Oberlin College and Conservatory

History, Memory, Texture Film Series: Material Inscriptions

Monday, April 16 at 7:00pm

Allen Memorial Art Building, Classroom 1
87 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

History, Memory, Texture Artists’ Films on 16mm

This four-night screening series showcases a number of artists who work primarily on 16mm. These meticulously constructed 16mm films reflect on the density of time and history as they fade into abstract, sometimes difficult to recover memories. Reflecting what Jeffrey Skoller has called the postmodern avant-garde’s tendency toward evocation rather than representation, these films and these artists reflect on worlds that are ephemerally slipping beneath our grasp.

All films will be screened on 16mm

Material Inscriptions

This evening will feature seven short films, all on 16mm, moving us from the tactile, physical world toward ephemeral, psychological, and interpersonal memory traces. From inscriptions of the sea engraved into film stock to 19th century stereoscopic images of pathology to family home movies swirling on the precipice of disappearance, these rarely screened films reflect on what is seen, how it takes shape, and what is remembered as it fades.

• David Gatten, What the Water Said Nos. 1-3, 1998, 16 minutes

The result of a series of camera-less collaborations between the filmmaker, the Atlantic Ocean, and a crab trap. For three days in January and three days in October of 1997, and again, for a day, in August of 1998, lengths of unexposed, undeveloped film were soaked in a crab cage on a South Carolina beach. Both the sound and image are the result of the ensuing oceanic inscriptions written directly into the emulsion of the film as it was buffeted by the salt water, sand, rocks and shells.

• Jodie Mack, Blanket Statement #2: All or Nothing, 2013, 3 minutes

A battle of extremes.

“Here a blanket is animated such that its topography is scrolled over or zoomed into and out of: a Google Maps of yarn, the thwapping optical soundtrack perhaps a helicopter watching the terrain overhead. Then the animation slows down to a crawl, image by image, the sound slowed too, and the sense, folding back reflexively, was for me like viewing the ground-fabric-film on a flatbed editor, map by map, blanket by blanket, image by image.” Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook

• Nina Fonoroff, Department of the Interior, 1986, 9 minutes

"... a richly mysterious film ... black and white rooftops, barren trees, an apartment complex and a parking lot twist and turn into positive and negative imagery, and a negative sun blackened the sky .... The melodious voices were stopped in their tracks and reversed so that audio decay became the attack and attack became decay. The film had the look of an animated Moholy-Nagy photogram in its silvery abstraction. The dramatic shifting of tones and sounds was disorienting and started me thinking of new approaches, not only for film but for perception in general." - Mark Durant, Artweek

Kerry Laitala, Secure the Shadow… ‘Ere the Substance Fade, 1997, 9 minutes

"... steeped in melancholia, involuntary schadenfreude and a sense of spoil that is both anachronistic and transcendental. A collection of stereoptic medical photographs, a menagerie of unseasonable decay, surfaces throughout the film, arriving in negative haloes of blue haze only to deetherealize into restored pictures of positive deformity. Flesh and spirit are pitted against the industriousness of corrosion with wearying vigilance, as owls transform from sentinel guardians into mocking gargoyles in the twinkling of an eye. The plangent correspondences between emulsion and mortal flesh, editing and surgical suturing and taxidermy, collecting and cataloguing as craft, science and mania, are established directly or in innuendo." 
- Mark McElhatten, New York Film Festival, Views From the Avant-Garde

• Jennifer Reeves, The Girl’s Nervy, 1995, 5 minutes

Exuberant rhythms are created for the eyes in this nostalgic study of the single film frame, through cutting, pasting, and painting clear and photographed film images. Fleeting shapes in lush, spattered color flicker and dance to big band beats.

• Phil Solomon, Remains to be Seen, 1989/1994, 18 minutes

Using chemical and optical treatments to coat the film with a limpid membrane of swimming crystals, coagulating into silver recall, then dissolving somewhere between the Operating Theatre, The Waterfall, and the Great Plains.

• David Gatten, Film for Invisible Ink, case no. 323: Once Upon a Time in the West, 2010, 20 minutes, silent

“Can you describe life’s moments of true consequence and instances of great import in a modicum of space with only a few words?”

 

Daniel Eisenberg prints provided by Oberlin art library; all other prints provided by Canyon Cinema

This event is presented with support by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Art.

 

Event Type

Films & Screenings, Arts

Departments

Academic, Art, Cinema Studies

Cost

Free

Contact Person

James Hansen

Contact Phone Number

4407758181

Contact E-mail Address

jhansen@oberlin.edu

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