“Other places are not just other geographies, they are other experiences of time.
“We Have an Anchor achieves both a grandeur and a coherence that make this endeavor seem much greater than the two halves of concert and movie” —Artforum
Artist and filmmaker Jem Cohen (Museum Hours, Instrument, Benjamin Smoke) makes his BAM mainstage debut with We Have An Anchor, a hybrid documentary project combining footage gathered in Nova Scotia over the past decade with live music and texts including poems, scientific studies, and local reminiscences. As a filmmaker who has explored—and deplored—the disappearance of regional character, the discovery of Nova Scotia, especially Cape Breton, was a revelation and inspiration for Cohen, an experience too multifaceted to be documented via a single medium. Anchor combines film with new HD technology to hark back to early cinematic adventures such as Abel Glance’s Napoleon (1927) and that film’s radical use of the triptych. With much of the footage shot on 16mm film, the work also serves as an elegy for a disappearing medium, fully celebrating the raw, organic properties of the format. A supergroup of collaborators provide live musical accompaniment: Guy Picciotto (Fugazi), Jim White (Dirty Three), T. Griffin (The Quavers); Efrim Manuel Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor), Jessica Moss (Thee Silver Mt. Zion), Sophie Trudeau (Godspeed You! Black Emperor), as well as special guest vocalist Mira Billotte (White Magic).
Jem Cohen is a New York-based filmmaker who mixes documentary and narrative, blending media formats—16mm, Super 8, and digital—to build an evolving archive of landscapes, portraits, and sound. His films are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA, and have been included in the Whitney Biennial, screened at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), and broadcast by PBS, ZDF/Arte, and the Sundance Channel. Cohen is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and Alpert Award in the Arts, among other honors.
Commissioned by EMPAC (Experimental Media & Performance Center), Troy, NY.
BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY