Preparation Rituals

Preparation Rituals

Various, 100 Minutes | 2pm | Saturday 29 June at UQ Art Museum

Whether theatrical, mechanical or cinematic illusionism, Preparation Rituals explores magic as performance and performance as control of oneself or others. Preparation Rituals is the first of three film programs in conjunction with UQ Art Museum’s Second Sight: Witchcraft, Ritual, Power exhibition.

Three Quarters
Kevin Jerome Everson | 2015, 5m
A silent 16mm portrait of two magicians—Donald E. Camp and Randy Shine—in Philadelphia, practicing their slight of hand tricks.
Courtesy of Kevin Jerome Everson

The Living Cards
Georges Méliès | 1905, 2m
An elegantly attired illusionist draws on his powers to make playing cards come alive.
Courtesy of Lobster Films

Apichatpong Weerasethakul | 2018, 12m
A woman lies feverishly awake at night. Behind her, a set of theatre backdrops unspools itself, unveiling two alternate landscapes; in front of her is a transparent plane of glass. Elsewhere a fire is lit and its reflection appears in the glass, over her body, in a recreation of old mechanical illusions. The sound of the fire grows louder and louder.
Courtesy of Les Films Pelléas

Puce Moment
Kenneth Anger | 1949, 6m
A piece from the unfinished Puce Women; an ode to the goddesses of Hollywood. Unseen hands rifle through a rack of stunning dresses from the gilded age of the silent screen, each shimmering as if curtains before a stage. A woman prepares herself for the magic of Los Angeles.
Courtesy of the NFSA

The Dark, Krystle
Michael Robinson | 2013, 10m
The cabin is on fire! Krystle can’t stop crying, Alexis won’t stop drinking, and the fabric of existence hangs in the balance, again and again and again.
In The Dark, Krystle Michael Robinson takes two emblematic characters of the 1980s soap opera Dynasty—Linda Evans as Krystle and Joan Collins as Alexis—and isolates their stock performance tics, revealing their artificiality through repetition as, simultaneously, this gestural arpeggio builds into a duelle between two goddesses.
Courtesy of Michael Robinson

A Fire In My Brain That Separates Us
Benjamin Ramírez Pérez | 2015, 17m
In a deserted room, objects begin to shift, manipulated from off-screen space and moved by strings, cables or the carpet. Overlapping are subtitles collaged from gaslighting films. A text assemblage on seduction and betrayal unfolds in relation to signifiers and performative re-enactments of codes associated with classical cinema.
Courtesy of Light Cone

Witch’s Cradle Outtakes
Maya Deren | 1942, 10m
Deren started Witch’s Cradle in 1942, but it was never released, probably never finished, and all that remains are its outtakes. They are of Marcel Duchamp and his ‘mile of string’ intervention within the First Papers of Surrealism exhibition of New York. As Duchamp’s string obfuscated the gallery and shaped how visitors saw individual surrealist works, Deren’s film absorbs this gesture into her own concept of witchcraft, turning string into a manifestation of control.
Courtesy of LUX

Phantom Rhapsody
Sarah Pucill | 2010, 19m
Phantom Rhapsody is composed of a series of magic acts, filmed as black and white tableaux reminiscent of early silent cinema. Three women—interchanging between the roles of magician, nude, and filmmaker—perform the preparation of an image as they play with illusionist props and determine what is visible or absent from the frame. With an insistence on doubling and substitution, the film probes the notion of identity as surface, and how it can extend beyond the boundary of the skin, into the light in the room, the set and the props.
Courtesy of LUX

Lunar Almanac
Malena Szlam | 2013, 4m
Lunar observations shot frame-by-frame and long exposures on hand processed 16mm Ektachrome film create a chronicle of the lunar phases. Through their layering, the filmmaker emphasizes that the observer, burdened by memory and changing frames of view, moves along a non-linear time-plane.
Courtesy of Malena Szlam

Sea of Vapors
Sylvia Schedelbauer | 2014, 15m
A cascade of images cut frame by frame flow into an allegory of the lunar cycle.
As a woman lifts a cup of tea to her lips, she drinks the moon, takes in the universe, and as she does so a series of associative links build to a glowing strobe that takes us inside.
Courtesy of Light Cone


Unrated 15+

This free three-part film program—Spellbound—examines magic as a form of agency. Preparation Rituals explores magic as performance, and performance as control of oneself or others. Black Magic Cannot Cross Water presents four constructed iterations of group ritual. And Stones Have Laws presents two works of shared-ethnography in which the Saramaccan Maroon people of Suriname enact how they live within the forest—amidst rocks and rivers—demonstrating their procedures for consulting ancestors, gods and forest spirits.

The first two screenings begin at 2pm and 4pm respectively, while Stones Have Laws begins at 6:30pm with an introduction from anthropologist Kim de Rijke, and is accompanied by wine and soup.

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