. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

Sep 13 – Stan VanDerBeek: Euclidean Illusions

Posted by | Amy Beste | Posted on | September 11, 2018

Johannes VanDerBeek of the VanDerBeek Archive in person

Stan VanDerBeek, still from Euclidean Illusions, 1980. Courtesy The Film-Makers’ Cooperative and the VanDerBeek Archive.

The visionary work of media artist Stan VanDerBeek spanned film, interactive television, expanded cinema, and computer animation. Introduced by Johannes VanDerBeek of the VanDerBeek Archive, this program focuses on his computer films, screening in newly preserved 16mm prints. VanDerBeek began experimenting with computers in the mid-1960s, as part of a collaboration with programmer Ken Knowlton at Bell Labs. The resulting work, a series titled Poemfield No. 1–No. 8 (1966–69), mixes analog footage and digital imagery in layers of pixelated patterns, geometric shapes, and words. He continued to build on these experiments in Who Ho Ray No. 1 (1972), which used a computer system to transform sounds into abstract visual patterns, and Euclidean Illusions (1980), a fantasy of self-generating geometries produced with 3D computer animator Richard Weinberg at NASA. Also screening are: Astral Man (1958), Science Friction (1959), and See Saw Seams (1965). 1958–80, USA, 16mm, ca 65 min + discussion.

Presented in collaboration with Document Gallery, on the occasion of its solo exhibition of Stan VanDerBeek’s work. Preservation prints courtesy of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative and the Stan VanDerBeek Archive.

Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984) was a prolific multimedia artist known for his pioneering work in experimental film, art, and technology. He collaborated with figures like John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Nam June Paik, among others. His filmography includes over one hundred experimental and innovative 16mm and 35mm films and videos in black and white and color spanning collage, animation, computer graphics, live action, performance documentation, found footage, and newsreels. VanDerBeek’s work has been exhibited at numerous art museums and centers, most recently Tate Modern, London, UK (2009); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2010); New Museum, New York (2012); Met Breuer, New York (2017); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2017), among many others. His most recent retrospective, Stan VanDerBeek: The Culture Intercom, was held by MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge in 2011.