Knockdown Centre, New York

Video Jam at Knockdown Center
52-19 Flushing Ave, Queens, New York, 11378
Friday, July 21, 2017

For our New York debut we presented a programme of short films and live accompaniment responding to the musical, cultural and artistic influences of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The programme included work by both emerging and mid-career artists of Basquiat's generation, spanning a variety of genres including essay film, live 16 mm film performance, hand drawn animation, a classic Disney cartoon, and more – including a new commission by J Triangular and Coatie Pop, shot on VHS. The event was part of a larger project that will culminate at the Barbican Centre in London early in 2018/

* banner artwork above is a detail from 'For Jean' by Jevijoe Vitug 


Audio/visual performance by Rose Kallal

Kindah [2016] by Ephraim Asili scored by Micah Gaugh

Unbroken-Unbreakable (VHS Diary) [2017] by J Triangular scored by Cotie Pop (new commission)

More Grief [2017] by RUFFMERCY scored by Nat Geo

Weekend at Basquiat's [2013] by CHERYL scored by Nat Roe

N.Y.C (No New York) [1980] by Rick Liss scored by Val-Inc

Langua Lesson [2015] by James Maurelle scored by Kate Mohanty

Disney's The Skeleton Dance [1929] scored by Ariana van Gelder

About Knockdown Center
Knockdown Center is an art and performance space dedicated to cross-disciplinary projects and collaborations. Visit our century-old building for innovative and experimental programming in visual arts, performance, music and more.

  • Rose Kallal

    Rose Kallal is a NYC based visual and sound artist. Her performances include immersive multiple 16mm film loop projections accompanied by her own electronic sound work using modular synthesis. Incorporating a wide range of technical processes, such as traditional animation techniques, video synthesis/feedback and computer animation, the 16mm film loops cycle at varying speeds to create a hypnotic nonlinear flow of repeating patterns and motifs. She has presented her work internationally at many venues, galleries and festivals that include MoMA PS.1 (NYC), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), Center for Contemporary Art (Glasgow, UK), Museum of Contemporary Art Bologna, (Italy). Her sound works are released on UK electronics label We Can Elude Control, with forthcoming full length LP Perseus in summer 2017.
  • Kindah [2016] by Ephraim Asili

    Shot in Hudson NY and Accompong, Jamaica, "Kindah" is the fourth film in an ongoing series of 16mm films exploring Asili’s relationship to the African Diaspora. Accompong, Jamaica was founded in 1739 after rebel slaves and their descendants fought a protracted war with the British, leading to the establishment of a treaty between the two sides. The treaty signed under British governor Edward Trelawny granted Cudjoe’s Maroons 1500 acres of land between their strongholds of Trelawny Town and Accompong in the Cockpits, and a certain amount of political autonomy and economic freedoms. Cudjoe, a leader of the Maroons, is said to have united the Maroons in their fight for autonomy under the Kindah Tree—a large, ancient mango tree that is still standing. Ephraim Asili is a filmmaker, DJ, and traveler whose work focuses on the African diaspora as a cultural force. His films have screened in festivals and venues all over the world, including the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, San Fransisco International Film Festival, MOMA, MoMA PS1, LAMOCA, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, and The Whitney Museum.
  • scored by Micah Gaugh

    Born in Colon, Panama, Micah Gaugh is a saxophonist, singer, keyboardist, composer, filmmaker and actor. He also produces and programmes, making beats for tracks and artists. He is most known for creating the genre of avant-pop with the release of the record "Everything" on Accidental Records in 2006. Micah has composed the modern opera Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights (Geneva, 2007) and a piece for the artist Rirkrit Taravanija featured in Il Postino di Tiempo (Manchester International Festival, 2007). He appeared and played in Matthew Barney's Di Lama Lamina (MoMA, 2007) and a wrote a choral work entitled Noise Mass, commissioned by and performed at the Chiesa Rosa in Milan in 2008. He has also has represented the USA as a cultural ambassador to Suriname, Siberia and France. He has collaborated with artists across all genres live and in the studio including jazz, avant garde, pop, funk, rock and hip hop.
  • Unbroken-Unbreakable (VHS Diary) [2017] by J Triangular

    J Triangular is a curator, experimental filmmaker, neon poet, drummer and musical promoter. Among her most recent collaborations are music videos with independent bands from NYC, and visual concerts with ABCNORIO. Performances of poetry and VHS include with "Miss expanding universe" (Ashley Yang-Thompson) in Powrplnt, Brooklyn, Hunter East Harlem Gallery. Her work explores the liberation of culture and counter-representations that challenge the imposed narrative, influenced by different teachers, magicians and healers, such as Jodorowsky, Genesis Breyer P Orridge, and the medicinal plants of the amazon. She is interested in the decolonization of the imaginary and the possibility of making and remaking oneself. For this event she has made a new film. She states: "Since my first experimental films I have based my work on poetry. For this special project I have unified the poetry of Basquiat (and prayers), with his influences; from William Burroughs to the legacy of the New York no wave music scene and the gospel Of San Juan, a favorite of his. Projecting VHS tapes on public walls of New York, this project seeks to revive the basic truth of cinema, concrete poetry, one flesh with night, collective psyche, transgression is a game. This is the story of a martyr artist who did not follow the rules, a neon poet, but above all a love story, swimming light - a new kind of religion, a VHS diary."
  • scored by Coatie Pop

    "I am moved by the kinds of tragic stories that keep my TV on at night. I express my fears through haunting melodies and hold on to the ideas that stream from my subconcious after I've drank too much coffee" Coatie Pop is currently living and dreaming in NYC.
  • More Grief [2017] by RUFFMERCY

    RUFFMERCY aka Russ Murphy is a Animation Director based in Bristol. After cutting his teeth at MTV in the late 90’s as a promo producer he moved onto become a freelancer animator working for a variety of broadcasting networks and agencies before moving into the world of music videos full time around 2001. He has become known for his loose hand drawn animation style sometimes utilised over live footage and mostly within the genre of Hip Hop music.
  • scored by Natalie Galpern

    Natalie Galpern is a vocalist, performer and sound artist from New York City. Her live performance work encompasses electro acoustics, improvisation, collected field recordings and extended vocal technique. Her work continues to engage with an interface designed for feedback built as part of her master's degree in Sonic Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London. Natalie has performed at venues including the Southbank Centre, Whitechapel Gallery and Tate Britain in London, and at SculptureCenter, Trans-Pecos and the National Academy Museum in New York City.
  • Weekend at Basquiat's [2013] by CHERYL

    Remember that time you accidentally took a disco nap for 30 years, woke up with a beard, your lover was dead, the most famous artist you knew had transformed into a mannequin, and NYC had turned into a luxury shopping mall? We sure do. CHERYL invites you to take a seat in a time-traveling wheelchair. Put on your darkest sunglasses and get into the groove. Back when Manhattan was a real place and Brooklyn didn’t exist. Back when graffiti was cool, heroin was cheap, and crack was whack. Back when girls just wanted to have fun, people were dancing on the ceiling, and George Michael was straight. CHERYL is a video artist collective and dance party that explores the themes of mortality, mania, the feline-human connection, the limits of shoulders, the flammability of dollar-store hair extensions, and the staining power of fake blood. Through themes ranging from topical to bizarre, the CHERYLs revel in the joyous power of dance-induced psychosis/euphoria. CHERYL has been bringing its particular brand of FRESHMAGICK™ to New York City since colonial times, and has since acquired a dedicated cult following and media attention for over-the-top happenings involving outrageous costumes, exuberant dance moves, and participatory dance floor suicide.
  • scored by Nat Roe

    From 2008-2014, Nat DJed a weekly radio program at WFMU. His program centered around a style of audio collage that drew influence from turntablism and dancehall Clash style as well as the cut-up and collage techniques of artists like Brion Gysin and Christian Marclay. Nat has published a 7″ with Kakutopia records, a c-20 tape on Spleencoffin records, and a CD with Tanzprocesz records. Before getting involved in collective-centric art spaces, Nat was active as a music journalist. He has written for publications such as Wire Magazine, Signal To Noise, Rhizome, Fader, Noisey, and was the editor of WFMU’s blog for several years. Nat Roe is currently the Executive Director of Flux Factory, a Long Island City hub hosting an artists-in-residence community which collectively guides the direction of a prolific, multidisciplinary public exhibition and events gallery.
  • N.Y.C (No New York) [1980] by Rick Liss

    No New York is a portrait of New York City circa early 1980s. This is a record of that extremely fertile time for creativity. The film was originally set to Laurie Anderson’s “For Electric Dogs.’ Rick Liss was born and raised in New York City. Mentored by de Kooning as a teenager, he studied at Cooper Union art school and graduated in 1976, immediately establishing himself in the burgeoning loft life of downtown Manhattan. For the past thirty years he has focused more on painting whilst working as a prop-master on television.
  • scored by Val-Inc

    Haitian electronic music composer/percussionist/turntablist, Val Jeanty evokes the musical esoteric realms of the creative subconscious. She incorporates her African Haitian Musical traditions into the present and beyond, combining acoustics with electronics and the archaic with the post-modern. Her "Afro-Electronica" installations have been showcased in New York City at the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Village Vanguard and internationally at SaalFelden Music Festival in Austria, Stanser Musiktage in Switzerland, Jazz à la Villette in France, and the Biennale Di Venezia Museum in Italy.
  • Langua Lesson [2015] by James Maurelle

    Langua Lesson is a transcript exploring the power dynamics in language via, the body, gender, ethnicity, and class. James Maurelle was born in California, his practice explores sculpture, video, and photography, recycled materials are his physical and digital primes. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute with a degree in film, design & technology and holds an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. He resides in Philadelphia.
  • scored by Kate Mohanty

    Kate Mohanty is a freelance saxophonist residing in Brooklyn, where she began performing improvisational solo sets in 2013. GP Stripes released Kate's debut solo recording, The Double Image, via cassette in April 2017. Impose Magazine wrote of The Double Image: “…the record is an exercise in a sort of controlled chaos, an eventful and unpredictable machination of a singular, skillful vision. It’s riddled with mood, exuded by someone who proficiently knows how to create and manipulate it, and with such limited means.”
  • Disney's The Skeleton Dance [1929]

    Following the success of “Steamboat Willie”, Disney's first animated short featuring both Mickey Mouse and synchronised sound, the studio began to produce an experimental series of shorts known as “Silly Symphonies”. The Skeleton Dance [1929] was the first in this decade long series, a surreal and innovative black-and-white short. Film historian J.B. Kaufman noted that the shorts’ mixture of music styles and orchestration was also profoundly cutting-edge. “People may not realize what an innovation it was to mix these compositions from different sources with abandon.” The series had high profile admirers in Russian director and theorist Sergei Eisenstein and Spanish painter Salvador Dali, who referred to Walt Disney as “The Great American Surrealist.” (The two would eventually collaborate.) Later, Walt Disney remarked that the Silly Symphonies were a place where the artists could play and tinker. “They started as an experiment,” Walt said. “We used them to test and perfect the color and animation techniques we employed later in full-length feature pictures like Cinderella, Snow White, and Fantasia.” The clearest through-line to the Silly Symphonies is Fantasia, released less than two years after the last Silly Symphony premiered. Both the short film series and Fantasia were built around music, had somewhat abstract conceptual cores, and featured a host of technological breakthroughs.
  • scored by Ariana van Gelder

    Ariana van Gelder is an experimental composer and theoretical physicist living in New York City. She composes music for piano, prepared violin, bowed glockenspiel, pressure-driven mylar sculpture, etc. Her current practice revolves around live vocal loops and semi-improvised compositions, as well as scores and sound installation for video, sculpture, and interactive virtual works. She has exhibited at various institutions, including Transfer Gallery (Brooklyn), Galleria Harmaassa (Finland), and Colombo Art Biennale (Sri Lanka).