For Immediate Release
WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, 2006
On Saturday, March 10, at 8 PM, Track 16 Gallery presents a screening of WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (2006), a video by Chris Wilder. A presentation with some of Chris’ fellow artists and friends will follow the screening, with participants TBA. This piece is a collage of five previously existing ethnographic films of the Yanomami Indian Tribe in the Amazon, shot by Napoleon Chagnon and Timothy Asch in the early 1970s. An accompanying exhibition of images will be on view from March 6 to March 10. WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE will also be shown during regular gallery hours from March 6 through March 10, with the aforementioned special screening on March 10 at 8:00 P.M. The admission for this screening is free of charge. RSVP as seating is limited. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 6 PM.
The original five films by Chagnon and Asch are both iconic and academic. Having been broadcast on public television over a twenty-year period made these among the most-viewed anthropological films to date, exposing the tribes and the discipline of anthropology to a large cross-section of the public who might otherwise be exposed.
The films epitomize one of the fiercest arguments in current anthropology: Chagnon viewed the films as “field notes” or scientifically accurate documentation of tribal life, as opposed to Asch (a trained photographer who studied under masters such as Manor White, Edward Weston, and Ansel Adams), who viewed them as visual representations of edited/curated images, and as such, inherently subjective. This conflict has been perpetuated and exacerbated by books such as “Darkness in El Dorado” by Patrick Tierney; the completion (and drastic revision) by Chagnon of Asch’s educational, interactive CD-ROM featuring “The Ax Fight;” and the exhibition of stills scandalously appropriated (without attribution) from the films by German conceptualist Lothar Baumgartner and their screening as art films at MoMA as recently as 2002.
In the editing process of WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, Chris Wilder used the Structuralist strategy of “averaging,” to create a total running time of 15 minutes (based on the running time of one of the films) by speeding/slowing the other four films. This process results in a new film that depends more on original content and the averaging principle, than on specific aesthetic decisions; thus generating an interesting collection of new images and sounds.