dir. Paige Sarlin, Video, Color, Sound, 30 minutes
On the day Tony Conrad, musician and filmmaker, died, Sarlin played cello to him for hours as his breathing slowed. This video contains excerpts of that recording along with other material produced while they lived together at 1290 Delaware in Buffalo, NY, including a shot that captures the aftermath of a hospital demolition filmed from their living room window where faint reflections of Tony’s face appear. On the sixth anniversary of Tony Conrad’s death in April 2022, Sarlin (Conrad’s widow) began filming in their living room as a way to mark the passing of time and to create a holding space for grief that could be shared with others and accessible to all.
This video contains amplified drone & audio recorded at Buffalo Hospice in Cheektowaga, NY on April 9, 2016 (the day that Tony Conrad died).
TO FEEL… HOLD BALLOON
Cello: Paige Sarlin
Breath: Tony Conrad
Editing: Paige Sarlin
The image of the demolition of Millard Fillmore Hospital Building was shot by Paige
Sarlin and Tony Conrad on October 3, 2015.
All other images filmed by Paige Sarlin between April and July 2022.
Support Dog: Tillie Olsen Conrad
Audio Mixing: Paige Sarlin & David Grubbs
Balloon provided beneath seats for theatrical screening
The first section of the film is open captioned and has audio description.
Complete Audio description is available via audio file and/or braille transcript.
AUDIO DESCRIPTION of OPENING:
[middle-aged female voice with an american accent]
Black Text appears on a White background
One room. Three windows. One red futon. One grey loveseat. A coffee table. A tattered rug. Three stacks of books. Nine plastic toucans. A record album. A dozen plants. Bright sunlight. A black dog. Dust.
The images in this video were recorded at 1290 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY, in the apartment where I lived with Tony Conrad until his death on April 9th, 2016 at Buffalo Hospice.
On the day Tony died, I played cello to him for hours as his breathing slowed.
This soundtrack includes excerpts from that audio along with two duets we recorded in our home.
On the sixth anniversary of Tony’s death, I began filming in my living room. I placed the camera in the spot where we had taped the demolition of a hospital building years earlier…
A white balloon appears in front of a clouded window that frames
an expanse of grey sky above an urban skyline
The camera is jostled and
two white arms appear from off screen to take hold of the ballon and write with a black marker:
This video contains amplified drone.
One hand turns the balloon and black text appears over the blank space
Audio recorded at Buffalo Hospice in Cheektowaga, NY on April 9, 2016.
The text fades and the hand appears above the blank surface and writes:
To feel … hold balloon.
Hands try to hold the balloon still
And then retract, taking the balloon off-screen
A row of modern buildings, a parking lot and a few green trees become visible through the dirt-glazed window.
The image becomes darker, then brighter, and brighter again as the camera exposure is changed until the screen finally goes grey-white.