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May 1, 2004  

Sharon Lockhart: Four Films

In conjunction with a symposium on visual anthropology and contemporary art, we are pleased to present an evening featuring rarely seen films by celebrated West Coast artist Sharon Lockhart. Having first gained international recognition for her photographic series Auditions, in which children reenact an innocently romantic encounter from a Truffaut film, Lockhart has worked extensively in the film medium, often focusing on subjects that blur the distinction between documentary reportage and conceptual art.

This program is co-sponsored by the Fogg Art Museum, the Peabody Museum, and the Film Study Center, with special assistance from the Barbara Gladstone Gallery.


Introduced by Linda Norden, Associate Director of Contemporary Art Fogg Art Museum
May 1 (Saturday) 7 pm

No

Directed by Sharon Lockhart
Japan/US, 2003, color, 34 min.

Filmed in real time and from a fixed camera angle, No creates a visual choreography from an everyday action. A Japanese peasant couple is bundling hay and later spreads it out again over the field. This action, which occurs in linear geometric precision from back to front and vice versa, ensures an observation of the landscape, perspective, light, and time. Lockhart’s work emerges as a landscape painting in real time.

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Teatro Amazonas

Directed by Sharon Lockhart
US/Brazil, 1999, color, 38 min.

Lockhart's largest-scale work, set in a nineteenth-century opera house in Manaus, Brazil, films an audience that is a cross-section of the city’s indigenous and European population. From a fixed camera hidden on the theater’s stage, Lockhart captures the audience in a single, unedited thirty-minute take as it sits waiting and listening to a piece of minimalist contemporary music: a choral work especially commissioned for the film from the composer Becky Allen. Performed by a choir out of sight in the orchestra pit, the composition, which consists of a single decrescendo on one note, starts deafeningly loud with twelve groups of five singers each, all intoning a cyclic sequence of local vowel sounds, and then dwindles until all that is left is one barely audible group. As the sound of the musical performance diminishes, ambient noise from the increasingly restless, fidgety, and talkative audience increases. Teatro Amazonas is an elaborate, intriguing formalist experiment investigating the cinematic gaze and cultural exchange, and offering an unconventional ethnographic record of its Amazonian subjects engaged (and disengaged) in the act of spectatorship.

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Goshogaoka

Directed by Sharon Lockhart
US/Japan 1998, color, 63 min.

Filmed in a secondary school in suburban Japan, Goshoagaoko at first seems to be about the exercise routines and drills of a girls' basketball team. The film consists of six ten minute takes, shot with a fixed camera at court level, in which the various cadences of chanting voices and bodily movements disgress into distinct studies. Taken together they form a subtle and multilayered social portrait, in which documentary values soon become inseparable from aesthetic ones. And as there are no games, scrimmages, or barking coaches here, just the girls and their routines, the image is not so much one of contest and gamesmanship but one of individualization within a scene of group cooperation. Shy girls, a shy camera and a strange kind of social belonging. (Film description courtesy of Rotterdam International Film Festival)

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Khalil, Shaun, A Woman Under the Influence

Directed by Sharon Lockhart
US 1994, color, 16 min.

 

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700