All Souls Carnival - a lecture by Roger Horrocks

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Lecture by Roger Horrocks for the Len Lye Symposium, Sept 10 2011, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Abstract: As a film-maker, Len Lye never stopped experimenting. His 1957 film All Souls Carnival is unique in visual terms (a new “rhapsodic” style of hand-painted abstract images). Also, it explores a new approach to synchronization. Lye and composer Henry Brant were familiar with each other’s work but they decided to create something new and to do so independently. The images and the music were combined for the first time in a live performance at the Carnegie Recital Hall (with Lye’s film projected behind the musicians). This juxtaposition of the two elements was similar to the freedom of Merce Cunningham’s work with John Cage.

Roger Horrocks, who worked as Lye’s assistant during the last year of his life, is the author of Len Lye: a biography (2001) and Art that moves (2009), a study of Lye's films and sculpture. He curated a Lye exhibition at the Gus Fisher Gallery in 2009. His film Art that moves about Lye’s art of motion has had a number of festival screenings and won the Van Gogh Award at the 2010 Amsterdam Film Festival. He wrote the libretto for Len Lye: the opera, premiered at the Maidment Theatre in Auckland in September 2012, with music by Eve de Castro-Robinson. He has re-discovered and restored several of Lye’s films (including All Souls Carnival).