Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 9pm
Line Describing a Cone and Related Films

177 Livingston Street, Brooklyn

Introduced by Anthony McCall

October marks the final month that Light Industry and its roommates Triple Canopy and The Public School will be at our space on 177 Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn. On Saturday the 30th, the 5,000-square-foot room will be nearly emptied out, the surface upon which we used to show films quite literally demolished. For our final program at the venue, then, we’ve decided to present works that do away with the screen completely, turning the audience’s attention instead to the event of projection: Anthony McCall’s landmark work of expanded cinema Line Describing a Cone and three related permutations, Partial Cone, Cone of Variable Volume, and Conical Solid. This screening marks the first time in decades that all four pieces will be seen together.

And though we’re leaving our current storefront, not to worry—Light Industry will continue unabated. The consciously minimal design of our setup means that the project can be reconstituted almost anywhere; in November and December we’ll be couch-surfing a bit, organizing a series of one-off shows at a number of like-minded venues around town. Following this brief window of itinerancy, we plan to open up shop at new digs in early 2011, ideally with Triple Canopy and The Public School again. (Our search for a new space has proven fruitful thus far, but we’re still looking; any leads would be appreciated, and we can be reached here.)

So come check out the final event at 177 Livingston and hang out afterward as all three groups finish off the last of our beer and plan for what’s next.


Line Describing a Cone
, Anthony McCall, 16mm, 1973, 30 mins

Line Describing a Cone
is what I term a solid light film. It deals with the projected light beam itself, rather than treating the light beam as a mere carrier of coded information, which is decoded when it strikes a flat surface.

The viewer watches the film by standing with his or her back toward what would normally be the screen, and looking along the beam toward the projector itself. The film begins as a coherent pencil of light, like a laser beam, and develops through thirty minutes into a complete, hollow cone.

Line Describing a Cone deals with one of the irreducible, necessary conditions of film: projected light. It deals with this phenomenon directly, independently of any other consideration. It is the first film to exist in real, three-dimensional space.

This film exists only in the present: the moment of projection. It refers to nothing beyond this real time. It contains no illusion. It is a primary experience, not secondary: i.e., the space is real, not referential; the time is real, not referential.

No longer is one viewing position as good as any other. For this film, every viewing position presents a different aspect. The viewer therefore has a participatory role in apprehending the event: he or she can, indeed needs, to move around relative to the slowly emerging light form. - AM

Partial Cone, 16mm, 1974, 15 mins
Cone of Variable Volume, 16mm, 1974, 10 mins
Conical Solid, Anthony McCall, 16mm, 1974, 10 mins

The year after making Line Describing a Cone, I made three additional films. These were short, either ten- or fifteen-minute works. Partial Cone explored the modulation of the surface of a projected beam of light, creating a range of surface qualities from solid, through glimmering, flickering, and blinking, to flashing. These were created by subtracting a certain number of image frames per second in a series of timed steps. Cone of Variable Volume was a conical form, which expanded and contracted in volume, like a lung. The rhythmic movement is imperceptible at first, and progressively accelerates in speed. Conical Solid sets up a flat blade of light rotating from a fixed central axis. - AM

Tickets - $7, available at door.