Whole Grain: Adventures of a Mad Artist

A degraded film still of a woman's shadowed silhouette standing in front of waves on a beach.
Film still from Fuses, 1965

Join us on Thursday, February 13, at 6:00 PM, for a screening of two classic silent avant-garde short films. Carolee Schneemann’s erotic film Fuses features collaged and painted sequences of lovemaking between Schneemann and her then partner, composer James Tenney, observed by the cat, Kitch. Sidney Peterson called his short film The Cage, about an eyeball that escapes a socket and is pursued, an “adventure of a mad artist.” Ryan Accardi ’20 will perform live improvised musical accompaniment to The Cage.

  • Fuses (dir. Carolee Schneemann, 1965, US, 18 min., 16mm)

  • The Cage (dir. Sidney Peterson, 1947, US, 28 min., 16mm)

About Whole Grain

The Tang Teaching Museum’s series Whole Grain explores classic and contemporary work in experimental film and video.

Whole Grain is programmed by Assistant Director for Engagement, Tom Yoshikami. All events are free and open to the public.

About the Films

Fuses (dir. Carolee Schneemann, 1965, US, 18 min., 16mm)
“The notorious masterpiece… a silent celebration in colour of heterosexual lovemaking. The film unifies erotic energies within a domestic environment through cutting, superimposition and layering of abstract impressions scratched into the celluloid itself… Fuses succeeds perhaps more than any other film in objectifying the sexual streamings of the body’s mind” (The Guardian, London).

“…I wanted to see if the experience of what I saw would have any correspondence to what I felt–the intimacy of the lovemaking… And I wanted to put into that materiality of film the energies of the body, so that the film itself dissolves and recombines and is transparent and dense–as one feels during lovemaking… It is different from any pornographic work that you’ve ever seen–that’s why people are still looking at it! And there’s no objectification or fetishization of the woman.” –Carolee Schneemann

The Cage (dir. Sidney Peterson, 1947, US, 28 min., 16mm)
“[Peterson is] one of the originators of the American avant-garde cinema. The five films he made in San Francisco between 1947 and 1950 [including The Cage] have become classics; they have influenced the cinematic education of many of the best filmmakers of subsequent generations.” –P. Adams Sitney

“We were trying to say goodbye to an epoch, the one into which we had been driven in Apollinaire’s ‘Petite Auto.’” –Sidney Peterson

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