Over the course of a decade long filmmaking collaboration, Vicky Langan and Maximilian Le Cain have created a distinctively intimate cinematic universe that has more recently expanded to include live performance. This audio-visual partnership is built on the strikingly fitting match between Langanʼs magnetic, often troublingly intense presence as a performer and Le Cainʼs distinctively jarring, disruptive visual rhythms. It has resulted in sixteen moving image works to date, including the feature film Inside (2017), and an ongoing series of performances that began at the 2017 Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival. These performances emerged from Play Ground, a 2017 short film created with the support of the Centre Culturel Iralndais in Paris as a tribute to the late Dutch filmmaker Frans Zwartjes. In 2018, they created a new performance/film, Double-Blind, for Cork Midsummer Festival.
So far, they have completed sixteen moving image works together:
Personal Growth (24 mins, 2019) A Super-8 film that conveys the haunting charge of a privately made home movie of great significance to its creators but unsettlingly mysterious to viewers. Its grainy, black and white texture vividly renders the elemental coastal seascapes where it was filmed. Langan & Le Cain appear as a couple who inhabit this wild terrain as if it were a domestic arena.
Double-Blind (36 mins, 2018) Langan / Le Cain embrace the mood and iconography of classic Gothic literature and cinema to their raw, mysterious and often erotically charged universe. Two isolated storybook characters wander through the remains of a shattered B-movie found abandoned half-edited on a mouldy VHS tape.
Inside (70 mins, 2017) is the first Langan / Le Cain feature. It excavates the sensations, desires and elusive chimeras of one woman’s inner life. Taking place in the isolated setting of a remote country cottage, it summons a haunting portrait of a woman adrift in a personal reality formed of her domestic rituals and frustrations. At once lyrical, unsettling and perverse, Inside is a chart of the growth patterns of solitude.
Play Ground (16 mins, 2017) is a tribute to the great Dutch filmmaker Frans Zwartjes. Langan & Le Cain play characters locked into patterns of desire who seem unable to connect in this playful but ultimately melancholy film. It formed the basis of the first Langan / Le Cain live performance.
Wilderness Notes (20 mins, 2017) is a section of a three-part work made with Atoosa Pour Hosseini and Rouzbeh Rashidi. The three films all explore psychic, territorial and technological margins. Isolated characters, all somehow locked into masks or fixed personae, navigate desolate zones between dimensions where a sense of being physically adrift and at risk is mapped onto a corresponding inner state. But they are not only adrift in space, they are equally adrift in time. Langan / Le Cain’s contribution is a take on the Western genre.
In the Place of Origin (18 mins, 2016) navigates a delicate flow between apparently opposite states: self and other, human and non-human, interior and exterior, construction and dispersion. The uncertain limits of the human body gauge the tensions between elements of the material world that pass as strangers but not without reflecting each other in surprising and unsettling ways, stitched and unstitched by the breath of the wind.
Brine Twice Daily (20 mins, 2015) is a film that came from the sea, from the depths, and it never truly escapes its salt-encrusted origins. A bizarre romance that is at once an absurd comedy, a horror/adventure B-movie, a cryptic home video and a fading seaside postcard stuffed into a bottle and cast adrift on the ocean, Brine Twice Daily marks a new departure in the Langan/Le Cain filmmaking partnership.
Tangled And Far (12 mins, 2013) foregrounds the overlap between intimate domestic detail and its reflection in Langan’s performance work. The private and public projections of her presence and actions collapse into each other in this phantasmagoric continuum of alternate selves and self-images to form a fractured dream portrait.
Dirt (12 mins, 2012) is a phantasmagoric mélange of live performances and elements of gothic horror, resulting in a haunting, intense and sometimes humorous portrait of Wölflinge.
Wölflinge 12/4/’12 (7 mins, 2012) reprises the techniques of Wölflinge 17/11/’10 in its interpretation of a particularly searing Wölflinge performance.
Lullaby (20 mins, 2011) This study of nocturnal solitude develops into a visually overwhelming, stroboscopic nightmare that nevertheless retains a quiet tenderness all of its own.
Contact (3 mins, 2011) uses Super-8 elements in constructing a dialectical relationship between film image and material.
Desk 13 (9 mins, 2011) brings a darker, more erotic aspect of their vision to the fore.
Hereunder (12 mins, 2011) is an intense, fragmented (auto)biographical portrait of Vicky, which sets her adrift amidst lockers of garden shed bric-a-brac from which she summons an ocean of sound.
Wölflinge 17/11/’10 (8 mins, 2011) is a haunting visual interpretation of a performance by Langan that breaks down the boundaries between spectator and performer.
Light / Sound (9 mins, 2010), their first video, acclaimed by critic Fergus Daly as one of the top ten films of 2010 in the Senses of Cinema magazine end of year poll, was chosen for distribution by Paris-based experimental film cooperative Collectif Jeune Cinéma.
About the artists:
Outside of their filmmaking, Langan and Le Cain worked together on the regular Cork-based experimental music/film event Black Sun between 2009 and 2013. Langan curated its live acts from its inception, bringing many renowned makers of strange sounds from around the world to play for the first time in Ireland. In late 2009, she expanded the event by inviting Le Cain to add film to the bill through programming experimental cinema screenings that would match the richness and strangeness of the live acts.
Vicky Langan’s solo performance project often explores the darker side of intimacy, using flesh, fluid and self built instruments. According to critic Bernard Clarke: “There are some musicians who entertain us, fine; some who stimulate us, better; and then some who immerse us in something so powerful that, almost, primal emotions surface instantly; making us ultra-defensive, or, finally open to illumination. One of the latter is Vicky Langan… You may love her, hate her, be astonished, be repelled- but you will not be unmoved. Promise. In a world of bland s**te we need to treasure artists like this – even if they burn.”
Langan / Le Cain Screenings / Performances / Exhibitions:
Personal Growth, screening and exhibition, Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co. Cork / Cork Film Festival
Brine Twice Daily, mala voadora, Porto
Brine Twice Daily, Kino Klub Split, Split, Croatia
Brine Twice Daily, Cinemateca de Curitiba, Brazil
Brine Twice Daily, Rudina Art Fair, Croatia
Brine Twice Daily, Hosek Contemporary, Berlin
Brine Twice Daily, Hijack!, New York
Brine Twice Daily, Taipei Contemporary Art Centre, Taiwan
Contact & Double-Blind, Moving Bodies Festival, Turin, Italy
Brine Twice Daily, Departamento Social Club, Santiago, Chile
Brine Twice Daily, Vertigo, Tiblisi, Georgia
Double-Blind, Muestra Internacional de Cine Experimental, Cinemateca Nacional del Ecuador Ulises Estrella, Quito
Inside, Luminous Void Underground Film Festival, Dublin
Inside & Brine Twice Daily, Cienclube Academia das Musas, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Play Ground, The Barlow Index 5, Brighton, UK
Brine Twice Daily, ‘Compact time’, The Cinematography & Alternative Art Festival, Nida, Lithuania
Play Ground, ‘Ecstatic Visions’, Brighton, UK
Inside, ECRA Festival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Inside, Art Works exhibition at VISUAL in the Carlow Arts Festival
Double-Blind, performance at Cork Midsummer Festival
Play Ground, MExIndex programme at VAI Get Together, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
Inside, Cineautopsia: Festival de Cine Experimental de Bogotá, Colombia
Inside, Cinemateca Nacional de Ecuador, Quito
Contact, Process Festival, Riga, Latvia
Play Ground, Esto Es Para Eso Festival, Monterrey City, Mexico
Inside, Triskel Christchurch Cinema, Cork
Play Ground at EFS/Purge Frans Zwartjes tribute screening, The Guesthouse, Cork
Brine Twice Daily, American Medium Gallery, New York
Langan / Le Cain performance at book launch of Luminous Void: Experimental Film Society Documents, Filmbase, Dublin
Play Ground, ULTRAcinema festival, Puebla, Mexico
Langan / Le Cain performance & Inside in exhibition They Call Us The Screamers, TULCA Festival of Visual Arts, Galway
Play Ground, Poverarte Festival, Bologna
Langan / Le Cain performance and retrospective screening, Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival, Switzerland
Play Ground, Festival de Diseño Audiovisual Experimental Valdivia, Chile
Langan / Le Cain performance & In The Place Of Origin in exhibition Present Haunts, James Barry Exhibition Centre, Cork Institute of Technology
Lullaby, Kino Klub Split, Croatia
Wilderness Notes, Filmbase, Dublin
Langan/Le Cain screening event, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris
In The Place Of Origin in exhibition slips, speaks, 12 Star Gallery, London
EFS Screening @ UP Film Institute, Quezon City, Philippines
EFS Screening @ Bogotá Experimental Film Festival
In the Place of Origin, Sample Studios, Cork
In the Place of Origin, Crawford College of Art & Design MA Graduate Exhibition, Cork
Langan performance and screening of five films as part of the Luminous Void exhibition, Triskel Project Space, Cork
Brine Twice Daily, Irish Film Institute, Dublin
Brine Twice Daily, The Guesthouse, Cork
Contact, Lajevardi Foundation, Tehran, Iran
Brine Twice Daily, Regenborg Kino, Berlin, Germany
Dirt, Repressed Cinema, Hollywood Theatre, Portland, Oregon, USA
Dirt & Contact, Wild-screen (two day artists’ film event), Connemara, Ireland
Desk 13, Experimental Film Society screening, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin
Tangled And Far, Solus/Experimental Film Society screening, Filmbase, Dublin
Tangled And Far, Fronteira Festival, Goiania, Brazil
Tangled And Far, The Avant Festival, The Guesthouse, Cork
Langan/Le Cain screening at Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn , New York including Hereunder, Dirt and Tangled And Far
Tangled And Far, Australian International Experimental Film Festival, Melbourne & Perth, Australia
Tangled And Far, ‘Mind in the Flesh’ symposium on female bodies in contemporary performance, Dance Limerick, Ireland
Solo programme, Spectacle Theater, New York: Contact, Wölflinge 17/11/’10, Light / Sound, Hereunder, Desk 13, Dirt, Tangled And Far
Dirt, Australian International Experimental Film Festival, Melbourne, Australia
Dirt hosted on The Wire magazine’s website in conjunction with a Vicky Langan interview in Issue 350.
Dirt, Ormston House Gallery, Limerick, Ireland
Dirt & Lullaby, Hunter’s Moon Festival, Leitrim, Ireland
Dirt, Lullaby & Le Cain’s Super-8 work The End of the Universe as Red with a special live performance by Langan, Langan / Le Cain event at The Black Mariah, Cork, Ireland
Contact, Dirt, Hereunder & Desk 13, Galway Arts Centre, Ireland
Lullaby, University of the Philippines Film Institute
Contact, Berlin International Directors Lounge, Germany
Light / Sound, Galway Arts Centre, Ireland
Desk 13 & Hereunder, CineB Festival, Chile
Contact, London New Wind Festival, UK
Lullaby, Cork Film Festival, Ireland
Contact & Light / Sound, Hunter’s Moon Festival, Leitrim, Ireland
Wölflinge 17/11/’10, Darklight Film Festival, Dublin
Hereunder, Cinekinosis, Bristol, UK
Contact, Live@8, Sligo, Ireland
Desk 13, MisALT Screening Series, San Francisco, USA
Contact, Super 8 Shots Festival, Galway, Ireland
Hereunder, Hilltown New Music Festival, Westmeath, Ireland
Solo screening of all videos, The Guesthouse, Cork, Ireland
Desk 13, Hello Operator, Dublin, Ireland
Special presentation of Hereunder with live performance, Just Listen sound art festival, Limerick, Ireland
Light / Sound, Festival des Cinémas Differents online section, Paris
Light / Sound, The Exchange, Dublin, Ireland
Light / Sound, The Basement Project Space, Cork, Ireland