FIVE OF filmmaker Bill Morrison's movies are included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art -- which is why you're reading about his work in "On Exhibit" and not "On Screen." That, and the fact that his latest piece, assembled from clips of severely deteriorating nitrate film stock, is less a traditionally plotted narrative than what one reviewer called a "shower of black-and-white psychedelia."
Culled from moldering film archives, the partly legible, partly abstract imagery of "Decasia" unspools to a score by avant-garde composer Michael Gordon, co-founder of the ensemble known as Bang on a Can, producing an effect that writer Lawrence Weschler has described as, at times, "ravishingly, achingly beautiful."
"Who knew," Weschler mused in a recent New York Times essay, "that decay itself -- artfully marshaled, braided, scored and sustained -- could provoke such transports of sublime reverie amid such pangs of wistful sorrow?"
On Wednesday at 7:30, Baltimore's Walters Art Museum (600 N. Charles St.) will screen "Decasia" in a program sponsored by the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Maryland Film Festival. Tickets are $10, $8 for students and seniors and free for MICA students, staff and faculty. At 2 Wednesday, the filmmaker will participate in a free public discussion of his work on the third floor of MICA's Bunting Center (1401 Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore). To purchase tickets for "Decasia," call 410-752-8083.
-- Michael O'Sullivan