Saturday, July 22, 2017, 5:00 pm

If It Makes You Happy (Traces)

Presented as part of EXiS 2017


Solids melt. Liquids become gas. Molten forms congeal. All becomes data, organized yet ephemeral. The entropic physical world succumbs the platonic grid and web. Alternately fascinated with and fearful of the fluidity of capital and the eternity of objects, the films on this program flirt—with highly ambivalent (yet unabashed) thrill—with the allure of the plastic, the eternity of youth, the electro-kick of glitch and game, the eternal/infernal joy of the perfect pop tune and (of course) the worship of false idols.

This program is derived from CROSSROADS 2017, presented by San Francisco Cinematheque in slightly different programmatic form in May 2017 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Curated by Steve Polta.

Danaya Chulphuthiphong (Thailand): Night Watch (9 min.)
Erin Weisgerber (Canada): Traces (5 min.)
Jamilah Sabur (US): Playing Possum (12 min.)
Peter Burr (US): Pattern Language (11 min.)
Zachary Epcar (US): Return to Forms (10 min)
Christina Nguyen (US): You Don’t Own Me (6 min.)
Andrew Norman Wilson (US): Ode to Seekers 2012 (9 min.)

Night Watch (2014) by Danaya Chulphuthiphong; digital video, color, sound, 9 minutes, exhibition file from the maker
An ordinary night during the coup d’état. The 2014 Thai coup d’état on May 22, which was declared after months of anti-government protests, is warmly welcomed by the middle class in Bangkok but seriously reduces the rights and the freedom of expression. (Danaya Chulphuthiphong)

Traces (2014) by Erin Weisgerber; 16mm, black and white, sound, 5 minutes, print from the maker
Trace n. 1. a. A visible mark, such as a footprint, made or left by the passage of a person, animal, or thing. b. Evidence or an indication of the former presence or existence of something; a vestige. 2. A barely perceivable indication. (Erin Weisgerber)

Playing Possum (2013) by Jamilah Sabur; digital video, black and white, sound, 12 minutes, exhibition file from the maker
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. The space in the studio became a world I felt close to—I was underwater on the moon. In composing the video during the editing process, I composed a score for the first two-thirds but used American composer Jon Forshee’s score Sinew as the structure to edit the video. I wanted to create an atmosphere in the video that appears to be like the changes in ambient pressure, like what happens to a body that slips into the cold airless void, when the human body is suddenly exposed to the vacuum of space or deep water—sudden depressurization. (Jamilah Sabur)

Pattern Language (2016) by Peter Burr; digital video, black and white, sound, 11 minutes, exhibition file from the maker
“Pattern Language” is a term coined by architect Christopher Alexander to quantify the aliveness of certain human ambitions through an index of structural patterns. Some advocates of this design approach claim that ordinary people can use it to successfully solve very large, complex design problems. In this film, highly organized and richly layered patterns move in accordance with audio frequencies and rhythms, towards the construction of an endlessly mutating labyrinth. (Peter Burr)

Return to Forms (2016) by Zachary Epcar; digital video, color, sound, 10 minutes, exhibition file from the maker
A constellation of objects, each emerging into the soft peach-light void of an indeterminate condominium space. (Zachary Epcar)

You Don’t Own Me (2014) by Christina C Nguyen; digital video, color, sound, 6 minutes, exhibition file from the maker
An obsession with Lesley Gore’s T.A.M.I. Show performance of “You Don’t Own Me.” (Christina C Nguyen)

Ode to Seekers 2012 (2016) by Andrew Norman Wilson; digital video, color, sound, 9 minutes, exhibition file from the maker
Ode to Seekers 2012 is an infinite loop that celebrates the existence of mosquitoes, syringes and oil derricks via a translation of the formal techniques of John Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn from printed text to video. (Andrew Norman Wilson)

pictured above: Ode to Seekers 2012 by Andrew Norman Wilson