Seattle's Kinski brings a glorious musical howl to Jim Hobbs' film installation "A Clear Day and No Memories" at Jack Straw.
Sound and vision achieve visceral effects in “A Clear Day and No Memories,” a new installation with an intensely local feel to it, at Jack Straw New Media Gallery.
The piece, which takes its title from a Wallace Stevens poem, matches imagery from three 16-mm film projectors with a chance-driven score created by putting two LP sides of different lengths on nonstop simultaneous replay.
The films are shot by London-based American artist Jim Hobbs. Two of them are 53-second loops of numbers, flashing by so rapidly they shimmy like liquid. Projected on a lower wall of the gallery, they’re like two warp-speed visual metronomes.
A longer 16-minute film is the main item: a slower, continually shape-shifting looped collage of Puget Sound pewter grays and forest greens, shot in and around the abandoned bunkers of Fort Worden (near Port Townsend). Roiling clouds, breaking waves and swaying tops of trees provide the backdrop to a serpentine progress in and around the old moss-covered concrete fortifications.
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Hobbs’ camera eye latches onto the ruined aspects of this uninhabited place — its rusting steel ladders and doors, damp passageways and grassed-over abutments — while time-lapsed shots of its natural surroundings make clear what’s breaking it down.
The two-layered LP soundtrack by Seattle experimental band Kinski alternates between pressured ambient drone and storm-cloud cataclysms of electric guitars and feedback, adding to the eerie power of the visuals.
Taken as a whole, “Clear Day” leaves you feeling battered, invigorated, immersed in the glorious howl of the cloud-swept Northwest.
Michael Upchurch: email@example.com