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Free; please enter the museum through the historic Pier 15 bulkhead entrance
By the time Tom DeWitt graduated from San Francisco State in 1968, two of his short experimental films were in the Museum of Modern Art. He then went on to develop ever-more sophisticated media to express his life story in hallucinatory visions. Join us for a screening of several works he’s selected for this retrospective.
During this career, his innovations have surpassed state-of-the-art technologies. Today his 1977 “Pantomation” is called “motion capture” and is commonly used in computer animation. In 1987 he began to receive patents. He went on to discover an optical phenomenon hiding in plain sight that is poised to revolutionize holography. Already a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Film Institute, and the Guggenheim Foundation, he was appointed a Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation and a Fellow of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts.
For tonight’s program, Tom has selected four works contemporaneous with his three years in San Francisco, short films that presaged the emergence of music videos. First he compares his AtmosFear to Bruce Baillie’s Castro Street (both 1966). Then he pairs Pat O’Neill’s 7362 with OffOn (both 1967), made in collaboration with Scott Bartlett.
Back in New York, in 1981 Tom collaborated with Vibeke Sorensen and Dean Winkler to produce Tempest and Voyage. Their group, WTV, was commissioned by the Jimi Hendrix Estate to produce Little Wing (1982). Tom went on to create computer graphics for 2000 Light Years from Home and Paint It Black (1990), music videos commissioned by the Rolling Stones and directed by Gerald Marks. These videos are in Pulfrich 3-D, as is Forevermore (1996), made for musicians, Happy Rhodes and Kevin Bartlett. 3-D glasses will be provided.
Tom DeWitt married painter Beverly Botto in 1994, and they share a new surname, Ditto. Now Tom Ditto has come to set the record straight about his long career. For every picture he can tell a story.
“Enthralling.”—San Francisco Chronicle, 1967
“Enough film technique for a generation.”—Roger Greenspun, The New York Times, 1973
“The brain behind OffOn.”—Karen Cooper, Film Forum (in conversation, 2008)
AtmosFear (Tom DeWitt, 1966, 6 min., 16mm)
Castro Street (Bruce Baillie, 1966, 9 min., 16mm)
7362 (Pat O’Neill, 1967, 10 min., 16mm)
OffOn (Scott Bartlett, Tom DeWitt, others, 1967, 9 min., 16mm)
Little Wing (WTV [Tom DeWitt, Vibeke Sorensen, Dean Winkler], 1982, 4 min., video)
Tempest (WTV, 1981, 4 min., video)
Voyage (WTV, 1981, 8 min., video)
2000 Light Years from Home (Gerald Marks, 1990, 5 min., 3-D video)
Paint it Black (Gerald Marks, 1990, 4 min., 3-D video)
Forevermore (Thomas DeWitt Ditto, 1996, 5 min., 3-D video)