Andrew Frost in conversation with Ms&Mr
followed by a special film screening
The Sydney-based collaborative duo Ms&Mr have long been interested in the capacity for video to traverse moments in time. By reanimating archival footage, the artists manufacture exchanges that could never have taken place. Similar to science-fiction film and literature, these counterfeit histories, as created in XEROX MISSIVE 1977/2011, question the boundaries between authenticity and artifice in often uncanny and unsettling ways.
Join writer and art critic Andrew Frost in a discussion with the artists on the topic of science-fiction in art and their own practice. The discussion will be followed by a special film screening of La Jetée (1962) and Primer (2004), which are two of the genre’s most intriguing films and key influences in Ms&Mr’s art practice.
Dir: Chris Marker 1962 (France)
28 mins 35mm B&W Rated M15+
Cast: Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich
French with English subtitles
La jetée (1962) Courtesy Tamara Distribution and Institut Français
Constructed almost exclusively from still photographs, La jetée is the strange and unsettling tale of a man projected through time by scientists seeking a way of ensuring human survival after a Third World War. The man has one memory embedded into his emotions: the image of a woman standing on the pier at Orly airport. When the man remembers, we are never sure if he is time-travelling or dreaming. Director Marker constructed the film using a fragmented, circular time-line which flows from one dimension to another.
Dir: Shane Carruth 2004 (US)
77 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
Cast: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan
Primer (2004) Courtesy David Sullivan
Primer is a mesmerising thriller set in the industrial park/suburban tract-home fringes of an unnamed contemporary city. Two young engineers, Abe and Aaron, are members among a small group of men who work by day for a large corporation, while conducting extracurricular experiments on their own time in a garage. Tweaking their current project – a device that reduces the apparent mass of any object placed inside it by blocking gravitational pull – they accidentally discover that it has some highly unexpected capabilities. Director Shane Carruth, a former engineer who spent three years teaching himself filmmaking, conceived, wrote, directed, edited Primer, setting it in the very world he abandoned to take up movie-making. Engrossing and provocative in its exploration of the dark side of human nature and science, Primer electrified audiences at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Alfred P Sloan Foundation Award for films dealing with science and technology.
The Art Gallery of NSW would like to specially thank David Sullivan for his generosity and for making this program possible.
Main image: Ms&Mr XEROX MISSIVE 1977/2011, production image, courtesy of the artists