Memory

An epistolary, musical reimagining of Wuthering Heights by Branwell Brontë — the tubercular, alcoholic and opium-addicted brother of Emily Brontë. When Branwell — the ne’er-do-well, tubercular brother of the Brontë sisters — discovered that Emily was writing her first novel, he offered to be her editor. Once he realized that he was the model for the alcoholic Hindley Earnshaw character, he reimagined the story as a musical memoir of his own life with Hindley as the hero.

Small biographies and musing generalizations--men’s relations to each other and their lives. There is hope and loneliness, companionship and isolation and the simplest of filmic elements to contrast the complexity of human emotions. The delicacy of the formalist writing moves the listener from intimacy to universalism and back again, swaying gently to and fro like the rocking of a ship. The minimalism of the photographic presentation allows the viewer to recognize the humanity in each individual document of a body.

In this interview, political and social theorist, Terry Eagleton (b. 1943), shares stories of his Irish upbringing and British education, and sums up his current engagement with art theory, leftist politics, and spirituality under capitalism. With reference to Henry James, Frederic Jameson, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins, among others, this interview spans a vast landscape of literature and social theory.

Endless Dreams and Water Between is a feature film with four fictitious characters sustaining an epistolary exchange in which their “planetary thought” is woven with the physical locations they inhabit, visual and aural characters in themselves: the island of Manhattan, the island of Majorca, in Spain, and the islands and peninsula that form the San Francisco Bay Area. The characters’ reflections and dreams enact what could be described as “an archipelagic mind,” linking worlds, time, and space.

Over a montage of family photographs, Freed’s narration questions the consistency of memory and self over time, with Freed displaying a quizzical and sometimes hostile relation to her past. In a manner that recalls philosopher Roland Barthes’s poetic unraveling of photography—in particular photography’s power to bind memory and desire within a still image—Freed attempts to uncover the “stranger” that is her childhood self and discover how her past has shaped her present.

Fluid Frontiers is the fifth and final film in the series entitled The Diaspora Suite, exploring Asili’s personal relationship to the African Diaspora. Shot along the Detroit River, Fluid Frontiers explores the relationship between concepts of resistance and liberation, exemplified by the Underground Railroad, Broadside Press, and artworks of local Detroit Artists.

God's Men, 2022

Flesh and blood souls breathe forth the colors of doubt, guilt and a hope for "peace of mind" in a world without moral directions... This video is about strength and weakness, done with human forms assembled and lovingly digitized.

This title comprises The Poet's Battle (2016), NightSchool (2015), Ascension (2013), Lost Blues (2014), and A Rented Space (2015) which were compiled into this form by Mike Kuchar in 2022.

Ground Effect is an investigation of the constantly shifting, 80km long line in Israel, where rainfall amounts to less than 200mm a year on average. This line, which aligns with the global desert belt, cuts from the east, near the West Bank, to the west, near the Gaza strip. It is where I grew up, an area divided between industrial scale agriculture, nature preserves, ancient and recent ruins, Bedouin towns, encampments and olive groves, artificial pine forests planted on contested lands, rural Jewish communities, and military practice zones.

"Superimposing the stories of two women—the filmmaker’s late grandmother and the amateur filmmaker Joan Thurber Baldwin—Home When You Return explores the psychogeographies of mourning through a variety of modes, from documentary to melodrama. Emptied and put up for sale following its matriarch’s passing, the family home becomes the site of a winding tour through polymorphic representations of the past in media and memory." - NYFF Currents

A woman raises her voice and gives a painful and endless speech that with time becomes even more overwhelming, because her words are heartbreaking and permanent impressions in the collective memory, stabbing with words an old Mexican film, a celluloid that tears apart until its disappearance.

This title is also available on the compilation What Was Always Yours and Never Lost.

sometimes, among the rubble of the endless forgetting and re-membering of our personal and collective histories, an artifact emerges. a clue, a document. hard evidence. maybe we struggle to contextualize these fragments, maybe we marry them to other fragments and build new narratives in an attempt to squint back through the past and explain to ourselves how we got here. the information is a short exclamation mark of a video, fragments asserting themselves as whole auto-ethnographies.

Logging and approximating a relationship between audio recordings of the artist and his father, and videos gathered of the landscapes they both separately traversed. The initial distance between the logger and the recordings, of recollections and of songs, new and traditional, narrows while the images become an expanding semblance of filial affect. Jáaji is a near translation for directly addressing a father in the Hočak language.

Kindah, 2016

The Diaspora Suite

The video traverses the history and the memory of a place shared by both the Hočąk and the settler. Red Banks, a pre-contact Hočąk village site near present day Green Bay (WI) was also the site of Jean Nicolet’s landing, who in 1634 was the first European in present day Wisconsin. Images and text are used to explore this space alongside my grandmother’s recollections. Each serve as representations of personal and shared memory, as well as representations of practices and processes of remembrance, from the Hočąk creation story, to Jean Nicolet’s landing, to the present.

La Mesa, 2018

La Mesa explores the intersections of memory, identity and queer desire. It recreates fragmented and romanticized stories of a childhood in rural Mexico as told by the artist’s father. These disjointed vignettes are interwoven with queered reenactments of scenes from popular culture. The artist casts himself in the old Mexican films and American Westerns he grew up watching with his family in California. He appears as the romantic lead opposite the male actors, including Pedro Infante, Mexican national hero and the filmmaker’s childhood crush.

Jake Wells, a professional tattooist, DIY drone builder, FPV (First Person View) flight hobbyist, and possibly the world’s first RC (Remote Control) Christian Minister, shares some of his stories and ideas regarding the connection between religion, drone technology and his personal struggles.

Life Without Dreams is set in the outer space of consciousness, where the surfaces of far out planetary bodies form the terrain for an exploration of 24/7 capitalism, insomnia, and the disappearance of darkness.

"Real time digital buffer recording, light bulb, panning camera motor and turntable. Light Bulb, the title says it almost all. Real time recording events. Two cameras, light bulb, camera panning motor, electric lazy susan, spinning white paper rectangle for the clip. Using the first digital video frame buffer I built together with David Jones, video buffer number one with variable clock. Several minutes of Rube Goldberg like digital electronics and optical props and motors. No computer, just entergetic digital slivers, shimmering and shattering." 

– Peer Bode

Locke’s Way is the photographic path to knowledge, full of twists and turns, treacherously steep. What has happened down here? A family’s photographs tell us everything and nothing about the subterranean past. "One of the central questions of philosophy has always been: what can be known? Locke’s Way provides a vivid illustration of this perennial philosophical dilemma. In this short video, Donigan Cumming is preoccupied with the story of his older brother, who seems to have been brain-damaged and spent much of his life in institutions.

Lost Sound documents fragments of discarded audio tape found by the artists within a small area of East London, combining the sound retrieved from each piece of tape with images of the place where it was found. The work explores the potential of chance, creating portraits of particular places by building formal, narrative, and musical connections between images and sounds, linked by the random discoveries of the tape samples.

The Diaspora Suite

Filmed on location in Salvador, Brazil (the last city in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery) and Harlem, NY ( an international stronghold of the African Diaspora), Many Thousands Gone draws parallels between a summer afternoon on the streets of the two cities. A silent version of the film was given to jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee to use an interpretive score. The final film is the combination of the images and McPhee’s real time “sight reading” of the score.

Memory Palace is a short video grounded in the personal history of the artist. A discovery of a photo album activates memories of physical spaces, which in turn open doors to reminiscences of past family life. Inspired by the classical method of loci, the film presents a woman — singer/songwriter Alice Smith — at work in Los Angeles.

A mirror reflects voiceless eyes with stories to tell, ‘stories’ about feet attempting to climb steps to "perfection"....."stories" about canvasses that are traps for a caged artist who’s paint brush needs colors that will be at peace with itself.

This title comprises Angels We (2015), Feathered Hearts (2015), and Flesh and the Stars (2018) which were compiled into this form by Mike Kuchar in 2022.

Morayngava: the “design of things.” Yngiru: the box of the spirits, the films, just like xaman dreams. This is how the Asurini define video, which has just arrived in their village. After discovering that it is possible to store their images, the old men lament that they never stored images of their ancestors and decided to register the initiation of a xaman, a tradition threatened by new times.

Directed by Virginia Valadão and Regina Müller.

In Assurini with English subtitles.

Morayngava: the “design of things.” Yngiru: the box of the spirits, the films, just like xaman dreams. This is how the Asurini define video, which has just arrived in their village. After discovering that it is possible to store their images, the old men lament that they never stored images of their ancestors and decided to register the initiation of a xaman, a tradition threatened by new times.

Directed by Virginia Valadão and Regina Müller.

In Assurini with English subtitles.