Calendar of Events

David Johnson Presents Jacques Tati’s Play Time

Jun 23, 2012, 7:00pm

Great Rivers Biennial Artist Programs

Conceived by the three artists featured in the Great Rivers Biennial 2012, the following events build upon and expand the artworks on view in CAM’s galleries.

saturday, june 23

Doors: 7:00 pm
Screening: 8:00 pm (dusk)

Free and open to the public. Cash bar. 

In collaboration with the public art initiative The Transversal Project, artist David Johnson will present Jacques Tati’s masterpiece, Play Time (1967), on the exterior architecture of CAM. Live jazz music will be performed by Curt Brewer (guitar), Ben Wheeler (bass), and Marty Morrison (percussion) as a soundtrack to Tati’s film.  As a prologue/epilogue to Play Time (1967), The Transversal Project will be presenting an abridged version of their first Call For Entry, Versa Major featuring four video works by artists Michelle Dunn, Kathleen Periniciaro, Teri Frame, and Serhii Chrucky curated by Michael Powell. Organized by David Johnson.

Play Time
1967, France / Italy, 35mm on video, color, stereo, French / English / German, 124 mins.

There’s never been, and never will be, another comedy like Play Time. Three years in the making, French comedy master Jacques Tati’s 1967 classic was an epic, experimental undertaking of unprecedented scale: Requiring the lavish construction of three entire city blocks of ultra-modern buildings, it was the most expensive French film up to that time, financially ruined its creator, baffled many viewers and critics when it was finally released after numerous delays, and is now regarded as Tati’s undisputed masterpiece. Once again, Tati plays his comedic alter ego, the hapless M. Hulot (first seen in 1953’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday), seen here as a befuddled pawn on a gigantic chessboard (metaphorically speaking) of modern conformity. He’s simply trying to get to an appointment, but in the film’s astonishing mock-Parisian landscape of antiseptic steel, glass, and plastic, Tati’s resonant theme of contemporary confusion is fully expressed through meticulous use of framing and space—so effectively, in fact, that critic Jonathan Rosenbaum (in an accompanying essay) suggests that the film’s dazzling “Royal Garden” sequence “may be the most formidable example of mise-en-scène in the history of cinema.” With M. Hulot taking a back-seat to the film’s breathtaking accumulation of visual details, Play Time rewards multiple viewings, revealing something new every time in its widescreen canvas of subtle gags and delirious eccentricity. Although journalist Art Buchwald provided English dialogue for the film, Play Time bears closer kinship to silent comedy, with universal humor and a musical soundtrack that’s as essential as any of the visuals. Tati (1908-1982) never recovered from the film’s financial failure, but happily, he lived long enough to see Play Time receive its much-deserved critical re-appraisal. (Jeff Shannon)

The Transversal Project was begun in late 2011 by the artist Michael Powell in order to create opportunities for experimental public art exhibitions free from the hermetically sealed white cube of galleries and museums. The project takes its name from the Deleuzian transversal—the idea that narratives can be driven by the generative relationships between things, between the many. All Transversal Project exhibitions are projected onto the sides of buildings using a large venue projection system, with a projected image size of over sixty feet (diagonal) and over 6000 Lumens (ANSI). It is important that a dialogue be created between the artwork being shown, and the built environment in which the act of viewing occurs. Via these exhibitions, context, content, and form come together to create an experience which challenges assumptions about the separation between art and the spaces of daily life. All accepted works for each exhibition are displayed using this system, which allows the Transversal Project to be mobile, taking advantage of different buildings and locations throughout the city. Currently, the Transversal Project is located in St. Louis, MO.
Visit the website for more information.

Upcoming programs:

Between Word and Image: Writing Event
Organized by Asma Kazmi
Saturday, July 14
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Asma Kazmi invites visitors to participate in a writing event in CAM’s galleries.  Participants’ texts will be displayed in a way that challenges the visual nature of the museum and, as with Kazmi’s artworks on view, lends deeper consideration to the act of writing.