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Fall 2004 Film & Video Artists Series

Series sponsored by The Filmmakers' Coop 
All artists will be on hand to present their works. 

Wednesday, Oct 6
Abigail Child *

Abigail Child is a film and video maker whose montage pushes the envelope of form and content with smarts and passion. Her work in the 80s explores gender while focusing on strategies for rewriting narrative, while her recent 90s productions recuperate documentary to poetically explore public space, whether the homeless of Lower Manhattan or Petersburg, Russia after Perestroika. * She has exhibited her award-winning art extensively in both solo and group shows, including most recently: The American Century, 1950-2000, the Whitney Biennial (1989 + 97), the New York Film Festival & Video Side Bar (1989 + 1993), and in Europe- (London , Rotterdam, Torino, Vienna, Pesaro..). She is author of five books of poetry (A Motive for Mayhem, Mob and Scatter Matrix ). and her films and videos have received many honors including: an ITVS Screenwriting Grant, Guggenheim Foundation and Fulbright Fellowships, NYFA, NYSCA, & NEA Interarts Grants, Jerome and Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grants, Massachusetts Arts Council New Works and Creative Artists Public Service Awards. Her films are in the permanent collection of MOMA, New York and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, among others. * Child was an undergraduate at Harvard and is senior Faculty in Film at the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston.

COVERT ACTION (Part 4) 1984, 16mm, b&w/so, 11m,
 "Collaging found footage ..., existing and original sound, [Child] undermines the authority of the past (as attributed to photographs and texts), and the 'inevitability' of the future (as mapped out by social convention) .... While Child's film titles allude to detective serials, spy and adventure stories ... her films complexly examine everyday actions, perhaps suggesting that this is the terrain for strategies and struggles to keep open the question 'Is This What You Were Born For?' " - Kathy Geritz, Pacific Film Archive

This video essay combines  diary footage of St. Petersburg with archival material, accompanied by the  voices of two young Russians who, through personal anecdote, describe the  emotional, political, and economic transformations that have wrenched  their society.

SHIVER (FROM 8 MILLION) 1992, video, color, 5 min.
Experimental music and  eroticism swirl about each other in this second installment of the 8  Million stories, a continuing "album" made in collaboration with  percussionist and composer Ikue Mori.

SURFACE NOISE 2000, 16mm, b/w and color, 20 min.
In Surface Noise, sound  and original footage are woven into a sonata form to explore public and  private arenas. Child centers the film around work and issues of class:  the divisions between home and public spaces, owners and workers, saturation and flow, structure and improvisation. The sound montage was  created by Child with additional recording by musicians Zeena Parkins, Christian Marclay, Shelley Hirsch and Jim Black.

Tuesday, Oct 19
Nina Fonoroff *

Nina Fonoroff has been making experimental films for twenty-five years. Her work has been screened at numerous showcases, festivals, and museums in the US, Canada, and Europe (including the Museum of Modern Art and the Pacific Film Archives); her films have also been broadcast on cable and public television. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1998, and since 1999 has been Assistant Professor of Media Arts at the University of New Mexico, where she teaches courses in 16mm film production, documentary video production, film theory, the history of experimental/avant-garde film, and the history of documentary film and video. Her recent film The Eyes in the Mask is included in this year's Views from the Avant Garde at the New York Film Festival.

THE EYE IN THE MASK (U.S., 2004; 40 min)
Through a densely textured collage of color and monochromatic images, a young aristocrat is seen worshipping the photograph of a woman who must never remove the half-mask she is fated to wear in perpetuity. Loosely inspired by tales of the supernatural as well as French decadent/symbolist literature, this film "novella" interrogates the optics and photochemistry of desire.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 1986, 8.5 minutes, 16mm, b&w, sound. "I had been thinking about the nature of "echo,"as both an acoustical and visual phenomenon.I had hoped to defamiliarize material which seemed to adhere to the demand for wholeness.My aim was not to "represent"or "express"a particular state of mind or emotion,but to endeavor to generate a set of possibilities for new connections between sensory experience and the experience of meaning."- N.F.

SOME PHASES OF AN EMPIRE 1984, 9 minutes, S-8mm/VHS, color, sound. Using footage re-photographed from the Hollywood spectacle QUO VADIS,this film is a densely layered montage on the themes of power, sexuality and aggression. The Emperor meets his demise through the agency (the voice) of a wicked Queen,whose lust for power is equaled only by her capacity for destruction."- Nina Fonoroff

Tuesday, October 26
Phil Solomon * 

Phil Solomon teaches film aesthetics and film production at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Mr. Solomon has produced, among other films, several collaborations with colleague Stan Brakhage, including Elementary Phrases (1994), Concrescence (1996) and Seasons...(2000-01). He has been honored at many festivals, including Three First Prize awards at Black Maria, The Oberhaussen International Short Film Festival and Ann Arbor for his experimental films. Mr. Solomon received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1994 and an Artist's Fellowship form the Colorado Council on the Arts in 1996-7. He has exhibited his films in every major venue for experimental film in Europe and the U.S. over the past twenty years, including the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Whitney Biennial, the Viennale, the Pacific Film Archive, the San Francisco Cinematheque, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Stadkino Cinema, Anthology Film Archives, Millennium, and three Cineprobes (one man shows) at the Museum of Modern Art. 

NOCTURNE(1980, revised 1989) - 16MM B Silent 10 minutes   
"NOCTURNE  strongly evokes one of Brakhage's most exquisite films,  FIRE OF WATERS (1965). Its setting is a suburban neighborhood populated by kids at play and indistinct but ominous parental figures. A submerged narrative rehearses a type of young boy's nighttime game in which a flashlight is wielded in a darkened room to produce effects of aerial combat and bombardment. A sense of hostility tinged with terror seeps into commonplace movements:..Fantasy merges with nightmare, a war of dimly suppressed emotions rages beneath a veneer of household calm...In NOCTURNE  found footage is worked so subtly into the fabric of threat that its apperception comes as a shock ploughed from the unconscious..." - Paul Arthur  

THE EXQUISITE HOUR (1989, REVISED 1994 16mm  Color 14 mins.
Partly a lullabye for the dying, partly a lament at the dusk of cinema- PS 
"Mourning and melancholia. In REMAINS TO BE SEEN  we hear the rhythmic scratch of a respirator and we see an elusive figure crossing a bridge. Death is bolder, more cruel in THE EXQUISITE HOUR. It's in the slacked mouth of an aged patient who's spied through a window, in a young girl's plaintive Hebrew song, in painfully vivid home movies from the '20s, in lions attacking. These films cut to the bone."  M. Dargis, Village Voice 

THE SNOW MAN - (16mm, color, sound, 1995, 8 min) Juror's Award (First Prize) , Black Maria Film Festival;  played at Sydney International Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival. 
A meditation on burial, decay, and memory...a belated Kaddish for my father. 

        THE SNOW MAN
One must have a mind of winter 
To regard the frost and the boughs 
Of the pine trees crusted with snow; 

And have been cold a long time 
To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter   
Of the January sun; and not to think  
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,  
In the sound of a few leaves,    
Which is the sound of the land            
Full of the same wind            
That is blowing in the same bare place   
For the listener, who listens in the snow,            
And, nothing himself, beholds            
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.   
- Wallace Stevens    

Psalm III: "Night of the Meek" 
The third film in a feature length series entitled The Twilight Psalms, a meditation on the twentieth century at closing time. Psalm III is a kindertotenlied in black and silver on a night of gods and monsters... (16mm, B/W, sound, 23 minutes - 2002) 

In Germany, Before the War
"I'm Looking at the River,  
But I'm Thinking of the Sea, 
Thinking of the Sea, 
Thinking of the Sea... 

I'm Looking at the River,  
But I'm Thinking of the Sea, 
Thinking of the Sea, 
Thinking of the Sea..."
      Phil Solomon and Stan Brakhage (16mm, color, silent, 20 minutes - 2002) 
Brakhage's frame by frame hand carvings and etchings directly into the film emulsion, sometimes combined with paint, are illuminated by Solomon's optical printing, then edited by Solomon into a four part 'seasonal cycle'. This film can be considered to be part of a larger, 'umbrella' work by Brakhage entitled "..." . Seasons... is inspired by the colors and textures found in the woodcuts of Hokusai and Hiroshige,  and the playful sense of forms dancing in space from the filmworks of Robert Breer and Len Lye.


Tuesday, November 16
Ariana Gerstein

Binghamton University Department of Cinema Faculty will present her new piece "Layette" with older works such as "Images of Flying and Falling" and Cycles.

Ariana Gerstein's time-based work has been screened and awarded prizes at festivals in the U.S. and internationally. These include the San Francisco International Film Festival (Golden Gate Merit Award in New Visions category), the Ann Arbor Film Festival (Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film), Black Maria Film Festival (Juror's Choice and Directors Choice Awards), European Media Arts Festival, Images Film Festival in Toronto, Melbourne International Film Festival, etc. Her films have been shown at a variety of venues including the Anthology Film Archives in New York, San Francisco Cinematheque, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Pacific Film Archives in Berkley, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis etc. Her most recent work, Layette, will be showing at the Museum of Modern Art in December 2004.

Ariana Gerstein has been awarded grants from the Illinois Arts Council, New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation of the Arts and is a current Rockefeller Fellow. A grant for the National Endowment for the Arts will be awarded in January of 2005. She is currently an assistant professor in the Cinema Department at Binghamton University.

"Layette" is an experimental documentary created from material scanned, shot on super 8 film, digitally manipulated and hand processed on 16-mm film, shot from a computer monitor and processed again. The final output is a Black and White 16-mm film and runs 16 minutes. The film's documentary element is based on a phone interview. On the soundtrack a woman speaks candidly about her desire to produce children coupled with her inability to continue doing so. This is not really her choice but the result of her husband's wishes. She speaks with both acceptance and regret.

The sound of the woman speaking is paired with a found photograph that I picked up in a thrift store in Omaha, Nebraska. The pictured female seems to be from the past, although there is not enough information presented to make an accurate determination. She is also young, probably in her early teens. Despite evidence of distance and youth in the photo, the sound seems to win out, fusing the character of the girl with the deep voice of the mature woman into a fictional presence. Other images arise in the film including animated dresses, string, partially erased photographs (which I picked up alongside the Omaha girl) and a child. They intermix with minimal violin sounds vaguely musical but often suggesting a concrete source. Old toys and a short 1940's record sample were the source for other sounds in the film.


*These artists screenings are funded in part by Presentation Funds from the Experimental Television Center which is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts. Series is co-sponsored by Harpur College Dean's Office.

Info: 607-777-4998 or Vincent Grenier 777-4997 


Last Updated: 8/25/16