Photography and Text by Kevin Powers

The film starts with a close-up shot of the water on the Hudson River as the band, Dark Dark Dark, plays a slow melancholic cadence that is both hypnotic and atmospheric, working in sync with the visual elements. The band’s music is a little hard to classify, they are billed as a “chamber folk-sextet” but their recipe is more complex and includes a a dash of Indie, a twist of Klezmer, and a healthy portion of southern folk infused with Eastern European chamber music. While listening to them play, a bottle of homemade corn whisky is proffered from inside of a broken down Datsun, I take a generous drink, the perfect accompaniment. The bottle continues to be passed, as we continue to float down the river.

Interestingly, the film uses footage that is not to be included in the forthcoming release of Flood Tide, which is described as, “ …blurring the line between fact and fiction…shot on the Hudson River during the real-life art-raft project The Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea”. The Remixed version is a meditation on water as a natural resource both something to be respected and enjoyed for its life giving qualities. It is also breathtakingly beautiful exploration of the Hudson, showing a spirit of community within the group of artists as they struggle with mechanical trouble and weather conditions as well as explore decaying buildings, dive off cliffs, and swim in abandoned quarries meandering down the river on their ramshackle junk ships. The live performance of Dark Dark Dark, works to create a more visceral experience, following perfectly, the pacing and tone of the film. 

A definite highlight of the festival for me is The Empire Drive-In installation, not only the perfect companion to the film and to a host of others that have and continue to be shown here  in South Hall during the biennial. It was constructed and designed by Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark using recycled materials. Through exacting design and production, viewers are transported to an 80’s era Drive-In, down to the standard issue Snack Shack and Ticket booth, as well as the missing letters on top of the giant screen, making it complete is the ability to view the films/performances from inside or on top of the junked vehicles, and even tune in from the car radios inside.  Pass the bottle and popcorn…and enjoy the show!

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