Tuesday, May 9, 2017

5/10/17 Holly Fisher



ghostdance for a new century (2015) 16min

With music by Ha-Yang Kim...inspired by the Native American dance performed especially in the 1890’s to encourage renewal and prosperity; or from another point of view, to drive out the white man and bring back the buffalo. This work is a meditative landscape set between a eulogy for an unspoken past and a plea for attention to an unmapped future....hf

a question of sunlight (2015) 83min

With music by Lois V Vierk

... a hauntingly strange film about memory ... A unique and striking work. – John Crowley, novelist

– A Question of Sunlight juxtaposes the jarring memories of 9/11 with the haunting trauma of the Holocaust. We see and hear in vivid close-ups the artist José Urbach as he relives the scenes of Nazi invasion.... - Karen Remmler, Mount Holyoke College.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

5/3/17Dicky Bahto & Friends

 What's a life? Films by Dicky Bahto & friends
Los Angeles based artist Dicky Bahto presents a program in two parts. The first part features his own works in small gauge film and video, centered around his newest project, Concert Diary (what’s a life?). This project takes the form of an archive mixing material made with musicians and personal diary recordings. Featuring portraits and performances of Carmina Escobar, Julia Holter, Sepand Shahab, Laura Steenberge, Tashi Wada, and his cat Katouche, the work is edited anew for each presentation. For this screening the work will take the form of a multiple projector performance for two Super 8 projectors, video projection, and cassette tape playback. The project is currently on view as a three-screen, eight-channel audio installation at the Sweeney Art Gallery in Riverside, California as part of the UC Riverside MFA thesis exhibition. His other works on the program include projects for Super 8 and 16mm that are related to this project, including a silent unslit 8mm portrait of the composer Ashley Bellouin (The Bellouin Sequence [2008]), a Super 8 “music video” for Julia Holter’s Finale (2013), the multiple projector work Twelve Bagatelles (for Janis Crystal Lipzin) (2015), and the sonata for ink and shadows Suicide Notes (2016). The second half of the program will feature brand new Super 8 and 16mm films from Los Angeles artists, including Ny Sol Andas In (New Sun Breathing In) by Chloe Reyes, Hour of Pearl, by Andrew Kim, and works by Penelope Uribe-Abee, Walter Vargas, and more! Bahto will introduce the program and have a conversation with the audience after.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

4/26/17 Sky Hopinka

Visions of an Island - 2016     Total run time: 15:00

An Unangam Tunuu elder describes cliffs and summits, drifting birds, and deserted shores. A group of students and teachers play and invent games revitalizing their language. A visitor wanders in a quixotic chronicling of earthly and supernal terrain. These visions offer glimpses of an island in the center of the Bering Sea.

wawa - 2014        Total run time: 06:00

Featuring speakers of chinuk wawa, an Indigenous language from the Pacific Northwest, wawa begins slowly, patterning various forms of documentary and ethnography. Quickly, the patterns tangle and become confused and commingled, while translating and transmuting ideas of cultural identity, language, and history.

Kunįkaga Remembers Red Banks, Kunįkaga Remembers the Welcome Song - 2014

Total run time: 09:30

The video traverses the history and the memory of a place shared by both the Hočąk and the settler. Red Banks, a pre-contact Hočąk village site near present day Green Bay, WI was also the site of Jean Nicolet’s landing, who in 1634 was the first European in present day Wisconsin. Images and text are used to explore this space alongside my grandmother’s recollections. Each serve as representations of personal and shared memory, as well as representations of practices and processes of remembrance, from the Hočąk creation story, to Jean Nicolet’s landing, to the present.

Venite et Loquamur – 2015

Total run time: 12:00

A group of students and teachers gather in an historical mansion in the woods of West Virginia for a week-long retreat in spoken Latin. I observe and I participate, navigating the errata and my camera through a language that sounds so familiar yet uncertain to ears imbued in an English heritage.

Jáaji Approximately - 2015    Total run time: 07:36

 Logging and approximating a relationship between audio recordings of my father and videos gathered of the landscapes we have both separately traversed. The initial distance between the logger and the recordings, of recollections and of songs, new and traditional, narrows while the images become an expanding semblance of filial affect. Jáaji is a near translation for directly addressing a father in the Hočąk language.

Anti-Objects, or Space Without Path or Boundary - 2017    Total Run Time: 13:05

“The individual is not an autonomous, solitary object but a thing of uncertain extent, with ambiguous boundaries. So too is matter, which loses much of its allure the moment it is reduced to an object, shorn of its viscosity, pressure and density. Both subject and matter resist their reduction into objects. Everything is interconnected and intertwined.” —– Kengo Kuma

The title of this video, taken from the texts of the architect Kengo Kuma, suggests a way of looking at everything as “interconnected and intertwined”, as are the historical and the present, the tool and the artifact. Images and representations of two structures in the Portland Metropolitan Area that have direct and complicated connections to the Chinookan people who inhabit(ed) the land are woven with audio tapes of one of the last speakers of the Chinookan creole, chinuk wawa. These localities of matter resist their reduction into objects, and call anew for space and time given to wandering as a deliberate act and the empowerment of shared utility.

 I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become - 2016    Total run time: 12:32

An elegy to Diane Burns on the shapes of mortality and being, and the forms the transcendent spirit takes while descending upon landscapes of life and death. A place for new mythologies to syncopate with deterritorialized movement and song, reifying old routes of reincarnation. Where resignation gives hope for another opportunity, another form, for a return to the vicissitudes of the living and all their refractions.

“I’m from Oklahoma I ain’t got no one to call my own.

If you will be my honey, I will be your sugar pie way hi ya

way ya hi ya way ya hi yo”

-Diane Burns (1957-2006)

Monday, February 20, 2017

2/22/17 Daniel Hui

Snakeskin 1hr 45min, 2014
A Singaporean filmmaker and film writer, Daniel Hui made a dramatic impression as soon as his first remarkable feature, Eclipses, was released in 2011. Garnering comparisons to filmmakers—such as Chris Marker, Lav Diaz and Matt Porterfield—who meditatively work within the realm of the docu-fictive hybrid, Hui studies Singapore through what appear to be limitless mirrors, reflecting the many facets of truth told by myth, memory and recorded history. Actively and successfully fostering the unique voice of a new Singaporean cinema, Hui also founded the independent film collective 13 Little Pictures, which produced his second, immediately acclaimed feature Snakeskin. We are excited to welcome Daniel Hui here for an evening to screen and discuss his free-associative revision of history by way of both nonfiction and science fiction.
Daniel Hui is a filmmaker and writer. A graduate of the film program in California Institute of the Arts, his films have been screened at film festivals in Rotterdam, Yamagata, New York, Lisbon, Bangkok, and Vladivostok. He is also one of the founding members of 13 Little Pictures, an independent film collective whose films have garnered critical acclaim all around the world. His second feature film, Snakeskin, has won several awards, including the Special Jury Award at the TFFDoc section of the Torino Film Festival. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2/15/18 LIGHT PLAY: Stan Brakhage & Marie Menken

Anticipation of the Night by Stan Brakhage
16MM, 1958, 40min
A seminal film for Brakhage and for film history, where the psychodramas of this filmmaker’s early work transformed into a wholly new kinaesthetic vocabulary. Anticipation of the Night builds off the lyricism of Marie Menken, the poetic vocabulary of exact and nuanced yet repetition found in Gertrude Stein. And perhaps unconsciously the morbid – celebratory runaway chase of Rene Clair's Entr’acte which ends with magical self annihilation followed by the contradiction of a coda that calls the bluff. This film is a rapturous idyll, a lamentation, an exorcism and a death wish. It traces the mortal trajectory of our visual experience from Edenic optical ecstasies into a descending tilt towards the eclipsing “night” of vision arrested and crucified by the process of socialisation. Everything in Anticipation of the Night is seen in a multiplicity of aspects, changing velocities, crucial shifts of light and granular structures.

Moonplay by Marie Menken
16MM, B/W 1964, 5min
'An expansion upon an idea put forward in Marie Menken's film Notebook; single-frame footage of the moon shot on various nights, blinking and darting around within Menken's field of vision. --David Lewis, All Movie Guide
'A lunar fantasy in animated stop-motion.
16MM, 1961, 4min
Filmed at the Alhambra in Spain in just one day, according to Marie MENKEN. Arabesque for Kenneth Anger concentrates on visual details found in Moorish architecture and in ancient Spanish tile. The date 1961 refers to the addition of Teiji Ito's soundtrack and its subsequent completion, but the film was likely shot in 1960 or earlier. - D. Lewis

by Marie Menken
16MM, 1963, 10.5min

Monday, February 6, 2017

2/8/17 SMITH: The films of Harry Smith & Jack Smith


# No. 11: Mirror Animations

by Harry Smith, (1956–57) 16MM, Color, 3:35min / 12min.

A collage animation from 1956 that Smith later expanded into a longer version. Iimagery of occult and religious symbolism—alchemy, the Kabbalah, Buddhism, Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet, and more—soundtrack by "Misterioso" by Thelonious Monk 


Directed by Jack Smith, 1963, 16MM B/W, 45 min.
Nothing short of notorious, Flaming Creatures marked a significant moment in the history of postwar American film and culture. The film was banned and seized, caused theaters to be shut down, and was the subject of an obscenity case that reached the US Supreme Court. And yet Flaming Creatures was, according to Smith, ultimately meant to be a comedy. On a rooftop above one of New York’s oldest extant (now demolished) movie houses, characters disrupt gender and sexual “norms” as they act out carnal fantasies on a set resembling an Arabian harem. Excerpts from Sternberg’s The Devil is a Woman contribute to Tony Conrad’s assembled soundtrack as Smith’s creatures dance and chase one another about the bacchanal.

[“Harry Smith with Flowers and Cigarette in the kitchen 437 East 12th Street NYC, apple juice & file Folder of his designs on table, Portrait of first Cheka head propped on Piano in guest room, August 3, 1986. (Ginsberg caption)] c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Harry Smith (May 29, 1923 in Portland, Oregon – November 27, 1991 in New York City) was a visual artist, experimental filmmaker, record collector, bohemian, mystic, and largely self-taught student of anthropology. An important figure in the Beat Generation scene in New York City.

Jack Smith (November 14, 1932 – September 25, 1989) was an American filmmaker, actor, and pioneer of underground cinema. He is generally acclaimed as a founding father of American performance art, and has been critically recognized as a master photographer, though his photographic works are rare and remain largely unknown.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2/1/17 Shirley Clarke and Bruce Conner


THE CONNECTION by Shirley Clarke
1961, b/w, 1hr 50min.

When Jack Gelber’s play “The Connection” opened in New York, Shirley Clarke discovered the perfect vehicle to question the idea that cinéma vérité was a reliable replacement for traditional documentary filmmaking. The Living Theatre produced Gelber’s play in 1959 play to audiences and critics who were at first bewildered and/or upset by it. Set in a squalid Greenwich Village apartment, a group of drug addicts are waiting for their connection to bring their fixes. Many of them are jazz musicians, who perform during the play.

And thus begins a play within a play within a jazz concert — a drug-addled crossing of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Waiting for Godot.” The director and author are said to be there in the apartment to guide the junkies in a series of improvisational themes to reveal their lives and inner thoughts. The play was a blessing for jazz saxophonist Jackie McLean, as his drug arrest in 1957 had cost him his cabaret license, barring him from performing in clubs. The play gave him two years work on stage and he went on to perform in Clarke’s film version as well.

In adapting Gelber's play into a film, he and Clarke decided to have a film director and cinematographer as the main instigators of the action so that they could break through the film proscenium. To further the illusion of reality, the filmmakers intentionally left in artifacts of filmmaking — film rolls suddenly end in black leader; sound sync beeps are heard, and light flairs, dust, scratches and out-of-focus moments are preserved. This roughness led many critics to assume that the film was improvised. However, like the camera movement and the choreography of the actors, Clarke carefully planned everything in The Connection.
REPORT by Bruce Conner
1967, b/w, 13 min.

Haunted by JFK’s assassination, Conner obsessively filmed television coverage of the killing, funeral and miscellaneous contemporary programming, repurposing the footage into both a sorrowful portrait of a lost hero—NB: Conner’s use of blank “leader”—and a blistering critique of postwar consumerism.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1/25/17 Eve's Bayou

directed & written by Kasi Lemmons
Eve's Bayou, 1997, 1hr 49min, DVD
The story is set in 1962 Louisiana. The Batiste family is headed by charming doctor Louis. Though he is married to beautiful Roz, he has a weakness for attractive female patients. One night Louis trysts with married and sexy Metty Mereaux, not knowing that he is observed by his youngest daughter Eve, who is there by accident. Eve can not forget the traumatic incident and shares a secret with older sister Cisely. Lies start to roll...

Kasi Lemmons (born Karen Lemmons; February 24, 1961[1]) is an American film director and actress, most notable for her work on the films Eve's Bayou, The Caveman's Valentine and Talk to Me.She was described by film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon as "an ongoing testament to the creative possibilities of film".