Juan Downey
J.S. Bach (1986)
1986, 28:25 min, color, sound

Resonating with a melancholy poetry, J.S. Bach is a subjective essay that merges a reflection on identity and the creative process with a lyrical documentary on the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. Shot in the wintry landscapes of Bach's native East Germany, this densely layered, nuanced work intertwines biography with Downey's personal visual and verbal commentary. Three nonlinear narrative strands function as a spoken fugue, while three compositions provide the musical "voice" of Bach. The tripartite structure Death, Flashback, and Counterpoint and complex, associative visual strategies function as a compositional analogy to Bach's own musical principles of equal temperament and counterpoint the "organization of multiple melodies into a clear, rhythmic and harmonic relation." This fourth part of The Thinking Eye series was termed a "stunningly beautiful video... a profound vision under masterful technical control," by the L.A. Weekly.

Performers: Giorgy Sandor, Elaine Camparone, St. Thomas Church Choir and Cantor. With: Guillermo Labarca, Steve Meyers, Carol Dines. Script Consultant: Lisa Krueger. Text: Albert Schweitzer. Camera: Jaime Barrios, Kirk Von Heflin. Editor: Marcelo Navarro. Music/Audio: Bob Schott. Assistant Producer: Carlos Puccio. Associate Producer: Marilys B. De Downey. Video Engineer: Rick Feist. -- EAI

This title is available for exhibitions, screenings, and institutional use through Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), NY. Please visit the EAI Online Catalogue for further information about this artist and work. The EAI site offers extensive resources for curators, students, artists and educators, including: an in-depth guide to exhibiting, collecting, and preserving media art; A Kinetic History: The EAI Archives Online, a collection of essays, primary documents, and media charting EAI's 40-year history and the early years of the emergent video art scene; and expanded contextual and educational materials.