Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Zoe Beloff in New York City, January 18th and 19th

I have just been alerted to two upcoming presentations by Zoe Beloff, frequent Observatory contributer, personal friend, and friend of Morbid Anatomy. Her work is always interesting, informative, and thought provoking, and these presentations look particularly not-to-be-missed. Very much hope to see you at one or both of these events!
1) An Evening with Zoe Beloff at MOMA
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
January 18, 2010 7pm
11 West 53 Street New York, NY 10019

Zoe Beloff will be discussing recent installations with an emphasis on her current exhibition "Dreamland: The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and its Circle 1926- 1972" at the Coney Island Museum. As part of the show, she will be screening all the Coney Island "Dream Films" and giving a little preview of new work. You can find out more about the event, which is part of the series "Modern Mondays" by clicking here.

2) Zoe Beloff presents at Light Industry: Obedience
Light Industry in Brooklyn
January 19, 2010 7.30pm
220 36th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue), 5th Floor
Brooklyn, New York
Tickets - $7, available at door

Obedience, Stanley Milgram, 16mm, 1962, 45 mins
Folie à Deux, National Film Board of Canada, 16mm, 1952, 15 mins
Motion Studies Application, 16mm, ca. 1950, 15 mins
Presented by Zoe Beloff

Obedience documents the infamous "Milgram experiment" conducted at Yale University in 1962, created to evaluate an everyday person's deference to authority within institutional structures. Psychologist Stanley Milgram designed a scenario in which individuals were made to think they were administering electric shocks to an unseen subject, with a researcher asking them to increase the voltage levels despite the loud cries of pain that seemed to come from the other room. Milgram saw his test, conducted mere months after Adolf Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem, as a way to understand the environments that made genocide possible.

Tonight, artist Zoe Beloff pairs Obedience with two earlier works dealing with psycho-social control: Folie à Deux andMotion Studies Application. The former, one of a series of films on various psychological maladies produced by the National Film Board of Canada in the 1950s, presents an interview with a young woman and her immigrant mother afflicted by shared delusions that manifest when the two are together. The latter is an industrial film purporting to present ways to increase efficiency in the workplace: explaining, for instance, a means to fold cardboard boxes more quickly. In stark contrast to the nostalgic whimsy typically associated with old educational films, Folie à Deux andMotion Studies Application play as infernal dreams of systemic power and sources of surprising, unintended pathos.

"The concept of 'motion studies' is central to cinema itself. Without the desire to analyze human motion, there would be no cinematic apparatus. But the history of motion studies is freighted with ideology. Its inventor Étienne-Jules Marey was paid by the French Government to figure out the most efficient method for soldiers to march, while his protégé Albert Londe analyzed the gait of hysterical patients. From the beginning, the productive body promoted by Taylorism was always shadowed by its double, the body riven by psychic breakdown. We see this in Motion Studies Applicationand especially Folie à Deux, where unproductive patients, confined to the asylum, understand with paranoid lucidity that the institution is everywhere, monitoring them always. Obedience stands as a conscious critique of these earlier industrial films, co-opting their form only to subvert them and reveal their fascist underpinnings." - ZB

You can find directions to Light Industry and more about their screenings here.
More information on the MOMA show is available here; you can find out more about the Light Industries screening, and get directions, by clicking here. More about her exhibition "Dreamland: The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and its Circle 1926- 1972," on view at the Coney Island Museum until March 21st of this year, by clicking here. Click here to visit Zoe's website and find out more about her work.

Image: Still from the film Obedience, 1962


Dhoa said...

Obedience sounds amazing! I love the concept of this show. Wish I could catch it but that would be a long commute!

SusanW said...

This sound amazing...will def do her MOMA lecture. Thanks for the heads up!

BTW, based on the suggestion at the lecture on "Cabinets of Curiosity" which we attended, we took a trip up to Yale. LOVED the exhibition! Four stars!! If you did not attend and would like a catalogue, please let me know and I would be pleased to mail it to you. (

Cheers and all best wishes for the New Year!