After Hours: Films of Karen Yasinsky is a two-part retrospective presented in association with the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University. Program One screens Friday, February 23. Details here. Completely different programs each night.
An uneasy wind blows through Karen Yasinsky’s […] films. It rustles clothing indoors and makes green grass wiggle in unnatural ways. It sends tumbleweed rolling east and west. A sense of dislocation and a disturbing tranquility share a stage where everything is in constant motion or very, very still. Her characters are awkward and anatomically incorrect, and sometimes you can see up their skirts. Their arms and legs twitch restlessly, and then suddenly they stand up and twirl like jewelry-box ballerinas. There is no storyboard, no dialogue. Silence and sound alternate, forming a conversation of their own, while the music is most often a chorus of otherworldly voices and instruments—a fitting accompaniment for the ragtag band of magical homemade figures that form Yasinsky’s cast. (Laurie Simmons: Essay. Hammer Museum.)
Using hand-made puppets, quirky rotoscoped animation and re-purposed footage (citing the likes of Cassavetes, Bresson and Tarkovsky among others), the films of Karen Yasinsky address deep themes of empathy, violence, spiritual grace and redemption as they veer between the cloyingly cute and the viscerally confrontational. As part of a short San Francisco residency, Yasinsky appears in person to present a two-part survey of works. SCREENING (Saturday only!): Rice (2018, by Stephanie Barber and Karen Yasinsky); Who’s Your True Love? (2003); After Hours (2013–14); I Choose Darkness (2009); Marie (2010); Life is an Opinion, Fire A Fact (2012); Audition (2012); The Perpetual Motion of My Love For You (2015); Green, Green (2018, work-in progress premiere)
[…] I’m most interested in things that we’re capable of experiencing that have nothing to do with language. I’m interested in violence, not how it feels to be hurt but how we process violence within the world. I’m very interested in desire and the emotions that are unresolved, that bring up challenges. (Karen Yasinsky Talks Surrealist Animation and Boredom (an interview with Kyle Harris): Westworld)
Art is religion: art is this transcendence. When it is at its best, when it hasn’t been acculturated, it can be strange and difficult. Art doesn’t have to be understood to powerfully connect with us and move us on a non-verbal level. I don’t think about heaven or paradise, I think when we die we die. But I do think that while we are here, we have art and that can give hope. The ability to create things that try to make sense of things that don’t make sense, is the best thing we have. (Karen Yasinsky interviewed by Mark Alice Durant: Saint Lucy)
pictures above: After Hours (2013) by Karen Yasinsky