Phil Solomon


Phil Solomon

Phil Solomon | Archaeology in Reverse

exhibition catalog

curator: Hava Aldouby

On the occasion of the Jerusalem Film Festival 2015, an exhibition of films and digital installations by experimental filmmaker Phil Solomon will open at Mamuta Art and Media Center, Hansen House, Jerusalem.

The festival will screen of five of the artist’s early films (1989-1995), on the evening of 15 July. Mamuta Art and Media Center, the Hansen House,  in collaboration with Daa’t HaMakom and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design will host a symposium on gaming and experimental cinema, with an emphasis on the representation and experience of place (15 July).

Phil Solomon (b.1954) is a prominent American experimental filmmaker. His works have been widely exhibited. Solomon has been shown at the Whitney Biennial of American Art, the New York Film Festival, MoMA NY, Tate Modern, London, and innumerable other venues in the US, Europe, South America, Japan, Hong Kong, and India. American Falls, commissioned by Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC in 2010, has since been shown worldwide. This 56 minute, three channel digital video will be the highlight of the exhibition at the Hansen Center.

The grandson of Russian Jewish immigrants, reared in Monsey NY in the aftermath of WW II, Solomon has been and is to this day a major participant in the American film avant-garde. His works negotiate 20th century history through the history of film itself. In his magnum opus, American Falls (2010), he chemically manipulates iconic moments of American history as these have been presented in period films, thus weaving a cinematically mediated ironic and anxious look at the American dream. The filmic images drown in a ‘magma’ of molten emulsion in which Solomon finds, in his words, ‘the physical anxiety of the form itself’. This is American history told in a way that reflects tensions pertaining to body consciousness, and to situation in ‘place’.

In recent works Solomon has shifted to purely digital format, appropriating videogame sessions as an unexpected source of ‘found footage’. As of 2006 he ventures into the virtual world of the popular video game Grand Theft Auto, revisiting iconic sites in NY and Los Angeles through their representations in the game. Roaming the streets of these cyber meta-places, Solomon seeks uncanny situations outside the game’s pre-constructed narrative. The In Memoriam trilogy, which shall be shown at the Hansen House, presents an unsettling experience of places that are at the same time very familiar and extremely unreal and uninhabitable.

A considerably large group of filmmakers of Jewish descent, emerging from multicultural immigrant communities in the aftermath of World War II, participated in the formation of the American avant-garde from its first decades to this day. The works of these filmmakers, among whom Solomon is a major figure, are little known in Israel. In the present exhibition, film screening and symposium we hope to raise an interest in Solomon’s major works, and in and related historical and theoretical issues.

opening hours: Sun-Thur 10:00 – 18:00, Friday 10:00 – 14:00

Mamuta at Hansen House

closing: 31.8

The exhibitions and the screening are hosted by Mamuta Art and Media Center at Hansen House and the Jerusalem Film Festival and supported by the Ostrovsky Family Fund. The symposium is a collaboration between Mamuta, Hansen House, Bezalel College of Art and Design, and Da’at Hamakom- Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in Jewish Modernity.

Research for the exhibition and interview with the artist were supported by Da’at Hamakom.

Symposium: Gaming Meets Experimental Cinema in Non-Places

On the occasion of the exhibition Phil Solomon: Archaeology in Reverse, to open 13 July at the Hansen Art and Media Center in Jerusalem, Solomon’s oeuvre will be addressed and contextualized in a symposium on the intersection between gaming and experimental cinema. The will take place on 15 July with a participation of game designers alongside academics in the fields of experimental cinema, game design, and digital culture.

14:00 Hava Aldouby, “Phil Solomon: Archeology in Reverse, an Introduction”

14:45 Session I Narrative: Open Code

Chair: Ronen Leibman

Participants: Guy Ulmer, Eytan Majar, Dr. Vered Pnueli,, Shalev Moran

16:30 Coffee break

17:00 Session II Manipulations of Time and Place in Experimental Cinema

Chair: Diego Rotman

Participants: Chen Sheinberg, Ori Levin, Hava Aldouby

The symposium is a collaboration between Mamuta, Hansen House, Bezalel College of Art and Design, and Da’at Hamakom- Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in Jewish Modernity.