Revolution of the Eyes (2022, 75 min.)
Canale Grande (1983, 88 min.)
Toilette (1979, 78 min.)
A photographer, performer, and video and installation artist who made one fascinating excursion into feature filmmaking with CANALE GRANDE (1983), Friederike Pezold (Pezoldo) is an exhilaratingly multi-media artist, and one who deserves far more recognition in the U.S. than she’s thus far received. Pezold’s work is defined above all by a preoccupation with the intersection of technology, media, and the body, a theme she has explored in many different forms. Born in Vienna in 1945, and educated in Munich, Pezold is perhaps best known for her photo series and multi-channel video works which center on – and tend to deconstruct – her own body. Her feature-length video TOILETTE (1979) is emblematic: over the course of 78 minutes, it focuses on and isolates various parts of her body, bestowing on them a certain monumentality as well as a mysterious (and comic) abstraction. TOILETTE reflects an overriding goal of Pezold’s work: to be both subject and object at once.A couple years earlier, Pezold had inaugurated an ongoing project entitled “Radio Free Utopia”, in which she designed a special apparatus that allowed her to move through the city shooting video which was simultaneously displayed, via a closed-circuit feed, on a monitor attached to her body. “Radio Free Utopia” was a radical and deadpan funny extension of the utopian ideas of other video artists of the time, who were determined to circumvent the restricted production and distribution channels of commercial media networks. It also became the pretext for CANALE GRANDE, whose protagonist – played by Pezold herself – wanders through Vienna and Berlin equipped with the “Radio Free Utopia” rig. Incongruously, however, CANALE GRANDE was filmed – beautifully – on 35mm, in part by the accomplished filmmaker and cinematographer Elfi Mikesch. An unusual and provocative marriage of film and early video, it combines the visual beauty and texture of film with early video’s preoccupation with new ways to produce and circulate imagery, while also reflecting the new medium’s liberation from the conventions of narrative drama.
Having held CANALE GRANDE in the highest esteem ever since hosting a screening in 2018, we are thrilled to showcase it for a full week in February, alongside TOILETTE, and to present the U.S. premiere of Pezold’s most recent moving-image work, REVOLUTION OF THE EYES (2022), a typically singular, funny, and uncategorizable piece that finds Pezold meditating on the changes to perception and behavior wrought by the new technologies of our own time. (Jed Rapfogel)