In 1964, Andy Warhol and Jonas Mekas made Empire, a silent black and white film that lacks a traditional narrative or characters. The passage from daylight to darkness is the film's only plot in this 8 hours and 5 minutes long film - with the protagonist played by the iconic building that was the tallest in New York City and the world, The Empire State Building.
Fast forward to 2010, a sequel an homage, Empire II was made by David Payton, Lohra Ydna and Andre Orione. Filmed on July 27th, 2010 from 6.35pm till 12.02am, this version is in colour and with sound, but just like the 1964 film, its only narrative is the tracking of time from daylight to night fall and starring today's world tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Empire II will be screened on Monday 4th July at The Pavilion Downtown Dubai’s cinema and will continue to be screened everyday (except on evenings when other films are scheduled to be screened) throughout the month July between 6.35pm and 12.02am (the same hours it was filmed).
The screening is organised by Brusselssprout*, a curatorial magazine on emergent art published from Dubai that aims to become an open, independent and alternative platform offering free content related to the artistic and cultural world. Brusselssprout's Editor-in-Chief Ignacio Gomez and filmmaker Camille Mallat will introduce the film and Empire II.
So much has changed since 1964 and I am curious to know why Empire II was made, its relevance to today's audience and what could this film mean in the future. I am also curious to see if there will be anyone interested to sit through the entire film. I doubt I will sit through the whole thing.
The original Empire was recently screened at the Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures exhibiton in MoMA that ran from 19th December 2010 till 21st March 2011. Listen to this interview with Jonas Mekas who recalls the making of Empire with Andy Warhol and talks about the planning of the shoot, the set up, the premiere screening and the response they got. He ends by saying,
Don't expect anthing from it. Just relax and permit it to come into your eyes and just look at it with no expectations. Then you will enjoy it.
* About Brusselssprout
Brusselssprout is a curatorial magazine on emergent art published from Dubai and aims to become an open, independent and alternative platform offering free content related to the artistic and cultural world. It strives, with the help of the curatorial endeavors of artists and projects that can contribute a different layer to the ever more monopolized and homogenized artistic scene. The first three issues set up a Dubai Manifesto by chapters: Dubai Manifesto 1/3 “The Game is not over”, Manifesto 2/3 “Renovating Dreamlands” and Dubai Manifesto 3/3 “Graphic Encyclopedia”. You can download all three issues here.
Date and timings:
Launch event on 4th July, 7.30pm (the film will be screened daily from 6.35pm till 12.03am, except on nights when other films are scheduled).
The Pavilion Downtown Dubai, Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (location map)
Phone: +971 4 447 7025