Stephanie Barber: jhana and the rats of james olds
presented in association with the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University
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Deeply philosophical, frequently humorous and deceptively simple in form, the films, video works, poetry and book projects of Stephanie Barber operate at the intersections of spoken, written, composed, conversational and incidental language, reflecting shifting experiential qualities and varying modes of address. This two-part series showcases two major recent works by this prolific Baltimore-based artist: selections from the 30-part series jhana and the rats of james olds (February 12) and the feature-length DAREDEVILS (February 14). In conjunction with this series, Cinematheque is proud to present a beautiful limited-edition publication jhana and the rats of james olds by Stephanie Barber, designed and printed by People I’ve Loved and Colpa Press. This publication is available for sale at each screening and through our online store.
Between June 25–August 7, 2011, Stephanie Barber, in residence at the Baltimore Museum of Art, created one video a day for an entire month, creating (often with the participation of museum visitors) an extended video series—jhana and the rats of james olds (or 31 days/31 videos)—inspired by meditative practice and Oulipo games. Barber on her process in creating the series writes:
I am thinking about the emphasis given to product over production, or display over creation. The piece is a video screening and an installation and a performance—a spiritual obeisance, an athletic braggadocio, a consideration of Marxist theories of production (with the assembly line so lovingly lit). It is a funny game for me to play, an exercise in concentration, discipline and focus, an extension of my everyday. It is a greedy desire to squeeze a massive amount of work out of myself; a dare; a show I would like to see myself. […] I’m interested in the tedious and repetitive qualities of meditation and art work, the difference and similarities in these two practices. […] Like all pieces of art, this project is accordion in its intentions, shrinking and expanding upon use.
Hardly tedious, the concise works in the jhana… series sparkle with quick wit and deep ruminations on everyday failures and joy. This screening will feature a selection of titles from the series to be determined (and discussed) by Barber.