Tzadik DVD Edition #3002

Pierre Hébert/Bob Ostertag
Between Science and Garbage

Released March. 2004
total running time - 50 minutes
US price $30

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Living Cinema: Between Science and Garbage

Winner of the Prix de la Creation Artistique du Conseil des Arts et des Lettres de Quebec, 2004

Living Cinema is an open-ended project which has tried to reflect the changing world in which it was created. The current phase, which we call Between Science and Garbage, began in San Francisco in 1999 during a residency at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

This was when San Francisco was attracting unprecedented wealth from around the world through financial speculation in internet technology, yet homelessness was rising at the same time. The themes of food (both wholesome and garbage) and technology (today's being science, yesterday's being garbage) come from this period.

The work took a major turn when we performed a concert at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis just days after September 11, 2001. It was at this point that the weight of world events became so heavy that it was impossible to keep them out of the project. For example, what we had intended as a rain of people and garbage was now interpreted as a rain of falling bodies and debris from the World Trade Center. Flour, which we had thought of as snow on ruins, was universally understood as Anthrax. And so on.

Since we could not keep world events out of the piece, we decided to throw open the door and let them in. The airplane and exploding space shuttle were added. An oil tanker broke apart off the Spanish coast while we were touring in Europe, and its image was added. The Red Brigades killed a policeman on a train in Italy, and this was also added, as was a train of US military supplies bound for Iraq which passed through Slovenia while we were performing in Ljubljana. And we started using the front page of the day's newspaper from whatever city we were in as the first image in the show (some of which are seen at the start of the DVD).

There is really no appropriate way to end these notes. The winds of world history, far from subsiding, continue to gather force and the forecast is ever more dark. Living Cinema will continue to be tossed and turned in the tempest, along with everything else. The present work is just a snapshot (actually, a video clip) of a critical period in the gathering storm.

We hope it helps give meaning to others who feel as overwhelmed as we do.

-- Pierre Hébert and Bob Ostertag, September, 2003

The "film" version of Between Science and Garbage which is featured on this DVD was made from concert recordings during a European tour in February and March 2003. Some concert segments were incorporated without alteration, while others were reprocessed, and in some cases new material was added.

Our approach is not one of creating a "concert recording" from which the "mistakes" were removed. Rather, we wanted to use the transition from live performance to DVD as an opportunity to develop our work in another direction. Our intention was to produce a work that is more nuanced and controlled than what is possible in a live performance, yet without losing the urgency that results from the improvisational origin of both sound and image.

Further performances will no doubt be fundamentally influenced by the experience of making the DVD. In this sense, Living Cinema is similar to many of our projects, which do not center on a fixed work of art, but are more like an idea stream which flows through different media. Different realizations are like snapshots of the stream at different points along the route.

Special thanks to : Cis Biernickx, Joshua Kit Clayton, Baltazar Lopez, John Killacky, Wim Wabbes, and STEIM