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A COLOR FILM or something like that


Copyright 2013 by S. Riley Duncan. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the publisher. This project was made possible by funding from the Virginia Commonwealth University Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program Fellowship This book was designed by Ying Jun Cheng First Printing 1000 West Broad St. Richmond, Va. 23284


Contents

i..

preface

ii.

+44째 2' 37.24", -72째 10' 13.33" 23 lemon scented peach peel 33 brother 43 Fulcrum 49 The Kreme Greme 57 Granite & Gold 69 sassy brassy 79 the labor of identity 91 ravel 105 ultra- 113

iii. notes

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Acknowledgements This book would not have been made possible without the insight and support of these collaborators, mentors and friends: Corin Hewitt, Nancy Lupo, Erica Svec, Zachary Wollard, Austin Lynch, Hannah Walsh, Richard Walters, Laura Vitale, Ian Gamble, Ryan Crowley, Weston Lowe, Colleen Billing, Ginger Kitchen, Josef Paulk, Maria Camia, Nick Fagan, Julia Hundley, Robert Saltonstall, Ha Tran, Jorge Guillen, Olivia Gibian, Spencer Erickson, Christian Gregory, Margaret Grymes, Mara Hyman, Ying Cheng, Beatricia & Cassius, Mark Strandquist, the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, Mary Eisendrath, Hope Ginsburg, Greg Kelly & The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, and my family.

S. Riley Duncan March, 2013


For Jeffery,


Preface

I am an eighth-generation Vermonter and I have spent a lot of time trying to figure that out. I am also a third generation art teacher and this is also something I ponder. In 1965, my parents were living in New York City as artists and teachers and they had decided that they wanted to buy a piece of land in rural Vermont where they could build a cabin, grow food and spend their summers. They found a mixture of pasture and forest along a long ridge top in East Corinth, Vermont. After purchasing this approximately one hundred and fifty acres for one hundred dollars an acre, they began a process that eventually led them to return to the state for good in 1970. I was born in 1971 and was named after this town. From my birth until leaving Vermont for college, I spent my winters in school in Burlington and my summers with my parents growing food and raising animals on “the land� in East Corinth. My father was a professor of painting at the University of Vermont and my mother designed and ran an educational toy company. During the fall, winter, and spring we would go over to the land on weekends to harvest, ski, and plant crops. I was an only child so those long summers spent there were a combined life of labor, swimming, and secluded adventures in the woods. In 1974, my father brought about fifteen students from the University of Vermont up to our land for two rainy weeks. I have memories of that class, but since I was only three years old I am sure those memories are fused with years looking at photographs. I do remember that one of the students, Russ, was in the National Guard and was able to secure his National Guard helicopter for a


day. He took everyone up in the air to peer down on the earthworks they had made in the landscape. Students had made a variety of late 1960’s/early 1970’s land art influenced works including mowed pieces, dug out works, and many objects built in the woods. Both this helicopter as well as all the students’ energy that summer made a huge impression on me. Over the past two summers I have led a series of two-week classes made up of approximately ten Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of the Arts undergraduate students. The classes have taken place on this same land in rural Vermont. Using color as a narrative structure, each of these classes worked toward a final production that was shown in front of an audience the final evening of the course. In the summer of 2011, the class culminated in a one and a half hour eleven-act performance called Chromotheater. In the summer of 2012, we made and screened a ten-part film, A Color Film: And Everything Like That, with sections of the film being shot in trenches live in front of the audience. In the summer of 2011, I hired two New York painters, Zachary Wollard and Erica Svec, to work with me to teach this class. Prior to arriving in Vermont, each of the eleven participants in the class was given one-eleventh of the color spectrum to make into a five-minute piece that would be performed on a large rotating stage. They were asked to use media particular to their interests to traverse their assigned range of the spectrum. Like a relay, each of them would be taking over where the previous individual left off, inheriting an object or image to begin their act. In the weeks previous to arriving in Vermont, the participants read a series of texts on both the material history of color in culture as well as the use of color in a variety of contemporary art practices. Once in Vermont, in addition to working on their projects, the participants were led on a variety of daily color exercises and experiments. For example, they were led on a half-day lesson led by the former Vermont State Lands Ecologist who took us through an evolutionary history of color in the landscape. He discussed and demonstrated complex evolved color relationships between plants, animals, and insects. During the class, we built a twenty-foot diameter rotating stage that pivoted around a fifty foot spruce tree that we erected in the

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middle of a field. Each participant developed an act for their section of the spectrum using props, sculptural objects, painting, video, and spoken narrative in order to perform their section of color. The final production, Chromotheater, took place at the end of the class for two-plus hours in front of a collected audience of about seventy people from all over the northeast. For this class, we also constructed an elaborate subsurface outdoor kitchen where small groups of participants cooked for everyone. For three-day stretches, these rotating groups were responsiblefor planning meals, shopping, and cooking for the rest of the group. The kitchen had no running water or electricity so the majority of the cooking was done directly over fire, while rainwater was used for washing. The participants all camped in tents below our pond. They worked and prepared their acts underneath a tent made of lumber tarps made by one of the participants in the course, Ian Gamble. I brought in a generator and power for them to be able to use tools in this area. In the summer of 2012, a new group of VCU students headed up to Vermont for another two-week course. This year the course was designed to result in a film. In addition to painters Erica Svec and Zach Wollard, we hired sculptor Nancy Lupo to assist with teaching. We also hired Hannah Walsh and Richard Walters to assist with the cameras, video editing and sound editing. In addition to the five teachers, filmmaker Austin Lynch was on site for the entire class shooting a documentary about the course. Similar to the summer of 2011, each participant was assigned a section of the color spectrum that they would use as an underlying structure and traverse it in a five minute edited section that would become part of a larger film. We started meeting in Richmond in the spring of 2012 and many aspects of the sets had been built in advance of the summer. While the participants were in Vermont they shot and edited their films as well as doing sound foley experimentation with Richard that was folded into the film. We used the rotating stage from the previous summer as a screen on which to project the film. The second day of the course, we hired an excavator to dig a series of three twenty-foot long by eight-foot deep trenches that fanned out in front of the stage. Each of the students was given a third of a trench

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to stage a shot that would be performed live the night of the screening. On the final night of the class we projected the film A Color Film: And Everything Like That onto the stage in front of a large audience. At one point during each of the students’ sections of the film, the screen would go dark and a part of the trenches in front of the screen would light up. Then the projection would go live to a feed of a performance set in the trench. After each of these short interludes, the pre-recorded film would return to the screen. These live portions were conceived to augment the pre-recorded parts of their films. Aside from the one section of the film by participant Nick Fagan, the stage remained stationary. For Nick’s act the stage was rotated to reveal his film being projected over the live drumming of sludge/doom metal drummer Timmy St. Amour and guitar styling by participant Joe Paulk. These two courses and experiences have been remarkable for me. In addition to extending the legacy of this piece of land, I have learned so much about working in tandem with multiple generations of artists. I am so grateful to everyone who participated. There is much more to come.

Corin Hewitt March 1, 2013

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“In summer, the song sings itself.� ~ William Carlos Williams

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Production Notes

A Color Film: And Everything Like That was first screened and performed in East Corinth, Vermont, July 14th, 2012. The acts and performances were produced by: Weston Lowe Colleen Billing Ginger Kitchen Josef Paulk Maria Camia Nick Fagan Julia Hundley Robert Saltonstall Ha Tran S. Riley Duncan A Color Film or something like that - which you will encounter in the following pages - is a doppleganger, a mirage and a new look at the acts, imagination and ephemera of the film and its making. These images and words function as mixtures, growths and desaturations of the original endeavor, inherently abstracted by the passage of time.

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S c e n e

http://burlington.craigslist.org/i/personals?category=mis

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a pastoral clearing new growth forest sugarbushes and birches modern desk with wood grain formica two aloe plants in terracotta pots assorted stains & paints for finger nails (arranged in spectral order) acrylic nails (arranged by sizes) a distinct scent of lacquer everything bathed in a pale orange light.

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distant music growing louder

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brother

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theremin

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theremin echoes

lights in the field

lighting stove score rotating by key change cooking

eating ice cream

stumbling upon a frog looking up to the moon watching the trees go by

spider scats

‘paper wings’ line of braiding hair two chaps on the hill smoking siren gazing under a tree a body drifting, feet floating over leaves peakaboo! out in the garden, hiding in the shrubs door opens daylight swimmers

everyone in dresses.

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birds chanting in a circle

listening to the main bird

they begin to manipulate each other

feeding the main bird pulled off body parts

main bird becomes a scarifice, its heart pulled out

the other birds eat its body

they evolve into a seven headed creature.

bong sounds turn into yap sounds as the creature poops out another

they make eye contact

this pooped out character slowly walks toward the bird creature

they slow dance to the violin.

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POST CARD

Mr. Nicholas Fagan 100 Stevens Hill Road East Corinth, Vermont 05040

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a dim bathroom breathing sounds a faucet drips porcelain hair the color of milk sun at the window

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girls with bi g

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S c e n e

grunt gasp slosh mud hairs hand dust butt

dick

breast

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heaven, you'll love this place! cut by a deep river, a rhinestone shore in the dawn of reluctant spring. blossoming color still grey, in shadow and dust blown from earthskingrit, pixelating between cracked fingers. summer hot aluminum shadow, I shield my eyes at high noon I heel my dog at low curbs tide, everything concrete and arching inward how long the days go on. coyote in the valley, howl swallow sinking, a languid air; this transparent weight, colorless and heavier than all things.

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Notes

* Dairy farming has been a part of Vermont culture since the days of its earliest settlers; although post-World War II mechanization of agricultural and refrigeration processes severely impacted small farms, these traditions still live on today. Similarly, Vermonters have been 'sugaring' Maple sap for centuries, making syrup a preferred local sweetener. Bradford, a small town roughly ten miles from the Hewitt's land, is home to an ice cream and miniature golf establishment called Mr. Putz. Here, they serve Slick's ice cream, which is easily the best I have ever eaten. Being summer, we bought Maple Walnut ice cream by the gallon and kept it in the cellar freezer. * Recipes for at-home cosmetology: Cucumber Honey Face-wash

1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut up into pieces 2 tsp. honey

Puree cucumber in a blender. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and set the sieve over a glass bowl or measuring cup. Pour the cucumber puree through the sieve and let it stand for 15 minutes for the juices to drip into the bowl. Pour the clear juice into a clean bottle and add honey.

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Oatmeal Exfoliator

1 tbsp. oatmeal 1 tbsp. plain organic yogurt (organic is important) a few drops of honey Grind the oatmeal a little using a coffee grinder or blender. Mix the ground oatmeal with the yogurt. Heat a spoon under a hot running faucet and add honey to the warm spoon to heat it up, then add the honey to the oatmeal and yogurt mixture. Coffee Exfoliator

3 tbsp. coffee grounds (organic-caffeinated) 1 tbsp. salt (optional) Brew a fresh pot of coffee. Enjoy a cup, if you like. Put grounds (and salt) in a small bowl. Use grounds within 20 minutes of brewing before oxidation occurs. Lavender Mousse

3 tbsp. dried lavender flowers 1½ cups almond milk ¹/³ cup Honey Process lavender flowers in a blender until they become a powder, turning off the blender and scraping down the sides as necessary. Whisk together lavender powder, milk and honey. Avocado Mask

½ very ripe, soft avocado ¼ cup honey Mash the avocado in a bowl, then stir in honey. Apply to skin and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse face with a cool washcloth.

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* The two pieces have been notated from the same score, transposed from the audio in Ginger's film. Although musically identitical the pieces are polyphonic, meaning they contain a texture consisting of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody. .

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A Color Film or something like that  

"a mirage, a doppleganger and a new look at the acts, imagination and ephemera of the film and its making."

A Color Film or something like that  

"a mirage, a doppleganger and a new look at the acts, imagination and ephemera of the film and its making."

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