On Sept. 17, 2012, filmmaker Jason Livingston brought Bolex 16mm camera down to Manhattan’s Financial District, where an amorphous group of protestors was marking the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
His intention was to document the movement, which by that point had been hashtagged, Facebooked and videotaped nearly to death, with a defiantly old-fashioned technology. The resulting work, “#RUSHES,” is a soundless exploration of that movement’s brief life and slow demise through the grainy emulsion of 16mm film. Livingston and an assembled audience will provide the soundtrack themselves at 7 p.m. Feb. 20, when the 25-minute film is shown along with another movement-based work, “Under Foot & Overstory,” in Squeaky Wheel (617 Main St.).
A release from Squeaky Wheel calls Livingston’s Occupy-based work, which can be viewed as an attempt to reflect the messiness and unpredictablity of the progressive political movement in a similarly scattershot documentary, an “unresolved piece that embraces antagonism.”
In addition to its political content and commentary, the piece also deals with the interplay between image and sound so integral to contemporary filmmaking.
“The assumed marriage of sound and image has irked me for quite some time,” Livingston wrote about “#RUSHES.” “I need and believe in the dialectic play that comes in gaps between sound and image, not their apparent unity. OWS was making that need poignant, urgent even, as I thought through its politics and the medium with which I’m most practiced: moving images.”
Livingston hails from Upstate New York and teaches at the University of Iowa. His work has been shown in many international film festivals and collected in various compilations. He received a New York State Council on the Arts grant for “INTERSTATE,” described in his bio as a “long-form video essay about video collectives, the Socialist Workers Party, the Onondaga Nation, family history, political economy and disco.”
Tickets to the screening are $7 or free for Squeaky members. Call 884-7172 or visit squeaky.org.
– Colin Dabkowski