Conversations at the Edge - Spring 2015

  1. Conversations at the Edge - Spring 2015

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. The series 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 artist interviews, bios, additional images, and more!

Robin Deacon - White Balance: A History of Video



Thu, Feb 19th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Robin Deacon in person!

  1. Robin Deacon:
  2. White Balance: A History of Video
  1. 2013-15, Robin Deacon, USA, ca. 60 min

Acclaimed artist and filmmaker Robin Deacon presents a stirring performance on the history and aesthetics of video. The title “White Balance” refers to the process by which a video camera is adjusted to account for differences in light. For Deacon, this process also suggests video’s capability to convey "a truer sense of what is being seen.” Using a series of outmoded video cameras and discarded tape formats, Deacon weaves together autobiography, fiction, and old recordings — home movies, artists’ tapes, archival TV footage — to explore the ways seeing and remembering may be transformed by the medium used to capture the event. (George William Price)

Rebecca Baron: Detour de Force


Thu, Feb 26th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Rebecca Baron in person!

  1. Rebecca Baron:
  2. Detour de Force
  1. 2008-14, Rebecca Baron, USA, ca. 70 min.

Los Angeles–based filmmaker Rebecca Baron is known for provocative essay films exploring such far-ranging subjects as Britain’s Mass Observation movement, 19th-century Arctic exploration, and the role of recording technologies in shaping our understanding of the world around us. Her latest film, DETOUR DE FORCE, introduces viewers to the incredible world of “thoughtographer” Ted Serios — a Chicago bellhop who, in the mid-1960s, produced hundreds of Polaroid images through sheer force of mind. Baron screens the film with a selection of works from LOSSLESS (2008, with Douglas Goodwin), a series of digital interventions — data compression, code removal — into video copies of classic American films with fascinating results. Presented in collaboration with the Video Data Bank. (Amy Beste)

John Gerrard: Networks and Power


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

John Gerrard in person!

  1. John Gerrard:
  2. Networks and Power
  1. 2009-15, John Gerrard, China/Norway/US, ca. 60 min.

The works of John Gerrard (MFA 2000) often take shape as large-scale projections of meticulously crafted virtual worlds, astonishing in their scope and execution. Driven by sophisticated military modeling and video game software, they recreate the outposts of human industry — a 19th-century paper mill in Norway, mysterious roadways along China’s Silk Road, a solar power plant in Nevada, factory farms in Oklahoma — to address the networks of energy and power that have fueled modern life. Gerrard presents five recent interrelated projects — including SOLAR RESERVE (TONOPAH, NEVADA) (2014), EXERCISE (DUNHUANG) (2014), and his latest work-in-progress FARM (PRYOR CREEK) — and discusses the themes and technology that have informed his practice. (Amy Beste)

Encounters: Experimental Film and Video from Croatia


Thu, Mar 12th at 6:00pm
Sat, Mar 14th at 12:30pm
No votes yet

Alexander Stewart in person!

  1. Encounters:
  2. Experimental Film and Video from Croatia
  1. 1961-2011, Various directors, Croatia/Yugoslavia, ca. 70 min.

Zagreb, Croatia has long been an important hub for animation, experimental film, and avant-garde culture. Informed by unique cultural, intellectual, and political legacies, filmmakers there have produced decades of strong, challenging, and fascinating experimental work. Filmmaker Alexander Stewart (MFA 2005) presents a selection of films and videos produced in Croatia from the 1960s through today--much of it rarely screened in the US. Drawing upon research undertaken as part of a series of visits to the country over the past year, the program features gems by such notables as Vlado Kristl, Ivan Ladislav Galeta, and Dalibor Martinis, and encompasses animation, performative video art, and structural film. 35mm, 16mm, and digital video. (Alexander Stewart)

Introduced by Alexander Stewart, filmmaker, curator, and Assistant Professor at DePaul University

Soon-Mi Yoo: Songs from the North


Thu, Mar 26th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Soon-Mi Yoo in person!

  1. Soon-Mi Yoo:
  2. Songs from the North
  1. 2014, Soon-Mi Yoo, US/South Korea/Portugal, 72 min.

South Korea–born and Cambridge-based artist Soon-Mi Yoo's debut feature is a nuanced look at political ideology and everyday life in North Korea. Winner of the prestigious Golden Leopard for Best First Feature at the 2014 Locarno Film Festival, the film interweaves biography (Yoo's father fought in the war and many of his left-leaning friends abandoned South Korea for the North), images, and interviews shot on three visits to the country, popular television spectacles, cinema, and song. Curator Andrea Picard writes, "Yoo ventures into uncharted territory as she attempts to understand the psychology and popular imagery of the North Korean people on their own terms, the fissures between daily life and its propagandistic representation, and the ideology of absolute devotion to the ruler who continues to drive the nation towards its uncertain future." In English and Korean with English subtitles. DCP digital. (Amy Beste)

Filmmaker Soon Mi-Yoo will be present for audience discussion.



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

Dennis Lim in person!

  1. ANNA
  1. 1975, Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli, Italy, 225 min.

Recently restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, this astonishing 1975 documentary centers on the titular pregnant, homeless 16-year-old girl whom filmmakers Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli encountered in Rome's Piazza Navona. Mainly shot on then-newfangled video, it documents the interactions between the enigmatic Anna and its directors, whose interest in her is at once compassionate and self-serving. Far from straightforward vérité, this complex, self-implicating chronicle includes Grifi and Sarchielli's explicit attempts to direct their subject, reenactments of off-screen events, and intrusions from behind the camera (not least the emergence of the film's electrician as a love interest). In Italian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (Dennis Lim)

Introduced by Dennis Lim, Director of Programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Daniel Sousa: Feral and other Animations


Thu, Apr 9th at 6:00pm
No votes yet

Daniel Sousa in person!

  1. Daniel Sousa:
  2. Feral and other Animations
  1. 1999-2014, Daniel Sousa, USA, ca. 60 min.

The lush, painterly films of Cape Verde–born, Providence-based animator Daniel Sousa employ puppets, collage, and hand-drawn characters in tales of memory, perception, and the struggle between the intellect, unconscious, and unknown. A young boy raised in the wild attempts to make his way in civilized society; a man and woman are doomed to repeatedly and passionately destroy each other; and a young minotaur struggles to understand those who are not like him. The Academy Award–nominated director presents a selection of his works and discusses the events and artists that have inspired him. Presented in collaboration with SAIC's Visiting Artists Program. Various formats. (Amy Beste)

Filmmaker Daniel Sousa will be present for audience discussion.

Marisa Olson: In Praise of Garbage


Thu, Apr 16th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Marisa Olson in person!

  1. Marisa Olson:
  2. In Praise of Garbage
  1. 2003-14, Marisa Olson, USA, ca. 60 min.

For more than a decade, new media artist, curator, and theorist Marisa Olson has staged on- and offline interventions that shrewdly and often hilariously shed light on the politics of pop culture, histories of technology, and aesthetics of failure. Her projects take shape through an array of forms--YouTube responses to iconic feminist videos and "women's" television genres, blogs charting elaborate autobiographical performances, music videos, slide lectures, Internet searches, and physical installations of media's detritus (cassette tapes, boomboxes, laptops)--all painted gold to highlight their newly inert and geological status. In addition to these projects, her writing has served as a beacon for a generation of new media practitioners and thinkers. Olson presents an overview of her work, including a selection of videos, and discusses her thoughts on new media and the post-Internet today. Various formats. (Amy Beste)

Filmmaker Marisa Olson will be present for audience discussion.

Projections, Portraits, and Picaresques


Thu, Apr 23rd at 6:00pm
No votes yet

Filmmakers in person!

  1. Projections, Portraits, and Picaresques:
  2. Works by Mary Helena Clark, Mariah Garnett, and Latham Zearfoss
  1. 2011-14, USA, ca. 70 min.

Artists Mary Helena Clark, Mariah Garnett, and Latham Zearfoss (BFA 2008) self-reflexively play with portraiture and autobiography in a cultural landscape dominated by selfies and shifting social media platforms. In HOME MOVIE (2012), Zearfoss engages with the contemporary urge to capture personal moments for online public consumption, whether or not they are of real interest to others. Garnett's ENCOUNTERS I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE HAD WITH PETER BERLIN (2012) questions the dependability of film by using hand-painted celluloid, drag, and intimate conversation to reveal and obscure the reality of her relationship to the 1970s porn star. Clark’s THE DRAGON IS THE FRAME (2014) meditates on a world shaped by missing persons by linking landmarks from Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO (1958) with the persistent online presence of the late artist Mark Aguhar. Each artist articulates personal identity in relation to aesthetic and community, fiction and truth. Various formats. (George William Price)

Filmmakers Mary Helena Clark, Mariah Garnett, and Latham Zearfoss will be present for audience discussion.