Underground Film Journal

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Microscope Gallery: Nick Zedd Films

By Mike Everleth ⋅ January 22, 2011

Drawing of a microscope

Jan. 25
7:00 p.m.
Microscope Gallery
4 Charles Place
Brooklyn, NY 11221

Hosted by: Microscope Gallery

The creator and leading figure of the Cinema of Transgression movement, Nick Zedd, will appear in person to present his most controversial films, from 1984’s collaboration with Richard Kern, Thrust in Me, to several of his multiple-projector films.

Back in the early ’80s, Zedd captured the zeitgeist of a style of filmmaking that was emerging in NYC’s Lower East Side. He thus created the Cinema of Transgression, a loose connection of low-budget independent filmmakers who were making work that rebelled against traditional social norms. Some of these filmmakers included Richard Kern, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Tommy Turner and David Wojnarowicz. You can read Zedd’s Transgression manifesto here.

Films screening at this particular event include Thrust in Me, a 1984 Super 8 collaboration with Richard Kern in which Zedd plays two characters, basically himself and a woman with whom he sexually molests. Kern did all the camerawork.

Then, there’s an explosive triple screen live three-projector performance featuring three separate works:

War Is Menstrual Envy (1992) combines 16mm film and video to present an experimental, terrifying vision of a post-apocalyptic future starring Annie Sprinkle, Kembra Pfahler and Ray, a man with severe, real burn scarring all over his body and face. Whoregasm (1988) combines old stag film loops with other found images and visual effects. And Smiling Faces Tell Lies (1995) is described by Microscope as “an extreme visual assault in the transgressive idiom, continuing Zedd’s exploration of simultaneity and quantum physics with a homosexual twist.”

Microscope Gallery is a new art gallery and screening room founded and run by Elle Burchill and Andrea Monti in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn.

In addition to this Zedd mini-retrospective, the gallery portion of Microscope is displaying the filmmaker’s series of oil paintings called “Entities,” plus, the complete run of Zedd’s Underground Film Bulletin fanzine through which he published the Cinema of Transgression manifesto and ruled the movement with an iron fist; and more artwork and video pieces. Zedd’s artwork will be on display until Feb. 7.

Here’s an interview with Zedd: