► The Tree, 2018 (10 min)
The Tree here is an ancient noble American Elm standing at the center of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. It’s named “The Hare Krishna Tree” because an Indian spiritual leader, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, came to New York, founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in a nearby storefront, and introduced the famous “Hare Krishna” chant under this very tree in the Fall of 1966 to an audience of hippies, which included neighborhood resident Beat icon Allen Ginsberg (who immediately recorded it and released it as a cut on the next Fugs album). Standing as it does across from the site of the former bandshell, this tree has witnessed numerous psychedelic concerts by bands including the Grateful Dead, and has been gazed at endlessly over the years by throngs of hallucinating New Yorkers. You can see some of the dryads within if you don’t blink. When I was asked to shoot a “Roll for Peter” (100 feet of black & white reversal 16mm for a memorial to Peter Hutton), I wrote a simple shooting score for filming this tree with my Bolex. I was happy with my roll in the context of that program and decided to pursue it further, adding color negative even. Somehow I managed to be in New York all 4 seasons. Having spent almost the entirety of 1976 sitting in front of a J-K optical printer that I had bought with my student loan, developing occult combinations of discontinuous single frame progressions, a frame at a time with multiple passes, I decided at a certain life-affirming point “Enough already!” I used some of my scores to shoot single-frame in real time out in the sunlight (Porter Springs 3, North Beach), but mostly decided to wait until there were computers that could do this drudgery for me. So, this film, 40 years later, is edited frame by frame (still pretty much hand-made & organic, though) on a laptop in Adobe Premiere.