Conversations at the Edge - Fall 2014

  1. Conversations at the Edge - Fall 2014

Conversations at the Edge is a weekly series of screenings, artist talks, and performances by some of the most compelling media artists of yesterday and today. CATE is organized by SAIC's Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation in collaboration with the Video Data Bank and the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Visit CATE's blog for more information, including artist interviews, bios, additional images, and more!

*The X-Ray of Civilization: Films by Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner

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Marvin J. Taylor in person!

  1. *The X-Ray of Civilization:
  2. Films by Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner
  1. 1985-92, Various directors, USA, ca. 85 min.

The Culture Wars and devastation of the AIDS epidemic contributed to a cultural scene in 1980s New York that crackled with tension and ached with sadness. Against this background, artists Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner transformed mass media’s detritus into transgressive responses to the socio-political order. From the sprawling suburbs in WHERE EVIL DWELLS (Turner/Wojnarowicz, 1985) to America’s status as a global military power in LISTEN TO THIS (Rubnitz/Wojnarowicz, 1992) and A FIRE IN MY BELLY (Wojnarowicz, 1985) to Hollywood itself in PSYKHO III THE MUSICAL (Rubnitz, 1985), the three artists scrutinized and scathingly satirized mainstream American iconography. Various formats. (George Price)

Introduced by Marvin J. Taylor, Director of Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University and founder of the Downtown Collection.


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Mati Diop in person!

  1. 2013, Mati Diop, Senegal/France, 45 min.

Known for dreamlike shorts that experiment with the boundaries between documentary and fiction, award-winning French filmmaker Mati Diop mined her own history for A THOUSAND SUNS. The film explores the public and private legacies of the revolutionary Senegalese film TOUKI BOUKI (1973), directed by her uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty. She catches up with the film’s lead, Wasis Diop, now living as a farmer outside of Dakar. As he reflects on the forty years since his starring role, Mati Diop meditates on Senegal’s history, the role of its cinema, and her own place in it. Accompanied by Diop’s haunting short ATLANTIQUE (2009, 16 min.), which spins feverish tales of European opportunity and perilous sea crossings. In French, Wolof, and Swahili with English subtitles. Various formats. (Amy Beste)

Director Mati Diop will be present for audience discussion.

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Jonathan Monaghan: Alien Fanfare

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Thu, Sep 18th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Jonathan Monaghan in person!

  1. Jonathan Monaghan:
  2. Alien Fanfare
  1. 2008-14, Jonathan Monaghan, USA, ca. 70 min.

Seamlessly melding imagery from art history, mainstream video games,and contemporary advertising, Jonathan Monaghan’s videos are surreal explorations of power, value, and the role of technology. The artist, whose work takes shape through glossy animated videos, virtual environments, and 3D printing, presents a selection of his latest works (including the science-fiction inspired shorts MOTHERSHIP [2013] and ALIEN FANFARE [2014]), plus a behind-the scenes look at the research and technology that informs his practice. Various formats. (Amy Beste)

Jonathan Monaghan will be present for audience discussion.

Jennifer Reeder: A Million Miles Away


Thu, Sep 25th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (2 votes)

Jennifer Reeder in person!

  1. Jennifer Reeder:
  2. A Million Miles Away
  1. 2010-14, Jennifer Reeder, USA, ca. 90 min.

Jennifer Reeder’s pop-noir films explore women’s experiences in breakups, breakdowns, and new beginnings. The award-winning Chicago director presents four recent shorts and a preview of her latest project, BLOOD BELOW THE SKIN. A MILLION MILES AWAY (2014) listens in on the bedroom conversations of teenage girls as they forge bonds over absent parents and bad friends before culminating in a breathtaking school choir rendition of Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.” The discovery of a teenage girl’s dead body sets the tone for “The Forevering Trilogy” (SEVEN SONGS ABOUT THUNDER, 2010; TEARS CANNOT RESTORE HER; THEREFORE I WEEP, 2010; AND I WILL RISE IF ONLY TO HOLD YOU DOWN, 2011). Various formats. (Amy Beste)

Jennifer Reeder will be present for audience discussion.

Carlos Motta: The Nefandus Trilogy


Thu, Oct 2nd at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Carlos Motta in person!

  1. Carlos Motta:
  2. The Nefandus Trilogy
  1. 2012-13, Carlos Motta, Various nations, ca. 60 min.

Carlos Motta’s practice draws upon various political histories to articulate counter-narratives that recognize suppressed histories,
communities, and identities. His 2013 “Nefandus Trilogy" (NEFANDUS, SHIPWRECK, and THE DEFEATED) is a haunting examination of pre-Hispanic homoeroticism and its brutal stigmatization during Europe’s colonization of the Americas. Motta accompanies the trilogy with excerpts from his ongoing “Democracy Cycle,” including the multimedia documentary GENDER TALENTS (in-progress), on international trans and intersex activism. In English, Spanish, Kogi, Norwegian, and Korean with English subtitles. Various formats. (George William Price)

Carlos Motta will be present for audience discussion.

*Andrew Lampert: Tables Turned


Thu, Oct 9th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Andrew Lampert in person!

  1. *Andrew Lampert: Tables Turned
  1. 2013-14, Andrew Lampert, USA, ca. 70 min.

Artist, archivist, and curator Andrew Lampert is known for his live media performances and hilarious short films and videos, many of which cheekily turn “cinema” on its head. Lampert uses improvisation, unusual projector placement, and sets of game-like instructions to explore (and exploit) the dynamic relationships between projector, projectionist, audience, and screen. For CATE, Lampert creates a site-specific performance and shows a series of shorts, including EL ADIOS LARGOS (2013), an inspired reconstruction of Robert Altman’s 1973 feature THE LONG GOODBYE from imperfect source material. Various formats. (Amy Beste)

Andrew Lampert will be present for audience discussion.

*An Evening with John Smith


Thu, Oct 16th at 6:00pm
Average: 4 (4 votes)

John Smith in person!

  1. *An Evening with John Smith
  1. 1976-2014, John Smith, UK/Cyprus/Switzerland, ca. 76 min.

In his playful and thought-provoking short films and videos, UK filmmaker John Smith explores the language of cinema and reflects on the image’s role in politics, war, and the global economy. The 2013 Jarman Award winner presents a selection from across his 40-year career, including the seminal THE GIRL CHEWING GUM (1976), an absurdist fantasy set on a busy London street; THROWING STONES (2004), which relates personal experiences to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East; the personal history of DAD'S STICK (2012); and the Chicago premiere of DARK LIGHT (2014); among others. Presented in collaboration with the Video Data Bank, Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, and the University of Chicago’s Film Studies Center. Various formats. (Amy Beste)

John Smith will be present for audience discussion.

Cao Fei: Haze and Fog


Thu, Oct 23rd at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Cao Fei in person!

  1. *Cao Fei: Haze and Fog
  1. 2007-13, Cao Fei, China, ca. 80 min.

Chinese artist Cao Fei mixes fantasy, documentary, and virtual reality to reflect on the ways China’s rapidly changing economy has transformed the everyday lives and imaginations of its citizens. Her latest film, HAZE AND FOG (2013), is a darkly humorous reinterpretation of the zombie film, set in Beijing. Here the undead are real estate agents, nouveau riche businessmen, security guards, manicurists, and sex workers seeking contact in an increasingly individualized, alienating society. Fei accompanies the film with her 2007 short i.MIRROR, which follows her avatar China Tracy as she navigates the alternate reality of Second Life. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Various formats. (Amy Beste)

Cao Fei will be present for audience discussion.

*Anda Korsts's Video Metropolis


Thu, Oct 30th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (2 votes)
  1. *Anda Korsts's Video Metropolis
  1. 1972–82, Anda Korsts, USA, ca. 60 min.

In the 1970s, Chicago journalist and artist Anda Korsts helped pioneer video as a radical tool for art and activism. A key figure in the guerrilla television movement, she worked on media exposés as part of the national video collective Top Value Television (TVTV) and founded Videopolis, a Chicago organization devoted to increasing community access to video technology. She also produced hundreds of tapes, many in collaboration with makers around the country, including a groundbreaking television series called “It’s a Living,” inspired by Studs Terkel’s “Working.” Filmmaker Judy Hoffman, Media Burn Archive founder Tom Weinberg, and Executive Director Sara Chapman present an overview of Korsts’s work and discuss her legacy. Presented in collaboration with Media Burn Independent Video Archive. Various formats. (Amy Beste)

Followed by a roundtable with documentary filmmaker Judy Hoffman, Media Burn Archive founder Tom Weinberg, and Executive Director Sara Chapman.