Light Matter is Co-Programmed by James Hansen & Eric Souther
Program One: Where Were We?
Friday Nov. 12th, 5:30PM
Stephanie Barber, USA, 2020, 9 min
the horizon, where the sky and the earth meet, is always elsewhere, is a promised place where these two elements come together. a metaphor, an orienting, a promise of transition, change, transcendence. a place where the corporeal and spiritual meet, or are cleaved apart.
Here, the space between narrative and documentary, fact and fiction, is literally scratched between two voices, also cleaved apart or brought beside. jayne love reads a text i wrote for her––short sentences on the concept of the horizon and the briefest suggestion of narrative collide with pieces of richard (oswan) williams' beautiful, rum-fueled living room sermons to me...
Connie Coleman & Alan Powell, USA, 1981, 3 min
Hot Pink was produced in 1981 at the Experimental TV Center in Owego, NY and post produced at WXXI television the same year. Connie Coleman and I went that particular residency to completely focus on learning the computer interface to the Experimental Television Center analog video system. Quickly the computer crashed and we left to own devices to improvise with live cameras and analog synthesizers. The piece is constructed by an oscillator driving four B&W video cameras through a Jones video sequencer, Jones Keyer, and Jones colorizer. The cameras were focused on close ups of Connie Coleman’s and Alan Powell’s mouth. For three to five minutes we blew kisses back and forth. The keyers put various combination of keys putting one mouth inside of the other. The video was bathed in various shades of highly saturated pink. At WXXI we speeded up the ending and added a still frame to variation in the rhythm. The piece has been in numerous video festivals and museum shows including the ETC archive video collection. The video has been censored numerous times because the gatekeepers can’t figure out what they are seeing.
Simon Liu, Hong Kong, 2020, 13 min
British Colonial-era structures overlook scenes in the aftermath of civil unrest as Hong Kongers work to retain some semblance of normality. The sound of petty arguments from local TVB soap-operas of the 80s are put in concert with captive animals, political graffiti and desolate highways. Suspension cables and ship anchor lines reveal a fragile urban anatomy; the structures that keep the city moving along. As civic functions grind to a halt, the limits of our empathy and control come into question. As the days teeter toward an uncertain future, Happy Valley cinematically probes the role of the so-called “little things”. A rendering of the perseverance of spirit in Hong Kong - an attempt at irony that can’t help but be emotional.
Laura Kraning, USA, 2020, 4 min
Fracture mines the slips between stillness and motion, as cracks and fissures of bark and stone are spliced and layered, frame by frame, intersecting slices of time. Gathered and assembled over two years, the scarred surfaces of tree limbs and stratified rock collide with slabs of marble and clusters of moss, crystallizing into a flickering mirage of radiating branches and splintered veins of iridescence.
Program Two: Performing Memory
Friday Nov. 12th, 7:15PM
Maya at 24
Lynne Sachs, USA, 2020, 4 min
Lynne Sachs films her daughter Maya in 16mm black and white film, at ages 6, 16 and 24. At each iteration, Maya runs around her mother, in a circle – clockwise - as if propelling herself in the same direction as time, forward, on celluloid at 24 frames per second. Conscious of the strange simultaneous temporal landscape that only film can convey, we watch Maya in motion at each distinct age.
Ross Meckfessel, USA, 2021, 12 min
When you question the very nature of your physical reality it becomes much easier to see the cracks in the system. Estuary charts the emotional landscape of a time in flux. Inspired by the proliferation of computer generated social media influencers and the growing desire to document and manipulate every square inch of our external and internal landscapes, the film considers the ramifications of a world where all aspects of life are curated and malleable. As time goes on all lines blur into vector dots.
Peter Burr, USA, 2020, 6 min
Black Square examines the ways we endure contemporary life in the grid. It animates a philosophy of perception through an assault of optical illusions, highlighting limitations of your body and mind. An assembly of human figures writhe and squares strobe in rhythm to audio sampled from the opening of the 1965 Op Art exhibition "The Responsive Eye". Through the friction of this contrast, a portrait emerges of an anxious divided society testing the boundaries of awareness.
The Left Hand of Darkness
Sara Bonaventura, Italy, 2019, 4 min
This is a drawing exercise, recording in real time my left hand and a white paper, the right hand was not holding a pencil but rather adjusting knobs and patching oscillators, of a Jones Raster Scan, similar to the Rutt Etra Scan Processor, but one of a kind built by Dave Jones for Sara Hornbacher and powered by Signal Culture. It looks easy, but it is not so comfortable, rather a process of prosthetization in which a very familiar part of the body becomes alien, sucked by the uncanny vortex of the machines, in which we believe to see a glimpse of creation, when two index fingers touch each others, but the triangulation ends up with a merging unity which is unsettlingly revealing. see the closing idiom in Mandarin: 孤掌难鸣 meaning something like It's hard to clap with only one hand, or It takes two to tango... The piece is inspired by the Vasulkas’ Scan Processor studies and by Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. Sountrack: Handplant, by EVN from his album Oh Cruel Science, on Enklav label
The Room Presumed
Scott Kiernan, USA, 2021, 19 min
New York Premiere
The Room Presumed utilizes machine learning and real-time analog video processing to reveal the paradoxes inherent in the ways we speak about immersive media. In other words, the act of speaking about immersion, as is so often done in the marketing of tech, is somewhat paradoxical. One could imagine instead, that a true state of "immersion" may defy the need for language all together.
The work is inspired, and the software partially trained on, an early 1980s thought-experiment at Atari in which a group of computer scientists envision “virtual reality” without any of the needed tools to do so. Through this exercise, the subjects become improvisational actors, speaking the roles of “user” and “interface.” Trained on this account, the ML that scripts The Room Presumed distends their unfinished acts and reveals the illusory comforts of a so-called “technological immersion.”
Jason Bernagozzi, USA, 2021, 5 min
Diachrony is an experimental video that examines the framing of historical records as a fragmentation between signifier and sign. Shot in the Sanpete Valley in Utah, footage of monuments, words chiseled in stone are pixel shifted through locally rendered expressions of what the west represents. The entangling of data and image tells a story told by the land and those who claim it, bearing witness to the truth behind cultures born on the backs of terrible tragedy.
Program Three: Architecture of Dreams
Saturday Nov. 13th, 5:30PM
The Razor's Edge
Stefani Byrd, USA, 2015-16, 3 min (excerpt)
“...we are walking the razor’s edge—we are in the present moment.”
- Charlotte Joko Beck, This Very Moment
The breath is a constant reminder of our physicality and an anchor to our embodied experience. In these video portraits performers exhale slowly against an unseen piece of glass, fogging and obscuring their faces in fleeting moments between breaths. When shown, it creates the illusion that the performers are breathing against the surface of the screen. This work references the use of the “breath test” in the era before modern medicine where a mirror would be placed under the nose of the dying to test for respiration.
The illusion in the video is uncanny and the screen itself becomes the edge of the razor that separates both past from present, performer from viewer, and the living presence of the viewer from the illusion of life on the screen. An exploration in impermanence, embodiment, and the mediating presence of the screen, the work captures the breath - making it visible just long enough to be confronted by both performer and viewer.
Kimberly Burleigh, USA, 2020, 7 min
Jealousy is an experimental 3D animation. It features an elemental digital construction of the plantation house meticulously described in the seminal 1957 novel La Jalousie by French writer Robbe-Grillet. No characters are depicted in the animation – just as the novel emphasizes settings and objects over characters/dialogue. The compulsively observed settings and objects reveal the obsessive mindset of the main character, a jealous husband who suspects his wife of having an affair. The soundtrack features sounds described in the novel; nocturnal animal cries, insects whirring, etc. The animation expands on the novel by making settings and objects dynamic; furniture self-constructs, objects move, and lights shift.
Arvcúken Noquisi, 2020, 5 min
Wenaketv: to live. Andrew Jackson's army slaughtered 800 of the 1000 Muscogee Red Stick warriors in the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend. The white men harvested their skin to use as horse reins. Moviegoers applaud.
The violent destruction of Indigenous bodies is embedded in the historical canon of the moving image. Film enforces the invisibility of Indigenous peoples, comforting white audiences with colonial fantasies that deny Native autonomy and our continued existence.
Until i remember a dream i had before
Santiago Colombo Migliorero, Argentina, 2021, 2 min
"We dream in order to forget [...] attempting to remember one's dreams should perhaps not be encouraged, because such remembering may help to retain patterns of thought wich are better forgotten. There are the very patterns the organism was attempting to damp down"
(The function of dream sleep (1983), Francis Crick & Greame Mitchison)
We don't have direct access to our dreams. We only access them through our memory, which in the vigil we remember. Here we add narration and meaning to what was, in the first instance, multiple and simultaneous. The images and evocations become significant. What was once transformed. The primary reference is lost and the memories are modified as new ones appear.
Adrian Garcia Gomez, USA, 2020, 5 min
Primavera is a frenetic experimental animation that documents the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests as they intersect in springtime Brooklyn. Shot during isolation on a phone, the video explores the effects of imposed distance on touch and intimacy, the proximity of an invisible virus and invisible deaths and the revolt against the racist, corrupt systems that commodify, exploit and render their most vulnerable citizens disposable. The video also parallels the current uprisings with the queer liberation movement which began as a riot at Stonewall and was led in large part by trans people of color who still experience violence at disproportionate rates.
Época es poca cosa
Ignacio Tamarit & Tomás Maglione, Argentina / Germany, 2021, 3 min
A handheld camera tries to empathize with urban objects that have inherited animated potential. These elements, disconnected from each other, are related through camera movement and montage, which slides through the city looking for its definitive form.
Program Four: Put Your Finger On It
Saturday Nov. 13th, 7:15PM
Noemi Comi, Italy, 2021, 1 min
Many images, after being published, become indestructible, even if the author's wish is to delete them forever. They seem almost immortal, especially if they go viral. Users re-upload them, search engines keep them in their databases, and in the most extreme cases, not even the search engines keep them in their databases, and in extreme cases not even the postal police can remove them completely. 8STABS was born out of the desire to destroy this agglomeration of photographs, to remove them from screens through a process that directly involves them.
Starting with a quick presentation of old images uploaded online, an initial video was made showing the images in quick succession. Next, the camera was placed in front of the computer screen and a second video of the same presentation was made. The same process was repeated several times, resulting in a series of videos showing other videos. Each of these violently changes the appearance of the images until they are completely unreadable.
It took eight stab wounds to destroy the photographs, eight violent blows that reduced them to a state of total immateriality. The photographs slowly fade away, becoming large monochrome blobs that are constantly changing. The only recognizable element is the texture of the monitor and even the latter, defeated by its own image, returns to a state of primordial light.
James Edmonds, Germany, 2020, 10 min
The flesh of time, strands of the present, in constant becoming and disappearance. One reel for each season, exposed between 2016 and 2017. Leitmotifs of flora, providing some unity within each section, as a reflection on its atmosphere and passing presence.
Fur Film Vol. 1: I don't own a cat
Erica Sheu & Tzuan Wu, Taiwan / USA, 2021, 7 min
New York Premiere
The cat I don't own runs through windows between different spaces and times, and it disappears before finishing a sentence.
Using outtakes and rushes (what "fur film" means in Mandarin) to redeem the affects in these images we produced for. The film is the first volume of an ongoing exchange diary project between Erica SHEU and Tzuan WU. From the filming exercises. hand processing. editing and sound design, we experiment with different workflows of audio and visual between Taiwan and USA.
Figure Minus Fact
Mary Helena Clark, USA, 2020, 13 min
Night, like mourning, remakes space through absence: forms at the threshold of perception heighten sound and touch. When someone dies there is a pull towards the concrete and tangible, but disbelief creates a world of unreliable objects.
Figure Minus Fact draws and redraws coordinates between spaces, senses, and objects, groping in the dark, desiring to see something that’s not there. Spaces become evidentiary yet deceptive in a subjectless portrait of loss.
John Knecht, USA, 2021, 5 min
A post apocalyptic state, still full of angst and sorrow. We follow the frustrated hammer of the future, long after Brecht thought that he had nailed it. Searching always searching, feeling deep yearning from the bowls of what used to be biology. Does he get it in the end?
If a Tree Falls in a Forest
Leonardo Pirondi, USA, 2021, 15 min
New York Premiere
Set in the landscapes of Los Angeles, If a Tree Falls in a Forest is speculative fiction that follows the unfolding of a secret study. Objects encased within a metal structure found in the desert evoke a dystopian future of our own planet. According to a scientist who worked on the research (who requested to remain anonymous), among the objects encased were two discs made of a rare crystalline material. In these discs were messages, or rather, warnings that have been decoded and translated by the Department of Linguistics of Extinct Languages using an experimental technology of an automatic translation machine. The original audio can be provided upon request.
TS1 / Harland Snodgrass Gallery
Gregory Bennett, New Zealand, 2021, 10 min (loop)
Edifice II is a 10 minute 12 second work that is situated in an art and animation practice that embraces 3D computer animation to explore themes and tensions around nature and culture, and conceptions of the utopian and the dystopian, through the rendering of often complex digital ecosystems. The term ‘edifice’ can refer a long-established complex system of beliefs, a complicated abstract structure that can be difficult to challenge or penetrate. In this work homogeneous human figures appear as often precariously placed performers, performing ritual-like scenarios, engaged in Sisyphean tasks, or unspecified debates or arguments. The individual is collapsed into multiple uncanny digital doppelgangers, placed in uncertain environments, simulating some kind of life, often without obvious purpose. Here the loop is embraced as a narrative strategy, a narrative where there is motion but not necessarily progression. The loop allows for the paradoxical expression of a sense of motion and activity which is also profoundly inert and arrested. The retrieval and mutable configuration and re-configuration of set-in-motion elements is compulsively busy, but is ultimately a closed system, subject to the repetition compulsion of the loop, always returning and repeating, unable to achieve resolution.
Matthew Gantt, USA, 2021
Three real-time virtual environments. Each environment consists of a self-regulating cybernetic OSC system modulating audio, media object and virtual cinematography in tandem, activating both the space and the viewer's vantage point in relation to these digital assemblages.
These simulations may be presented as a single channel video work, or, ideally, as a real-time multichannel installation, with each channel offering a discrete vantage point into the evolving virtual space(s).
Baron Lanteigne, Canada, 2020
Tangible Data explores and infiltrates an online community that develops a “virtual” art market for a cryptocurrency-hungry public. A series of animated loops—created and monetized by the artist to suit the demands and consumption of this community—provide a basis for the larger project, which extends across several web platforms
In this new cryptoart market, everything seems poised for the virtual universe which paradoxically displays characteristics inherent to the material world. While the internet fosters accelerated sharing and open-access content, this community subject to blockchain technology rarefies the immaterial in order to allow collectors to claim rights over the artworks. This has the insidious effect of affirming the monetary value of intangible web-based artworks. And yet, this also makes way for an unprecedented transparency concerning transactions carried out in this market.
One of the components of Tangible Data involves unveiling the interactions between artists and collectors, documented through screenshots on online platforms like Twitter, Discord, and Reddit. These traces are integrated into the animations which display their exhibition context in spaces that bridge the real and virtual worlds. The animations are thus both artworks in and of themselves and models for real installations to come.
Kamila Kuc, UK / USA, 2020, 4 min
Ominous 35mm cinegrams of Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 Melencolia print are intercut, like cascading scythes, with saturated super-8 film of a woman in a fresh-cut farm field, evoking repetitions that exist in harvest rituals, as well as in gestures of madness. Specters of familial anxieties creep into this loose take on the myth of Poludnica (noonwraith or Lady Midday), a Slavic harvest spirit that could cause madness in those who wandered the fields alone. The starting point for this subtle portrayal of the familial effects of transgenerational trauma is Erwin Panofsky’s Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (1955) in which he associates Dürer’s engravings with fear, withdrawal, depression and madness. In this pastoral horror, luscious landscape serves as the site of a woman’s idyllic childhood memories but ones that are disturbed by her ancestors’ experiences of wars and domestic violence. The interplay of the banal and the uncanny is highly suggestive as the film poses a question of whether the effects of trauma can reverberate down the generations through epigenetics?
‘Presence, memory and ancient folkloric sensibilities latent within the fabric of the landscape are evoked through gesture, ritual and physical interaction with the filmstrip.’
Lydia Beilby, Short Film Programmer, Edinburgh International Film Festival (2021)
Sunday Nov 14th, 12 PM
The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)
C.W. Winter & Anders Edström, 2020, USA / Sweden / Japan / UK, 480 min
Five seasons, four parts, eight hours: the dimensions of C.W. Winter and Anders Edström’s film are as incommensurable as its central figure. Tayoko Shiojiri, a vegetable farmer who works and cares for her ailing husband in a small village north of Kyoto, Japan (and who is also Edström’s mother-in-law), is the nominal core of this monumental work, a matriarch whose labor the film observes through precise tableaux, dense sonic collage, and sequences that bend all conventional distinctions between fiction and documentary. Through the film’s workday duration, time itself becomes the subject: in its incremental movement at natural, epochal, and human scales, and through the slow passage of a rural way of life that is fading into the past. A Grasshopper Film release.
Please note: The Works and Days is broken into four parts. The film will begin at 12 PM and play in full with a 15-minute break, and hour long intermission, and a second 15-minute break.