Conversations at the Edge Spring 2019
Conversations at the Edge is a weekly series of screenings, performances, and talks by groundbreaking media artists. The program is organized by the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in collaboration with the Gene Siskel Film Center and the Video Data Bank.
For more, visit www.saic.edu/cate.
Evan Meaney: We Will Love You Forever
2007-17, Evan Meaney, USA, ca. 60 min.
- Thu, Mar 21st 6:00pm
Mixing humor and pathos, the work of new media artist and game designer Evan Meaney meditates on the transience of human experience and its representation in digital media. Meaney often uses corrupted and failing data as source material, exploring human efforts to collect and preserve in the face of entropy. He presents a selection of videos, software, and virtual reality artworks from the past decade, including ++WE WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER (2017), which reflects on the creative impulse and efforts to create archives of human code--both digital and DNA--on the moon. Presented in collaboration with SAIC’s Video Data Bank. Multiple formats. (Amy Beste)
1998-2015, Various artists, Canada, ca. 60 min.
- Thu, Mar 28th 6:00pm
Since 2006, the Queer Media Database Canada-Québec Project (QMDCQ) has worked to resuscitate a rich heritage of queer moving-image makers and their works. Curated by the QMDCQ in partnership with the Montréal-based collective Taklif, Disorienting Diasporas brings together work by Brown diasporic artists who elude the logic of either/or in favor of the neither/nor of unbelonging. In their play with media and expectations, these artists open the way to a lucid, radical, and unyielding reflection on the trajectories of Brown diasporas in Canada since the 1990s. Featuring works by Atif Siddiqi, Hejer Charf, Ari Nooranii, Kevin d’Souza, Farrah Khan, Sharif Waked, Fawzia Mirza, 2Fik, and Safiya Randera. Presented in partnership with the Queer Media Database Canada-Québec Project. Multiple formats. (Thomas Waugh)
Shards from the Mirror of History
2012-18, Various artists, China/Monaco/Japan/USA, ca. 60 min.
- Thu, Apr 4th 6:00pm
Born under China’s one-child policy in the 1980s and raised amidst the country’s recent social and economic changes, China’s “lost” generation has gained a reputation for unprecedented individualism, ambition, and distinctive sense of humor. Curated by Nicky Ni, this program brings together a group of emerging Chinese artists whose work contemplates their unique connection to the country’s greater cultural narratives and phenomena. Through poetic reenactment, parodic performance, or punky intervention, featured artists Tao Hui, Hao Jingban, Yao Qingmei, Liu Yefu, among others, piece together fragmented individual and collective histories to make new meaning from a reimagined past. Multiple formats. (Nicky Ni)
Tabita Rezaire: Network Blossom
2016-17, Tabita Rezaire, South Africa, ca. 60 min.
- Thu, Apr 11th 6:00pm
French Guiana-based new media artist and energy worker Tabita Rezaire navigates power structures on and offline to pursue decolonial healing. Through performance, 3D animation, and screen interfaces, her work addresses the ongoing effects of colonialism and decenters occidental authority. She presents a trio of videos that reimagine technology, spirituality, and the erotic. The striking SUGAR WALLS TEARDOM (2016) considers the contribution of Black womxns’ wombs to the advancement of modern medical science and technology. DEEP DOWN TIDAL (2017) investigates the overlapping routes of undersea optic cables, and colonial geography. PREMIUM CONNECT (2017) finds connections between the organic, technological, and spiritual worlds through the exploration of African divination systems, the fungi underworld, ancestor communications, and quantum physics. HD digital.
Dawn Chan and Mary Flanagan: On Power and Play in Virtual Worlds
1980-2018, Various artists, Various nations, ca. 60 min.
- Thu, Apr 18th 6:00pm
Critics Dawn Chan and Mary Flanagan, winners of the 2018 Thoma Foundation Arts Writing Awards in Digital Art, engage in a wide-ranging conversation about the social and political dynamics embedded in virtual reality, games, digital art, and software design. Considering the work of Ramsey Nasser, Jenova Chen, Hyphen-Labs, Porpentine, Lucia Grossberger-Morales, Marina Zurkow, among others, the two pose critical questions about the ways new technologies interact with constructions of race, class, the self, and the other. Chan’s writing focuses on the sociopolitical implications of digital art. Flanagan is the author of the landmark book "Critical Play: Radical Game Design" (2009), among many others. Presented in partnership with the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation. Multiple formats. (Amy Beste)
United Red Army (The Young Man Was, Part I)
2011, Naeem Mohaiemen, Bangladesh/Japan, 70 min.
- Thu, Feb 14th 6:00pm
Naeem Mohaiemen uses films, photographs, and essays to explore the histories of failed utopias within the framework of international left-wing politics. In conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition of the artist’s acclaimed three-channel installation "Two Meetings and a Funeral," Mohaiemen presents UNITED RED ARMY (THE YOUNG MAN WAS, PART I), which traces the events and aftermath of the Japanese Red Army’s (JRA) infamous 1977 hijacking of Japan Airlines flight 472. Mohaiemen combines the original sound recordings of the hostage negotiations with text on black screen to underscore the event’s political and interpersonal tensions while meditating on its complex reverberations across the globe. Presented in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago. DCP digital. (Amy Beste)
The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images
2011, Eric Baudelaire, Japan/Lebanon, 66 min.
- Sat, Feb 16th 12:30pm
Presented as a companion to Naeem Mohaiemen’s UNITED RED ARMY (THE YOUNG MAN WAS, PART I), Eric Baudelaire’s THE ANABASIS OF MAY AND FUSAKO SHIGENOBU, MASAO ADACHI AND 27 YEARS WITHOUT IMAGES examines the fractured biographies of Fusako Shigenobu, leader of the ultra-left Japanese Red Army (JRA) in Lebanon, her daughter May Shigenobu, and radical Japanese filmmaker Masao Adachi, who moved to Beirut to join the JRA in the early 1970s. Using Adachi’s “theory of landscape” (fukei-ron), which proposes that a nation’s landscape reflects the social and political systems in power, Baudelaire weaves together contemporary and archival images of Tokyo and Beirut with May Shigenobu and Adachi’s recollections of revolution, exile, and their eventual returns home. Presented in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the exhibition "Naeem Mohaiemen: Two Meetings and a Funeral." DCP digital. (Ariel Clark-Semyck)
Laida Lertxundi: Landscape Plus
2012-18, Laida Lertxundi, USA/Spain, ca. 69 min.
- Thu, Feb 21st 6:00pm
The films of Los Angeles-based artist Laida Lertxundi are seductive and self-reflexive explorations of place. She presents a suite of films produced through a process she refers to as “landscape plus,” which marries observational photography with music, actions, and chance events. Her latest, WORDS, PLANETS (2018), mixes domestic spaces and sun-drenched vistas with readings and texts to evoke the many ways lived experience transcends representation. The autobiographical 025 SUNSET RED (2016) links the Basque and Californian landscapes through the filmmaker’s upbringing by Spanish communists. Also screening: VIVIR PARA VIVIR / LIVE TO LIVE (2015) and WE HAD THE EXPERIENCE BUT MISSED THE MEANING (2014), THE ROOM CALLED HEAVEN (2012), CRY WHEN IT HAPPENS (2010). 16mm. (Amy Beste)
1970-2017, Morgan Fisher, USA, ca. 75 min.
- Thu, Feb 28th 6:00pm
Morgan Fisher, artist and filmmaker, will discuss his recent work in painting and photography, then present a selection of films, including STANDARD GAUGE (1984) and the Chicago premiere of ANOTHER MOVIE (2017). STANDARD GAUGE, a single take except for the titles, shows in close-up pieces of 35mm film (“standard gauge”) that Fisher collected during his time as an editor in Hollywood as he comments on them. ANOTHER MOVIE is a pendant to Bruce Conner’s found-footage classic, A MOVIE (1958). ANOTHER MOVIE uses all of Ottorino Respighi’s symphonic poem "Pines of Rome" (1924), which Conner’s film uses only part of, and includes a scene to illustrate the part of the music that Conner omitted. The long intervals of black elsewhere in the film let the viewer imagine the scenes that Respighi wanted his music to describe, but such is the power of Conner’s film that viewers may visualize scenes from it instead. Multiple formats. (Morgan Fisher)
On Watching Men
1976-2010, Various artists, Various nations, USA, ca. 82 min.
- Thu, Mar 7th 6:00pm
Featuring works by Chick Strand, Tracey Moffatt, Yael Bartana, and Jumana Manna, this program explores the subtleties of power relations and gender dynamics in observational film and media art. The artists turn their cameras on men, addressing and reversing conventional hierarchies, while also placing various manifestations of masculinity under experimental, quasi- anthropological study. In an introduction and post-screening discussion, curator Rachael Rakes will discuss these works in light of contemporary alternative ethnographies and consider masculinity as a construct in nonfiction artmaking. Multiple formats. (Rachael Rakes)