Wednesday, November 9, 2016, 8:00 pm

Perpetual Motion, Program Five: Spectres

Raha Raissnia + Panagiotis Mavridis / Kerry Laitala + Voicehandler / John Davis


2665 Mission Street

San Francisco

presented by San Francisco Cinematheque in association with Gray Area
Admissions: Early Bird $10; Presales $15; Door $20 / Cinematheque members $8 (DOOR ONLY)
Advance tickets here.
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SAN FRANCISCO CINEMATHEQUE and GRAY AREA present PERPETUAL MOTION, the largest convergence of international, multi-generational performance cinema practitioners ever assembled in the San Francisco Bay Area. The series is presented September 16–December 7, 2016. All performances at Gray Area.

Performance Cinema: an exciting and emergent genre of avant-garde moving-image art which represents a crucial attack on the sterility of the contemporary, digitally-located media environment, arguing for the embodied, collective consideration of real-time, site-specific media experiences. Through mis-used or modified analog film projectors, live video synthesis and physical interaction with the media interface, performance cinema practitioners variously burn, etch, mutilate and destroy projected film, machinery and the image itself. Performance Cinema practitioners create immersive spectacles of sight and sound, opening a space for questioning and contemplating visual culture through direct activation of the senses. As a dynamic, regenerating and resurrecting media experience, Performance Cinema exists only in the moment of perception and is truly an art of its time. Full series information available here.

Kerry Laitala (San Francisco) + Voicehandler (Oakland) /
Raha Raissnia 
(Tehran/Brooklyn) Panagiotis Mavridis (Greece/Brooklyn) / John Davis (Vallejo)

In evoking liminal states of consciousness through the use of custom-made screens, elaborate projection arrays and multi-planed, layered imagery, the works on this program explore imagined histories, the nature of memories, literal and metaphoric travel and motion. Kerry Laitala’s The City Luminous: Electric Salome (featuring dancer/choreographer Jenny Stulberg and with live soundtrack by Voicehandler) celebrates the groundbreaking light/costume/dance innovations of Loie Fuller (1862–1928) as a progenitor of Performance Cinema itself while imagining the fantastical Panama Pacific International Exhibition presented in San Francisco in 1915. The Tehran-born, Brooklyn-based Raha Raissnia—in her first ever Bay Area appearance—performs Mneme-3 and Litany, two performance works for 16mm film, projected slides and hand-painted screens. “In Greek mythology Mneme is one of the three muses. She is memory personified. Mneme puts together bits and pieces from the past and forms new meaning in the present.” Raissnia’s projections are accompanied by live soundtrack by Panagiotis Mavridis, performing on hand-made instruments—Tetraphono, Violautomato (Bass and Cello)—each “automated members of the Viol family”—and Three String Cymbal, incorporating, variously, contact microphones, brass piping, human vocalizations and strings. Finally, John DavisThe Dreaming Skull activates Gray Area’s Proscenium with four spatialized quadrophonic film/audio channels representing the four points of the compass, exploring the concept of navigation. Building on personal and psychological narratives, The Dreaming Skull canters on parallels between the known and the unknown, the conscious and the subconscious, the corporeal and the metaphysical, the banal and the ecstatic.

5. 10-26 Davis Portrait

John Davis

Expanding the relationship between moving image and sound with live performance and studio-based projects, the work of John Davis elicits sensory response through familiar and unexpected uses of traditional media, promoting altered perception and ecstatic experience for audiences. Utilizing original, archival and found footage source material, Davis’ films and videos incorporate personal, nostalgic and cultural themes to create unique works that promote engagement through the re-presentation of the familiar. Through live performance and collaboration with other media artists, Davis alternates as both musician and filmmaker. Improvisation generally defines these exchanges, allowing spontaneity and chance over formal rehearsal to guide the work. John's recent collaborators have included Lawrence Jordan, Craig Baldwin, Paul Clipson, Kerry Laitala, Mary Helena Clark, Joshua Churchill and Suki O’Kane, among others.

5. 11-9 (USE) Portrait Laitala

Kerry Laitala

Kerry Laitala is a media archaeologist whose works span the territories of photography and expanded cinema performances, to 3D video and sculptural installation. Laitala’s work synthesizes ideas and ephemera from the realms of science, history and technology. Her multifarious investigations into evolving systems of belief involve installation, photography, para-cinema, performance, kinetic sculpture and single-channel forms. She studied photography and film at the Massachusetts College of Art and currently teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute. Laitala has won two Golden Gate Awards from the San Francisco International Film Festival, was awarded the Princess Grace Award for film in 1996 and PGF’s Special Grant in 2004, 2007, 2015 and 2016.



Voicehandler is the duo of Jacob Felix Heule and Danishta Rivero. Their foundation is in voice and percussion performance, and they have made extensive use of live electronics. Their first album, song cycle, combines textural acoustic improv, noise, and song forms in compositions based on writings by Borges, Burroughs, and Hamsun. They have also recently composed and performed music for Christine Bonansea's interdisciplinary performance piece Floaters.

Raha Raissnia

Raha Raissnia

Raha Raissnia (b. 1968, Tehran) is a Brooklyn-based artist whose practice encompasses painting, drawing, filmmaking and performance. She gained exposure to avant-garde filmmaking as an intern at Anthology Film Archives. Creating layered works in various mediums, her performances have involved projecting films and slides onto her large paintings, with musical accompaniment. Raissnia has collaborated with musicians such as Charles Curtis, Briggan Krauss, Dalius Naujo and Aki Onda. Raissnia received a B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1992) and an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute (2002). She has been an Adjunct Professor of Drawing at the City College of New York, and Parsons the New School of Design.

Artist Statement: All three areas of my practice—painting, drawing, and filmmaking—are interconnected and interdependent. My films and paintings influence one another, and through creating drawings I investigate this influence. My painting practice brings and adds elements of abstraction to the vision I capture onto film and my films bring in elements of reality into my paintings. What reveals itself as a subject matter in all my work is of human vulnerability. Although at times my work seems to allude to the dismal, my philosophy is optimistic and believes in human integrity. My process is layered and permutational. It makes use of both old and new technologies and relies heavily on what my hands can achieve. Music and sound play a major role in both inspiring and forming completed works. I physically modify my projectors, mainly 16mm, super 8 and slide projectors and play them like musical instruments.

Panagiotis Mavridis

Panagiotis Mavridis

Panagiotis Mavridis (b.1980, Athens) works with sculpture, drawing and sound. In recent years he has been involved in designing and making musical instruments that combine electronic and acoustic principles. Mavridis received his BFA in painting from The Athens School of Fine Arts in 2004. From 2003 to 2007 he was the artistic director and owner of Qbox Gallery in Athens, Greece. He moved to New York in 2010 and received his MFA from City College of New York in 2012. He has performed and presented his work at 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale, Italy, Ε.Δ.Ω., Athens, Greece, Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, P.S.1, NY, Museum of Modern Art, NY,  The Drawing Center, NY among others. Mavridis has been an adjunct professor of art history, print making and photography at City College of New York since 2013. He lives and works in Brooklyn.

Perpetual Motion is a presentation of San Francisco Cinematheque in partnership with Gray Area and is supported by generous funding from the Fleishhacker FoundationSan Francisco Arts CommissionSan Francisco Hotel Tax Fund/Grants for the ArtsThe Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual ArtsThe Phyllis C. Wattis FoundationZellerbach Family Foundation and by generous donations from Cinematheque’s individual donors and members.

pictured above—Kerry Laitala: The City Luminous—Electric Salome