About the Program

Associations is titled after John Smith’s 1975 film, a joyfully dense rebus-like image-word construction. Smith’s film is preceded by Sara Kathryn Arledge’s rarely seen 1958 work What is A Man, a film years ahead of its time, and Mark Toscano’s 2012 piece Releasing Human Energies, which utilizes film laboratory test footage of a “China Girl” set to a found text read by Morgan Fisher. The program also features Abigail Child’s classic 1989 film Mercy, from her celebrated “Is This What You Were Born For?” series; canonical works by Phil Solomon, Barbara Hammer, Robert Breer, and Robert Nelson; and two recent restorations: the humorously poignant Confessions by Curt McDowell and Akbar, Richard Myers’ extraordinary 1970 portrait of young black filmmaker and student, Akbar Ahmed.

Films in this Program

Releasing Human Energies

Mark Toscano

A film about control. A refinement of energy for purposes of conserving resources, materials, impetus, potential, so they might all be narrowly channeled toward an unquestioned goal of maximum profit with minimum waste.

Rent from Canyon Cinema

What is a Man?

Sara Kathryn Arledge

“Imagery and dialogue stimulated by Finnegan’s Wake. It is a satire with undertones of the cosmic spirit.” – Sara Kathryn Arledge

Rent from Canyon Cinema


John Smith

Images from magazines and colour supplements accompany a spoken text taken from “Word Associations and Linguistic Theory” by Herbert H Clark.

Rent from Canyon Cinema

Hot Leatherette

Robert Nelson

“A kinetic film sketch designed to involve the viewers muscles. The rocky seaside cliffs near Stinson Beach, California, hold the wrecked carcass of a #52 pickup that is a rusting monument to Hot Leatherette.” (RAN)

Rent from Canyon Cinema


Barbara Hammer

A popular lesbian “commercial,” 110 images of sensual touching montages in A, B, C, D rolls of “kinaesthetic” editing.

Rent from Canyon Cinema

Flower, the Boy, the Librarian

Stephanie Barber

It’s a love story, with the usual dashing figures and old habits of spelling, repetition and listing.

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The Snowman

Phil Solomon

A meditation on memory, burial and decay – a belated kaddish for my father.

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Swiss Army Knife With Rats and Pigeons

Robert Breer

“… a typically bravura and delightful display of simple objective forms flashing, rotating, and dissolving into abstraction ….” – J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Rent from Canyon Cinema


Curt McDowell

“Just as outrageous is Curt McDowell’s Confessions. McDowell, a graduate student at San Francisco Art Institute, opens his film with a confession to his mother and father, listing in exhausting detail his sins of the flesh.”

Rent from Canyon Cinema

Thine Inward-Looking Eyes

Thad Povey

To paraphrase something Lao Tzu didn’t say: This film’s an empty cup — You fill it up.

Rent from Canyon Cinema


Abigail Child

Mercy, the last in the series, is encyclopedic ephemera, exploring public visions of technological and romantic invention, dissecting the game mass media plays with our private perceptions.

Rent from Canyon Cinema


Richard Myers

A friendly, lively, exciting portrait of a very extraordinary person from Akron, Ohio.

Rent from Canyon Cinema


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