Rick Prelinger is an archivist of the impermanent. His nontraditionally organized library houses printed materials documenting the transient nature of car culture and tourists. The Prelinger Archives is a refuge for advertising, government, hygiene, and industrial films rescued from becoming trash heap fodder. Viewed separately, short films like Boy with Knife (Jerry, an 'at-risk' young man, uses his knife as an 'equalizer' to solve his frustrations) and Modern Trends in Swine Production have little in common. But when amassed with other filmic clutter, they begin to paint a chaotic picture of our psychological landscape. The physical scenery lands a starring role in Prelingers annual event, "Lost Landscapes of San Francisco." Presented by the Long Now Foundation, which exists in part to promote slower/better thinking and whose name was coined by founding board member, musician Brian Eno, "Landscapes" is cobbled together from footage captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen, and industrial filmmakers. The images are of a San Francisco that no longer exists. Even the curator isnt sure what every scene depicts, and audience members are invited to participate, especially if they can identify places that have been wiped from the Bay Area panorama. Prelinger speaks before the screening, and a reception afterward affords viewers the chance to talk to the archivist and Long Now staff and board members (but probably not Eno).
Fri., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2008