Sunday, June 9, 2019, 4:45 pm

CROSSROADS program 9

century plant in bloom


151 Third Street (between Mission & Howard Streets)

San Francisco, CA 94103

presented by San Francisco Cinematheque and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Community Partner: Artists’ Television Access

anticipated artists in person: Zachary Epcar, Salma Shamel, Syd Staiti and Eric Stewart
pictured above: Helios (2018) by Eric Stewart

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Single Screening Admission:
$12 general/$10 Cinematheque and SFMOMA members with member code. Single Screening advance tickets available here.
CROSSROADS festival day pass (Saturday & Sunday only): $25
CROSSROADS festival day pass provides admission to all daily CROSSROADS screenings and general admission access to SFMOMA galleries (including Pat O’Neill: Three Answers).
Sunday, June 9 CROSSROADS festival day pass available here.
NOTE: Admission to the special exhibition Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again is not included with the festival day pass but can be purchased here.

Far-reaching and speculative video essays on digital archives, the 2011 Egyptian revolution and the visuality of contemporary surveillance cap a program on landscape, space and time in our technological and political moment. Considering magnetic desert ufology, exploring the lovely and lonely landscapes of local BART parking lots, and contemplating the aesthetics of Croatian military camouflage, these films ponder the place of humans in our mediated twenty-first century. Night vision cameras, binoculars, heat detectors and drones have their own ways of seeing the world. The landscape appears flat. The drone knows. There are 360 points in a circle.


POINTS (2019) by Syd Staiti (US); digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes, exhibition file from the maker
          There are 360 points in a circle. My father tells me his theory of how to make a UFO using magnetism. The desert points without and within. (Syd Staiti)

Life After Love (2018) by Zachary Epcar (US); digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes, exhibition file from the maker
          A shifting in the light of the lot, where parked cars become containers for a collective estrangement. (Zachary Epcar)

The Air of the Earth in Your Lungs (2018) by Ross Meckfessel (US); 16mm, color, sound, 11 minutes, print from the maker
          Drones and GoPros survey the land while users roam digital forests, oceans, and lakes. Those clouds look compressed. That tree looks pixelated. A landscape film for the 21st century. (Ross Meckfessel)

Helios (2018) by Eric Stewart (US); 16mm, color, sound, 6 minutes, print from the maker
          Time-lapses of cacti and succulent over the course of a year. Environmental data drives the tone and filtration of the sounds while the rising and setting of the sun illuminates plant growth in and out phase with each each other. (Eric Stewart)

Those That Tremble as if They Were Mad (2018) by Salma Shamel (Egypt/US); digital video, color, sound, 12 minutes, exhibition file from the maker world premiere
          A committee was formed by the Egyptian government in the wake of the 2011 revolution to assemble an archive of the recent past. After a series of unfortunate events, the committee was dissolved. Those That Tremble as if They Were Mad is a story of failure and relief, a story told through an ephemera of empty certificates, unsigned contracts, and uncelebrated witnesses. (Salma Shamel)

Waypoint, Follow, Orbit, Focus, Track, Pan (2017) by eteam (US); digital video, color, sound, 15 minutes, exhibition file from Video Data Bank bay area premiere
          Every country employs specific techniques for disguising its soldiers, every army has developed its own camouflage uniforms. Croatia is one of the few countries in the world that uses a digitized shape of its own territory in its camouflage military design. Why? The question is not meant to be answered by human reason. It does not relate to the perception of human eyes. Night vision cameras, binoculars, heat detectors and drones have their own ways of seeing the world.
          Waypoint, Follow, Orbit, Focus, Track, Pan tries to understand the mission of an unmanned aerial vehicle. How do drones perceive humans? What do drones mean for humanity? The investigation takes place in areas where the Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995, leaving behind 20,000 dead, 35,000 wounded, 500,000 refugees and displaced persons, with many more missing. Despite having an overview, the drone doesn’t perceive any of this.
          The sky is blue. Everything is still. Bodies blend into forests. Equipment merges into fields of sunflowers. A cloud moves and reveals the sun. Bodies and objects on the ground block the light rays, and cast shadows of their three-dimensional volume on the ground. The enemy knows. One of the biggest challenges of the aerial view is the perception of depth. If the camera eye of a drone, high up in the sky, points straight down at noon, the landscape appears flat. Completely open, the territory becomes a cover-up for every object on its surface. The drone knows. It lowers from the objective God’s eye view to eye level, switches into the calculated circling of the predator. It hovers. Approaches, reproaches, menacing like an insect ready to deliver a deadly sting.
          We lay down on the surface of the salty water. Close our eyes and start floating. We feel the wind the drone’s propellers are making on our arms and legs, our chest, our faces; feel the ripples around the outlines of our bodies. Then the wind gets less and less noticeable. The drone is rising, gets further and further away; flies higher and higher up into the sky. We get smaller and smaller, and smaller. The last thing we feel before we disappear is our own irrelevance. (eteam)


CROSSROADS 10 is generously supported by the George Lucas Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fleishhacker Foundation, San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund/Grants for the Arts, the Willow Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Cinematheque’s Members and Donors.