Item #39938 SPECTRO-MACH 1.



Original flyer announcing “Filmmakers’ Cinematheque presents SPECTRO-MACH 1 by Don Snyder” (December 7-12, 1965), listing participants Angus MacLise, Ralph Metzner, Allen Neff and Diane Rebuffo (John Cale also provided assistance, though his name is not listed).

Printed in black on white paper, illustrated with a single rorschach-like blot, probably enlarged from a single frame or film slide, set against a geometric grid (28x21.5cm.). The flyer also announces the ‘premiere preview of Spectro-Mach 1’ on December 6 at the New Filmmakers’ Cinematheque on West 41st St., NYC, which had relocated from Lafayette St. five days earlier. Fine.

Don Snyder’s multimedia performances, involving complex combinations of film and slide projection, were inspired in part by the psychedelic environments created by USCO, and by the recently concluded Filmmakers’ Cinematheque New Cinema Festival 1. The latter featured La Monte Young’s ‘Theatre of Eternal Music’ (Cale’s last appearance with the group) and Angus MacLise’s ‘Rites Of The Dreamweapon’, both of which were influential on Andy Warhol’s subsequent Exploding Plastic Inevitable shows.

An ad. placed by Jonas Mekas in The Village Voice (December 2, 1965), presumably written by Snyder, describes Spectro-Mach 1 as “An experimental program devoted to the aesthetic extension of man’s internal perception and psychic orientation to environment. SPECTRA-MACH 1 [sic] utilizes contemporary psychedelic technology to explore and expand areas of consciousness.” According to Snyder, his ‘lumographs’ were capable of “inducing a mild trancelike state.”

The festival (later referred to as the Festival of Expanded Cinema) occurred immediately after Angus MacLise’s first departure from the Velvet Underground, whose inaugural gig under that name was scheduled for December 11. MacLise’s need for artistic freedom is usually cited as the chief reason he quit the band, and this event, which date-clashed with the Velvets’ first gig, clearly took precedence. He continued to work with filmmaker and photographer Don Snyder up until his death in 1979. Snyder, an associate of Ira Cohen and Jack Smith, made numerous experimental films during the ‘60s and ‘70s, and collaborated with Shirley Clarke and Yayoi Kusama, as well as documenting the Living Theatre, hippie communes, and Timothy Leary’s Castalia Foundation.