ATTENTION ! – a workshop with Ben Russell

6 February, 2018
– 6 February, 2018
10am – 5pm

Taking its title from the exclamations of a trained Mynah bird on Aldous Huxley’s ISLAND*, ATTENTION is a day-long workshop that seeks to re-orient the audiovisual attentions of its participants towards the generative possibilities of the non-fiction present.  Informed by Ben Russell’s own decades-long practice in image-and-sound collection under the loose frame of “documentary” and “psychedelic ethnography” and inspired by his recent month-long production trip to the Marquesas Islands, this workshop will employ a series of listening, movement, recording, and viewing exercises drawn from sources as diverse as Maryanne Amacher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, LSD test subjects, the Lettrists, hydrophone coral reef recordings, Jean Rouch’s idea of trance-cinema and more – all in the name of recognizing one’s own intuitive, cognitive and perceptual processes within the construction of the Here and Now.
Participants should bring a device for image and sound capture (the bigger and more specific, the better), headphones, and warm clothes for outside-movement (weather permitting).

*”Is that your bird?” Will asked.
She shook her head.
“Mynahs are like the electric light,” she said. “They don’t belong to anybody.”
“Why does he say those things?”
“Because somebody taught him,” she answered patiently. What an ass! her tone seemed to imply.
“But why did they teach him those things? Why ‘Attention’? Why ‘Here and now’?”
“Well …” She searched for the right words in which to explain the self evident to this strange imbecile. “That’s what you always forget, isn’t it? I mean, you forget to pay attention to what’s happening. And that’s the same as not being here and now.”
“And the mynahs fly about reminding you—is that it?”
She nodded. That, of course, was it. There was a silence.

Lunch will be provided.

Ben Russell will present his new film GOOD LUCK at Tate Modern on Wednesday 7 February 2018, 6.30pm.
GOOD LUCK premiered as a multi-room installation at Documenta 14 and has screened at the Locarno International Film festival, Toronto International Film Festival and NYFF, amongst others.

Ben Russell is an artist, filmmaker and curator whose work lies at the intersection of ethnography and psychedelia. His films and installations are in direct conversation with the history of the documentary image, providing a time-based enquiry into trance phenomena and evoking the research of Jean Rouch, Maya Deren and Michael Snow, among others.
Russell received a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, a FIPRESCI International Critics Prize (IFFR 2009) for his first feature film Let Each One Go Where He May. His second feature film, A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (co-directed with Ben Rivers), premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2013. Curatorial projects include Magic Lantern (Providence, USA, 2005-2007), BEN RUSSELL (Chicago, USA, 2009-2011), and Hallucinations (Athens, Greece, 2017). He currently resides in Los Angeles.



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