Art Practical Year 3 Launch, with Music and Super-8 film

Today we look back at the launch party for Year 3 of Art Practical, an online magazine that documents and discusses Bay Area visual arts through reviews and analysis. The event took place at Fivepoints Arthouse. Upon entry, we were offered the opportunity to purchase a logo shot glass (which I did). During the evening, it was filled a few “Shotgun Shots” (Shutgun! being the title of their first issue for the year).

However, the highlight of the evening was in basement of Fivepoints, where artists/musicians Joshua Churchill and John Davis presented live experimental music set against a hand-solarized Super 8 film. It’s pretty rare these days to see actual Super 8 films, but it definitely added something to the piece. They images were purposefully grainy, and even more distorted as a result of the solarization and other treatments of the film – it reminded me of some of the effects on the Hipstamatic (see examples here and here), but on a much larger scale and with a richer depth of intensity and contrast.

Joshua Churchill sat in front of the screen and performed the live with electric guitar and an array of electronic effects. There were echoes, distortions, some elements that sounded like looping, and synthetic sounds from the combination of effects. There was a noisiness and graininess to the music that seemed to reflect the quality of the film. The overall effect was quite beautiful and evocative, and mesmerizing.

Through small slots in the ceiling, light poured in from the main floor gallery, creating a series of light streaks that worked both in concert and contrast with the images from the film and heightened the overall presentation. Even though the space was quite crowded, I found myself completely immersed in the visuals and sounds of the piece.

The piece would have been a great event to see on its own even without the party, but I am happy it was there otherwise I might have missed it. All in all, a great evening. And now Art Practical is already on its third issue of Year 3.