In collaboration with several musicians, De Boer staged a performance for camera of Frederic Rzewski’s 1972 composition Attica as well as the related work, Coming Together, also composed in 1972. Rzewski, who was living in New York at the time, composed Attica in a circular structure of euphoric crescendo and denouement. The basic canon structure music, which invites improvised elements, is mirrored by the cumulating then diminishing articulation of a sentence: Attica – is – in – front – of – me. The words were reportedly spoken by Richard S. Clark, a participant of the uprising, upon his release from Attica prison on 8 February 1972, or more precisely, when asked the question of how it felt to leave the prison behind.
De Boer’s film, shot on black & white 16 mm stock, comprises of one, long, slow, circular pan that begins with the musicians and then leaves them to encompass the entire studio setting of the performance, eventually returning (roughly) to the opening frame. It is projected directly from a 16mm projector, which adds its own sound, and is scored by a simultaneously captured recording of the musical performance, played on a single speaker. The end of Coming Together, which is based on the letters of another inmate at the time of the riots, is played before the musicians shift to a full rendition of Attica. Jan Rzewski, the composer’s son who is a musician, articulates the sentence half speaking, half singing each word. In the middle of the composition, as the canonical musical structure progresses to the point where Rzewski articulates the entire phrase, the camera briefly rests on a view of the musicians that looks to be the same as the opening shot, but in fact mirrors this first view in the large window of the studio. Cinematic, musical, poetic and social structures reflect each other. (Monika Szewczyk)
Attica won the Videonale.12 Award (DE) in 2009.
Music Coming Together (fragment) & Attica (1972) by Frederic Rzewski
Musicians Laurent Blondiau, George van Dam, Emmanuel Louis, Jan Rzewski
Image Sébastien Koeppel
Sound recording Aline Blondiau
Final sound mixing Aline Blondiau & Gilles Bénardeau (Alea Jacta Production)
Editing: Stempel sprl
Produced by Fine Arts Unternehmen video + film, Berlin
Co-produced by Jan Mot