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#004 LOVE//STREAMS


Matt Turner & Michelle Yoon & Isaac Goes & Kurt Walker

#004 LOVE//STREAMS “Love is a stream. It is continuous. It doesn't stop." “Love has no end—a story always has. You will now see: a lovestory.” "A young man leaves his village to audition for a dance company in town. He starts getting involved in illegal activities. He goes to bed with men for money. He falls in love with a man. He starts performing with a dance company.” So begins Georgian filmmaker Alexandre Koberidze’s first feature ​ Let The Summer Never Come Again, ​ and before long what may seem like a fairly straightforward film proves itself to be a source of frequent wonders. Filmed entirely on ​ a Sony Ericsson W595 yet offering no shortage of visual splendour, it is a work of consistent ingenuity and continual surprise, an experimental, three-hour-plus piece of pixel-impressionism that references cinema’s silent era whilst forging forward with the creation of its own language. Roads wind; the city glimmers; trees tremble in the wind; and cats, dogs and people come and pass by Koberidze’s camera - life unravelling in a series of bold gestures and broad brushstrokes.​A ​ prize winner at FIDMarseille and Berlinale, Koberidze’s film is many things: a classical romance; a city symphony; and a road movie all rolled into one. Let The Summer Never Come Again is preceded by a micro series of minute-long ‘love streams’ made by filmmakers affiliated with Kinet Media. Kinet is a virtual studio dedicated to the production and dissemination of new and boundary pushing avantgarde cinema. ~ watch more films online @ kinet.media


Let The Summer Never Come Again (Alexandre Koberidze, 2017)

+ short film love streams from Kinet Media

LOST FUTURES #004 x Kinet Media 6.00pm, 24th February 2019 Close-Up Cinema, Shoreditch, London


Let The Summer Never Come Again (Alexandre Koberidze / 2017 / Georgia, Germany / 202’)

LOVE//STREAMS


Kinet Media will be showing six 1' films before the screening of Let The Summer Never Come Again

Kelley Dong / 2017 / USA / 1’) Late Embryo + Rained Last Night Isaac Goes / 2019 / USA / 1’) Redshift Isiah Medina / 2018 / Canada / 1’) face time audio Miguel Mantecon / 2018 / USA / 1’) Go-Stop Dylan Tachick / 2018 / USA / 1’) _feb18 Michelle Yoon / 2018 / USA / 1’) 4z

1’

18:00 Sunday 24.02.19

Close-Up Cinema 97 Scatler St. London, E1 6HR, UK

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Let The Summer Never Come Again (Alexandre Koberidze, 2017)


the most important thing "You will now see: a lovestory." Kelley Dong unwraps the unorthodox love story at the centre of Alexandre Koberidze’s Let The Summer Never Come Again. G e o r g i a n f i l m m a ke r A l e x a n d r e Koberidze’s Let the Summer Never Come Again begins with an epigraph superimposed onto a country road. “Love has no end—a story always has. You will now see: a lovestory.” By uniting the two words, Koberidze’s debut feature strives not to reconcile the binary but to delineate their difference. The result is a beguiling, self-reflexive experiment: If “love” and “narrative” are of separate worlds, then what is a “lovestory” and how can it be told? Deeming love the immaterial variable, Koberidze opts to eliminate its appearance—its sights and sounds—from his three and a half hours altogether. In three chapters of scant detail, the voice of an omniscient woman strings together the fragments of a short love affair. An aspiring dancer (Mate Kevlishvili) leaves his village for the city of Tbilisi, Georgia. But the audition has been cancelled. The man turns to working multiple jobs, from underground fighting to prostitution, and abandons his dreams of dancing. But the monotony of this new life is interrupted by love, which may have no end but always starts with an encounter. After several chance meetings, a handsome military officer (Giorgi Bochorishvili) offers a large sum of money in exchange for the young man’s company. The narrator informs us that the officer, handsome and educated, is the one “in whom the young man has fallen in love.” But it is an invisible and secret fall. The men themselves are stoic and a bit stiff, standing at a distance from one another and the world.

Here is where Let the Summer Never Come Again becomes, for its viewers, an exercise of faith. With not a surreptitious glance to see or whisper to hear, the film deprives audiences of the cues on which we so often depend as proof of intimacy. We see the entering and exiting of different spaces—hotel rooms, the sea, the woods—but never what occurs behind closed doors. Words are exchanged at low volume, obscured by the noise of the city. There are two dimensions to this act of removal. The first is that of privacy’s role in queer relationships as a means of survival, to protect love from outside hostilities. The second is the idea that love does not need cinematic representations to prove its existence. The film’s lack thereof challenges audiences to choose to believe—that love is true, that it is real—regardless of what can or cannot be perceived by the senses. Between the ebb and flow of invisible romance, the narrator draws our attention to a number of happenings in Tbilisi. The city is not a space but a stage. Recorded at a distance, the performances of Tbilisi’s pedestrians— seemingly unaware of the camera’s surveillance—are surreal and affected but not, as sociologist Erving Goffman would argue, out of a need to impress the public. These moments unfold aimlessly according to a predestined path—a tale of Koberidze’s making. A man purchases a watermelon and hollows it out with a spoon, hides a gun inside it, then robs a bank. A woman falls ill in the park; confused bystanders scramble to call an ambulance. Sometimes these paths

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overlap with that of the lovers, but their secret remains well kept. When two robbers dressed as clowns mug the officer, his only response is “fucking clowns.” While he washes the blood from his mouth, the concern on his face prompts one to wonder where he has come from, or to whom he is headed. The most notable conceit of the film is its use of a Sony Ericsson cellphone, which records video at 15 frames per second with 3.15 megapixels, both nearly five times less than that of the latest smartphones. The phone’s camera produces footage we might refer to as low quality, based on the slow speed at which its pixels adapt to changes in light. But through these oversaturated, auto-exposed, and coarsely textured images, Let the Summer Never Come Again makes visible the mechanisms of its fiction. The pixels are a mere signifier of reality, contingent on the rules set by the phone’s hardware. Even in its most static state, the film appears as if in constant flux. The sky glistens and the sidewalks glitch, their distorted colors reconfiguring in response to the bodies of indistinct passersby. For a moment, the Ericsson even provides an incidentally erotic touch: in isolation, the men eat fruit together on a balcony, glowing orange in the sun. In daylight, the shops seem to melt into one another. By night, the moving cars and lit windows resemble the melting squares of painter Paul Klee, who himself distinguished his shapes as pictorial abstractions, distinct and distant from the real objects to which they referred. Parts of Let the Summer Never Come Again were also shot on the RED camera. At the beginning of each chapter, an anonymous man stands by a projector, his face out of sight. He loads and rolls the same reel of film, repeating the refrain: "Two days after the war had broken out, I understood that the war

hadn't broken out two days ago." He then recalls a childhood memory that involves the stench of rotting butter and hiding from incoming Russian tanks. The repetition of the scene three times over, and the rhythm of winding reels, renders memory a story-making machine. But the introduction of war invites a more difficult challenge. If war has an ending, then is it also a story? Can love stay true, even in the face of war? Abruptly, the officer is sent to Afghanistan for 18 months. The young man returns to the village by train, presumably without a trace. After the men part ways, the narrator does not speak of the romance again. Summer turns to fall. The young man’s train passes by nameless faces and stops at a station, its location unclear. Of love and story, we have already been told that only love will remain, so the film’s end—accompanied by the classic onscreen title “The End”—is in no way a trick. The men will continue to love beyond the narrative’s reach; how that love will unfold is unnecessary to know. Although it may appear convoluted by description, Koberdize’s film does not play games or engage in twists and turns. One might argue that the messiness of love is necessary to document as an artifact of human recklessness. Without these, Let the Summer Never Come Again gracefully strips love down to the fact that it starts and persists. There are countless questions regarding love and narrative, love and cinema, love and cinema and war. Asking them often becomes a poetics unto itself. But Koberidze has taken a grand step in form, forward and out of the cave, and it seems he has arrived at his answer. This article was originally posted on Reverse Shot, Jan 11th 2018. and was commisioned alongside the screening of Let The Summer Never Come Again at the Museum of the Moving Image’s First Look Festival 2018.


Let The Summer Never Come Again (Alexandre Koberidze, 2017)

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Love Streams (Tim Hecker, 2016)

Tim Hecker performing at EMPAC New York, 2015


love streams Matt Turner on the sensorial sounds of electronic musician Tim Hecker, and on hearing (and feeling) drone music in a live setting. Becoming full of sound. Drone music isn’t the same when listened to at home. It is within a live environment that it comes into its own. It is a type of music that needs a large sound system and a room with good acoustics, not because of the sound quality that this environment provides, but because of the physicality of the music: its need to be felt as much as it is heard. Drone needs space to grow, to swell and bloom, to pulsate and to reverberate; room to come out of its source and surround the environment. It needs a swarm of bodies pressed against each other, all ready to be packed full of sound. It was in 2014 that I first encountered this, seeing Tim Hecker perform songs from his album ‘Virgins’ at Oval Space. Stood over his laptop between the two jet blue beams that were the room’s sole source of light, he sent washes of static drone into the blackness, waves of texture that swathed the room in an invisible cloud that seemed to lend the room both light and heat. I had listened to his music, and to music like it before, but I had not felt anything quite like this. Closing my eyes, I was able to visualise the music, seeing organ blitzes appear as clouds and waves, or piano loops as blobs of paint or water; the crackles and breakdowns in the sound causing these apparitions to dissipate and then form new shapes in the mind. As the music built and swelled, it felt like I was too, the whole top layer of the skin' surface turning hot to the touch, nerves tingling and hairs standing on their ends - a full-body sensation of being coated by sound, no substances required. Standing there in the long, dark hall, a room lit dimly by the city lights that can

be seen in the wall-to-ceiling windows that line one side of the venue, I started to understand that hearing this sort of music in a live space was a different sensation to the listening experiences I had felt before, closer to club music that sounds for a concert hall. All bodies were still, and maybe no one else was feeling this. The show ended and I came back to the world, skin still hot, nerves still tingling. Full of sound. I saw Hecker again in 2016, playing songs from his next album ‘Love Streams’—a record made from repurposed choral music, sacred chants warped, stripped, and eviscerated—in St John’s Church in Hackney. Denser, simpler and softer than ‘Virgins’, it was blasted through the church hall alongside a continually pumping stream of dry-ice, an act of sensory deprivation presumably designed to drive focus towards the sound and away from the setting or its creator. The result was effective, the same sensations I felt whilst hearing this music before returned, only stronger. Without the harshness of that last album, all was left was the swell of the sound, the buzz of the static, and the warmth of the feeling. A kinetic type of airborne energy. Often described with adjectives such as "bludgeoning" and "pulverising", drone seems to have an aggressive or assaultive quality attached to it that does not match my experience of the music. It is a comforting style of sound, incomparably warm. Pleasingly full, it is both healing and heating in its pulses and tingles, a hug with a grip that squeezes too hard. 'Love Streams' is a romantic record. It needs to be felt as much as it is heard.

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Live Streams

e-cuttings by Matt Turner

a visualisation of the audio in the scene in John Cassavetes's Love Streams in which Gena Rowland's character describes her definition of love.

selected search streams online'

"Love is a stream. It is continuous. It does not stop."

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stills from John Cassavetes' fil Streams with overlays from a for Tim Hecker's album 'Love St

"When I think about Cassavetes, I always feel happy. I feel glad that I like movies. I'm sure I will always feel this way until the day I die, and I intend to feel this way too. At the end of Love Streams, Cassavetes smiles as he sees the dog next to him, which turned into a naked man. I live my life always wishing I can smile like that." Director Shinji Aoyama on John Cassavetes' film Love Streams


inspirational poster image format for HonorĂŠ de Balzac quote: “love is like some fresh spring, first a stream and then a river", with collage-stream of images that google's search algorithm thinks are similar.

t-shirt featuring cover of Nan Goldin's photobook 'Love Streams' (mockup)

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sentimental romance Neil Bahadur looks at Sergei Einsenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov's 1930 short film Romance Sentimentale, showing how it conjours great romance from meagre means. In this Kinet program, all the films preceding the main feature Let The Summer Never Come Again, are a group of self-described, minute-long "love streams". Romance Sentimentale runs twenty minutes. Yet, whilst nothing seems to happen - or rather, there is no significant event of any kind, there is a character who sings. I'm reminded of Kelley Dong's Late Embryo, which runs a mere eleven seconds. Dong’s film is comprised of 56 photographs taken over twenty days, which, when played in succession, appear to take on the effect of a moving image. Late Embryo is essentially cinema’s ability to condense time as work itself, making twenty whole days last only as long as eleven seconds. In an odd coincidence - one I had realized well after having agreed to write this piece - Late Embryo is the inverse of Romance Sentimentale, another experiment in time where Eisenstein expands what only lasts a minute or less to a full twenty minutes. Originating as an early experiment in sound cinema, here Eisenstein recognises the possibility for sound to emphasize feeling - the inherent possibility of musicality within the spoken word. As silent films generally had musical accompaniment often chosen by the director, this would seem a non-issue for the director. And indeed, it isn’t. Instead, Eisenstein combines sonic experiment with cinema’s reordering of time - one of the questions Romance Sentimentale asks is this: how long does an emotion last? After a single title card - the only one in the film ('Autumn...sadness...dead love... such are the themes of this old Russian song') the film opens not with a shot but rather a sound collage, before the images - sped-up shots of trees, waves crashing,

trees falling, and other abstract shots of nature - begin. But we don’t get any sense of direct sound. Instead, the sound collage is synched with the images we see on screen, a more abstract form of what became known as “Mickey Mousing”, no doubt picked up off of Walt Disney, who Eisenstein was a great admirer of. Soon, a musical soundtrack begins, as “violent” as the sound collage was, again meant to act a sort of companion to the images... not a counterpoint! The images of trees falling, waves crashing, etc. take on an aggressively abstract sensuousness as they are cut to the music, creating not any sort of dialectical dialogue but rather a consuming abstract sensual impact. Interestingly, this resembles what Disney himself would do in Fantasia, and one can imagine Eisenstein cutting this scene as though conducting an orchestra - or rather, like Mickey Mouse putting on the Sorcerer’s hat, turning a broom into his apprentice. (Fantasia came ten years later!) But unlike the later Disney picture, the point isn’t virtuosity in and of itself. Instead, these 'tempests of nature', so to speak, are equal to tempests of emotion. Shortly, the music calms, the water ripples, not crashes, and the wind passes, not rips, through the leaves, steadily. Suddenly, there is a character and a setting - maybe there will be a plot. There isn’t, at least not in the conventional sense of the term - except for what we have just seen. A woman stands in silhouette by a window, staring out at the same landscape that we have just seen, a landscape that seems as normal as landscape ever does. Meanwhile time passes ‘conventionally’ - we see a ticking clock, a lamppost, a fireplace burning, a


dog. What do we make of this in context with what we have just seen? Then the woman moves. She leaves the window she watches the world outside from, and sits down by the piano: this is the only ‘action’ which occurs in the film. She sings the sad song mentioned in the opening, and soon similar images occur once more - rain hitting the window, a fire burning beyond its means, even animation appears, alongside sculptures of bodies holding other sculptures of bodies. As the woman looks outside the window, and we the see the landscape as it ‘exists’ within conventional reality, we see the meaning of the sad song - or the meaning of the illustration. The song is belaboured, melancholy, in emotional turmoil. And so is the rapidity of the images we see in the beginning, as is the music and sounds that accompany it. This isn’t just metaphor for inner turmoil, it’s also the reordering of the senses put in motion. As we see the woman watch an image that we have already seen out of the window, we realize that this is also her own reordering of perception, brought on by painful emotion. The cutting isn’t for psychological affect (as say, a German Expressionist filmmaker might do) but physiological affect - yet, Eisenstein seems to say, we must go even further: physiology and psychology are intertwined, since there is a emotional breakage point of a person, it’s nothing to merely depict it - we must also become aware of it. We see the abstraction first, then we see the 'character and setting' and then we see what she is looking at. The question Eisenstein posits here is this: what is the relationship between our senses and what we actually see? As she sits down to perform, the question is pushed even further - what is the relationship between the 'art' that one creates and the world outside of it? Or rather, if art is ultimately the inner world of a person, then what of the world around them? Eisenstein never leaves us with questions. Only the greatest are conclusive. A person takes in the world as

stimuli, then releases it as creative gesture - the inner world is defined by the outer one, and one's creative gestures, such as art, are a reflection of the world back at it, coloured by whatever individuality a human being can hold on to. Most filmmakers can barely form a single question to posit throughout an entire film, Eisenstein posits questions and gives answers - like his idol, Leonardo da Vinci. Shortly after the song begins, we see muddy images - tree branches as a kind of emotional abstraction, fog - that all are suggestive of an interior state. Then the film appears to explode in a sort of cathartic triumph: sculptures embracing, white doves scattering. At one point we see a white piano and the woman dressed in a white fur being reflected in rippling water. The camera reverses position, and then fades to the woman back in black, sitting at a black piano, back in the setting we have seen earlier. Perception has its limitations: cinema can go even farther than the human. The music continues and slows down, and rain begins to run down the windows like tears. For a moment - we are back in 'the world', yet Eisenstein is controlling it. Then we start to see the same images we saw at the beginning of the sequence - a clock ticking, a fireplace, a dog. What began as an experiment in sound brings us back to 'conventional reality', but the point is not that 'conventional reality' does not exist, but rather, that there is no such thing as conventional reality in the face of the cinematic. It’s no Man With The Movie Camera in fact, it’s an expulsion of cinematic capability and possibility that Vertov could have only barely imagined. And she has only actually sung anything for about a minute. After this comes the rainstorm, the rising sun and wind blowing through tree blossoms. Do these things happen after our own bouts of emotional turmoil? Of course not - but they can when they are made to do so.

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Some Dogs That I Love Photographs by Alexandre Koberidze


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004 - LOVE//STREAMS LOST FUTURES x Kinet.Media Special Thanks to: Alexandre, Damien, Dogs, Dylan, Kelley, Kurt, Isaac, Isiah, Laurence, Michael, Michelle, Matthew, Miguel, Neil, Oliver, Oliver, Sabrina.

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