Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

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Last Updated on August 13, 2019 by bricoleur

Bienvenue — Harvard's page on the Second Life Chris Marker interview features this image of M Chat, Guillaume's best friend

Original Announcement by Harvard Film Archive

The Harvard Film Archive SECOND LIFE event with Chris Marker will take place on Saturday, May 16 at 7 PM. Chris (through his avatar) will be leading a guided tour of his museum and answering questions from myself and a colleague (or rather our avatars) and also taking some from the audience (in the form of another avatar waiting at the conclusion of the tour). The show will also include various video pieces and film clips—single-channel versions of The Hollow Men, Silent Movie, and Pictures at an Exhibition plus a number of clips and perhaps other slide shows, all projected in the actual HFA rather than the virtual screening room (although we might see something there).

The HFA calendar will be updated with a detailed description of the show, as well as a mini-retrospective which will begin the weekend before.

Harvard FilmHaden Guest, Director, Harvard Film ArchiveArchive

Current Overview at Harvard Film Archive

Chris Marker (b. 1921) has been a source of continual fascination and endless speculation since he first emerged in the 1950s as one of the most original and elusive voices of the post-World War II French cinema. A brilliant practitioner and early pioneer of the essay film (In a revision of this text Marker was careful to assert that he did not “invent” the essay film and pointed to Nicole Védrès and her 1949 La Vie Commence Demain as a major influence upon his embrace of the essay form), Marker's best-known works are animated by a simultaneously playful and philosophical intertwining of documentary and fiction filmmaking techniques and traditions. The dense yet lyrical poiesis of montage and voice created across Marker's films found its fullest expression in Sans Soleil (1982), his celebrated meditation on travel, memory, and cultural difference. Among the most politically committed and perceptive European directors, Marker has also created a series of pointed documentary interventions recovering repressed and repressive histories of dissent, whether locally, as in The Sixth Side of the Pentagon (1967), or globally, as in his tragic, sweeping magnum opus A Grin Without a Cat (1978).

Marker has remained famously indifferent to the popular spotlight – leaving all public appearances to Guillaume-en-Egypte, the ginger cat who serves as his pseudonym, mascot, and muse – and adamant about his need for unmitigated independence as an artist, while not ruling out occasional work with select collaborators. Marker's desire for a fully self-sufficient means of production, together with his search for a liberated narrative form to explore the slippages and superimpositions of individual and collective memory has drawn him to experiment with an incredible range of image technologies, from the photo book in his early years to small gauge 16mm and Super-8 cinema and then to video and video games and, most recently, the CD-ROM and Internet. Marker, whose work from as early as La jetée (1962) is deeply informed by science fiction, has an uncanny ability to predict the future and to be there already. In 2008, a commission for the Design Museum in Zürich gave way to the landmark exhibition Chris Marker. A Farewell to Movies, for which Marker, together with Viennese architect Max Moswitzer, created a cyber museum in the virtual world Second Life in order to reexamine and share examples of his photography, films, and installation work. The Harvard Film Archive is proud to join Marker for an extremely rare live tour of his Second Life museum, Ouvroir, on Saturday, May 16th and, as a prelude, to present a focused retrospective of his films.

This program is co-presented by Icarus Films on the occasion of their release on DVD of nine Chris Marker films.

Special thanks: Jonathan Miller and Lori Fried, Icarus Films; Lucien Bookmite; Max Moswitzer; Naomi Yang, Exact Change Press

THE SECOND LIFE OF CHRIS MARKER
Ouvroir in Second Life
Ouvroir in Second Life — courtesy Lucien Bookmite, Flickr
Ouvroir commissioned work for lucien bookmite by barbara b.
Ouvroir — Commissioned Work for Lucien Bookmite by Barbara B., Flickr

Images courtesy Lucien Bookmite. Thanks to Tom Luddy for relaying this event information.

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Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory
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