Blankets for Indians
Directed by Ken Jacobs
Blankets for Indians blends a stereoscopic study of water spurting from New York’s City Hall fountain with an intimately detailed portrait of an Occupy Wall Street march. While in the process of shooting the fountain in 2012, Jacobs serendipitously turned his camera toward a large protest marching to Zuccotti Park in support of Occupy Wall Street. The unexpected connection gives the film new life, seamlessly moving between sensual observation and political commentary, reflection, and abstraction. Using freeze-frames, text, and 3D manipulation, Jacobs questions the contemporary conditions of socio-political struggle, its relation to aesthetics, and the labor necessary to produce both.
Ken Jacobs was born in Brooklyn in 1933 and lives and works in New York City. A pioneer of the American film avant-garde of the 1960s and '70s, Jacobs is a central figure in post-war experimental cinema. From his first films of the late 1950s to his recent experiments with digital video, his investigations and innovations have influenced countless artists. He has received numerous awards, including the Maya Deren Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts. In 1969, with the help of Larry Gottheim and Gottheim’s students (one of whom was J. Hoberman, current senior film critic for the Village Voice), Jacobs began the Cinema Department at SUNY Binghamton and taught there until 2002. His films, videos, and performances have been received at such international venues as the Berlin Film Festival, the London Film Festival; the Hong Kong Film Festival; the New York Film Festival; the American Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. He was a featured filmmaker at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2004, and Courtisane Festival, Ghent in 2014.
Images taken from City Hall Park, Zuccotti Park during Occupy Wall Street
Sounds gathered from the streets of New York City
Technical assistance by Nisi Jacobs.
“Advanced art even questions the eyes and how they work to conduct reality to our minds.”
—Ken Jacobs, 2012