To Save and Project, in a special co-presentation with Modern Mondays, revisits Cine Virus, a film program organized in 1978 by the filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, The Hurt Locker) and Michael Oblowitz to coincide with the publication of Schizo-Culture, a widely influential special issue of the radical journal Semiotext(e). Founded by Sylvère Lotringer and a group of Columbia University graduate students in 1974, Semiotext(e) was known both for introducing American readers to French poststructuralist theory and for bringing disparate elements of New York’s downtown cultural scene together in the late 1970s and 1980s—“making profuse connections via a circuitry that seemed to exist between the cracks,” as Jim Fletcher would observe.
While Schizo-Culture insisted on a violent break with the counterculture of the 1960s, its sister film program offered its own sinister directive: “Everyone wants to be infected/everyone wants to be infectious. Cine Virus programs cinema as a soft-machine of control bringing into proximity different strains of the disease. The virus is the pleasure and contamination: the infection.”
Oblowitz and Lotringer present films from that original Cine Virus program, including Antony Balch’s dizzying William S. Burroughs collage Cut Ups; Bruce Conner’s music video for Devo’s “Mongoloid”; and the MoMA restoration of Bigelow‘s own Set-Up, in which two semioticians—Lotringer and Marshall Blonsky—unpack, through voiceover commentary, seductively shot images of two men engaged in a brutal fight. Author Kate Zambreno reads from the work of the late Kathy Acker, who contributed a live performance to the 1978 event and also wrote for Schizo-Culture. This event is presented in conjunction withThe Return of Schizo-Culture at MoMA PS1, and was organized with Carole Ann Klonarides and Sylvère Lotringer on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Semiotext(e).
Cut Ups. 1967. Great Britain. Directed by Antony Balch. Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art. 11 min.
Car Crash/Mass Homicide/Suicide Attack. 1978/2014. USA. Directed by Eric Mitchell. Digital projection. 6 min.
Set-Up. 1978. USA. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation. 17 min.
Circuits of Control/Minus Zero. 1977–79. Directed by Michael Oblowitz. Digital projection. 39 min.
Snake Woman. 1977. USA. Directed by Tina L'Hotsky. Cinematography by Michael Oblowitz. Digital projection. 15 min.
Mongoloid. 1977. USA. Directed by Bruce Conner. Music by Devo. 4 min.
Kathy Acker: Blood and Guts in High School [live reading]. 1978/2014. Live reading by Kate Zambreno. 10 min.
Burroughs on Bowery. 1977. USA. Directed by Marc Olmsted. 5 min.
Program approx. 120 min.