Filmmakers Ken and Florence Jacobs were present for a virtual conversation and interactive Q&A moderated by IU Media School Associate Professor Joan Hawkins.
Ken Jacobs is an experimental filmmaker, who, along with Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, Maya Deren, and others, helped spearhead the American avant-garde film movement. His impressive filmography spans more than 60 years and 45 films, utilizing just about every experimental technique imaginable. In the ’60s, he helped redefine the notion of domestic (home) movies, and along with it, domestic space—pioneering work that expanded the parameters of art cinema, and also, coincidentally, the gender expectations of male artists. Jacobs has also experimented with found footage, creating such memorable works as "Star Spangled to Death," a nearly seven-hour epic charting an alternative U.S. history. Most recently, he has been reformatting, reworking, and altering silent films to give illusions of depth, creating experimental, heavily stroboscopic abstract cinema, and 3D. At every stage of his career, Jacobs has sought to push the technology as far as it can go and to challenge his audiences to think about politics, gender, class, race, documentary, and movies differently.
To view more than 200 videos and films by Jacobs—including "Star Spangled to Death," which was scheduled to screen at IU Libraries Moving Image Archive in April 2020—you can access them on the Ken Jacobs Vimeo channel.
This virtual visit was curated by Joan Hawkins of The Media School, Carmel Curtis of IU Libraries Moving Image Archive, and the Underground Film Series Board, with support from IU Cinema, the Ove W Jorgensen Foundation, Center for Documentary Research and Practice, College Arts and Humanities Institute, Cinema and Media Studies, Cultural Studies Program, the Robert E. and Avis Tarrant Burke Fund, and the departments of American Studies, Gender Studies, and History.