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Secret Stories

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Fresh from the New York Film Festival's prestigious showcase titled "Views From the Avant-Garde" earlier this month, Janie Geiser will present a selection of old and recent work at USC on Thursday (October 21 at 7:00 p.m.). The LA-based puppet, theater and film artist whose work across multiple stage and media platforms is never less than tantalizing, has recently completed several new short animations, including Kindless Villain, a rumination on war told through the journey of two boys wandering through a stone fortress.

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Geiser, who teaches at CalArts, began making animations in the mid-1990s and often mixes found images and objects in her work, creating multi-layered explorations of past and present. In an interview several years ago, Geiser said that she liked the way "inanimate objects are able to speak," and her work hovers precisely at the boundary between animate and inanimate, between what is speakable and what remains mute, between what is alive and what isn't. Martin Heidegger once mused that the difference between animals and humans is the ability to speak, as well as the ability to experience death as death. "The essential relation between death and language flashes up before us, but remains unthought," Heidegger wrote. In Geiser's magical films, we witness that flash: objects speak, and they speak profoundly about loss, and by extension, life. Geiser will screen Kindless Villain, as well as several of earlier films, including The Fourth Watch, Terrace 49, Magnetic Sleep and Lost Motion, and will answer questions following the screening.

Secret Stories: The Films of Janie Geiser
Thursday, October 21, 7:00 p.m.
Ray Stark Family Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 108

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