Monkey Town Presents: Silent Films + Unique Instruments Festival

  • Location:
    New York

League of Musical Urban Robots
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

7:30 and 10:00

Man with a Movie Camera is a visionary silent documentary by Russian director Dziga Vertov. The film presents a gestalt portrait of life in Odessa in 1929: day breaks, the citizens file into factories, machines machinate, and the wheel of life spins, with all stops detailed and deconstructed by the omnipresent cameraman.

Vertov deploys a stunning range of cinematic inventions: double exposure, fast motion, slow motion, freeze frames, jump cuts, split screens, Dutch angles, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, footage played backwards, animations. (At one point he whips out a split screen tracking shot with opposite Dutch angles - money!)

This film - which investigates the ecology of humans and industrial machines - is appropriately accompanied by League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots, and ensemble of artists and technologists who create robotic musical instruments. Founded in 2000 by musician and engineer Eric Singer, LEMUR creates exotic, sculptural musical instruments which integrate robotic technology. LEMUR's philosophy is to build robots that are new types of musical instruments, as opposed to animatronic robots that play existing instruments.

For this screening, six composers have created original scores for LEMUR:
Leif Krinkle
Luke DuBois
Zach Layton
DJ Olive
Jim Coleman

for more information, music and video, visit

Curated by Sam Zimmerman