Sunday, September 12, 2004

Zoe Beloff : September 11 2004 

Zoe Beloff

3d glasses are handed out as we enter the theater. The effect works best if
you sit close to the center aisle. I sit right in the center behind a
tangled mass of projectors. There is some introducing and then we all put
on our glasses. Zoe Beloff positions herself at the projectors and signals
for the 78 sp records to be started. There is muffled scratching and then a
comedians voice from the 20s speaking as if in a telephone conversation.
The slides begin, only these slides are 3 dimensional. They are muted color
photographs of old shop windows and we are looking straight into them. A
manikin pops out, a row of shoes. The comedian finishes his routine and
another scratchy record comes on. Now it’s music from long ago and to this,
another layer is added. Zoe begins to hand crank a film onto/into the
slides. It appears that the film is being projected straight into the shop
window: a very old film, tiny, black and white, jumping frames, depicting
naked women posing and dancing. My favorite part is when two of the women
stand behind the first one and wave their arms around so it appears as if
the first woman has 6 arms. Zoe is stacking illusions here, one upon
another upon another. It becomes a dizzying mix of technology and
nostalgia. There is a break and our eyes adjust to the (real) world just in
time to put the glasses back on. Now there is a stereoscopic 16 mm movie
projected on a small silver screen. It is set in Victorian times and
appears to have been shot a very long time ago. A little girl is trying to
write. The narration states that she is having trouble putting together a
half dozen sentences about nature. The word “nature” floats around her and
she grabs for it but it floats just out of reach and appears really to float
off the screen. She climbs on the chair and reaches out and finally catches
one of the letters. To my surprise, she eats it. I wonder what it tastes
like. Probably rice paper, I think. Things become progressively surreal as
she wanders through floating apparitions and messages and suggestions that
she is loosing her mind. There is a sentence spoken in the movie that stuck
in my mind amidst all the layers and bending of dimensions. “Thoughts are
the only real tangible substance.” She is showing another 3d movie today
(Sunday) at 4pm at the Guild. You won’t be able to rent this on DVD.


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