As one of the founding fathers of American experimental cinema, Ken Jacobs’s impact cannot be overstated. He is a pioneer who, after more than 50 years as a filmmaker, remains as innovative and productive as ever. Correction: at 80 years old he’s more productive than ever, having enthusiastically embraced digital filmmaking. Enormously influential as both a teacher and a font of radical filmmaking ideas, he has prepared several generations of teachers, writers, filmmakers, and discerning audience members to actively engage, with an equal amount of open-minded awe and healthy skepticism, with a media-saturated world. A frequent guest at the Museum—and the subject of a 1996 MoMA retrospective—Jacobs continues to surprise us with amazing inventions that mine the unlimited possibilities of creating with light and moving images. For this installment of MoMA’s Carte Blanche screening series, Jacobs presents films from MoMA’s collection that have influenced and inspired him, alongside selections of his own work—film prints, electronic media pieces, Nervous Magic Lantern performances—that represent key moments in his artistic life. The series also includes the world premiere of Jacobs’s four-part Joys of Waiting for the Broadway Bus cycle of digital works.
All film notes were written by Ken Jacobs, unless otherwise noted.
Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film.
Image: Ken Jacobs during a Nervous System Performance. Image courtesy The Museum of Modern Art