Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Master Is Drowning (2012)

WHO: This was made by Penny Siopis, a South African painter who began working with video in the 1990s.

WHAT: The Master Is Drowning is Siopis's recent video installation piece about David Pratt's 1960 attempt on the life of South African prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd, the "architect of apartheid". According to this blog, "Siopis creates this through film clips, subtitles (phrases largely taken from Pratt’s trial) and a splicing of musical arrangements."

WHERE/WHEN: A screening of this and another Siopis video (Obscure White Messenger) is the noontime event in the Phyllis Wattis Theatre held as part of SFMOMA's monthly free day today.

WHY: With SFMOMA closing this June for a major renovation that is not expected to be complete until 2016, there won't be that many opportunities to watch film and video work in the Wattis Theatre in the foreseeable future. Today's free screening is one of the few I'm aware of in the coming months. Later in February there are two programs of films that "surface the affinity between culture rooted in the LGBTQ community and the avant-garde" including L.A. Plays Itself (which is referenced in the Thom Anderson film of a similar title). On May 2nd there is an SF Cinematheque presentation of recent works by local filmmakers Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler. The final screening in this space prior to the upcoming closure will be a May 23rd showing of Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye. You may be aware that Christian Marclay's 24-Hour-long cinema/installation piece The Clock is going to take up residence at SFMOMA between April and the closure, but I understand this will be viewed on the 4th floor and not at the Wattis.

HOW: A video projection.

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