Light Reading’s 2007 series continues with a special screening and presentation to kick off our own summer of love. Next Wednesday, American film and video artist Loren Sears will show and discuss a selection of his early work, including the Haight-Ashbury Quartet.
Each of the four films in the quartet, which dates from 1967 to 1971, is a personal documentary that uses superimposition and complex (home made) optical printing to portray private and communal life in San Francisco’s hippie centre. They include footage of the legendary Gathering of the Tribes at Golden Gate Park, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, the Grateful Dead and the Diggers. On the fortieth anniversary of the ‘Summer of Love’, Sears made new digital transfers of the films and presented them at the Cannes Film Festival and market earlier this year.
Loren Sears began making film in 1965 and was a founding member of Canyon Cinema (which remains one of the oldest surviving film co-operatives) and manager of Canyon Cinematheque in San Francisco; an innovator in film and video technology; artist-in-residence at KQED-TV in San Francisco; and helped to build the production departments for both the Public Cable Access Center and KLSR-TV in Eugene, Oregon.
As one of the first West Coast artists to begin using video in the late 1960s, Sears was cited by Gene Youngblood, in his seminal book “Expanded Cinema”, as one of the foremost innovators in the field for the psychedelic video mixes he created at KQED’s experimental video laboratory. Between 1972-74, Sears lived and travelled across the USA in a van outfitted for video production, shooting personal journals and initiating community video projects. At Light Reading, he will also screen The Pacific Lake, Tribal Vision as an example of his work from this period.