Thursday, June 10, 2010

Zoe Beloff London Engagements, Tonight and Tomorrow Night, June 10th and 11

For those of you in or near London, friend, artist, and favorite Observatory presenter Zoe Beloff has a few upcoming engagements in your fair city. I have seen both of these presentations here in New York City and could not recommend them more enthusiastically!

Full details follow; hope you can make it out to see her! You won't be sorry.
The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society Dream Films 1926-1972: an illustrated lecture and screening
Date: June 10, 2010
Time: 7pm
Place: Viktor Wynd Fine Art, 11 Mare Street , London E8 4RP

The members of the Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society were filled with the desire to participate in one of the great intellectual movements of the 20th century: psycho-analysis. Additionally, like the Amateur Cine League (founded the same year), many members wished to tap into the power for self expression afforded by technologies like home movie cameras that were newly accessible to ordinary people. This screening presents a range of their amateur films, which reveal an incredibly brave, unapologetic exploration of their inner lives.

Find out more and book tickets here:


Discipline & the Moving Image - lecture/screening
Date: Friday, June 11, 2010

Time:6:30pm - 9:00pm

Admission Free
Location: Birkbeck Cinema (
43 Gordon Square, London
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

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 psychosocial control: Folie à Deux and Motion 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 and Motion 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 Application and 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.
You can find out more about Zoe and her work by clicking here. You can find out more about event number one by clicking here and event number two by clicking here.

No comments: