Steve Polta and Christine Metropoulos in person
CRATER-LAB presents a double program from San Francisco curated by Steve Polta: the films of the filmmaker and a selection of the CROSSROADS Festival.
CROSSROADS is San Francisco Cinematheque’s annual film festival celebrating recent (and rediscovered) artist-made film, video and performance cinema. Founded in 2010, each year CROSSROADS presents a diverse line up of contemporary work from the international community. It is presented annually over three to four days each Spring, with a rotating cast of supporting venues. In its eight years of existence, CROSSROADS has quickly emerged as a significant international film/video showcase, having become a choice festival for filmmakers to premiere and screen work, and a destination festival for engaged curators, film enthusiasts, like-minded filmmakers and loyal community members. CROSSROADS 2017 showcased 60–70 new film/video works by emerging and established filmmakers, including performance and works of “live cinema” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on May 19-21, 2017.
sea to shining sea (we are stuck on this rock) v.3
San Francisco Cinematheque was founded in 1961 by Bruce Baillie: that is why it is not surprising that it is an area of freedom and an inexhaustible source of inspiration, a wave of expansion that makes reverberate that cinema so important for us in that area of California. Entirely dedicated to experimental, auteur and avant-garde filmmaking, the Cinematheque has organized, since 2010, the Crossroads festival, which every spring exhibits and hosts the most stimulating recent cinema, and also recovers essential works. Its artistic director Steve Polta has managed to gather a selection of impeccable works, grouped in suggestive programs that expand the mind and feed the spirit. From the Bay of San Francisco, Polta brings us a piece of Crossroads through this program of enigmatic title, which he describes as: “Restless views of the new American century. Silenced voices of resistance speak across the rising tides and howling winds. Resilient speculative futures emerge from the dystopian present. Machine eye vision and a call to prayer”.
Azin Seraj, 2015, video, 9 min.
To the alchemists, the crudest base materials concealed a divine spark, a latent, transformative potential obscured within the darkness of matter. Prima Materia draws on the cryptic language of esoteric alchemy to distill, through the use of elemental processes and symbolically charged objects, both the personal experience and psychological phenomenon of surviving trauma. (Azin Seraj)
Anton Ginzburg, 2015, video, 5 min.
An homage to American artists Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt, documenting visits to the locations of Spiral Jetty and Sun Tunnels and engaging with their 1971 film Swamp, which viscerally confronts issues of perception and process. (Anton Ginzburg)
Cauleen Smith, 2014, video, 11 min.
H-E-L-L-O. A simple greeting dispensed as an exchange, a furtive gesture of recognition, goodwill and curiosity. An indomitable spirit has been a New Orleans constant throughout its grand and convoluted history. As a “new” New Orleans emerges and the community-based practices of cultural traditions move to the outer rings of the city—rather than remaining nestled within the Mississippi River’s disinherited crescent remains—there may be some elements granted as “everyday New Orleans” to which its inhabitants must say good-bye. But with an ear pressed to the ground, one might hear a resonant eternal love song for and from the city’s low end. (Kelly Gabron, Chicago 2014)
The Two Sights
Katherin McInnis, 2015, video, 4 min.
Ibn al-Haytham’s Book of Optics debunks theories that the eyes emit rays or that objects project replicas of themselves, and accurately describes the strengths and weaknesses of human vision. The Two Sights is a false translation of this work, using images from the Life magazine photo archive. (Katherin McInnis)
Jamilah Sabur, 2013, video, 12 min.
A love letter to death. Elijah by Mahalia Jackson was playing in the studio and I slipped into a trance, the only goal was “becoming.” When a possum is under threat, it plays dead to avoid death. (Jamilah Sabur)
Robert Todd, video, 16mm, 8 min.
Changing winds, shifting moods, stirring, awaiting… (Robert Todd)
Colour My World
Mike Hoolboom, 2017, video, 3 min.
Three-part colour inquiry. Questions adapted from Frederick Douglass to Jericho Brown bring the hurt. The images have been soaked in water until everything recognizable has been stripped away, leaving behind a wash of colours, a bacterial flow. (Mike Hoolboom)
Christopher Harris, 2016, video, 3 min.
A sunny afternoon on an architecture tour boat in Chicago is haunted by the specter of the European refugee crises as a disembodied narrator recounts a much more dangerous voyage across altogether different waters. The hazardous journey is the unseen other of the carefree trip down the Chicago River and across Lake Michigan. (Christopher Harris)
J.M. Martínez, 2016, video, 3 min.
Spheres of reality in conflict. Nature being structured in the mode of logic and science, human affairs in the mode of story and narrative. Branching out through the forking canopy a chorus of groaning trees beckons and the light refracts illuminating portals for one to enter.
Imagery was achieved in camera and in real-time with a homemade lens made from Dichroic prisms and shards. Sound was recorded on site with contact microphones attached directly to the trees or placed inside existing holes within the trunk. (J.M. Martínez)
Sine at the Canyon Sine at the Sea by Kelly Gabron
Cauleen Smith, 2016, video, 7 min.
Sine at the Canyon Sine at the Sea began as a video designed to be background eye-candy at an outdoor performance event and evolved, at the invitation of Chris Stults and Genevieve Yue, into a protest against the reverberations of the neo-fascist nonsense percolating in American culture right now. (Cauleen Smith)