What do you get when you cross avant garde filmmaking, contemporary dance, live music, nature, and a big block of ice? The Last Solitude. This film installation will take place at the Santa Barbara Courthouse on Saturday, February 13 between 6pm and 10pm. It’s a collaboration between filmmaker Catherine Bennett and choreographer Robin Bisio, and it features dancer Erika Kloumann. Jim Connolly and Anna Abbey will provide live musical accompaniment. I recently spoke with filmmaker Catherine Bennett about The Last Solitude.
Projecting film on a giant block of ice at the Courthouse is quite an unusual concept. How did you get the idea for this?
It started out with our shared interest in the figure of the dancer in nature. I’m from London originally, and Robin [Bisio] is from San Francisco, and somehow we found each other here in Santa Barbara and discovered that we shared the same aesthetic. In a way it seems like a reaction to the shift we went through that took us from being artists in big cities to being here, and thus taking solace for losing all that urban energy by going out into nature and finding inspiration there.
Is the way it’s going to be the way that you originally imagined it?
Well, I haven’t seen the final product yet, so I’m still not sure how it is going to be, but it started in my mind as a bigger project. I have always been intrigued by the standardization inherent in the various screens on which films get shown. These tend to be square or rectangular flat surfaces. For this piece I wanted to project on something else, something that was not so predictable or stable. Originally I imagined using a camera obscura and showing this film inside of an igloo, but what ended up happening is that I found a woman in Camarillo who has experience building ice hotels in places like Alaska, and she agreed to create an ice wall for me to project the film onto.
That’s cool. What else can we expect?
Well, it was a big concept, but to start out we had no money. So the igloo idea fell out pretty quickly, but the ice came back. I am really excited to see how it will look. Musicians Jim [Connolly] and Anna [Abbey] will be sure to add something beautiful to the event, and Erika Kloumann is a wonderful dancer.