Media Arts Preview: Low-tech, Tactile and Hand-processed

Soil Desire

With Michael Snow's rigorous structural film, Wavelength, and Haile Gerima's politicized Sankofa leading the way, this week's LA media arts scene offers examples of iconic filmmaking from the past.

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Thursday, November 17
ProvostYoung Projects presents a show of the acclaimed artist Nicolas Provost tonight, with an opening reception, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Provost, who was born in Belgium in 1969, joins a cadre of artists intrigued with cinema, and describes his work as "a reflection on the grammar of cinema and the relation between visual art and the cinematic experience." He continues, "Foremost, I try to grasp our collective film memory and make poetry." The show includes his celebrated exploration of Kurosawa's Rashomon in the short Papillon d'amour, and seven other pieces. The show will remain on view through January 6, 2012.

DEN Contemporary presents an exhibition titled Transmit, featuring the work of six artists, including a video by LA-based media artist Danial Nord. The show opens tonight with a reception 5:00 - 8:30 p.m., and continues through December 23, 2011.

Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin is a feature-length documentary about a civil rights activist who was an advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr., and fought for many years for the rights of blacks and gays in America. The California African American Museum will screen the film, at 7:00 p.m.

A Ray ArrayHuman Resources presents Sarah Rara's A Ray Array, a 58-minute video composed of 16 video chapters "that explore the subject of interference using simple sets, everyday objects, and subtle special effects." The video will be projected in the gallery from 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Friday, November 18
Automata and The Velaslavasay Panorama present Soil Desire People Dance: A Production of Great Small Works, created and performed by Mark Sussman, Roberto Rossi, Jesse Orr and Max Kelly. The project is an ongoing serial performance inspired by the work of writer W.G. Sebald concerning objects as they persist through time. Described as "a fusion of low-tech and tactile with real-time video processing," the performance begins at 8:00 p.m. both tonight and tomorrow night at the Panorama.

Filmmaker Kate Lain brings Field Notes, a series of 11 short films that study nature in Los Angeles, to the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena tonight. The films were imagined as field notes and artist sketches, and were shot on Super 8 and then hand-processed. "It is on one level a series about nature, but it is also an exploration of disconnectedness, appearance, control." The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

WavelengthCinefamily will screen one of the most iconic experimental films ever made tonight with Michael Snow's Wavelength, which consists of a 45-minute tracking show that slowly zooms in on a wall on the far side of a room. The original soundtrack features a sine wave that grows increasingly loud; the show tonight will present the film with its original soundtrack at 7:30 p.m., and with live music by Wrekmeister Harmonies at 10:00 p.m.

SankofaSaturday, November 19
Tonight, UCLA's extraordinary showcase titled LA Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema screens Haile Gerima's Sankofa, an acclaimed portrait of slavery told from the perspective of the enslaved, and Julie Dash's The Diary of an African Nun. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m., and Julie Dash will be in attendance. The series continues tomorrow night with several more films.

UncSunday, November 20
Los Angeles Filmforum's series, Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980, continues tonight with Alarms from the 60s: Experiments in Political Expression at 7:30 pm, at the Egyptian Theatre. The screening features five films, including Penelope Spheeris' The National Rehabilitation Center, a film from 1969 described as "an early mockumentary that has disturbing connections to the present climate of political imprisonment." Four of the filmmakers will be attendance.

Monday, November 21
REDCAT presents Collapse Into Image tonight at 8:30 p.m. The show features work by three media artists - Erika Vogt, Alex Hubbard and William E. Jones - with a focus on "projects by artists who translate their extended, multifaceted creative processes onto the picture plane of the moving image and, through this transposition, invite new thinking about time, space, actions and materials." The screening will be followed by a discussion among the artists, and art critic Joanna Fiduccia.

The IDA presents Doc U: Directing for Documentary: The Interview, moderated by Lisa Leeman with directors Kirby Dick, Ondi Timoner and Marina Zenovich. The group will explore tactics for creating successful onscreen interviews. The event starts at 7:00 p.m. at Cinefamily with a wine reception afterward.

About the Author

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