Media Arts Preview: Radical, Magical and Experimental Films

Magdalena Fernandez

This week's media art scene includes one of the most radical films in the history of cinema, experiments with magic and moving images, and a 24-hour tribute to an L.A. icon.

Thursday, February 23Vanessa Renwick
Portland-based filmmaker Vanessa Renwick (of the Oregon Department of Kick Ass!) brings new work to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in a show curated by Mark Toscano and presented by Filmforum. It will feature the area premiere of Renwick's new piece, Charismatic Megafauna, as well as other work "chosen to complement the Museum's environs, in an exploration of things hauntingly large, fascinatingly small, and beautifully arcane." Renwick is known for her brilliant, experimental documentaries and passion for animals. The show includes five pieces all together, plus the museum will serve tea and cookies, and weather permitting, the screening will take place on the roof. Tickets are limited.

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Moon MedicineInterdisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers performs Moon Medicine tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Hammer Museum. The piece is described as "an aural and optical experiment" and as "an evocative concert that is as much jam session as it is a performative film screening."

Isaac JulienFilmmaker and artist Isaac Julien will speak at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego tonight at 7:00 p.m. in La Jolla in conjunction with his new nine-screen video installation, Ten Thousand Waves. Described as his most ambitious work to date, the piece "poetically weaves together stories linking China's ancient past and present" to explore "the movement of people across countries and continents" and to meditate on unfinished journeys. The piece will be on view through December 1, 2012.

Friday, February 24
LACMA is home to a two-day design symposium titled New Narratives for "Living in a Modern Way": California Design at Mid-century, which starts today at 10:00 a.m., and continues through tomorrow. The keynote panel discussion, Blurring the Boundaries: California Design and Contemporary Art, takes place at 7:00 p.m. and features Jim Isermann, Jorgo Pardo, Pae White and Frances Anderton. The symposium coincides with the California Design exhibition, on through June 3, 2012.

Saturday, February 25
Kelley Day Is DoneFor the Love of Mike responds to the recent death of Los Angeles artist Mike Kelley with a 24-hour screening of videos by the artist. The event begins at 9:00 p.m. tonight, and continues to 9:00 p.m. tomorrow at the Farley Building, 1669 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles.

The Museum of Latin American Art presents an exhibition titled 2iPM009 featuring work, including a video installation, by artist Magdalena Fernández on view through May 27, 2012. "In some of her videos," note the curators, "the sharpness and definition of the geometric shapes is dissolved by the inner movement of those same lines, which transforms them into delicate, living, organic threads." On Sunday, join MOLAA curator Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and panelists Magdalena Fernández, Marco Maggi, Selene Preciado, Barbara Bloemink and Jorge Virgili for a discussion titled On Abstraction, 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Magdalena ViragaWith Nina Menkes: Cinema as Sorcery, UCLA pays tribute to the acclaimed work of the Los Angeles-based filmmaker and tonight presents her 1986 feature Magdalena Viraga, as well as A Soft Warrior from 1981, at the Billy Wilder Theater at 7:30 p.m. In these films, Menkes focuses on the oppression of women with clarity and a formal rigor that creates artworks that smolder with a rare intensity. Speaking of her work with scholar David James in a recent interview, Menkes says of her films, "I want to create a magical world, a separate reality, and I know how to frame out the real world (the so called 'real world'), and only include in my frame the inner world. That's the essence I think."

The Rose Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica presents Selected Work 1975-1985, a show of photographs by LA-based artist Robbert Flick, with an opening tonight, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Corey Arnold Gulf CrossingRichard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica presents new photographs by Corey Arnold, with an opening reception tonight, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Arnold is a photographer and commercial fisherman who captains a wild salmon gillnetting operation in Alaska. His photographs include stunning images of roiling waves, turbulent clouds and, well, fish. The show will be on view through March 31, 2012.

UCLA's Film & Television Archive continues its showcase, Kino-Eye: The Revolutionary Cinema of Dziga Vertov, and will screen the famous city symphony Man With a Movie Camera tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Billy Wilder Theater. A dazzling portrait of life in Moscow in the mid-1920s, the avant-garde film features vibrant compositions and incredible editing, and is considered among "the most radical, and imitated, films in cinema history." This screening presents the West Coast premiere of the EYE Film Institute Netherland's new restoration of the film.

For the Record: An earlier version of this post stated that the On Abstraction event takes place on Saturday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. In fact, it takes place on Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00 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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