Pioneering filmmaker Phil Solomon (b. 1954) will present and offer a close analysis of his fifty-six-minute epic tone poem, American Falls. Commissioned by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. as a multimedia installation for the museum’s grand Rotunda, American Falls was originally screened as a single channel triptych with surround sound. Inspired by Frederic Church’s 1857 masterpiece Niagara and by Washington’s monumental war memorials, American Falls explores the aspirations and struggles that lie at the heart of the American Dream. Solomon’s resources for these images include Hollywood cinema, found footage, and documentary and fictionalized accounts of historical events. Solomon’s innovative use of altered film emulsion transforms Niagara Falls into a metaphoric landscape, encouraging us to consider how a place can reflect the events that occur on its shores. Envisioning the currents of history as a collective dream, American Falls considers many of the questions inherent in our national identity, at a crucial moment in this country’s passage.
More than any other independent film or video I can think of from the past decade, American Falls invokes the specter of a nation whose present unraveling is all too rooted in its history. – Tony Pipolo, Artforum
This program is part of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts lecture series which supports the curriculum of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard.
Phil Solomon in Person
Thursday October 31 at 6pm
Directed by Phil Solomon
US 2012, color, digital video, 56 min