Media Art from SAIC, 1965 - Now
February 1 - 29
A month-long series of works by alumni from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Presented by the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago began graduating students in filmmaking in the mid-1960s, and established the nation’s first video department to issue degrees in 1970. In the ensuing half-century, the innovative visions of its alumni have reverberated through the world of the moving image: from Hollywood to the avant-garde, from video art to the international art cinema, from animation to gaming to new media.
Radiant Visions: Media Art at SAIC, 1965-Now (February 1 - 29) celebrates this achievement in a month-long series featuring nearly 50 artists and a breathtaking range of techniques and ideas. The varied works speak to each other across time, reflecting the concepts and approaches that have energized SAIC over the decades. These include: media technology and its role in contemporary life; intimacy and social identity; media as a tool for political consciousness; formal experimentation and new models of seeing. In short, the moving image’s unique capacity for transporting viewers through time and space.
The series begins with the Chicago premiere of Cannes prizewinner Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest feature, CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR, introduced by the director on February 1. Filmmaker Tom Kalin presents his 1992 feature SWOON, a key work of the New Queer Cinema, on February 11. On February 18, we present two films by the late Marjorie Keller, a major but unheralded figure in the American avant-garde, followed by a discussion with film scholar P. Adams Sitney (VISIONARY FILM) and filmmaker and fellow alumnus Saul Levine (who will present two of his own films in the series on February 18). Chris Harris brings his documentary portrait of St. Louis STILL / HERE on February 25. Its melancholy images continue to speak to our social and political moment.
Five programs of short films round out the series, each a mix of genres, styles and themes, for which several of the makers will be present for discussion. Among the highlights: provocative works of international renown by Ben Russell, Deborah Stratman, Amie Siegel, Paul Chan, and Steffani Jemison; foundational feminist videos from Mindy Faber, Jennifer Reeder, Elisabeth Subrin, and Dara Greenwald; classics of 16mm experimentation from Louis Hock, Saul Levine, Tom Palazzolo, and Allen Ross; award-winning animations from Joshua Mosley, Lilli Carré, and Jodie Mack; groundbreaking works of computer and video imaging from Jane Veeder, Lyn Blumenthal, and Carol Ann Klonarides; and new media from Sara Ludy and Nick Briz.
SAIC is proud of the strong, pioneering and influential work of its former students. The works presented are but a small sampling of the extraordinary work of SAIC’s alumni, who have shaped the field not only as makers, but as scholarly and critical writers, curators, archivists, and founders of important media arts organizations.
Presented by the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation. Organized by Amy Beste, Jon Cates, and Daniel Eisenberg. Thanks to Jim Trainor, Bruce Jenkins, Mary Patten, Melika Bass, Frederic Moffet, Chris Sullivan, Claudia Hart, Titza Even, Patrick Friel, Fred Camper, Ed Rankus, Carolyn Faber, Abina Manning, John Manning, Josh Mabe, Michael Phillips, Michelle Puetz, P. Adams Sitney, Elena Rossi-Snook, and M.M. Serra.
Visit saic.edu/150 for more info.
Admission to Radiant Visions screenings is free to alumni, faculty, staff, and students with SAIC I.D. Free tickets available only at our box office 24 hours before the screening.
Cemetery of Splendor
รักที่ขอนแก่น / Rak ti Khon Kaen
2015, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/UK/France, 122 min.
"Simmering surrealism ... lovely, memory-steeped meditation. Its many fragments haunt". – Ray Pride, Newcity
"Weerasethakul is utterly unique among filmmakers … CEMETERY evokes a sense of alien wonder … the purest expression of cinema as it was meant to be seen." – Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"Quietly incandescent … an unstemmable flow of beautifully unfathomable images, cinema as the stuff dreams are made of.” – James Lattimer, Slant Magazine
Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or in 2010 for UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, director Weerasethakul, a School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduate, once again proves masterful in exploring the intersection of the human and spirit worlds through a film of delicate, sumptuous beauty. A few soldiers lie stricken by a mysterious sleeping sickness in a rural town’s veranda-like hospital. The film’s subtle theme of healing brought about with the help of otherworldly forces encompasses not just the prone figures in the beds, but characters including a hospital volunteer, a psychic, and an awakened soldier, all of whom will come to walk knowingly or unknowingly, with resident spirits. The real and the supernatural mix with casual concreteness and infusions of offhand humor under the placid spell of Weerasethakul’s mythic world view. In Thai with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
1972- 2014, Various directors, USA, ca. 81 min.
- Thu, Feb 4th 6:00pm
This program considers the technologies of moving images and their reverberating influence on contemporary life. Multiple formats. (Amy Beste)
1982, Jane Veeder, USA, 3 min, Betacam Video
In Jane Veeder's trailblazing computer animation, stylized mountain peaks and erosion patterns dance with symbols of the technological age.
1972, Louis Hock, USA, 12 min, Unsplit 8mm
Louis Hock derails cinematic conventions while drawing comparisons between the mechanics of projection and transportation.
2016, Jon Satrom, USA, ca 15 min, Live Performance
Jon Satrom's "MicroMonotaur" navigates a labyrinth of microfiche film and monochrome monitors – oscillating between analogue and digital methods of data storage – searching for moments of breakage, decay, and fallibility.
How To / Why to Leave Facebook
2014, Nick Briz, USA, 11 min, Digital File
Nick Briz breaks down the structure of paid influence and teaches us HOW TO / WHY TO LEAVE FACEBOOK.
2014, Deborah Stratman, USA, 15 min, Digital File
Deborah Stratman peels back the layers of fabrication inherent in movie-making, sound recording, and aural perception through an astonishing single-shot portrait of the Foley process.
2006, Jenny Perlin, USA, 12 min, Digital File
Jenny Perlin's quietly unnerving film reveals the reach of Cold War surveillance by using the transcript of a 1953 dinner party – which had been recorded (and augmented) by an FBI informant charged with tracking people tangentially related to the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg – as its script.
Posthaste Perennial Pattern
2010, Jodie Mack, USA, 4 min, 16mm
Rapid-fire florals and morning bird songs bridge interior and exterior, design and nature.
1984, Lyn Blumenthal and Carole Ann Klonarides, USA, 10 min, Digital File
A pop-montage of recycled television images, flashing graphics, and surveillance-like footage by pioneering video artists Lyn Blumenthal and Carole Ann Klonarides. Multiple formats.
1976-2014, Various directors, USA, ca. 79 min.
- Mon, Feb 8th 6:00pm
The works in this program explore social and individual identity, self-performance and presentation, and the role of media technologies in shaping and expressing notions of the self. (Jim Trainor)
White Trash Girl
1995, Jennifer Reeder, USA, 8 min, Digital file
In Jennifer Reeder’s notorious anthem to the abject, a child of the sewers wreaks havoc on the world.
Bouncing in the Corner #36DD
1999, Dara Greenwald, USA, 3 min, Digital file
Dara Greenwald casts herself in a remake of a Bruce Nauman video.
1980, Tatsu Aoki, USA, 11 min, 16mm
An abstract portrait of the artist’s friend, three years after his arrival to the US from Japan.
1993, Mindy Faber, USA, 23 min, Digital File
Mindy Faber casts her mother in comic book scenarios while exploring her history of mental illness and the historical pathologizing of women’s experiences.
The Blazing World
2013, Jessica Bardsley, USA, 18 min, Digital File
An essay on Winona Ryder, kleptomania, and depression stitched together from stolen footage.
Hand and Bodie Transformations
1973, Byron Grush, USA, 3 min, 16mm
Animated studies in metamorphosis.
Print courtesy of SAIC’s Flaxman Library.
2014, Katie Torn, USA, 3 min, Digital File
A kinetic sculpture in phantasmagoric 3D animation.
1992, Tom Kalin, USA, 82 min. With Daniel Schlachet, Craig Chester.
"Dazzlingly well realized ... a tricky, unpredictable synthesis of the mannered and the real." – Janet Maslin, The New York Times
A key work within the emerging “Queer Cinema” of the 1990s, Tom Kalin’s debut feature SWOON is a spare but highly stylized dramatization of the infamous Leopold/Loeb kidnapping and murder case. While set in 1920s Chicago, the film mixes contemporary deconstructive, culture-jamming strategies with an almost timeless, sensual handling of the physical materials of the medium. Writing in the New York Times, Janet Maslin declared it an “audacious” work intent on fracturing “familiar notions and prejudices.” 35mm. (Bruce Jenkins)
1971-2014, multiple directors, USA/Romania, ca 75 min
- Mon, Feb 15th 6:00pm
Through reenactment, appropriation, performance, and collage, the films and videos in this program explore the intersections of the personal and political, reflecting on legacies of past radicalism, contemporary moments of resistance, and new political models. (Amy Beste)
1997, Elisabeth Subrin, USA, 37 min, Digital File
"Daring and revelatory ... Subrin’s ideas are beautiful and the movie is a thing of wonder." – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
Elisabeth Subrin’s masterful film is a shot-by-shot reenactment of an unreleased 1967 documentary portrait of SAIC student Shulamith Firestone, who, a few years later, would become a central figure in the rise of radical feminism. Through its meticulous staging, the film expresses in Subrin’s words, “the residues of the past,” and the resonance of issues around gender and class today.
Love It / Leave It
1971, Tom Palazzolo, USA, 15 min, 16mm
Tom Palazzolo’s sardonic montage of the 1960s cuts between a nudist competition, football, neighborhood parties, and the political foment around Chicago’s 1968 Democratic Convention.
Now Let Us Praise American Leftists
2001, Paul Chan, USA, 4 min, Digital File
An early work by artist and activist Paul Chan uses wanted-poster computer technology to foreground the exclusionary nature of leftist politics.
The Meaning of Various Photographs to Tyrand Needham
2009, Steffani Jemison, USA, 12 min, Digital File
Steffani Jemison’s THE MEANING OF VARIOUS PHOTOGRAPHS TO TYRAND NEEDHAM restages a classic John Baldessari video with images of African American subjects to highlight strategies of misreading and resistance.
Something to Move In
2014, Latham Zearfoss and Joel Mideen, USA, 5 min, Digital File
Latham Zearfoss sets the words of the Black Panthers to a new beat.
Now It Is a Matter of Learning Hope
2014, Irina Botea, Romania, 10 min, Digital File
Artist Ileana Faur rehearses utopian manifestos among the abandoned remains of a park once planned to celebrate Nicolae Ceausescu’s Romanian dream.
Misconception & Daughters of Chaos
1977-1981, Marjorie Keller, USA, ca 75 min
- Thu, Feb 18th 6:00pm
From the late 1960s through to her untimely death in 1994, filmmaker, activist, and scholar Marjorie Keller forged a fiercely poetic body of work, exploring intimacy and everyday life. MISCONCEPTION (1977), her longest and best-known film, documents of the birth of her niece, using the small-gauge format of home movies, jagged editing rhythms and sync sound, to give expression to the event’s pain and joy, and the chasm between experience and memory. DAUGHTERS OF CHAOS (1980) uses footage of a wedding to look forward and backward in time, from girlhood to maturity, and the mysteries of growing up. Both in 16mm.
Print of MISCONCEPTION is courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which preserved the film with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
1969 - 2014, multiple directors, USA, ca 70 min
- Mon, Feb 22nd 6:00pm
Intimacies of all kinds are explored in this program – family life, close friendships, anecdotes, sexual encounters, as well as the intimacy of the camera in close ups, home movie footage, snapshots, and abstract evocations of the inner life. (Jim Trainor)
Note to Pati
1969, Saul Levine, USA, 8 min, 16mm
Master filmmaker Saul Levine weaves together children in the snow, birds, and bare branches.
Note to Colleen
1974, Saul Levine, USA, 7 min, 16mm
A collage of sunsets, and a sidewalk artist drawing a woman’s portrait.
How She Slept at Night
2006, Lilli Carré, USA, 4 min, Digital File
Celebrated animator Lilli Carrė offers an eerie snapshot of marriage, memory and loss.
Secret History of the Dividing Line
2002, David Gatten, USA, 20 min, 16mm
The line between public and private is conjured through texts from the “secret histories” of an 18th century gentleman’s library.
1991, Zack Stiglicz, USA, 8 min, 16mm
A richly textured meditation on masculinity and sexuality.
Print courtesy of SAIC’s Flaxman Library.
2001, Sara Ludy, USA, 4 min, Digital File
Sara Ludy’s abstract OTHA explores the domestic architecture of Second Life.
2014, Martine Syms and Kahlil Joseph, USA, 3 min, Digital File
An elegiac evocation of family memories.
2001, Christopher Harris, USA, 60 min.
- Thu, Feb 25th 6:00pm
"One of the significant avant-garde works of the past decade." – Michael Sicinski, Cinemascope Magazine
In this austere and sorrowful portrait of his hometown, St. Louis, Harris sets his black-and-white camera loose to wander through the city’s decaying north side neighborhoods, an area populated almost exclusively by working class and working poor African Americans. Gliding down empty streets, across the facades of once-elegant homes, entering condemned buildings, the camera makes a detached but ultimately damning portrait of civic neglect and apathy. Poignantly, human beings are rarely encountered; their presence haunts the soundtrack of eerie footsteps, an unanswered telephone, and sparse voiceover commentary from found sources. 16mm. (Jim Trainor)
STILL / HERE is presented in collaboration with South Side Projections and Black Cinema House, which will screen a program of Harris’s short works on Friday, February 26.
1974 - 2015, multiple directors, USA, South Africa / Swaziland / United Kingdom, ca 83 min
- Mon, Feb 29th 6:00pm
The works in this program reach through time and space, creating new landscapes for history and the imaginary. (Jim Trainor)
Greetings to the Ancestors
2015, Ben Russell, South Africa / Swaziland / United Kingdom, 29 min, Digital File
Ben Russell visits a feverish prayer vigil in Swaziland and an ascetic community of Xhosa healers in South Africa.
Jeu de paume
2014, Joshua Mosley, USA, 3 min, Digital File
Joshua Mosley’s masterful puppet film recreates a game of the precursor to modern tennis, complete with vivid camera moves and swift action.
Mountain For Your Mind
2011, Yaloo, USA, 6 min, Digital File
A slow glide around a wintry ersatz landscape.
2010, Amie Siegel, USA, 20 min, Digital File
A wordless restaging of Louis Malle’s post-apocalyptic 1975 film of the same name, Amie Siegel’s BLACK MOON sets a band of female soldiers loose in a landscape depopulated by housing foreclosures – reinventing the past in the ruins of a future that never was.
1974, Coleen Fitzgibbon, USA, 11 min, 16mm
The optical printer obscures recognizable forms, reducing everything to pulsing abstraction.
Somethings Gonna Soon
2008, Dylan Mira and Math Bass, USA, 4 min, Digital File
Magic symbols and digital landscapes.
1981, Allen Ross, USA, 10 min, 16mm
Allen Ross attempts to come to terms with death in, the final film in his esteemed Grandfather Trilogy.