Michael Snow: New York Eye & Ear Control * All screening programs curated by Oona Mosna
New York Eye and Ear Control, 16mm, 34:00, 1964
Soundtrack commissioned by Snow: Albert Ayler, tenor saxophone; Don Cherry, trumpet; John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Roswell Rudd, trombone; Gary Peacock, bass; Sonny Murray, drums. Paul Haines, recording technician, also wrote a poem for the film.
"One of the major achievements of the sixties. Mike Snow postulates an eye that stares at surfaces with such intensity... The image itself seems to quiver, finally gives way under the pressure. A deceptive beginning - silent: a flat white form sharply cut to the silhouette of a walking woman...More human images, love-making - a human epic now still ruled by the after image of the Walking Woman. As in no other film yet seen, its alternately soft and granite images lift us toward the year 2000; capturing not events, not objects, but again and again registering a ‘placement’ of consciousness - the subject matter of the future, really. Human energy on film...” - Richard Foreman
<---> 16mm, 50:00, 1969
"If Wavelength is metaphysics, Eye and Ear Control is philosophy and <----> will be physics." —Michael Snow
Building on motifs that Snow had developed in both Wavelength and Standard Time, <----> is an exploration of interior space and the particulars of camera movement. Shooting in a university classroom in New Jersey, Snow rigged his tripod so that the camera could only pan within a certain range. The camera proceeds to pan from left to right, starting at a medium pace and then slowing down before speeding up; at its apex, the movement changes direction to tilt up and down at a similar pace, before slowing down to a final stop. Like Wavelength, the pan ignores the range of human activity in the room — a student reading, two students fighting, a janitor cleaning, a vernissage that includes Snow's fellow artists Allan Kaprow and Max Neuhaus — instead utilizing speed to convert space into sheer motion.