Programmed by Amy Kazymerchyk
Ben Russell in attendance + performance
In 2005, Chicago media artist Ben Russell initiated an inquiry into the alchemy of cinema, trance, travel and psychedelic ethnography. This inquiry has since conjured seven films, collectively known as the Trypps series. The first gestures in Trypps Number One were cameraless and focused on manipulating the essential elements of cinema: light and dark. By Trypps Number Three, Russell was directing the cinematographic apparatus on the collective transcendence of a concert by Rhode Island noise band Lighting Bolt. Immersed in the deep chiaroscuro and soft focus of the throbbing spotlit audience, Russell draws out the deeply corporeal and metaphysical embodiment of this contemporary youth ritual. The adaptation of trance ritual within hybrid culture lead to Trypps #6 (Malobi). Structures of ethnographic spectatorship are negotiated, and the body of the filmmaker folds into the cinematographic process. Trypps #7 (Badlands) fully indulges the semiotics of the moving image. The perception of a woman’s LSD trip in Badlands National Park is suspended between the gullies and horizons of the desert landscape. “Concerned with notions of the romantic sublime, phenomenological experience, and secular spiritualism, the work continues Russell’s unique investigation into the possibilities of cinema as a site for transcendence” (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago).
Black and White Trypps Number One. 2005, B&W, 16mm, silent. 6mins, USA-Dubai.
Black and White Trypps Number Two. 2006, B&W, 16mm, silent. 9mins, USA.
Black and White Trypps Number Three. 2007, Colour, 35mm, sound. 12mins, USA.
Black and White Trypps Number Four. 2008, B&W, 16mm, sound. 11mins, USA.
Trypps #5 (Dubai). 2008, Colour, 16mm, silent. 3mins, USA-Dubai.
Trypps #6 (Malobi). 2009, Colour, 16mm, sound. 12mins, USA-Suriname.
Trypps #7 (Badlands). 2010, Colour, Super 16mm on HD, sound. 10mins, USA.
Black and White Gods. 2008, B&W, dual 16mm live performance with sound. 20mins, USA.