Visiting Artists - Fall 2015

LECTURE HALL 6 AT 7:30 (Unless otherwise noted) 

All Shows are free and open to The Public

Series Sponsored by Cinema Department and Harpur College Dean's Speakers Series.

Wednesday, Oct 21st - Scott M. McDonald

Binghamton Babylon: Voices from the Cinema Department, 1967-1977 with author Scott M. McDonald.

     On the occasion of the publication of just released Binghamton Babylon, Scott M. MacDonald will discuss his book and some of the very films he saw on Saturday, April 29th, 1972 at the SUNY Binghamton Cinema Department, that re-set his life: Serene Velocity by Ernie Gehr, Soft Rain by Ken Jacobs, Barn Rushes by Larry Gottheim, and The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes by Stan Brakhage.

     About the book: In Binghamton Babylon, Scott MacDonald documents one of the crucial moments in the history of cinema studies: the emergence of a cinema department at what was then the State University of New York at Binghamton (now Binghamton University) between 1967 and 1977. The department brought together a group of faculty and students who not only produced a remarkable body of films and videos but went on to invigorate the American media scene for the next half-century. Drawing on interviews with faculty, students, and visiting artists, MacDonald weaves together an engaging conversation that explores the academic excitement surrounding the emergence of cinema as a viable subject of study in colleges and universities. The voices of the various participants tell the story of this remarkable period. MacDonald concludes with an analysis of the pedagogical dimensions of the films that were produced in Binghamton, including Larry Gottheim's Horizons; Jacobs's Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son; Gehr's Serene Velocity; Frampton's Critical Mass; and Nicholas Ray's final film, We Can't Go Home Again.

     Scott M. MacDonald is Professor of Film History at Hamilton College. His many books include A Critical Cinema: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers (now in five volumes); Avant-Doc: Intersections of Documentary and Avant-Garde Cinema; and American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary: The Cambridge Turn. In 2011 he was named an Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

     The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (Stan Brakhage, 1971, 32 mins) "... Stan Brakhage, entering, with his camera, one of the forbidden, terrific locations of our culture, the autopsy room. It is a place wherein, inversely, life is cherished, for it exists to affirm that no one of us may die without knowing exactly why. All of us, in the person of the coroner, must see that, for ourselves, with our own eyes." - Hollis Frampton

     Barn Rushes (Larry Gottheim, 1971, 36 mins) "Barn Rushes is one of those seldom films which surprises one over and over... For aside from the compositional/retinal joy of the film, it is also a tour-de-force in sequential organization of thematic material, the closest possible approach to a textbook of atmosphere, camera vision, and lighting, as they relate personal concept to purely visual relationships." - Tony Conrad

     Serene Velocity (Ernie Gehr, 1970, 23 mins) "A literal 'Shock Corridor' wherein Gehr creates a stunning head-on motion by systematically shifting focal lengths on a static zoom lens as it stares down the center of an empty, modernistic hallway. Without ever having to move the camera, Gehr turns the fluorescent geometry of his institutional corridor into a sort of piston-powered mandala. If Giotto had made action films, they would have been these." - J. Hoberman, Village Voice

     Soft Rain (Ken Jacobs, 1968, 12 mins) "Anticipation for familiar movement-complexes builds, and as all smaller complexities join up in our knowledge of the whole the purely accidental counter-passings of people and vehicles becomes satisfyingly cogent, seems rhythmically structured and of a piece. Becomes choreography." --K. J.

Wednesday, Nov 4th - Tess Takahashi  

A Mirror Avant-Garde: Women's Experimental and Documentary Filmmaking. Curated and presented by film scholar Tess Takahashi.

     If you've seen more than three of the films in this program, I'd be surprised. Yet every single one of these films by women filmmakers, chosen from the collection of the Filmmaker's Co-op, deserves to be written about, taught in classes, and considered in relation to the canon of avant-garde film and the tradition of documentary production. In a program of striking artistic voices from filmmakers with large bodies of work, you'll see resonances with the films of Jack Smith, Carolee Schneeman, Stan Brakhage, Len Lye, Owen Land, Hollis Frampton, Barbara Rubin, Malcolm LeGrice, and many others. An important thematic thread running through this program is artists' incorporation of various kinds of mirrors, both material and metaphoric. Mirrors reverse, distort, and reflect ourselves and our culture back to us in unexpected ways – and have been crucial to thinking about how we look and how we're looked at in both the experimental and documentary filmmaking traditions. These films also explore questions of voice in populations that have been marginal, including those of children, sex workers, and transgendered individuals.

Baby Doll (Tessa Hughes-Freeland, 1982) 16mm, b/w, 5m Mutiny (Abby Child, 1982) 16mm, color, 10 m Noyes (Bette Gordon, 1976) 16mm, b/w, 4m Abstraction (Rosalind Schneider, 1971) 8mm blown up to16mm, color, 8m All Women Are Equal (Marguerite Paris, 1972) 16mm, b/w, 15m The Scary Movie (Peggy Ahwesh, 1996) 9m What is a man? (Sara-Kathryn Arledge, 1958) 16mm, b/w + color, 10m

     Tess Takahashi is Scholar in Residence at the Film-Makers' Cooperative in New York. She is an independent Toronto based scholar who writes on experimental media, documentary film, and art installation. She is working on a book titled Impure Film: Medium Specificity and the North American Avant-Garde (1968-2008) She is a member of the editorial collective for the feminist film journal Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media and a member of the experimental media programming collective, Pleasure Dome. Her work has been published in journals like Camera Obscura, Cinema Journal, Millennium Film Journal, Animation, and MIRAGE.

Tuesday, Nov 10th - Maile Colbert  

Come Kingdom Come by Maile Colbert A three screen live performance.

     Come Kingdom Come is an experimental opera concerning millennialism and apocalyptic thought and theory; an exploratory comparison of this past turn of the millennium to it's prior. A geography in time and space is formed using various field recordings of the before, during, and after math of natural disasters and other phenomena... The work is shaped and molded to achieve a haunting tapestry of rapturous desire, a desperate and beautiful search of meaning, and a whirlwind ecstatic joy and fear.

      There is something tender and naive to our perception of our effect upon the world around us. Of course, we do affect very much our immediate surroundings in time and space. But we can only speculate in our short time in existence how these effects play out, and what their roll in the grand tapestry of this world they play. (Maile Colbert) Come Kingdom Come is an incredibly moving and mysterious piece of work. Its many layers of sound reveal just as many layers of meaning and feeling. From the opening songs of the magnetosphere to the elegiac final act, I was enthralled by Maile's masterful blend of the digital and the organic to evoke something deeply human and emotional. Steve Peters

     Maile Colbert is an intermedia artist with a concentration on sound and video, living and working between New York and Lisbon, Portugal, and teaching at Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto, Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema, and Instituto Superior Autónomo de Estudos Politécnicos. She spent the last five years collaborating with the art organization Binaural, is currently director of Cross the Pond, an organization based on arts and cultural exchange between the U.S. and Portugal, and is an ongoing contributor of articles on Acoustic Ecology and Sound Studies at "Sounding Out", the award winning sound studies journal.

     She has had multiple screenings, exhibits, and shows, including The New York Film Festival, The Ear to Earth Festival for Electronic Music Foundation in NY, LACE Gallery in Los Angeles, MOMA New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many others in Japan, Europe, Mexico and the US. She was a visiting lecturer teaching Sound Design at UCSD, and guest artist and lecturer at NYU, the New York New School, Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema, MassArt, Calarts, SUNY Buffalo, Muhlenburg College, and Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She has designed sound and composed for such works as Irene Lusztig's feature documentary The Motherhood Archives, Rebecca Baron's film How Little We Know of Our Neighbors, winner of the Black Maria Film Festival Best Film, among others.

Tuesday,  Nov 17th - Daichi Saito

Moving the Sleeping Images of Things Towards the Light: Films by Cinema Artist in Residence Daïchi Saïto

     Originally from Japan, Daïchi Saïto studied literature and philosophy in the U.S. and Hindi and Sanskrit in India before turning to filmmaking in Montreal, Canada. In 2004, Saïto co-founded Double Negative, an artist collective dedicated to the exhibition and production of experimental cinema that has been instrumental in generating renewed interests in celluloid in Montreal's arts community. The films of Saïto explore the relationship between the corporeal phenomena of vision and the material nature of the medium, fusing a formal investigation of frame and juxtaposition with sensual and poetic expressions. The Program will include:

Chiasmus (16mm, b&w, sound, 8 min., 2003) - Chasmic Dance (16mm, b&w, silent, 6 min., 2004) -  Blind Alley Augury (super-8, color, silent, 3 min., 2006) -  All That Rises (16mm, color, sound, 7 min., 2007) -  Green Fuse (super-8, color, silent, 3 min., 2008) Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis (35mm, color, sound, 10 min., 2009) - Field of View #1 (super-8, color, silent, 3 min., 2009) -  Never a Foot Too Far, Even (double-projection 16mm, color, sound, 14 min., 2012) -  Engram of Returning (35mm Scope, color, sound, 19 min., 2015) Total Running Time: 73 minutes

     His work has been widely exhibited in major film festivals, museums, galleries and cinematheques worldwide, including: Centre Pompidou (Paris); The Austrian Filmmuseum (Vienna); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (Porto); International Film Festival Rotterdam; The New York Film Festival's "Views from the Avant-Garde," among others. Saïto received the Best of the Festival Award at the 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Jury Grand Prize at the 16th Media City Film Festival. Saïto was ranked third among the "25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century" in Film Comment's Avant-Garde Poll. Saïto has been active in curating programmes of experimental film and video, as Co-Director of CinemaSpace at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. In 2013, his book Moving the Sleeping Images of Things Towards the Light was published by Le laps in Montreal. The book has since been translated into Spanish and Slovenian.


These artists’ screenings are co-sponsored by Harpur College Dean’s Speaker Series.

Info: 607-777-4998

Last Updated: 9/27/15