action, sound and vision. These screenings take an historical look at unruly elements and disruptive strategies expressed through the eyes and ears of various artists – from 1951 to the present day.

My own personal interest in this field was nurtured by an exposure to the first wave of UK punk in the late 1970s. At this time we all felt the euphoria of artistic revolution that seemed to sweep away the old dusty establishment – naming it ‘irrelevant’. Our idea was to ‘smash it up’ and create something new from the wreckage. In hindsight I can see it wasn’t completely successful, but it did create huge waves of creative energy, the process is what’s important – to have a healthy disrespect of orthodox values and the entrenched order and to continually strive to demolish the door and cross into unmapped territory.



The series will begin with a creative / destructive performance by the Swedish artist Anastasia Ax and celebrated Norwegian noisemeister Lasse Marhaug.
Their actions will quite literally set the scene for the whole screening series. Ax will combine malleable materials and sound to create an installation in the space which will then constitute our cinema for the duration of the week. Her splitting, spitting, kicking, tearing and throwing of materials is accompanied by Marhaug’s masterly sonic wizardry – a beautiful maelstrom which will leave us with a physically and mentally altered landscape in which to project and reflect. This room is our manifesto.
The audience will be invited to return to the space after the dust has settled to watch four programmes of film work based around the concept of creation through destruction.

Anastasia Ax
The work is inspired by the idea of construction and its deconstruction and the countervailing forces released due to and as well before, during and after the process. She has developed an artistic practice in which the different mediums of sculpture, performance, ink drawing and sound interweave in the creation of a wordless language, indicative of our chaotic universe. Paper, plaster and ink reveal their twofold nature as natural materials and as symbols of our intellectual culture, as creative means ready to fill out the void and as elements of poison, animus and melancholy.
Creative and violent compulsions coexist simultaneously as a fertile field which can be transformed into a battle ground or an apocalyptic cityscape. To be ready to lose control or destroy denotes a detachment towards objects, an outlook against materialism, which brings the artist closer to Buddhist philosophy and mandala creation. Klea Charitou

Lasse Marhaug
Since the early 1990s Marhaug been one of the most active artists in the Norwegian noise/experimental music scene. As a performer and composer he has contributed to well over 300 CD, vinyl and cassette releases over the years, as well as extensive touring and performing live on all continents of the world. In addition to his solo work, Marhaug has collaborated with many artists in the fields of noise, experimental, improv, jazz, rock and extreme metal, as well as working with music and sound for theatre, dance, installations, cinema and video. In 1990 Marhaug ran the TWR Tapes and Jazzassin Records labels. In the 2000s he ran the record labels Pica Disk and Prisma Records. In 2011 he started his own print publishing Marhaug Forlag. He has also been active as an organizer, promoter, producer and visual artist. Marhaug was born and currently lives in Bodø, a city above the arctic circle in Norway.

1st screening - Wednesday 17th, begins at 20:00
On Venom and Eternity

On Venom And Eternity - Isidore Isou
(FR, 1951, 120mins, 35mm shown on video)
Isidore Isou (1925 –2007), was a Romanian-born French poet, film critic and visual artist. He was the founder of Lettrism, an art and literary movement with one initial member – himself. This film can be viewed as a film manifesto for the movement.
Advocating for the rupture of language and photography, Isou expects the spectator to ‘leave the cinema blind, his ears crushed, both torn asunder by the disjunction of word and image’. The Lettrists believed the development of cinema had been stalled by the domination of the studio system. In order for a new cinema to emerge, it had first to be destroyed – symbolically and physically – by bleaching and scratching the images, and by replacing soundtracks with abrasive concrete poetry and enraged tirades.
This film is like a beautiful two hour hate mail to the audience...it still sings and stings sixty years later…

Second screening - Thursday 18th, begins at 20:00
Repeat After Me

YYAA - Wojciech Bruszewski
(POL, 1973, 16mm , 5mins )
The author is filmed screaming : Four sources of light are switched at random.
 Each of the four lights has its equivalent in a different modulation of the author’s voice. The film technique provides the author with a five-minute long primal scream. 
A repeated change of the shot from a close-up to a semi close-up and vice versa is motiveless.

C’mon Babe (Danke Schôn) - Sharon Sandusky
(USA, 1986, 16mm, 12mins)
An inventive, humourous and sometimes biting recombination of the staples of the ‘nature documentary’. Sandusky’s masterpiece of found footage material includes pompous music, voice-over and ground’s-eye-view photography. A documentary on the life of the lowly lemming takes on new and different meaning.

Film In Which There Appear Edge Lettering, Sprocket Holes, Dirt Particles, Etc.. - Owen Land
(USA, 1966, 16mm, 6mins)
The ‘imperfections’ of filmmaking, normally suppressed, are at the core of a work that uses a brief loop made from a Kodak color test. “The dirtiest film ever made” is one of the earliest examples of the film material dictating the film content.
“The richest frame I have seen in any film when you take into consideration all movements lines the beautiful whites, and reds and blacks… “ jonas mekas.

Dervish Machine - EROS Bradley & LIOTTA Jeanne
(USA / 1992 / 16mm / 10' 00)
Hand-developed meditations on being and movement, as inspired by Gysin's Dreammachine, Sufi mysticism, and early cinema. A knowledge of the fragility of existence mirrors the tenuousness of the material. The film itself becomes the site to experience impermanence, and to revel in the unfixed image.

Politics Of Perception - Kirk Tougas
(USA, 1973,16mm, 33mins)
Tougas presents a one-minute promotional film advertising a popular Hollywood thriller. This section then repeats itself: a print is generated; then a print from the print, and so on as the image and sound slowly disintegrate with each new cycle, until the visual and sound information have been completely transmuted to white light and white noise. The Politics of Perception’ explores the paradoxes of communication and the very nature of film itself, progressing from movie reality to its utter abstraction.

Third screening - Friday 19th, begins at 15:00
Sky Falling Down

Adventures Of A Good Citizen - Stefan and Francizka Themerson
(POL , 16mm, 1937, 9mins)
One day, an ordinary clerk hears someone say “The skies won’t fall in if you start walking backwards!” He takes these words as a command and thus sets off for an unusual journey through the city. His irrational conduct provokes a public outcry …

Klipperty Klopp - Andrew Kotting
(UK / 1984 / super 8 to video / 12 mins)
It’s the sun, my son! Le soeil! Le soleil!
Kotting’s myth created on this filthy earth, in glorious Super 8, like Joseph Beuys on acid.

Travelling Fields - Inger Lise Hansen
(NO, 2009, 16mm to video, 9mins)
Shot upside down and using time-lapse as a way of collapsing time and space, a film made in the toxic industrial/rural north of Russia. Construction sites, empty market places and incandescent factories in the landscape – a gem of foreboding and beauty.

Stadt In Flammen - SCHMELZDAHIN
(DE, 1984, 16mm, 5mins)
Film material is subjected to biochemical processes by burying it in the garden, storing it in a pond, or overheating it. The results of these natural processes of decay are then copied back onto film and thus conserved in the state of their dissolution. In "Stadt in Flammen" the scenes melt due to overheating, producing an infernal image impression of disappearance.

Skelehellavision - Martha Colbourne
(USA, 2002, 16mm, 8mins)
This is film exploiting inventive techniques of animation in an attempt to realize the world that may await us after death. Using found pornography as part of the film and scratching skeletons over the footage frame-by-frame we see into a lust-filled Hell where the beauty of flesh is no more. Ass-licking bats, seething snakes, dancing lizards, and frightful females are a few of the stars in this movie exploring the over-heated depths of the afterlife.

Homage to Jean Tinguely’s ‘Homage to New York’ - Robert Breer
(USA, 1960, 16mm, 9min)
A recording of the life and death of a self destructing sculpture by Jean Tinguely. Filmed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, this film also deploys numerous camera techniques, which gives the film its own life, independent of but parallel to its subject.

Banquets 1 -10 - Rose Lowder
(FR,1994-95, 16mm, 12mins)
Characterized by a rapid-fire perceptual workout generated by frame-by-frame photography, often filming fields and flowers in southern France, Lowder creates an intense vibration or alternation between two distinct camera views, depriving cinema of its standard capacity to replicate “normal” vision. Her single-frame shifting whips the flora into a kind of molecular frenzy. Elements of landscape and film are broken down and re-constructed into an atomized wonderland.

Fourth screening - Saturday 20th, begins at 20:00
The Frame Stripped Bare

Ray Gun Virus- Paul Sharits
(USA, 1966, 16mm, 14mins)
“…Consciousness is freed to turn inward upon itself and is reborn on its own organic terms. The film does what it is…. Light-color-energy patterns generate internal time-shape and allow the viewer to become aware of the electrical-chemical functioning of his/her own nervous system…. the projector is an audio-visual pistol; the screen looks at the audience; the retina screen is a target. Goal: the temporary assassination of the viewers’ normative consciousness.” Paul Sharits

T.O.U.C.H.I.N.G. - Paul Sharits
(USA, 1968, 16mm, 12mins)
An overwhelming stream of flashing colors which obliterate each other in succession in the field of vision. The image of a young man; he gazes down at the pair of scissors he holds open around his out-stretched tongue. The soundtrack by David Franks is a raw, direct message: a single word, spoken at the height of counterculture, at the height of the Love Generation, over and over on top of itself seemingly a million times so densely that the ear hears entire sentences spun from its single sound: DESTROY DESTROY DESTROY DESTROY…

The Flicker - Tony Conrad
(USA, 1966, 16mm, 30mins)
Conrad was principally an experimental musician who made music alongside John Cale and Le Monte Young during the 60s. The Flicker was his first and most celebrated film.
“When I made the film in 1965-66 my principal motivation was to explore the possibilities for harmonic expression using a sensory mode other than sound. The experience of “flicker” occurs over a frequency range of about 4 to 40 flashes per second (fps). I devised patterns of frames which would represent combinations of frequencies - heterodyned, or rather multiplexed together. I was interested to see whether there might be combination-frequency effects that would occur with flicker, analogous to the combination-tone effects that are responsible for consonance in musical sound”. Tony Conrad