You enter Maria Nordman’s 1967 Filmroom: Smoke to discover two films being projected on the far wall. A stubby projecting wall divides the wall in half. In the left half, a white lounge chair glistens in its crumpled plastic protective wrap. The two movies project the same rocky beach with waves tumbling in. You see the same chair sitting in the film on the beach.
A man who could only be described as a Dude (boots, soul patch, wild hair) ambles up, sits down in the chair, and lights a cigarette. After a while a woman who is a nothing other than a Chick (miniskirt, mascara, listless affect) appears. She perches on the arm of the chair, bums a cigarette off him and starts smoking herself.
As the waves come crashing in, the pair begins attitudinizing strenuously—adopting what I suppose they believe are interesting dramatic poses. They are, in fact, completely ridiculous. She attempts to convey to us that she is really and truly fascinated by the lichen on the rock wall. He attempts to convey to us that he is a really fine-looking dude and breathtakingly cool. After exhausting their whole repetoire of ideas (in two minutes) they place a big hunk of driftwood in the chair, shake their respective manes, puff, and The End.
The text panels try to tell you that this piece is an investigation into conflicting perspectival systems. Not at all. Whatever this project may have begun as, it lives today as a satire of late-Sixties hipsterism, and it’s fabulous.
What a shame that the visual impact of this little satirical gem had to be lessened by presenting it as a digital projection, rather than actual film.