"You know, art can be something which can really disempower people, or it can be a vehicle which can empower people."
From the series, "New York Close Up"
How does an artist transform a solitary practice into a communal experience? In this film, artist Martha Colburn leads a group of musicians in a series of live performances to her animated films at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. The raucous energy of the musical accompaniment to Colburn’s work—itself intensely kinetic and colorful, often depicting historically-inspired scenes of aggression and violence—belies the time-consuming and meticulous process by which the artist creates her stop-motion films. The night’s musical performances range in origin from fully composed scores to improvised jams, with the instrumentation matching the narrative highs and lows of each film. Colburn herself performs with multiple projections of hand-painted and found footage, manipulating the images by fanning colored gels, refracting light through lenses, and physically moving the projectors. Featuring the films Destiny Manifesto (2006), Myth Labs (2008), and Triumph of the Wild II (2008-09); with performances by Tom Carter (guitar), Michael Evans (foley sound & percussion), Jonathan Keay (upright bass), Matthew Marinelli (electronics), Thollem McDonas (piano), Marc Orleans (pedal steel), Laura Ortman (fiddle), and Greg Saunier (drums).
Martha Colburn (b. 1971, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA) lives and works in Queens, New York and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
CREDITS | New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Cinematography: Don Edler & Michael Tyburski. Sound: Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Paulina V. Ahlstrom, Don Edler & Maren Miller. Design: Open. Artwork: Martha Colburn. Music: Tom Carter, Michael Evans, Jonathan Keay, Matthew Marinelli, Thollem McDonas, Marc Orleans, Laura Ortman & Greg Saunier. Thanks: Jason Eppink, Carl Goodman, Tomoko Kawamoto, Lumber Rob, Museum of the Moving Image & Matthew Varvil. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2011. All rights reserved.