X (Unknown Quantity) Presents

Toward The Concrete: Films by Mike Stoltz

Saturday, April 15th, 7:30pm - A.P.E. Gallery,  126 Main Street - Northampton, MA Stoltz-Image

 Toward the Concrete is a solo program of films by the Los Angeles-based artist, Mike Stoltz. Stoltz, who works primarily with film and video, uses the tools of cinema to explore time, mythology, memory, and the medium itself. His works are rooted in a bodily encounter with the subject, which manifests on screen in instances of engaging with performers (and performing) from behind the camera, chance-based interventions in landscape, physically moving the camera in concert with architectural structures to create images-within-images, or directly addressing the audience in the form of gesture and language. Physicality continues in Stoltz’s editing process, where he cuts directly on 16mm film rather than with a computer and composes soundtracks from tape music and live sound generated with collaborators. The films featured in this program work to reposition the familiar and nearby in a way that is both intimate and quizzical. Stoltz’s images reveal satellite dishes perched on the ocean, scrappy bands playing in storage units, stroboscopic office park architecture, body parts careening across the screen, and kitsch relics overcome by moss and mold. There is a correlation between the constant and the variable; a concrete wall begins to spin through the sky, performers place the camera between their bodies, nature overtakes the man-made, and history folds in on itself.

The Films:

In Between, 2010, 16mm, color, sound, 4:30
"An exercise in permeable architecture, an attempt to walk through a wall." - MS

With Pluses and Minuses, 2013, 16mm, color, sound, 5:00
". . . Stoltz shakes and dislocates audio and image with volume and pitch variations, editing the 16mm film in camera, varying the focus and the shot length of every frame, shifting background and foreground, turning and spinning the camera hand-held positions, and allowing sequences of black that punctuate the image’s algorithms. The filmmaker’s dance transforms abstraction into personal experience. He is an active agent of the surrounding world, and of the opportunities that open and close before us." - Mónica Savirón

Ten Notes on a Summer's Day, 2012, HD, color, sound, 4:30
". . . The camera in Ten Notes on a Summer's Day fixes on a young woman standing against a painted blue wall, the sun partially lighting her face, the sound of distant traffic in the background. Offscreen, a guitarist plucks single notes, and the woman hums along. When the music falls outside of her vocal range, she switches to a lower octave, her mouth turned up in a small grin. Later, she frowns slightly, seemingly unable to find her note. Gradually her confidence builds and her smile returns, though her humming is no longer anywhere close to the guitar’s pitch. Ten Notes is a marvel; it’s as unhurried and refreshing as this woman’s singing, which, though off-key, produces an unexpected harmony, a little song discovered in the process of its own making." - Genevieve Yue

Under The Atmosphere, 2014, 16mm, color, sound, 14:30
"Filmed on the Central Florida "Space Coast", site of NASA's launch pads. Dormant spacecraft, arcane text, activated landscape, and the surface of the image work towards a future-past shot reverse shot." - MS


Half Human, Half Vapor, 2015, 16mm, color, sound, 11:00
“This project began out of a fascination with a giant sculpture of a dragon attached to a Central Florida mansion. The property had recently been left to rot, held in lien by a bank. Hurricanes washed away the sculpture. I learned about the artist who created this landmark, Lewis Vandercar (1913-1988), who began as a painter. His practice grew along with his notoriety for spell-casting and telepathy. Inspired by Vandercar’s interest in parallel possibility, I combined these images with text from local newspaper articles in a haunted-house film that both engages with and looks beyond the material world.” - MS
Spotlight On A Brick Wall, Collaboration with Alee Peoples, 2016, 16mm, color, sound, 8:00
“A performance film that navigates expectations of both the audience and the makers. A series of false starts. Dub treatment on the laugh track.” - AP&MS

Sponsored by the Departments of English Art & the History of Art, and the Film and Media Studies Program. Organized by Adam R. Levine.

Open to the Public - Free Admission!