Ulysses in the Subway.




Ulysses in the Subway
Ulysses en el subterráneo
United States | 2016 | 3D | Colour & Black/White | 59minDirector: Marc Downie, Paul Kaiser, Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs
Producer: Paul Kaiser
Production Company: OpenEndedGroup
Marc Downie, Paul Kaiser and Ken Jacobs

Marc Downie and Paul Kaiser are key collaborators in OpenEndedGroup. Their pioneering approach to digital art frequently combines three signature elements: non-photorealistic 3D rendering; the incorporation of body movement by motion-capture and other means; and the autonomy of artworks directed or assisted by artificial intelligence. They have worked across a range of disciplines and venues, having created experimental 3D films shown at the New York Film Festival, Sundance, and MoMA (which recently acquired eight of their 3D films for its permanent collection); and site specific installations commissioned in the US by Lincoln Center, Barclay Center, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Museum of the Moving Image, and in the UK by the Hayward Gallery, Sadler’s Wells, the Wellcome Trust, and  the York Minster. They are also well-known for their collaborations in the field of dance, working most closely with Merce Cunningham, but also with Trisha Brown, Bill T. Jones, and Wayne McGregor.

Ken Jacobs is a recognized master of American avant-garde film, working at the forefront of cinema from the mid-1950s to the present. He was first acclaimed for his collaborations with Jack Smith, which included the the seminal underground films Blonde Cobra and Little Stabs at Happiness. A later film, Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son, is celebrated as a key example of cinematic deconstruction, a quintessential work of 1970s structuralist filmmaking. Jacobs was also an early pioneer in the avant-garde use of 3D, the illusions of which he has conjured up both by now-standard stereoscopic means as well as by the invention of new cinematic performance devices such as his Nervous System (in which his wife Flo Jacobs has been a key collaborator) and his Nervous Magic Lantern. Jacobs’ work has been featured at the Film Festivals of Berlin, London, Hong Kong, New York; the American Museum of the Moving Image, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Museum of Modern Art. Jacobs is also known for his innovative teaching and his public presentations; he founded the Cinema Department at SUNY Binghamton in 1969, where he taught until 2002.
Jacobs’s films, stage works, and videos have always investigated sound-in-space via live performance, recorded environment sounds (especially of trains and the street), re-used movie soundtracks, and his sound-in-space constructions.  Collaborating musicians have included Roswell Rudd, Mike Snow, David Moss, Catherine Jauniaux, John Zorn, Steve Reich, Black Dice, Malcolm Goldstein, Michael Schumacher, JG Thirlwell, and Aki Onda.

A picturing of sound in 3D.
We hear a recording of Ken’s subway ride up to 42nd Street, his wanderings in the Times Square station, his ride downtown on the A train, and his return to street-level on Chambers Street.  Finally, his climb to the 5th floor loft where Flo (Penelope) awaits him​.
Sound-as-image turns fleeting presences​ (voices, footsteps, a steel-drum performance) into epic visual events. A still image may linger, allowing our gaze to wander through the complex particularities of a moment of ordinary noise.

Ulysses in the Subway (trailer) from OpenEndedGroup on Vimeo.

Berlin International Film Festival, Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival