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James Franco’s “Three’s Company” Art Project

James Franco's "Three's Company" Art Project (photo)

The actor turned artist turned writer turned academic will bring a self-reflexive TV project to Sundance.

Last year, Joseph Gordon-Levitt ruled Sundance’s experimental, installation-based New Frontier Program with selections from his crowdsourced, collaborative hitRECord project. This year, the big name is everyone’s favorite adorably droopy-eyed multi-hyphenate James Franco, whose “Three’s Company: The Drama” is “a multi-media examination of the classic 70s sit-com” that Franco hopes will gives us “a slightly oblique perspective” on the medium of television.

Here’s the entire line-up, descriptions courtesy of the festival.

A Machine to See With
Blast Theory (United Kingdom)
Mixing documentary material, stolen thriller clichés and the films of Jean-Luc Godard, A Machine to See With invites the audience to take risks, play games and connect the fantasy of a thriller movie with the political questions that each one of us must face through interaction with an automated system of interaction and control that navigates the participant through the underbelly of the city. A Machine to See With premiered at the 2010 01SJ Biennial.

All That is Solid Melts Into Air
Mark Boulos (United Kingdom, The Netherlands)
All That is Solid Melts into Air juxtaposes two documentary videos on opposite sides of the wall. The viewer is in between these two powerful videos trying to negotiate the films. One film depicts the Nigerian Guerrilla group that battles the colonization of petroleum resources on their land. The other film depicts stock traders in Chicago who are speculating on futures. As the films play the audio and intensity of the films crescendo to an uproar.

We Like America and America Likes Us (The Corpse)
The Bruce High Quality Foundation (U.S.A.)
The hearse/ambulance is a vehicle designed for both pragmatic emergency response and ceremonial lament. Its chassis astride a fresh piece of asphalt — a corpse on clean sheets — embodies a great American contradiction, a national character with a remarkable gift for survival despite its moves toward implosion. A showing of dark patriotism and a yearning for the possibility of transcendent national purpose while holding the contradictions and let-downs of history, We Like America and America Likes Us (The Corpse) is an allegory of American national consciousness.

SPIN and HIPOCAMPO 2
Daniel Canogar (Spain)
Canogar work explores the short lifespan of the technologies that we use daily. He takes electronic detritus and transforms it into stunning sculptural installations. Spin is an installation comprised of the copied contents of 100 discarded DVDs that are projected back onto their surface, revealing the moving images trapped within the discs. Hipocampo 2 is a sculptural work made of tangles of electric, telephone, and computer cables. Lines of light are projected onto the sculpture creating an illusion of the motion of electricity through time and space.

Three’s Company: The Drama
James Franco
Three’s Company: The Drama is a multi-media examination of the classic 70s sit-com. Television has undoubtedly shaped our world: our increased exposure to dramatic entertainment, the shapes of our houses, the shape of the time in our day. In this piece James Franco hopes to pull television from the box and view it from “a slightly oblique perspective.”

After Ghostcatching
Bill T. Jones and OpenEnded Group (U.S.A.)
A re-envisioning of Ghostcatching (1999), After Ghostcatching is built up from the same motions and vocalizations of Bill T. Jones used in the earlier work, but explores the themes of disembodiment and identity with the new possibilities opened up by 3D projection and a custom 3D renderer. As viewers don their 3D glasses, they experience the virtual movement in real depth.

Theater III + Edgar
Avish Khebrehzadeh (U.S.A.)
Avish Khebrehzadeh’s works evoke fairy tales and dreamscapes, often inspired by her actual dreams and memories. Her painting and video form one integrated work. In Theatre III+Edgar, three loosely linked vignettes unfold. A pregnant woman is carried past a village into the desert where the three men who have been carrying her, leave her. She disappears down a hole with the man who has been digging it.

Moony
Akio Kamisato, Satoshi Shibata and Takehisa Mashimo (Japan)
Moony, by Akio Kamisato, Satoshi Shibata and Takehisa Mashimo from IAMAS in Japan, uses steam as both a screen and an interactive interface. Touch one of the virtual butterflies projected into the vapor, and it will fly away and disappear. But hold your hand into the steam for a while and butterflies will flock around and play with you. Moony received the Ars Electronica [the next idea] art and technology grant in 2004.

The Johnny Cash Project and The Wilderness Downtown
Aaron Koblin & Chris Milk (U.S.A.)
In The Johnny Cash Project participants are invited to create a drawing that is woven into a collectively rendered, hand drawn animated music video tribute to Johnny Cash set to his song “Ain’t No Grave.” The work continues to grow and evolve as more people participate.

! WOMEN ART REVOLUTION and RAW/WAR
Lynn Hershman Leeson (U.S.A.)
!Women Art Revolution is a documentary film exploring and revealing the Feminist Art Movement in the US from 1968 to the present. The rarely seen footage and interviews uncover how the Feminist Movement transformed the art of our times. RAW/WAR is an interactive, community-curated video archive which allows users to access footage, as well as share their own stories through text, images, video clips, and links that highlight the achievements and practices of women artists.

Myth and Infrastructure and Dreaming of Lucid Living
Miwa Matreyek (U.S.A.)
Myth and Infrastructure is a multi-media performance involving projected animation on screen, body, and props. Matreyek’s body becomes part of a layered world of animation, light and shadow. Her strikingly beautiful images lure the viewer into the piece and the story. The dreamy audio is sung by Anna Oxygen. Dreaming of Lucid Living is an exploration of shadow and animation and themes of domestic spaces, dream-like vignettes, large and small cities, magical powers.

Glowing Pathfinder Bugs
Squidsoup (United Kingdom)
Glowing Pathfinder Bugs is an interactive art installation that uses projection to visualize virtual bugs on a real sandpit. The bugs are aware of their surroundings and respond to its form in their vicinity. Viewers can pick bugs up, dig holes and create mounds that the bugs respond to. The piece was originally commissioned by Folly Gallery for Portable Pixel Playground.

ELEPHANT
Deke Weaver (U.S.A.)
ELEPHANT is the second chapter in Weaver’s lifelong project, The Unreliable Bestiary: an ark of stories about animals, our relationship to them, and the worlds they inhabit. Inspired by the literary concept of the unreliable narrator and the medieval bestiary, which gave every living thing a spiritual purpose the project will present an evening-length performance for each letter of the alphabet – the letter representing a particular endangered animal or habitat. From burial rituals to subtle interpersonal communications to post-traumatic stress, elephant and human societies have remarkable similarities.

Pandemic 1.0
Lance Weiler (U.S.A.)
Pandemic 1.0 is a transmedia storytelling experience that spans film, mobile, online, real-world, social gaming and data visualization. Over the course of the festival the story will unfold enabling viewers / players to step into the shoes of our protagonists. The story experience starts when a mysterious sleep virus begins to affect the adults in a small rural town, the youth soon find themselves cut off from civilization and fighting for their lives. Will they survive? Can you survive?

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