THREE SCREEN RAY
2006, three-channel video installation, b&w/sound, 5min. 23sec.
Film by Bruce Conner
Multi-channel editing and composition by Michelle Silva
Music by Ray Charles "What'd I Say" (Atlantic Records, 1959, Live from Atlanta)
Before music videos and rapid-fire editing pervaded popular culture, seminal avant-garde filmmaker, Bruce Conner (1933-2008), pioneered techniques of vertical montage and subliminal messaging with this second film, COSMIC RAY (1961). With thousands of images precisely cut to Ray Charles' hit song "What'd I Say" (1959), Conner created an explosive homage for the blind musician. More than 40 years later, a derivative work was born from the combination of COSMIC RAY, and silent loop installation EVE-RAY-FOREVER (1965/2006).
THREE SCREEN RAY (2006), re-edited and expanded, replaces its predecessors with three new iterations that share the screen. In collaboration with editor, Michelle Silva, Conner created the visual equivalent of a cinematic slot machine; images meet, diverge, and meet again. Conner reveals a common sexual subtext among disparate images to confront consumerism and aggression, while his tour-de-force editing ensures that even after multiple viewings, the viewer will never experience THREE SCREEN RAY the same way twice.