Museum of the Moving Image will present a unique interactive installation by acclaimed Montréal filmmaker Caroline Martel. On view from May 17 through August 12, 2012, the installation Industry/Cinema is a split-screen work that juxtaposes images from industrial films and popular films made between 1896 and 1991. With specialized dual-channel headphones, visitors are able to toggle between the soundtracks, creating an ever-changing interplay between sound and image as they take an illuminating journey through film history.
On Thursday, May 17, the opening day of the exhibition, there will be a reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by a 7:30 p.m. screening ofThe Phantom of the Operator (http://artifactproductions.ca/index_f.htm), Martel’s imaginative archival documentary about the invisible history of female telephone operators, and a conversation with Martel moderated by Chief Curator David Schwartz. (See details below.)
“Caroline Martel’s Industry/Cinema is an engaging and original installation that will teach Museum visitors about the fascinating history of industrial films, a branch of cinema that runs parallel to the commercial cinema that everyone is familiar with,” said Schwartz. “It also will encourage visitors to play with and rethink the relationship between sound and image.”
Apart from the familiar world of feature films, there exists a lesser-known world of many thousands of industrial films, instructional and informational sponsored short films that were shown in schools, at corporate events, in the workplace, and at commercial theaters before features. Industry/Cinema (2009. 22 mins.) places side by side a selection of industrial images and those from popular or canonical films made between 1903 and 1991. Images and sounds comment on each other, often in surprising ways, allowing for a singular interactive experience. Scenes from 20 films by Thomas Edison, Charles Chaplin, François Truffaut, and Stanley Kubrick are shown alongside such archival gems as How Business Girls Keep Well, Along These Lines, and The Speech Chain, an AT&T film with a computer singing “Daisy Bell,” which was sung by the computer HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The exhibition and opening reception are made possible with support from the Quebec Government Office in New York.