Media Arts Preview: Black, Abstract and Political Films

Unfinished Spaces

Look back in wonder at the history of experimental media practices in LA with shows chronicling the emergence of Black Cinema, early abstract films and experimental ethnographic projects, as well as highlights from Japan and Cuba.

Thursday, October 20
Nippon Re-Read: Radical Fragments and Abstractions From Japan offers an overview of experimental moving image artworks from Japan, ranging from the late 1960s to the present. "The works all rigorously reexamine the everyday through their respective experiments and innovations in their medium." The two-part show takes place at the Echo Park Film Center and starts at 8:00 p.m.

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Bless Their Little HeartsUCLA's ongoing series titled LA Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema continues tonight with a series of short projects addressing education, ethnic identity and cultural values. The show starts at 7:30, and includes an excerpt from the "database documentary" project titled Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing: An Interactive Cultural History. Tomorrow night's show presents the feature film Bless Their Little Hearts, Billy Woodberry's wrenching depiction of underemployment in Los Angeles.

edward scissorhandFriday, October 21
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents a panel discussion called Behind the Scenes: Bringing Burton's World to Life at 7:30 p.m. The conversation brings together people who have collaborated with filmmaker Tim Burton, including composer Danny Elfman, costume designer Colleen Atwood, and art director, sculptor, installation designer and production designer Rick Heinrichs. The discussion will be followed by a rare screening of Edward Scissorhands in 70mm!

Saturday, October 22
The Japanese American National Museum presents two film screenings - today at 2:00 p.m. Shinpei Takeda's Hiroshima Nagasaki Download tells the story of two atomic bomb survivors on a roadtrip, during which they record a piece of modern history. Tomorrow, Farewell to Manzanar screens, also at 2:00 p.m.; this celebrated film is rarely screened.

Sunday, October 23
Sophisticated VampLos Angeles Filmforum presents Film/Music/Forms: Early Abstractions of the 1940s and 1950s, a show of experimental abstract films by John and James Whitney, as well as many others, focusing on "meditations on line, space, and movement." The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and John Whitney Jr., Norm Hammond and Demure Scott will attend to answer questions.

UCLA's Fowler Museum presents two documentaries about Cuba. Havana Postmodern: The New Cuban Art by Coco Fusco, Robert Knafo and András Mész, looks at Cuban art on view during the 1986 Havana Biennial; the film includes interviews with artists and students. Unfinished Spaces chronicles the experiences of three architects who left Cuba in 1965, leaving the country's art school construction project unfinished. Havana Postmodern screens at 2:00 p.m.; Unfinished Spaces screens at 3:30 p.m.

Proto Ethnographic WorksMonday, October 24
REDCAT presents Proto-Ethnographic Works, an anthropology-themed survey of work by video artists who participate in the documentation of their subjects. The show features work by Juan Downey, Terese Svoboda, Wendy Clarke and others. Artists Nancy Buchanan, Kathy Rae Huffman, Azian Nurudin and Lowell Darling will be in attendance.

Wednesday, October 25
Open Projector Night with MCs The Sklar Brothers happens tonight at the UCLA Hammer Museum at 7:30 p.m. Bring your own films and videos - everything must be under 10 minutes in length, and projects will be accepted starting at 7:00 p.m.

About the Author

Holly Willis teaches in USC's School of Cinematic Arts and writes about new media art.
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