Kubasa in a Glass // The Fetishised Winnipeg TV Commercial 1976-1992
Open City Cinema presents:
Kubasa in a Glass: The Fetishised Winnipeg TV Commercial 1976-1992
Tuesday, August 28th, 7:30 PM
@ Frame Arts Warehouse (618 1/2 Ross St.)
Originally released in 2006, Kubasa in a Glass is a collection of Winnipeg’s finest examples of locally produced television from the “golden era” of no budget and public access TV, compiled by Atelier’s Matthew Rankin and Walter Forsberg. In 2011 the filmmakers re-edited the film and presented it to a small Montreal audience, leaving the self-obsessed, inward-looking fools of Winnipeg out in the cold once again.
Kubasa in a Glass is perhaps the most under appreciated example of Winnipeg’s filmic navel-gazing, often overshadowed by fellow Atelier project, Death by Popcorn: The Tragedy of the Winnipeg Jets, and Guy Maddin’s dream memory My Winnipeg. But unlike these films that employ a heavy-handed approach to mythologizing Winnipeg’s history and self-image (through both fact and fiction), Kubasa in a Glass merely presents a digitally warped reflection of Winnipeg’s brief and disposable self-image, as seen through the no-budget and public access television of the 1980s.
Filmmaker Matthew Rankin suggests in his “NOTES ON KUBASA” below that this is the purest form of Winnipeg’s “national cinema”: a “disposable filmmaking” with the lifespan of a mosquito that is but a metaphor for Winnipeg’s own constantly paved over and re-gentrified image. Kubasa in a Glass is a skeleton in the closet of Winnipeg’s leaders. They would rather forget these embarrassingly honest moments and paint them over with emotionally void murals of Adam Beach and Cindy Klassen.
Lucky for us, Winnipeg’s bastard children and artistic riff-raff continue to reclaim these and other images, forcing us all to appreciate that Winnipeg does have a history and a voice, albeit fleeting and self-deprecating. In what is clearly a time of transition for Winnipeg, Kubasa in a Glass serves to preserve our city’s cinematic history and define a voice for its future.
NOTES ON KUBASA by Atelier national du Manitoba
Winnipeg is an Ephemeral City. A Disposable City. It is not a City of Love or of Light. It is a crumbling monument to defeat, forgetfulness and extinction. To be a citizen of Winnipeg, it would seem, is to participate in a pathological collective act of destruction. The overwhelming hatred of Winnipeggers for their own city – manifested variously in murder and downtown beautification projects – can assure that there will be no Winnipeg left for posterity.
The complexity of this vanishing city has become something of a fetish object for its creative underclass, the cinematic negotiation of which has generated a staunchly regional – indeed, national! – cinema. The true genius of Winnipeg image-makers – from Maddin to Maryniuk to Gonick to Supnet and beyond – has been to reclaim the denigrated and ravaged image of Winnipeg and elevate it to the stuff of greatness.
The purest form of Winnipeg national cinema is to be found within the disposable filmmaking of the city’s televisual ephemera. This material is our cultural subconscious, our aesthetic Id. Like Winnipeg itself, the TV Commercial and the daily weather report is morbidly aware of its limited life span. This consciousness of being born only to be swiftly annihilated and forgotten is the metaphor in which we may identify Winnipeg society. Furthermore, the ATELIER NATIONAL DU MANITOBA contends that Winnipeg ephemera from the 1980s will soon rival the cult hegemony of Rick Prelinger’s 1950s and Matt McCormick’s 1970s.
On the basis of this indignant polemic, the ATELIER NATIONAL DU MANITOBA has designed a retrospective programme to introduce the uninitiated to Winnipeg National Cinema and brood intensely upon its deeper meanings. Exploring the themes of degradation, disposal and destruction, Kubasa in a Glass constructs a parallel history of Winnipeg through the prism of its bizarre and time-ravaged VHS ephemera.