Imagine an insane alien astronaut who tunes into earth’s radiating television signals originating in the analog days of the twentieth century. The alien receives our entire TV culture in seconds, processing the sounds and images instantly, watching them all simultaneously… and the alien is crazy enough to find a message within.
This is an experimental film that is for all intents and purposes a continuation of my previous film, “The Magical Dead Sunstroke Valley,” which has been screening for the past year at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA).
Filmmaker Andre Perkowski is working on a huge 3 hour plus adaptation of the novel ‘Nova Express‘ by William S. Burroughs. It’s a wild, ragged, disjointed, warped, damaged, serious and funny mashup of found footage, original film and Burroughs’ reading voice along with others. It’s got those incoherently combined sci-fi and thriller elements that Burroughs so easily manipulated as if in a delirium. The film is itself a kind of cutup, mirroring the technique Burroughs used that involved gathering unrelated bits and pieces of other books and newspaper articles to formulate sentences that somehow ramble on without necessarily leading anywhere specific. The novel is about exposing the secrets of those who attempt to control all thought and life with virus-like ideas, machines and drugs.
Perkowski is a filmic oddball who delights in making things that are messy. He draws and collages to create new images, purposely ruining his images to create the unexpected. I think his mental immersion into Burroughs is leading him through his wonderful film with great assurance. Apparently, Perkowski is constantly adding to the film and changing it. He has at least six different ‘drafts’ of the film. As he goes, he posts chunks of the film on his YouTube channel which I happen to think is a fantastic idea. There are similarities between the way he works and the way I work on films like my ‘Yellow Plastic Raygun.’ I have often told people that I suspect the video scrubber button in non-linear video editors that allows a filmmaker to fly through a full length feature film in seconds is perhaps the single most important cinematic tool of the last thirty years. It is this little tool that allows for the searching and matching of cinematic elements that could never have been found in a human lifetime before the non-linear editor. So it leads to entirely new form of cinema. That’s what you are watching here with Perkowski’s film. It is a powerful work of new cinema and may well be the best adaptation of a Burroughs work that I have ever seen.
Kirby Ferguson continues his Everything is a Remix series by showing us how many of our most cherished and familiar films combine elements taken from or inspired by other films to create their seemingly unique experiences. Sometimes, shots are reproduced almost exactly. Yet, the movie industry is extremely aggressive in prosecuting or suing anyone who tries to use their material.
Sit down, turn off your cell phone, close the door. You are about to see something magnificent. Several days ago, I posted a film, Yellow Plastic Raygun, on Vimeo. And today I catch this big fish of a filmmaker from Italy who made a comment about the film and who has made a gorgeous and moving statement about war and destruction. It grabs you and just won’t let you go until it finishes. The use of old images, combined, layered and cut into pieces to form new images and artworks fascinates me when applied to video. This is an example of the art form at its finest.
Fabio Scacchioli made this. He’s made others, but this is the first one I’ve viewed and I’m convinced already. Italy appears to be very healthy in its cinema heart.
Kutiman posts video mashups on YouTube that make brand new music. He takes video clips that other people have uploaded and he cuts pieces out of the people playing their instruments and then edits them all together with just the right timing and layering to create a whole new musical mix. This one’s a nice little funk number and the filmmaker/musician creates a lively atmosphere out of his found musical clips.