not sure why it’s titled this, but it’s a fanciful and exciting little trip
by Jack Gattanella
Jack Smith was one of the masters of the underground film-making ‘group’ in New York city in the early 60s, and this was one of the few films that Smith finished and screened. While nowhere near the notorious nature of Flaming Creatures or the color-grandeur of Normal Love, Scotch Tape is significant because in a 3-minute stretch of time Smith is able to convey a lot of energy and excitement over some footage that is hard to make out. It looks as those there are figures dancing among garbage or something, moving about, maybe even at 16 frames-per-second, and all done to a super catchy swing tune from the 30s.
This is all its really about, to say the least, but what’s great about it is that Smith leaves it open: you can see what you will in those dark masses of black and white, the figures, the shaky hand-held camera-work (frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if one thought this was the work of a bunch of serial killers hopped up on 10 cups of coffee!) Whatever it is, it’s 3 minutes of pure, unbridled mayhem as only Jack Smith could cook up, and this time with far less actual full-blown sex and transvestitism on the screen. I’d almost say it’s like a Brakhage short, but this would be a disservice to Smith, one of the weirdest and most anarchic artists ever to come out of anything remotely considered “artsy.” Find it if you can (it’s somewhere on the web).