Listasafn Islands

Foggy Mountain – Kino Club. Hafnarhús, Thursday 23 September 8 p.m.

Jessie SteadFoggy Mountains Breakdown More Than Non-Foggy Mountains is a mixed-media motion picture containing at least nine variations of the 1949 seminal bluegrass standard Foggy Mountain Breakdown by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Outside the bluegrass music subculture, this instrumental composition is not generally familiar by title. Its particular sound perhaps entered American mainstream consciousness for its recurrent use as "chase music" in cinema and television, most notably Arthur Penn’s 1967 Bonnie and Clyde. Re-visitations and re-interpretations of this American sonic icon continue a random proliferation from points all over socio-cultural landscapes as well as actual landscapes.
So where is the other end of the cultural thread Foggy Mountain Breakdown has pulled through the sonic consciousness of the USA? I have pulled an analogous thread through another semi-fictitious topography (Foggy Mountains Breakdown More Than Non-Foggy Mountains) to find out. Is there a non-foggy mountain on the other side? Do we want there to be?
Along with the conflicting definitions of the word “breakdown” itself (and a band of famous and non-famous musicians called The Foggy Mountains Breakdown More Than Non-Foggy Mountains Band) an old-fashioned, absurdo-epic, meandering travelogue of moving image, voice, text, animation and of course music begins to prove the motion picture’s lone hypothesis: that foggy mountains breakdown more than non-foggy mountains. I know what you are thinking. Why watch the movie when you can read the title for free, memorize it even? (Jessie Stead)

The film is in collaboration with Kino Club.

Synopsis & Screening History:

Foggy Mountains Breakdown More Than Non-Foggy Mountains
59 minutes
mixed media on digital video
c/o the estate of Jessie Stead, 2006

Jessie Stead
Jessie Stead is a multi-purpose artist and motion-picture maker currently based in New York. Using a variety of means she produces assorted interdisciplinary media works that often combine image, music and text with a meandering conceptual focus. Her approach to motion-picture is as a kind of adhesive used to synthesize unlikely collaborations of seemingly disparate subject matter, formal strategies, technological experiments and other people. Stead's mixed media work shows at different types of venues locally and internationally. Recent cinematic involvements have screened at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, Anthology Film Archives, The New York Film Festival and The London Film Festival. Visit for further information.

Grand Prize – Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival 45th Ann Arbor Film Festival
Second Prize: 2007 Onion City Experimental Film & Video Festival
MoMA PS1 Greater New York NY,NY  2010
Royal College Of Art London, 2010
New York Underground Film Festival NY, NY, 2008
37th International Film Festival Rotterdam Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2008
San Francisco Cinemateque / Yerba Buena Center for the Arts San Francisco CA, 2008.
THE WIRE 25 Festival Cinema for the Eyes and Ears London, 2007
Anthology Film Archives Walking Picture Palace NY NY, 2007
Northern Lights Film Festival Houghton MI, 2008.
Sponto Gallery Venice CA, 2007
Onion City Experimental Film & Video Festival Chicago IL, 2007
Detroit Film Center Detroit MI, 2007
Ann Arbor Film Festival Ann Arbor MI, 2007
Film Society / Massachusetts College of Art Boston MA, 2006

Writings by curator Ed Halter :
 At first appearing to be a free association of diaristic text and image, Jessie Stead’s structuralist road movie quickly reveals more hardcore pattern-making as it proceeds, offering up a strange brew of visual semi-sequiturs and totalizing editorial logic. Stead's giddily sui generis film is, amongst other things, a cascade of killer solos, a funky exegesis, and a self-immolating essay—a breakdown in every sense of the word.

Art in America article

Printed of the web Reykjvik Art Museum, 05.07.2015