Simon Lee

Where is the Black Beast?

2010

Still from video "Where is the Black Beast?"

32 minutes

WHERE IS THE BLACK BEAST? is a film interpretation of Crow, by Ted Hughes, made from a collection of found photographs that date from the early 20th century through present day. All of the photographs are amateur snapshots found in fleamarkets and junk shops, and contain the point of view, focus and composition of hundreds of people.

Ted Hughes wrote Crow in the 1960’s — post war / pre flower power. It is an extremely dark view of the world and of humanity. It is tempting to suggest that this ‘cold war’ nuclear arms race view has somehow been superceded by the dawning of the 21st century and its gadgetry and globalisation, but in our hearts we know that not to be true. Hughes’ poetry (especially Crow) is as relevant to our situation and condition today as it was forty years ago when it was written.

Many of these photographs date from the same time. Although on the surface many of them depict the holiday, the birthday, the celebration, digging beneath the expressions and gestures reveals the egos, the fears, the aggressions and the disappointments that Hughes so chillingly portrayed with his metaphoric use of a crow to stand for humanity.

Simon Lee works in photography, video and installation. His public arts project, Bus Obscura (in which a passenger bus is transformed into a moving camera obscura), was part of Miami Basel in 2004 and has since toured extensively in the US and abroad. He has shown work at the Tinguely Museum in Basel, The Passenger’s Festival in Warsaw, Lamar Dodd Gallery, Atlanta; Univeristy of Hertforshire, London and Colgate University, Hamilton. He was born in Yorkshire and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Algis Antanas Kizys is a New York musical performer and writer who has previously and/or presently worked with Swans, Foetus, Glenn Branca, Of Cabbages and Kings, Lydia Lunch, Pigface, Carla Bozulich, Nels Kline, The Hallicrafters, Mathew Barney, Jonathan Bepler and Doug Henderson amongst others.

His film credits include ‘Finding Forester’ by Gus Van Sant and the ‘The Rape of the Sabine Women’ by Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation.

Lullabies to singularity is the major theme behind the soundtrack to the words and images in “Where is the Black Beast?” Using field recordings and time shifts in tandem with original and existing compositions the sound is used as a reflex to experience.

For more information visit
www.simonlee.org/Crow.htm

Decalogue : Films You Can Count on Two Hands

Where is the Black Beast?

Where is the Black Beast?

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