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Light Music

Lis Rhodes

UK, 1975 - 1977
25 minutes, B&W, Optical, 4:3
Original format: 16mm film
Available formats: 16mm

Light Music was first shown as a two part 14 minute videotape at the Serpentine Gallery in the Festival of Independent Video (1975). In 1977 it was screened in Paris as a two screen 16 mm film. It is more or less different every time it is screened. I thought the audience would move around – leave – return – and chat throughout – and they did and still do. Now sometimes members of the audience become performers, performing within and to the light of Light Music. This impromptu performance is often taken away as a digital record of the viewer as performer. –L.R.‘The Tanks at Tate Modern are three colossal new spaces beneath the ground. One tank is reserved for works from the Tate collection, and the inaugural experience is exhilarating: a pair of projectors spooling black-and-white celluloid across the room at each other to a soundtrack something like old biplanes buzzing and humming. Sound and vision are intimately connected – the op-art patterns read as audio – and the images zip and sizzle on the screen like cinematic Bridget Riley. But the best effect is of moving in throngs among the glamorous limelight. It’s startling to learn that Lis Rhodes made Light Music almost 40 years ago.’ –Laura Cumming The Observer, The Tanks: Art in Action 22 July 2012‘In this groundbreaking work, Rhodes plays with our preconception of film by presenting the soundtrack as a series of horizontal and vertical lines that were drawn with pen and ink on the optical edge of the filmstrip. These are projected onto two opposite facing screens in a hazy room. As the films roll, they appear as an ‘optical soundtrack’. What the viewer hears, on the other hand, is the audible equivalent of the alternating images on the screens. The space between the two screens turns the beams into airy sculptural forms consisting of light, shadow and smoke, which encourages the viewer to move around the room. This in turns destroys conventional film watching codes and turns the film into a collective practice where the audience is expected to intervene into the work and thus, become the performer. This work was the artist’s reaction to what she perceives as a lack of interest and appreciation of European women composers. Thus in Light Music, Lis Rhodes interweaves cinematic practices with a range of topics from gender politics to phenomenological experience.’ –Deren Erelçin http://theculturetrip.com/ Lis Rhodes’s ‘Light Music’ Challenges Perceptions of FilmSelected screenings: at Tate Modern, in the Tanks, 2012 ; with Tamara Krikorian’s Time Revealing Truth and Steve Farrer’s ‘The Machine’, screened in Oil Tanks, Tate Modern, London, 2009 ; ‘Expanded Cinema – Space/Time/Structure’ Stuttgart, 2006 ; Image Forum Festival, Tokyo and Kyoto, 2004 ; ‘Expanded Cinema’, performance, The British Council, Paris, 1977; ‘The Video Show’, Serpentine Gallery, London 1975