Eve Sussman and her collaborative team Rufus Corporation are touring their latest film project whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir, to the Sundance Film Festival, Berlinale, and Site Santa Fe in January and February 2012.
An expedition to the banks of the Caspian landed Rufus Corporation in a dystopian “future-opolis” that became the location for their experimental film noir. Pushing the envelope of cinematic form, the film is edited live in real time by a custom programmed computer they call the “serendipity machine.” whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir delivers a changing narrative - culled from 3,000 clips, 80 voice-overs and 150 pieces of music - that runs forever and never plays the same way twice. The unexpected juxtapositions create a sense of suspense alluding to a story that the viewer composes. Driven by key words, the work seamlessly comes together as a movie – that is not a movie.
The film follows the observations and surveillance of the central protagonist, a geophysicist named Holz (Jeff Wood), stuck in a 1970’s looking metropolis operated by the New Method Oil Well Cementing Company. Voiceovers and dialogues (in English and Russian with English subtitles) forge the implied narrative – wire tapped telephone conversations, reel-to-reel tapes, snippets of a job interview between Mr. Holz and his employer and a mysterious woman referred to simply as “Dispatch”. A narrator describes various impositions on the citizens including strangely manipulated time keeping, a language ration, lowered suicide statistics, the effects of lithium, and the workings of the water factory. It becomes evident that the character is controlled by the city and the factory he is working in, as the course of the story is controlled by the machine that edits the film.
whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir – inspired by the Suprematist quests for transcendence, pure space and artistic higher ground – was created with a small crew, one American actor and local actors hired en route. Filmed over two years, the artists journeyed through Central Asia ending up in a 50-year old utopian town. The fictional location is named – in a nod to Alphaville – City-A. The place is the result of the ironic marriage of the opposing forces of the twentieth century as pre-fab apartment blocks are gilded with mirrors and chrome. In actuality City-A is a conflation of many places from the mid-century modernist planned living systems of ex-soviet space to the Norman Foster sci-fi baubles requisite in every new rich metropolis.
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