The Fisher Price PXL-2000, which records video onto ordinary audiocassettes, was dropped by the toy manufacturer not long after its appearance in 1987. Yet thanks in part to the undying efforts of Gerry Fialka, PXL's Johnny Appleseed, independent film artists continue to use this toy turned electronic paintbrush to this very day. Fialka and SF Cinematheque mark the 20th anniversary of the camera's introduction with An Invention Without a Future: Greatest Hits of PXL THIS
, featuring an interactive workshop followed by a 90-minute compilation of the best PXL films of 2003-2006. Imagine a black-and-white kaleidoscope; imagine a Toto's-eye view of a Kansas as sparkly as the Emerald City. That's what the PXL image looks like.
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As such, the implement lends itself to such minimalist works as Joe Frese's Fish, which meditates on the meaninglessness of goldfish existence, and various self-conscious efforts like Ross Craig's very funny PXL Manifesto. But it also adds valuable texture to a political statement, like Lisa Marr's Rug Rat, a video transcription of a letter written by Navajo rug collector William Randolph Hearst set against blurry images of rugs. The staticky pictures play upon the intricate weaves as the magnate's demands for more and better rugs clash with "rug missing" signs in modern museums. Time: 7:00pm Price: $6-$10 By Gregg Rickman