Chicago Ear and Eye Control

This excellent program of three-to-four-minute shorts is the last in a series organized by musician Ken Vandermark and filmmaker Paula Froehle that combines film with improvised music (presented not as accompaniment but as a concurrent event). With works from about 30 filmmakers from around the country, tonight’s installment should recapture the spirit of improvisational openness that characterized some 60s avant-garde or underground screenings, when works in progress were shown alongside finished films. Of the films available for preview, many are relatively static, seeming almost to solicit added rhythm (such as Bea Bellino’s and Heather McAdams’s contributions, which use snapshots or postcards). One of the strongest works, Stephanie Barber’s wonderfully enigmatic Notes, Letters, uses stills of empty locations with texts printed over them to suggest various personal narratives. Thomas Gosser’s view from a car on a highway and Steve Polta’s light patterns should be radically transformed by the music, while Peggy Ahwesh’s hotter imagery of bloody murder and Carolyn Faber’s found film of open-heart surgery may clash with the aural element in interesting ways. Performing live is Signal to Noise Unit, featuring Vandermark (reeds), Steve Butters (percussion), and Kevin Drumm (electronics). Kino-Eye Cinema at Columbia College, 600 S. Michigan, Friday, February 11, 8:00, 773-293-1447.

–Fred Camper