Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Films on Radical Women in the Arts

I'm currently working on a zine for an upcoming exhibit + zine release at BOOKMACHINE books + zines called "Our Eyes, Spinning Like Propellers: a Year of Films at Hibbleton Gallery," which is curated by my friend, filmmaker Steve Elkins.  For the past year, we have been screening art films every week that Steve selects.  The zine will be a kind of retrospective of the 50 plus films we've watched together.  As I'm working on it, I thought I'd share with you some of the films, plus Steve's descriptions of them.  We kicked off our film screenings with a series of films exploring radical women in the arts.  Here's what we watched…

"In The Mirror of Maya Deren" (2002):  

Ukranian artist Maya Deren almost single-handedly pioneered experimental filmmaking in Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s, and became possibly the only white woman initiated into Voudoun (voodoo) in Haiti. Martina Kudláček’s haunting portrait of Maya explores her creative path through film, religious possession in dance, ritual involving children’s games, Balinese trance, and the study of cultures whose most sacred uses of the human body seek either control or surrender to nature. Score by John Zorn. 

"Touch The Sound" (2004):  

Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie is profoundly deaf. After abandoning her hearing aids, she discovers that you can hear music better through your body the moment you stop trying to use your ears. A powerful challenge to conventional notions of what it means to be hearing impaired, and a meditation on the nature of listening as a transformative process, from Thomas Riedelscheimer, director of “Rivers and Tides.”

"The Artist Is Present" (2012):  

A documentary about Serbian artist Marina Abramovic who explores the limitations of the human body, often risking her life in the process. Marina and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again. At her 2010 MOMA retrospective, Marina brings her work to a kind of culmination, challenging herself to be fully present to each stranger who sits in front of her, sharing eye contact in silence. Ulay arrives unexpectedly. 

"Born Into Brothels" (2004):  

Zana Briski is a New York City photographer who moves into the red light district of Calcutta to document the lives of the women there. She decides to put cameras in the hands of the children who are born and raised in the brothels and teach them about photography, not only to see that world through their eyes, but to give them the chance to find beauty in their lives and in themselves.  When she discovers how powerfully it transforms their view of themselves and the world around them, Briski goes on to develop photography workshops in marginalized communities around the world, working with Israeli and Palestinian children to better understand each other's lives in Jerusalem's Old City, Haitian child domestic servants, and children living in garbage-collecting communities in Cairo.    

The opening reception for this art show + zine release + video installation is Friday, June 6th, 2014 from 6-10pm, during the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk.

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