Clip from "Eyeblink" (1966) - Yoko Ono
Last night I was fortunate to be at The Contemporary for a film screening night. Andy Ditzler screened several short films by Yoko Ono and collaborations with several artists from the 1960's avant-garde group, FLUXUS. We watched a small handful of incredibly interesting and sometimes terribly enduring films, including Ono's well known "Fly". It is in this 25 minute short film that a fly is seen walk across the landscape of a very drugged, naked woman. Voiced over in the background is Yoko Ono creating startling creature sounds.
Before the film viewing even began, Ditzler gave a brief overview of Ono and her transition from a Japanese classical pianist to the avant-garde artist we know her as. He talked about the change from standard musical compositions to compositions that told the musician to "do" things, instead of notes to play. Take for example "Voice Piece for Soprano":
1. against the wind.
2. against the wall.
3. against the sky.
Some of these compositions would have by the score one word, such as "touch". Soon this transitioned to film scripts. Ono wrote several film scripts, with one consisting of Yoko simply lighting a match.
After the film screening, we took part in a film that Yoko Ono wrote, using the "Film Scrip #3" to advise us. The instructions are are for the audience members to cut away a piece of the image projected on the screen. The Contemporary set up a nice white sheet where a short film was projected. By the end, there was hardly any material left and the image was gracefully cast against the industrial support beams of the ceiling. So what part of the image did I cut? An open window.
The neat thing about the film script that we did is that Yoko Ono had been contacted to request permission for the project. Not only did she know, but it was uncertain whether this specific piece had ever been done before. Ono advised the audience to keep forever the piece that we cut off the screen. And so I shall.
This was a truly great experience. It brought forth many interesting reactions from the audience, including myself. I laughed, I yawned, I even thought about my mother's face at one point. I'm sure Yoko Ono would have been happy with the imagination that we used while experiencing her work.
If you would like to see the main feature, "Fly", please go here to see it. Enjoy!