CROSSROADS 2022 Online Echo 1
program online September 22–October 16
By popular demand, Cinematheque proudly presents the CROSSROADS 2022 online echo, a two-program, cross-sectional sampler of select works representing themes of the year’s festival. Opening with a dizzying contemplation of night skies set to ethereal radiophonics, shadows tremble contrasts inner explorations of the dark world of screens and the echo chambers of contemporary media to considerations of the realities of bodies in urban spaces, interwoven by meditations on generational legacies and ruptures and rhapsodic portrayals of beauty in decay.
SCREENING: Curve the Night Sky (2021) by Peggy Ahwesh (US); digital video, color, sound, 5 minutes. THAT WAS WHEN I THOUGHT I COULD HEAR YOU (2021) by Matt Whitman (US); digital video, color, silent, 9 minutes. The Girl Who Is (2021) by Sara Sowell (US); digital video, b&w, sound, 6 minutes. Paper Bag Test (2019) by Trevon Jakaar Coleman (US); digital video, color, sound, 5 minutes. Wasteland No. 3: Moons, Sons (2021) by Jodie Mack (US/UK); 16mm, color, silent, 5 minutes. Feriado (2021) by Azucena Losana (Mexico/Argentina); digital video, b&w, sound, 2 minutes. Configurations (2021) by James Edmonds (UK/Germany); 16mm, color, sound, 8 minutes. Solace (2021) by Chantal Partamian (Lebanon): digital video, color, sound, 1 minute. from time without beginning (2021) by Lorenzo Gattorna (US); digital video, color, sound, 7 minutes. Estuary (2021) by Ross Meckfessel (US); 16mm, color, sound, 12 minutes. Dreams Under Confinement (2020) by Christopher Harris (US); digital video, color, sound, 3 minutes. TRT: 64 — Full details on this year’s festivals: CROSSROADS 2022 & CROSSROADS 2022 online echo.
The summer of 2020 I spent most nights outdoors alone transfixed by the theater of the stars and the dance of the fireflies. My sense of time expanded and slowed but the time-lapse camera condenses and speeds up the experience, in seeming contradiction. I waved my arms to trip the neighbors’ motion-sensitive lights to magical effect on the trees in my backyard. (Peggy Ahwesh)
That was when I thought I could hear you on petals, on fire, and on the edge of the bridge. (Matt Whitman)
Conjuring Freud’s id while watching America’s Next Top Model. 16mm hand-processed in Milwaukee WI. Text by Kirsten Schmid.
I’m not like other girls
People say that
But for me
Its true because
I don’t have a body
I’m just one element
Of the psyche
In between spaces; A camera test for access. Exploring alleyways through camera exposure and examining technological, geographic and social exclusion, this film uses the “Paper Bag Test” and camera exposure principles to address the language and conventions of cinematographic technology/technique and its implications. (Trevon Jakaar Coleman)
A world tender and unhatched, Future chaos in repose, in slumber. Yggdrasil. Microcosmos. Batter in a bowl. A living wreath. Oleander hyacinth blow away dandelion, particles of an interplanetary lullaby.
Dedicated to the one I love.
Desiccated attic must
momento mori in grace engraved.
With the loss of the imaginary and the real, I am unspeakable
as one remembers I once was this…
before myself, and then nothing, before I could touch the envelope that is right before me, translucent,
When I could cry but could not answer.
— Darcy Shreve
The electromagnetic landscapes of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro go by on an irregular basis and it is possible to see what’s outside the frame. This image hacking its connected to the poem E se Jesus fosse preto (And If Jesus Was Black) from the Brazilian poet Bruno Negrão, who proposes a new way to imagine some of our ingrained beliefs. (Azucena Losana)
The little personal myths and structures we set up to aid the survival of the psyche in times of low harvest. Finding subtle points of reference in subject and camera movement, in the landscape, its details and the traditions of the season, I attempt to connect the outside with the embodied camera and the inward gesture of the brushmark. (James Edmonds)
When the Beirut explosion occurred, my first thought was that of relief that my grandmother had passed a year and some before. The best hours to sit outside among her plants and flowers were those of sunsets. How does one mourn when they are grateful for the occurrence of some deaths as salvation? How does one mourn when in separation, we spare the ones we love the end of their world? (Chantal Partamian)
Empedocles spoke of “non-generated elements” (fire, water, earth, air), “which never have a beginning or an end” and from which “all the things that were and will be, and the things that are” were born…. Rubbing dichotomies and complementarity, Lorenzo Gattorna films the elemental pillars of the world and holds them together with the elementary ones of cinema: light, dark, black and white, color, abstraction and figuration, raw film. The latter in particular is shown naked, an atom of images, pure matter, pure light, pure space. This world, filmed by filmmakers, is not very different from Empedocles’, yet it has not had enough of being represented. (Laterale Film Festival, 2021) Sound Design/Music by Trevor Welch.
When you question the very nature of your physical reality it becomes much easier to see the cracks in the system. Estuary charts the emotional landscape of a time in flux. Inspired by the proliferation of computer-generated social media influencers and the growing desire to document and manipulate every square inch of our external and internal landscapes, the film considers the ramifications of a world where all aspects of life are curated and malleable. As time goes on all lines blur into vector dots. (Ross Meckfessel)
Frenzied voices on the Chicago Police Department’s scanner call for squad cars and reprisals during the 2020 uprising in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, as Google Earth tracks the action through simulated aerial views of urban spaces and the vast Cook County Department of Corrections, the country’s third-largest jail system. In Christopher Harris’ Dreams Under Confinement, the prison and the street merge into a shared carceral landscape. (NYFF)
Peggy Ahwesh (US) is a Brooklyn-based media artist whose work has traversed a variety of technologies and styles in an inquiry into feminism, cultural identity and genre. She was featured in Whitney Biennial Exhibition (1991, 1995, 2002) and is represented by Microscope Gallery, New York. Vision Machines, a survey of media works, was presented at Spike Island (2021) and traveled to Kunsthall Stavanger (2022). Now Professor Emeritus, Ahwesh taught media production and history at Bard College, the Bard Prison Initiative and al-Quds Bard College, West Bank, Palestine.
Matt Whitman (US) is an artist and filmmaker working with 16mm and Super-8mm motion picture film. His films have recently screened at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the Winnipeg Underground Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, ANALOGICA, Fracto Experimental Film Encounter, Kinoscop, Process Festival, Light Matter, Light Field, Microscope Gallery and other venues. He lives and works in Brooklyn and has taught at Parsons School of Design since 2014.
Sara Sowell (US) is a film editor and multidisciplinary artist who works in moving image, performance and sound. Her films and videos undermine the legacies of art and media production throughout history, including Dada, Surrealism, reality television and cinema’s prehistory. Her work has shown in venues, galleries and festivals including The Wexner Center, Antimatter [Media Art], ANALOGICA, Athens International Film and Video Festival, and The Film-Makers’ Cooperative. She is currently teaching multidisciplinary arts and film courses in Milwaukee WI.
Trevon Jakaar Coleman (US) is a Caricaturist, Studio Artist, Filmmaker and Educator from Maryland. Trevon’s film works have been viewed at Mimesis Documentary Festival, Florida Film Festival, Slamdance Film Festival, Onion City Experimental Film +Video Festival, and the Walker Art Center, among other venues. Trevon is currently in progress on several projects including two trilogy anthologies, a feature-length documentary and film/video installation.
Jodie Mack (US/UK) is an experimental animator who received her MFA in film, video and new media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. Combining the formal techniques and structures of abstract/absolute animation with those of cinematic genres, her handmade films use collage to explore the relationship between graphic cinema and storytelling, the tension between form and meaning. Musical documentary or stroboscopic archive: her films study domestic and recycled materials to illuminate the elements shared between fine-art abstraction and mass-produced graphic design. The works unleash the kinetic energy of overlooked and wasted objects and question the role of decoration in daily life.
Azucena Losana (Mexico/Argentina): I live and work in Mexico City and Buenos Aires. I attended the Multimedia Arts Degree at the National Arts University in Argentina, the Diploma of Audiovisual Preservation and Restoration (DIPRA) by the Film Archive and the National Image of Argentina (CINAIN) and Claudio Caldini’s experimental film workshop. My work is related to experimental films, installations and video.
James Edmonds (UK/Germany) works primarily with Super-8 and 16mm film as well as painting and music. His practice is driven by a personal poetics in which the act of recording the everyday becomes both a materialist, formal structure and a highly subjective experiential reality in itself—a complex synthesis of presence and memory. In his films, the work begins in the camera, the formation of the shots becoming intrinsically part of the meaning, the film material its own entity. His films have been shown at various festivals and venues including TIFF/Wavelengths; NYFF Projections; the Ann Arbor Film Festival; Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen; REDCAT, Los Angeles; EXiS, Seoul and L’ âge d’Or. Solo presentations have occurred at [S8], A Coruña Spain; Cinema Parenthèse, Brussels; Nocturnal Reflections, Milan and Ausland Berlin. He occasionally writes texts on film, organizes screenings and from 2015–2018 ran Light Movement, a monthly film series in Berlin.
Chantal Partamian (Lebanon): Experimental and documentary filmmaker, originally from Beirut, from a Lebanese-Armenian family. They currently live and work in Quebec. Through their work, celluloid, memory, obsolescence and political imaginaries merge to reflect on erasure, denial, repetition and blur. Partamian’s work consists of experimental short films and documentaries through which they explore themes of justice, migration, identity, gender and conflict. They mainly work on Super-8mm and with found footage. In April 2020, Partamian launched an online project of temporal assemblages in an Instagram profile inspired by Vinegar Syndrome: @katsakh.
Lorenzo Gattorna (US) is an experimental filmmaker from New York. He holds a BFA from NYU and an MFA from UIC. He is totally in tune with moving images that embrace revisionist and remodernist perspectives. His short films have screened at festivals including Experimental Film East Anglia, Moviate, Fisura, Sphere, Blue Danube, Harkat 16mm, Analogica, International Portrait, Istanbul International Experimental, Cámara Lúcida, Antimatter, DOBRA, Laterale, Bogotá Experimental, Marienbad and Obskura. He has programmed screenings for Anthology Film Archives, Antimatter, Maysles Cinema, Sight Unseen, The Nightingale and UnionDocs. Currently, he is a film/video technician and visiting instructor at Pratt Institute.
Ross Meckfessel (US) is an artist and filmmaker who works primarily in Super-8 and 16mm film. His films often emphasize materiality and poetic structures while depicting the condition of modern life through an exploration of apocalyptic obsession, contemporary ennui and the technological landscape. His work has screened internationally and throughout the United States including in the Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Open City Documentary Festival, Internationales Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg and Curtas Vila Do Conde.
Christopher Harris (US) is the F. Wendell Miller Associate Professor and Head of Film and Video Production in the Department of Cinematic Arts at the University of Iowa. He makes films and video installations that read African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema.