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Medium/Format/Marker: La Jetée in Multiples

A dynamic, multimedia experience for the Screen Textures film conference by Nicholas Loess, Joe Sorbara & Ben Grossman.

Friday, October 17th @ 8pm in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.  Open to the public.

Medium/Format/Marker (MFM) is a live, intermedial and improvisational undoing of the cinematic apparatus. The body of M/F/M consists of four, simultaneous projections of Chris Marker’s epic La Jetée, in 16mm, VHS, Blu-Ray and Standard Definition formats for the audience’s retinal delight! The latter format is subjected to the improvised visio-acoustic interruptions of Loess, Sorbara, and Grossman. With each performer’s instrument digitally and analogically connected, this improvisational interface seeks to blur the aural and visual hierarchies embedded within the cinematic encounter. The audience is encouraged to let go of any attempt trying to establish a clear link between sound and image. Instead, they’re asked to occupy a space alongside the performers within the moment-to-moment nature of improvisation and Marker’s ciné-roman. Like La Jetée, M/F/M attempts to strip down the cinema to its most basic through an improvised, and reverent gesture towards cinema’s and free improvisation’s capacity to allow for radical and playful re-imaginations of narrative, time, loss, and memory. There may even be popcorn.




Nicholas Loess is an award-winning filmmaker, educator, and improvising intermedial artist committed and indebted to the synaesthetic: the intertextural. His film and video work has been screened internationally, in both galleries and public space. His ultra-short 24 Progressive took first prize at the 2012 Toronto Urban Film Festival and has subsequently been shown on public screens in 30 cities across Canada. Loess’ graduate research has utilized a practice-based approach to exploring the relationship between cinema and improvisation. He’s currently finishing up his dissertation.

Joe Sorbara is a highly inventive drummer and percussionist with a penchant for coaxing music out of practically anything. Joe’s drumkit is regularly augmented with found and prepared materials which ensure that the sounds at his ready disposal are practically orchestral in scope. He combines these skills with an extraordinary time-feel that makes him one of the most swinging drummers in Canada when the music demands it of him. He is equally at home playing jazz standards, free improvised music, punk rock, and chamber music—but prefers to play them all at the same time. He leads The Imperative, a trio featuring Jay Hay and Karen Ng on tenor saxophones, and two large ensembles: the ten-piece Abakos and a ‘seven-or-more-tet’ known as Other Foot First. Each of these serve as uniquely challenging outlets for his inventive compositions. Elsewhere, Joe plays in Ken Aldcroft’s Convergence Ensemble, the AIMToronto Orchestra, and Lullaby North, as well as in numerous ongoing and ad hoc collaborations with creative improvising musicians from all over. In addition to the above, he has recorded with Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, Anna Siddall, the Remnants Trio, Ronda Rindone’s Quorum, Tom Arthurs and Bruce MacKinnon, Glen Hall, and Peter van Huffel. As an educator, Joe teaches at the University of Guelph where he works with young drummers in the applied music program as well as directing a large ensemble known as the CME. At home in Toronto, he teaches privately and through the Regent Park School of Music. He is also a stalwart creative music organizer, a founding Board member of AIMToronto, a member of the Somewhere There collective, and has been the director of the weekly Leftover Daylight Series since its inception in 2003.

Ben Grossman is a busy musician: improviser, studio musician, composer, noisemaker and audio provocateur. He works in many fields, having played on over 80 CDs, soundtracks for film and television, sound design for theatre, installations, work designed for radio transmission, and live performances spanning early medieval music to experimental electronica. Ben’s tools of choice are electronics,percussion, and, especially, the hurdy gurdy (vielle à roue), a contemporary electro-acoustic string instrument with roots in the European middle ages. He studied the instrument in Europe and has also studied Turkish music in Istanbul. With an abiding interest in pushing the limits of his instruments and pushing the boundaries of whatever venue or medium in which he works, Ben’s solo CD, Macrophone was released in 2007 and features a unique two disc form for simultaneous, aleatoric playback.