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YBCA’s Experimental Film Programs Find New Homes at The Lab and CounterPulse

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Composite image of six square shots with different rainbow colors in each
Leah Rosenberg's 'Color in Twelve Parts,' originally screened as part of YBCA's 'Bay Area Now 9' film program, will be shown in its entirety at CounterPulse on April 21. (Courtesy of SF Cinematheque)

While Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ screening room continues to sit dark (without any films to illuminate it), the programs originally organized by Gina Basso to accompany the Bay Area Now 9 exhibition have been busy finding other homes.

What could be seen as an unfortunate dispersal of all the energy YBCA might have held tight has become an opportunity to visit some of the Bay Area’s great alternative venues. In that vein, last month’s planned expanded and experimental animation program played to a packed house at Oakland’s Shapeshifters Cinema. Now, two other interrupted and withdrawn programs are reconvening at The Lab and CounterPulse.

First up is Untitled: Sound & Images, an Artists’ Television Access-curated night of expanded, ethereal cinema at The Lab on April 12. The show features Light Year, a 16mm film work by the late, beloved artist Paul Clipson (soundtrack by Tashi Wada) and live performances from three collaborative pairs: Lisa Mezzacappa and Anjali Sundaram, Amma Ateria and Linda Scobie, Joshua Churchill and Konrad Steiner.

Mixing digital and analog media, each live performance includes elements of improvisation that truly make this a one-night-only experience of Bay Area film and sound art — all the more reason to be happy this planned night (originally scheduled for Feb. 24) didn’t simply disappear.

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Just a week later, Leah Rosenberg’s Color in Twelve Parts, a piece commissioned by Basso for the BAN 9 film program, gets a triumphant, complete debut on April 21 at CounterPulse. Halted halfway through its 12-part rollout by the Feb. 15 closure of YBCA, Rosenberg’s series of monochromatic films, mise en scènes with collections of different-hued objects, marks a departure from the artist’s usual mediums of painting, sculpture and site-specific durational performances. (And cake, and drinks — she does a lot.)

“It really is this video version of all the themes and areas of interest she’s been involved with very deeply for over a decade,” Basso said of Rosenberg’s films last month. “They’re really beautiful and very sumptuous and they’re obviously colorful, but they’re really fun to watch because she put herself in them — all of these videos begin with her painting her studio a different color.”

In a neat twist, the Color in Twelve Parts will be screened twice, with two different live soundtracks performed by artists John Davis and Kim West.

Artists’ Television Access’ ‘Untitled: sound & images’ takes place April 12, 2024, 8–10 p.m. at The Lab (2948 16th St., San Francisco). Tickets and more information here.

Leah Rosenberg’s ‘Color in Twelve Parts’ screens April 21, 2024, 7:30 p.m. at CounterPulse (80 Turk St., San Francisco). Tickets and more information here.

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