CARPENTER CENTER FOR THE VISUAL ARTS | HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Filmmaker Phil Solomon will be introducing a screening of his 56-minute epic tone poem, American Falls (2000-2012), followed by a close analysis and Q&A session. Commissioned by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC as a multimedia installation for the museum’s grand Rotunda, American Falls will be screened as a single-channel triptych. Inspired by Frederic Church’s 1857 masterpiece Niagara and by Washington’s monumental war memorials, American Falls explores the aspirations and struggles that lie at the heart of the American Dream. Solomon’s resources for these images include Hollywood cinema, found footage, and documentary and fictionalized accounts of historical events. Solomon’s innovative use of altered film emulsion transforms Niagara Falls into a metaphoric landscape, encouraging us to consider how a place can reflect the events that occur on its shores. Envisioning the currents of history as a collective dream, American Falls considers many of the questions inherent in our national identity, at a crucial moment in this country’s passage.
“More than any other independent film or video I can think of from the past decade, American Falls invokes the specter of a nation whose present unraveling is all too rooted in its history.”
---Tony Pipilo, Artforum
Phil Solomon has been making films since 1975 and is currently a Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he has been teaching since 1991. He collaborated on three films with his friend and Boulder colleague, the late Stan Brakhage, who named Solomon's Remains to be Seen on his Top Ten Films of All Time list for Sight and Sound. He is currently working on A Snailʼs Trail in the Moonlight: Conversations with Brakhage, a video essay and a book of transcriptions of several years of recordings of Brakhageʼs Sunday film salons. Phil Solomon has been awarded with a USA Artists Knight’s Fellowship (2012), the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize (2007), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1994), and he has exhibited his films in every major venue for experimental film throughout the US and Europe, including two Whitney Biennials and three one-person shows at MoMA. Solomon’s films have won First Prize at numerous international film festivals, including Oberhausen and Black Maria (6 Juror’s Awards). His recent Grand Theft Auto digital video series, In Memoriam, has received numerous awards and was named in the Top Ten avant-garde films of the year by the Village Voice. In a recent poll taken by Film Comment of the top 50 filmmakers of the first decade of the new century, Phil Solomon was placed at number 5 (tied with Stan Brakhage).
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