A Savage Ere

When Basque painter Jose Sistiaga premiered his nonsensically titled abstract film ere erera baleibu icik subua aruaren in Madrid in 1970, artists had been practicing his painstaking technique of painting directly on individual frames of film stock for most of the century. Locally, bohemian godfather Harry Smith screened his “cameraless” pieces at SFMOMA in 1950. But Sistiaga was the first to expand the format to feature length, working around the clock for two years to create 108,000 small unique paintings on 35mm film, each of which appears onscreen for only 1/24th of a second. The result is a silent, pulsing, and psychedelic blend of two mediums that seem made for each other. But it’s silent no more — the film event Sistiaga: ere erera baleibu icik subua aruaren features a screening with a live score by veteran L.A.–based postpunk band Savage Republic. Since the early '80s, the band has imbued its percussive avant-rock song structures with aspects of Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and North African folk music, along with an urgent industrial-culture attitude. If a 75-minute session of exploding color and light backed by America’s most driving exotic rock bands doesn’t rev you up, you may need to check your art pulse.
Sun., Sept. 20, 8 p.m., 2009

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