A screening of tapes by Harrell Fletcher alongside films and videos by other international artists who work with everyday people. Employing media as a catalyst for social performance, storytelling and adventure, these works find moments of beauty in the mundane while investing value in the activities of “amateurs.” In Fletcher’s Blot Out the Sun (2002), a Portland garage is the setting for a conceptual re-working of James Joyce's Ulysses employing mechanics and customers as narrators. In The Sound We Make Together (2003, excerpt), Fletcher hosts “various groups of people from Houston: a Baptist choir, a meditation class, a break dance group, dogs from a dog park and others doing what they normally do but in the gallery space.” In The Forbidden Zone (2000), Fletcher helps his friend David Jarvey, who has Down Syndrome, insert himself into a cherished episode of Star Trek about the planet Talos IV. The works by other artists include Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy (desperate optimists)’s film Revolution (2004). Shot in a single take with 91 residents of Lambeth, London, the film tracks over a library fundraiser that slowly goes awry. Closing the program, Johanna Billing’s Magical World (2005) features a group of children from an after-school music club in Croatia rehearsing the 1960s song ‘Magical World.’ Tadasu Takamine's HippocampusQ (2005) documents a witty, large-scale avant-garde dance performance that Takamine choreographed for his teenage students. Finally, Christian Jankowski's jaw-dropping The Matrix Effect (2000) features children playing curators and artists at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut.

RevolutionMagical World The Forbidden Zone Blot Out the Sun

Opening Remarks:

Welcome everyone to the screening, The Sun Shines for You Today, a collection of films and videos by Harrell Fletcher, Tadasu Takamine, Christian Jankowski, Johanna Billing and the desperate optimists that were each made with the active participation of different publics. This screening is in conjunction with the exhibition, Born Out of Pleasure, at The Power Plant. Harrell Fletcher’s tapes, which run throughout the program, are relatively self-explanatory. You just saw Compliments (2002, 1 min.), which was a project he did with students in 2002 in Hartford, Connecticut. Blot Out the Sun (22 min.) originated with a Portland, Oregon garage owner’s wish to have a movie filmed in his shop, which ended up being an adaptation of Joyce’s Ulysses, while The Forbidden Zone (13 min.) also fulfills a wish: David Jarvey wanted to be able to enter into an episode of Star Trek near and dear to him. In the excerpt of the project The Sound We Make Together (10 min. excerpt), we see what happened when a number of different groups from a muu muu-clad women’s choir to a dance aerobics class took over a gallery space at the DiverseWorks art center in Houston. The program begins with Revolution (10 min.) by the filmmaking duo Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy, who work under the name “desperate optimists.” Originally from Dublin, their practice involves collaborating both in front of and behind the camera with different communities, staging narratives and capturing specific places in a single 35mm take. Each of the films was shot in a day with up to hundreds of extras. Revolution, for example, involved 91 people from the London borough of Lambeth in the shooting and was filmed on location at the YMCA on Stockwell Rd. during a sunny autumn afternoon. German artist Christian Jankowski, who showed at The Power Plant in 2004 as well as in our 2007 summer show Auto Emotion, radically unsettles our relationship to familiar mass media forms, often through working with the strangers. The Matrix Effect (25 min.) is a mock-promotional video celebrating the Matrix contemporary art series at the Wadsworth Atheneum museum in Connecticut starring children as art-world heavyweights. He defined the Matrix Effect as “a supernatural age reversal of the individuals who were committed to new art.” The Japanese artist Tadasu Takamine’s video Hippocampus Q (14 min.) was edited during a residency at the SAW Video production center in Ottawa in 2005. It is an unsubtitled excerpt of a dance performance that he choreographed for some of his students, which mines everyday adolescent gestures and activities. Finally Magical World (6 min.) by Johanna Billing is a result of collaboration with a group of children from a free after-school music club at a rundown 1980s cultural centre in suburban Zagreb, Croatia. The work shows them rehearsing ”Magical World” – a song from 1968 chosen by the artist and written by the soul singer, songwriter and producer Sidney Barnes. The artist has requested that it loop, so it will keep playing as you leave the theatre and the lights come up.