1. Tohu Bohu


    from John Reid Perkins-Buzo / Added

    An interactive video installation based on the repetition of video images emerging from formlessness. Genesis 1:2 provides a literal "pretext" for the work, which continues through seven separate explorations of the encounter between the viewers and chaos, leading to a unique experience of untrammeled visual discovery through the interaction of the people viewing the installation with the installation itself. The Next Generation August 20 through November 13, 2005 MOBIA 61st &Broadway, NYC

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    • SPECIAL MATCHBOXES (1972 – super 8)


      from Steve Mobia / Added

      42 Plays / / 0 Comments

      A man, playing a private ritual with some unusual matchboxes finds himself exposed in public. This may have been my first film, I don't remember as I made 4 short films in 1972 when I was in my late teens. There are just a few things that come to mind about this one: It was directly based on a dream. The big difference between the dream and the film is that the fish were alive in flopping on the table when pulled from the matchboxes. In the dream, the man was trying to play solitaire with the fish but they kept thrashing around, spoiling his arrangement. I actually was planning on shooting it this way but the woman playing the press photographer refused to be a part of the movie if the fish were flopping. So I killed the fish ahead of time in a plastic bag full of insecticide (not a pretty sight - I don't recommend this method for killing fish). In the dream, the photograph produces extreme mouth fungus on the fish. We used foamy rug cleaner spray to recreate this effect. One curious thing is how the card table is introduced with 5 shots: 1 from the right side, then 3 from the left at different distances – with the 5th as a straight-on medium shot that zooms in. The sequence is repeated with the man standing at the table. There was a reason for doing this that I've forgotten today except that I was trying to fragment the sense of space. Many of these early films had a watermelon cameo. I had created a fictional character named Walter Melone who grew "bonsai tree-like" watermelons by tying them with rope and as they got bigger, they would assume various strange shapes. The watermelon became my symbol for fecundity and I used watermelons in at least one shot of many films – the last being the watermelon piñata in "Wedlock." Since I didn't make a credit list, I've forgotten the names of the actors. If anyone remembers them, contact me.

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      • SUNNY SNAILS (1996 Hi8 & 16mm)


        from Steve Mobia / Added

        49 Plays / / 0 Comments

        A naturalist is very concerned about the health and well-being of snails. He has an epiphany! Kimric Smythe and I were fans of Chuck Cirino's "Weird TV" program. The show was an assaultive collage of actual strange events and places — including much footage from the Cacophony Society and Burning Man. To our amazement, networks picked up the show but slotted it for broadcast at 3am amid commercials for Geritol and laxatives. We thought we'd create a little featurette for the program and shot "Sunny Snails" with Kimric's dad Bill. Unfortunately, during editing, the Hi8 tape developed bad dropouts, rendering it unfit for broadcast. We never shot Kimric's 2nd idea for the "Garbage Fairy," and to my knowledge Chuck never saw "Sunny Snails." Kimric built the swimming pool "set" out of a wash basin, cardboard and astroturf, with some careful attention to detail such as the diving board. The snail footage was shot with a 16mm camera so that we could animate the snails if they refused to move. Though we worried that the snails would just sit there, the hot day made them so active as to be uncontrollable. They kept jumping into the pool, messing up the coloring on the umbrellas. We got just enough footage to complete the scene before they all went swimming.

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        • WEDLOCK (1980 - super 8)


          from Steve Mobia / Added

          166 Plays / / 0 Comments

          An Asian maid has fantasies about her boss's boyfriend and their secret hatreds. The notion that's explored here is that couples often try to live up to an often traditional ideal. In failing to meet the perfection of the fantasy their frustration erupts into a subconscious battle. The maid here is a voyeur, imagining a wedding and trying to appease her own personal desire for the groom. Her feather duster becomes destructive however, the theater tickets of the romantic drama are compared to cutting razor blades. Popcorn is actually the result of violent explosions. She sweeps up the pieces at the end and reconciles the couple who become locked in an eternal toast. This film is another from my Suicide Club days. Pierre Barral was actually going out with Michiko Takahashi at the time. Sharon Cain, who made a memorable appearance with a Christian Brothers wine bottle in "Delirium Tremens," here returns as the bride. John Law and Jane Solis who were also a couple at the time, play the traditional bride and groom. The scene of the struggle was shot in the Fox Oakland Theater when it was an abandoned building. Using John Law's trusty rope ladder, we climbed up to the roof to get in. I'd lost the original soundtrack for this film so I recently assembled one with music from George Crumb, Christopher Rouse, Steve Roach, Eric Satie and my talented friend David Graves.

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          • APPROACH (1981 - super 8)


            from Steve Mobia / Added

            79 Plays / / 0 Comments

            A middle aged dancer at a precipice contemplates her past and the fearful specter of her future. This is one of 2 films that I made with dancer/performer Keriac. The films were run for an audience to establish the themes before the dance performances began. "Approach" was created for her show "Many Happy Returns," a clearly autobiographical piece that explored her early life choices and the roles she adopted. 2 main props that were used in the show (a rag doll and mirrored dressing table), are also featured in the film. Unfortunately Keriac didn't live into a ripe old age (though she would've never dressed like the old lady in the film). She died of cancer at age 64 after an active creative life both in the US and Germany. The music is from George Crumb ("Dream Sequence"), Steve Reich ("Music for 18 Musicians"), Alan Hovhaness ("Floating World"), and my own piano teacher Eugene Hemmer ("Legendary Forest") Article about Keriac: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/KERIAC-2642245.php

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            • DELIRIUM TREMENS (1979 - super 8)


              from Steve Mobia / Added

              466 Plays / / 1 Comment

              A theme-and-variations on the topic of alcoholism. David Warren (R.J. Mololepozy) searches for a full bottle on a desperate night. This period (1978 - 1979) was the peak of my involvement with the San Francisco Suicide Club, an urban adventure group. Dave Warren was one of the 3 founders of the group and was the oldest among us. He also had a vicious drinking problem and a vodka bottle collection (we used a few of these in the movie). Much later (in 2009) he was dead after living as a homeless alcoholic for 5 years in a public park. I isn't a stretch to say David not only acted here but inspired the subject. The film would have never been made without him. Anna Sears, who played the stripper, told me once that the only way she could keep her boyfriend from drinking was to have sex with him. Her becoming a love doll with bottle caps on her nipples speaks to this practice. The middle part of the film was shot in the abandoned Falstaff Brewery in San Francisco. Most performers in "Delirium Tremens" were members of the Suicide Club and we broke into the building to make the scene by climbing up 3 stories with a rope ladder. Halfway through shooting on the labyrinthian bottling machine, we were caught and had to leave. I returned later with a few people to finish the scene but it was daylight so the continuity of the shots don't match. Most of this film was photographed with a cheap Kodak XL55 super 8 camera that had an amazing ability to get night scenes but had no manual controls for aperture, so many of the over-exposed shots were ironically the most well lit. The premiere of "Delirium Tremens" took place inside the cable hosing of the Oakland Bay Bridge. The Suicide Club had climbed into the massive chamber expecting to simply explore the place (as we often did in such cases) but surprising most, a strobe light went on, illuminating the giant harp of splayed cables that ran diagonally from ceiling to a massive concrete block on the opposite wall. There was also a dangling manikin and other goodies. After the initial shock, the crowd settled down to watch "Delirium Tremens," followed by a potluck meal. The ending of this film was never shot. After David "expires" on the sidewalk, the script called for a policeman to write him a ticket and place it in the fallen man's collar. I just didn't have a police uniform at the time and we never restaged it. So, in place of that, I used the conceit that the length of the film (roughly 15 minutes) was the length of time paid for on the parking meter and as the film runs out, so does the meter and the protagonist. Much of the soundtrack was from a live performance I taped back then of some kind of jazz opera. If anyone recognizes the piece, please contact me as I completely forgot the composer and title. Other music represented here include some crazy sped up vocal stuff from Kenneth Gaburo and Samuel Barber's famous "Adagio for Strings." R.I.P. David T. Warren

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              • LORETT AT A LOSS (1994 Hi8)


                from Steve Mobia / Added

                120 Plays / / 0 Comments

                A young girl (April Word) goes to live with her building contractor father (Larry Harvey) after he divorced her midwest mother (Barbara Jasperson). She takes with her the red leaves of her former home and tries to preserve their color. She enters another dimension by way of her insecurity and the mischievous daughter of a puzzle maker, Delvie (Flora Ham). It started as a short story from Lorett's point of view as she writes her mother about the goings-on in California. This changed to a detailed description to her father in order to convince him that the events really happened so he wouldn't punish her for missing "the test." In retrospect, I should've left it in it's original form. I think it's a major issue for children who are moved around when young that their sense of "home" becomes abstract. This insecurity about where home is can actually lead to a more flexible appreciation of the world. The image of insecurity in this case is represented by the high chair which becomes a vehicle for exploration. Lorett's early dream of a carnival ride that doesn't let you off near the entrance but takes you "far away" is later taken to extremes when a high chair is discovered on Mars. The notion of "creative trauma" fascinates me. Some of the most intense discoveries I've had in my life were through shocks and insecurity. Security can simply enforce habit. But for each person the degree of trauma with a constructive outcome is different. For some, shocking events shut down the individual and limit their perception. For the character of Lorett, however, the dislocating events provide a portal for her future development. I had avoided the video medium for years because detail was so lacking in comparison to film. However at a certain point it was clear video was the wave of the future and the only way I could afford to make another movie. Composer Richard Marriott loaned me his consumer Hi-8 camcorder and in late 1993 I plunged in to shooting what I considered a simple story about a girl who didn't know where home was anymore. The project was timed to be shot in autumn and I had people in Minnesota send boxes of red maple leaves to me in California for use in the picture. As usual though, the project stretched out for months and painting the leaves red became a plot element. April Word was the daughter of Jeanie Mackenzie who played violin on my soundtrack for "Limboid." Flora Ham was the daughter of 60s light show pioneer Bill Ham (who had also appeared in "Limboid") and had a bit of theater experience. Larry Harvey was a friend and founder of the Burning Man festival and though he was/is not an actor, it seemed he could convey the right attitude for the role and understood the symbolism. Mathematician Stan Issacs had made the resin arrowhead shape for Limboid and I knew he was a puzzle fanatic so I borrowed 75 puzzles from him for Delvie's domain (the interior of which was shot inside the custom dome house of photographer William Binzen). Robert Hubbard, another friend through the San Francisco Cacophony Society, helped with the camerawork, and veteran carnival sign painter and friend Dave Warren, painted all the "school" signs. The wonderful leaf paintings were done by Catherine Rose Crowther. It was also around this time that I discovered MIDI and electronic sampled instruments. Though it would be a couple of years later before I studied music formally, I bought my first computer and busied myself composing the soundtrack to Lorett. Listening back to it today, I realize that the desktop orchestra sounds are pretty inexpressive compared to live instruments but the novelty of instantly hearing your music had possessed me at that moment. "Lorett at a Loss" was never intended to be a major effort but instead a way to get my feet wet in the video world before embarking on my bigger more elaborate projects: "Wreck Tangle," and "Turn Coat." However, they both proved to be impossible to shoot on a cab driver's budget and exist only in written story form on my website.

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                • LIGHT FIXTURE (1982 - 16mm)


                  from Steve Mobia / Added

                  112 Plays / / 0 Comments

                  A 16mm film, made in 1982, explores a dream situation of being exposed in a brightly lit room that may be a hospital. A table lamp dictates the story through headphones. The title refers to both the lamp and the nature of film itself which "fixes" light with a chemical process. In the original dream, a character was trapped in a bright room that seemed presided over by a doctor who was also an orchestra conductor, conducting with a magic wand the unseen forces in the dark outside the window. The character, who may be a patient in a hospital takes over the role of conductor but doesn't know the music or what he is doing. The original script featured grotesque musical instruments in the dark but due to scheduling and budget, that idea was dropped. Instead we see that a masked voyeur entity in the dark is modeling the face of the protagonist out of clay and a rain baptizes it. The desire to be outside the bright room is thus realized with this sculptural facsimile. The photos of body parts on the walls suggest a fragmentation of body image (through the view of western medicine), or lack of coordination. The character is also seen to be vomiting up bees – a sign of the illness being treated for. I imagined a bee hive inside him and the bees as realizations that sting and are indigestible. There is an obvious sexual image of a tree being planted in the nurse's mouth. Annie Coulter was so kind to have her face covered by dirt (with one eye exposed). In the background, a large photograph of a fully grown tree is being consumed by fire, producing something resembling a shed snake skin. The doctor and nurse become entwined snakes that are uncovered (which is a reference to "The Caduceus" where a staff is entwined by 2 serpents – often used as a symbol of medicine). I should've had Annie blink so that the viewer would notice the eye as many don't catch that.. In any event, the tree burns and returns the protagonist to the bright hospital room. He is "trapped" in light. He has become the conscious mind – a glowing moth in an infinite space, longing to be hidden in the dark (represented by the feminine nightgown that catches the character and transports him to the room) The metaphor I used at the time for rational consciousness was of a moth that itself was glowing and flying from place to place – both drawn to it's own light yet also trying to extinguish its presence.

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                  • LIMBOID


                    from Steve Mobia / Added

                    184 Plays / / 0 Comments

                    Shot on 16mm film and finished in 1983. Script, direction, cinematography, editing, music by Steve Mobia. A mixture of lyrical, comic and disturbing symbolic imagery illuminates this dreamlike narrative of a woman painter's transformation. The film can be seen as a struggle between defensiveness and vulnerability, cynicism and innocence. For a complete description of the symbols and ideas in this film, follow this link: http://stevemobia.com/NewsSubPages/Limboid%20explained.htm

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                    • KJV Audio Tour Part VI


                      from Museum of Biblical Art / Added

                      11 Plays / / 0 Comments

                      Produced by a committee of 50-odd scholars who labored for about seven years at the behest of James I, the Bible known as the King James Version appears forever young as it turns 400. On Eagles’ Wings tells the story of this iconic Bible from the moment of its conception in January 1604 to its last scholarly revision in 2005. Join Dr. Liana Lupas, Curator of the Rare Bible Collection @ MOBIA, as she presents milestones in translation, printing, typography and illustration, and reveals the secrets behind one of the most celebrated books in the English-speaking world. 52 Bibles are discussed in this eight-part series. On Eagles’ Wings: The King James Bible Turns 400 – on view at the Museum of Biblical Art July 8 – October 16, 2011

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