Polymath artist, filmmaker, and composer Tony Conrad's (1940–2016) recent composition Empire for Strings (2015) will be performed live by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, followed by a screening of two of Conrad's most iconic films, The Flicker (1966, 30 min.) and Straight and Narrow (1970, 10 min.). 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of The Flicker, among the most influential American avant-garde films of the 1960s. With its landmark use of alternating white and black film images, The Flicker creates a hallucinatory, physical response, reimagining the cinematic experience as an unhinged administration of the human nervous system. Straight and Narrow, produced four years later, further modifies these experimental stroboscopic techniques using horizontal and vertical lines of alternating black and white, combined with music by Terry Riley and John Cale.
The Flicker and Straight and Narrow have been preserved by Anthology Film Archives with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation.