Media Arts Preview: Saul Bass, Lynne Ramsay & Kara Walker

Kara Walker
This week's media art scene includes exciting new work from artist Kara Walker, a new feature film by brilliant filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, and a new book on the great designer Saul Bass.

Thursday, December 8
Casey StorefrontLA-based artist Casey Anderson will create a participatory installation tonight at Machine Project at 8:00 p.m. Here's how he describes it: "Various prompts will invite the audience to listen to a wide range of chaotic circuits (inside) through Machine's recessed storefront window/plaza (outside) via contact microphones and portable amplifiers. The audience will be encouraged to interact with the already present ambient sounds of the environment, as well as thoroughly investigate the resonance(s) of the window and the possible interference caused by moving throughout the plaza."

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Drifting CloudsFinnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki is celebrated at LACMA tonight with screenings of two of his films, namely the deadpan comedy-drama La Vie de Bohème at 7:30 p.m., followed by Drifting Clouds at 9:20 p.m., which is about a working class couple who lose their jobs. The film "captures both the quiet despair of being unmoored and the heartening bond of love that serves as its antidote."

Friday, December 9
The Echo Park Film Center celebrates its 10th anniversary with three days and nights of screenings, workshops, music, food and more. Check the EPFC site for full a full list of the events, which include a family filmmaking workshop on Saturday, silent film screenings in a Vons parking lot Saturday night, and punk rock and cinema on Sunday.

Passing ThroughHaile Gerima's 1976 film Harvest: 3,000 Years, his first feature set in Africa, screens tonight at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum as part of UCLA's ongoing series L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema. Writes Shannon Kelley, "In this early work, Gerima strove for something more than an individual story, achieving a bracing polemic and an impassioned narrative of bleak and haunting beauty." The film screens at 7:30 p.m. The series continues tomorrow night with Larry Clark's Passing Through from 1977, and Charles Burnett's When it Rains from 1995.

We Need to Talk About KevinAcclaimed filmmaker Lynne Ramsay returns to the screen with We Need to Talk About Kevin, starring Tilda Swinton as a mother whose sociopathic son goes on a killing spree. The new film, which has earned strong reviews by critics who label it a horror film, but one that features the filmmaker's associative style, will play for one week at Cinefamily, starting tonight.

Sunday, December 11
Kara Walker, who was born in Stockton and has earned international acclaim for her explorations of race, gender and sexuality, will talk about her work today with theater critic Hilton Als at 2:00 p.m. at the Hammer Museum. Prior to the talk, starting at 11:00 a.m., the museum will screen nine videos by Walker, including three new works. Says the Hammer, "With biting humor, Walker comments on race, slavery and liberation, sexual attraction and exploitation, discrimination and modernity." The videos will screen continuously from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Monday, December 12
REDCAT presents experimental filmmaker Naomi Uman and a show titled The Ukrainian Time Machine, focusing on the artist's trip to a tiny Ukrainian village in 2006, where she discovered a lifestyle that had not changed in a century. She decided to create a series of 16mm films that act as "precise miniatures of a rural life that's fading," while also keeping a video diary. Tonight's screening presents the results of this study.

Bass VertigoTuesday, December 13
The groundbreaking designer Saul Bass is celebrated in a stunning new book - Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design - which was co-written by design historian Pat Kirkham and Jennifer Bass, Saul's daughter, who also designed the book. They will talk about many of the great projects created by the LA-based designer throughout his 60-year career, highlighting his reinvention of movie title design in the 1950s, his iconic logo design through the 1960s, and his own work as a filmmaker. A book signing will follow the program, which takes place at the Hammer Museum tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Steven Lavine, the president of CalArts, will talk with Barcelona artist Frederic Amat, who is a painter, sculptor, filmmaker
and scene designer, and has worked successfully across various media. His work includes set designs for dance and theater stagings of texts by García Lorca, Beckett, Koltès and Octavio Paz, as well as a new film on Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi, which will screen tonight as part of the event. The conversation begins at 8:30 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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