Chris Habib b. 1964
Making The Nature Scene (Kim Gordon) (1985)
Duration: 11 minutes
Long before Kim Gordon was a cooler-than-thou multimedia artist in Body/Head, she was a cooler-than-thou multimedia artist in Sonic Youth. In the ’80s, Gordon and her bandmates were fixtures of New York’s downtown art and music scene; one regular haunt of theirs was legendary nightclub Danceteria, which served as the setting for a short film Gordon made sometime around 1985. Now, as Dangerous Minds points out, said video has surfaced online thanks to filmmaker/designer Chris Habib (a.k.a. Visitor Design). “Excellent video I found in my Sonic Youth archive,” Habib writes on the clip’s Vimeo page. “I digitized it for Kim during her [early 2000s] CLUB IN THE SHADOWS exhibition at Kenny Schachter’s old space in the West Village.”
Titled “Making the Nature Scene,” the 11-minute short argues that clubs like Danceteria should play art films regularly for attendees. All throughout the video, the camera pans slowly across the now-defunct venue while a low bed of ambient, experimental music (Sonic Youth’s “She Is Not Alone” can be heard clearly at one point) rumbles in the background. Bits of text scroll up the screen, making the whole piece feel like a No Wave position paper. “Clubs can gain prestige through the art events they sponsor,” reads one selection. “The clubs attract a non-art audience who do not know why they are there, but just that they should be there.”
Time-travel back to the mid-’80s above.