Professor Bob Lukomski has begun an ambitious series of film showings on campus centered around the arts, art history, and film. The first showing occurred this past week to a hearty on-campus reception. Arts Editor Gabby Wood caught up with Lukomski about the aims of the film series, his process, and other upcoming events.
GW: What films will you be showing on campus?
BL: The four films are: “(Untitled)” (2009) [A comedy about the downtown NYC art and music scene] on Sept. 7 (already showed that); Oct. 12 – “Scott Walker: 30th Century Man” (2006) [A documentary about the pop-singer turned avant-garde composer]; Nov. 9 – “Tous Les Matins Du Monde” (1991) [A fictional depiction of the musical relationship of Marin Marais and M. Saint-Colombe]; Dec 7.- “24 Hour Party People” (2002) [A comedy of sorts about the rise and fall of Tony Wilson and Factory Records in the UK] . All films are on Friday nights at 8pm in Shepard Hall, and are free.
GW: Where did the idea for this series of viewings come from? Who else is involved in their production and coordination?
BL: I had a conversation with a fellow composer and professor from another college about movies and music a few years ago. We found that there are so many ways that music is used and depicted in the film medium – Concert Documentaries, Bio Pics, Straight Documentaries, Classic Soundtracks, Music as a narrative vehicle, etc.
So many of my favorite movies involve music in some way that I thought it would be fun to share some of those films with the college community, and perhaps at the very least provide free entertainment, or spark some kind of discussion about music from a different angle.
Right now it’s just me putting this together, but ideally I’d want this to be a student driven series, not just in terms of choosing the films, but also coordinating the screenings, providing opportunities for dialogue, and developing another way for campus community to interact.
GW: Why these movies? What are the main messages students would take away from these events?
BL: Trying to “curate” a series is a difficult task. Four movies a semester seems to be a reasonable limit, but it is hard create a short list. In all honesty, I had a short list of films that I wanted to start with (personal favorites), and ones that I already had access to. The thematic idea of “The Creative Urge” for this semester’s inaugural series seemed to make sense to me. All four of these films share the narrative conceit of what it means to create music, or a style or a scene. Choosing only four films is not easy – I like the idea of having a thematic arc (being a composer myself!) – so I had to be fairly narrow in scope this time around. The caveat of this particular set of films is that it doesn’t have a diverse representation – while European males abound! That fault lies entirely with me, and I plan on rectifying that with future series, and welcome input!
GW: What do people most enjoy about events of this nature, in your personal experience? What specifically is special about holding these events at SUNY New Paltz?
BL: With this series, it’s not so much about having a message, but creating a space to talk – about art, film, music. When I was in college (in Albany NY) we had some film series on campus, as well as an indie/second run theatre (this was back in the pre-internet dark ages of the late 80’s!). It was something fun to look forward to, or to discover something new, or make new friends. It sounds trite, but I really enjoy having a shared experience that’s in the moment like watching a film. I’m a musician and composer, and so those themes and concepts in a movie resonate with me. Ultimately I just want to engage with students, faculty and staff socially, and have fun. We have a great campus, great people, and this is just another way to mix it up.
GW: Any other big events on the horizon?
BL: Adi Newton, UK musician and artist (of the electronic bands Clock DVA and the Anti-Group) will be coming to campus for a three week seminar on multi-channel and ambisonic recording next month. I’ve been coordinating his visit, with the gracious assistance of the Music Department, The School of Fine and Performing Arts, Theatre and Digital Media Departments. The seminar will culminate in a performance of The Anti-Group at Parker Theatre Thursday Oct. 18. If you are into experimental electronic music (with a beat!) this promises to be an exciting visit.
As Lukomski mentioned, there are three film showings left in the series, occuring on Oct. 12, Nov. 9, and Dec. 7, respectively. Definitely keep an eye out for more upcoming campus events from Lukomski and the Music Department. For more information, contact Lukomski (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the Music Department in College Hall.