Nicholas Kersulis


anarchy/love/spectacle is both a film series and a ‘movie poster’ that celebrates twenty-two films that depict rebellious and anarchistic collective behavior, or focus on an individual subject’s interior psychological struggle. Set up as a continuous series of films, the 40-hour screening is shown over a period of days. The opening and closing of the venue may interrupt the screening of one of the films and, when this occurs, the film will be picked up where it left off the day before. The interior of the exhibition room is darkened for the projection of the films, and an exterior wall of the darkened space supports a ‘movie poster,’ which is painted on canvas and riveted so that it can be easily transported and reinstalled.

The historical importance of the films in a/l/s is without doubt, but the films I chose also hold personal memories. Unlike film series that appear to offer an ‘objective survey’ of a particular genre or period, autobiographical factors led me to this group of films. For cinephiles and record collectors alike, pop culture plays an important role in self-discovery, and my subjective experience of the films in the series became the final determinant in choosing them.

The films are shown in reverse chronology, with regard to the era they depict rather than the era they were made. Godard’s Alphaville begins the series because it exists in a continuous present, or the forever distant future, depending on how one sees things today. Contrast this to Luchino Visconti’s epic The Leopard—a period film made in the 1960s which takes place a century beforehand in the 1860s—divulges as much about the counterculture at the time of its making as the period it represents.

No matter the historicity of an event, our personal experience with representation influences, even though we may remain unaware, how we internalize these events as facts. The like-mindedness that forms around representations of events, even among strangers, is unavoidable.

anarchy/love/spectacle installed at New Langton Arts, San Francisco, California
anarchy/love/spectacle (movie poster); acrylic paint and gesso on canvas with grommets; 81 × 81”
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