Oliver Hockenhull’s From Neurons to Nirvana received quite a bit of attention in underground film circles. Now the Vancouver filmmaker is back with two films, one of which is about a pioneering drug reformer who also happens to be descended from British aristocracy and who once drilled a hole in her own head.
I Am My Own Laboratory is an experimental documentary about Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss and March and amateur trepanner. The other film, Shot On Blood: Kozmikomic Electronica is even more experimental. Both expand upon the themes and ideas of From Neurons to Nirvana, and Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.) is screening them on Jan. 28. The screening will include a Q-and-A with Hockenhull. See below for more info on the two films.
I Am My Own Laboratory (2017)—Trepanation is the act of drilling a hole in the skull. Meet Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss and March, who in 1970 trepanned herself in the hopes of increasing what she calls “‘cranial compliance,’ that alleviating the pressure in her skull would allow the heart to pump more blood to her brain, thereby giving her a new feeling of buoyancy,” in the words of Christopher Turner in Cabinet Magazine. (Feilding made a film about the experience called Heartbeat in the Brain. At a 1978 screening in a New York art gallery, a reviewer reported that at the climax of the operation several members of the audience fainted, “dropping off their seats one by one like ripe plums.”) Hockenhull’s I Am My Own Laboratory includes interviews with Feilding, who is also the founder of a charitable trust that promotes a rational, evidence-based approach to global drug policy policies and initiates.
Shot on Blood: Kozmikomic Electronica (2017)—Hockenhull uses his own blood cells in the film stock for this experimental essay film. According to the Vancity website, it “touches on, among other things, electricity hydro power British Columbia the beginnings of cinema via Eadweard Muybridge the energy certificates of the Technocracy party the absolute value of noise the year 1957 regional modernism the Big Bang Vermeer’s “Milk Maid” Poincaré recurrence theorem the great Canadian cowboy singer Wilf Carter Western Culture the concept of Grace in Catholic painting the Tathāgatas of Buddhism Boris Karloff as Frankenstein reaching for the light…”
Visit viff.org for more info.