Collaborations with Nature

Oct 05, 2014

Filmmakers Devon Damonte, Caryn Cline and Ruth Hayes in attendance!

Direct filmmaking meets environmental action in this program of experimental films that use organic and inorganic material to alter film surfaces. 

Art historian Johanna Gosse will give a talk before the screening to contextualize the work, and will moderate a Q&A with artists in attendance after the screening.

As part of our Local Sightings Film Festival 2014, filmmaker Caryn Cline taught an experimental filmmaking workshop on the “botanicollage” technique, made famous by Stan Brakhage and his film Mothlight. Students have created handmade film frames using local botanicals, art materials and film supplies—their short, collaborative film screens tonight alongside a program of classic experimental films in the botanicollage vein.

The program includes work by Dorothea Braemer & Brian Milbrand, Cade Bursell, Dagie Brundert, Caryn Cline, Devon Damonte, Lori Felker, Melissa Friedling, Ruth Hayes, Eva Kolcze, Robbie Land, Christine Lucy Latimer, Julie Perini, Jeremy Rendina, Ken Paul Rosenthal, Eric Stewart, and Steve Woloshen.

Program Notes 

Introductory remarks by Johanna Gosse.

Garden of Earthly Delights (16mm film, 18 fps)
Stan Brakhage, 1981.  Along with his more famous film “Mothlight,” “Garden of Earthly Delights” is one of the films that inspired our program.  Positive and negative images of plants pasted onto film are contact printed.  Enjoy.  

Collaboration with the Earth 
(Julie Perini, 1 minute & 12 seconds, 16mm film transferred to digital video, 2011) 

During the summer of 2011, I created Collaboration with the Earth, which involved cutting a 1970s era 16mm moving-picture advertisement for General Electric into two-second strips, burying it in the ground, and then unearthing one strip of film each day for twenty days.  I then pieced the film back together so viewers can witness the gradual decay of the image and sound in the film.  The result is an array of brightly colored abstract compositions borne of my collaboration with dirt, worms, water, and other earthly forces.

The Magic Soup 
(Dagie Brundert, 16mm transferred to digital video/B&W/Sound, 2:45 minutes, 2012)

I'm in Toronto. They have a gigantic lake here – Lake Ontario – and I thought: why not use its water for my developing chemicals? Lake water plus instant coffee, vitamin c and washing soda, it makes a real good soup. And I poured some magic senseless something – you will see it in the end of this film – a squirrel drink – which might have made the film solarize a little bit. Magic soup! Try this at home! Use local water! Take care and enjoy!  --DB

Matters of Bioluminescence (screening 16mm)
(Robbie Land, 16mm/Color/Sound, 7:00 minutes, 2012)

Matters of Bioluminescence is a personal documentation of the bioluminescent phenomena. The film begins with a time-lapse of fireflies and various raw film stocks contained in a glass jar.  The second portion of the film is the abstract result the bioluminescent insects create with the light sensitive film. The film then focuses on foxfire, glowing mushrooms filmed in their environment using time-exposure cameras. The mushrooms are also placed directly onto various raw film stocks.  --RL

Fruit Flies (16mm @ 18fps)
Christine Lucy Latimer, 16mm/Color/Silent (18fps), 1:23 minutes, 2010

This film seals under perforated 16mm splicing tape all of the fruit flies that drowned in the vinegar trap on my kitchen counter last summer. --CLL

Seaweed (16mm)
(Jeremy Rendina, 16mm/Color/Sound, 3:00 minutes, 2002)

Dried seaweed panes are photographed as light passes through. Printing reveals an interior chasm of the sea's markings.  --JR

Fe (16mm)
(Eric Stewart, 16mm transferred to digital video/B&W/Silent, 2:25 minutes, 2012)

The ebb and flow of iron filings in a magnetic field.--ES

Botanicollage Workshop film (16mm)

The film that was created yesterday by festival participants.  Local botanicals were pasted onto clear and black 16mm leader, and enhanced with scraping, paint, ink, etc.

Garden Roll Bounce Parking Lot 
(Mel Friedling, 16mm transferred to digital video/Color/Sound (found footage), 5:25 minutes, 2010)

Pop culture and land-use practices converge in Brooklyn, NY where a Bangladeshi family recalls the found film that formed the overhead lattice support for their urban garden - before it was leveled to make a parking space for the father’s livery car.  --MF

(Lori Felker, 16mm transferred to digital video/B&W/Sound, 2:00 minutes, 2006)

Zwischen (“Between”) exists on the thin line between opposing forces. There is no grey between black and white, as Zwischen jumps from earth to space, mixes matter with air, and materializes inspiration at the insistence of the hand. Dirt moves over light to a hand-drawn soundtrack of noise and space.  --LF 

Spring Flavor 
(Ken Paul Rosenthal, 16mm transferred to digital video/Color/Silent, 3:00 minutes, 1996)

The alchemy and texture of film is celebrated with images of sun-splintered reeds that have been re-photographed, hand-processed, buried beside a pond, and soaked in cooked wild berries.  --KPR

Earl Butz
(Dorothea Braemer/Brian Milbrand, 16mm transferred to digital video/Color/Sound, 2:35 minutes, 2004)

A partially decomposed instructional film about farm life in the 1970’s. The film was exposed to farm products such as grain and beef over lengthy periods of time. It serves as a metaphor for the destruction of the American family farm. Earl Butz received the Director¹s Choice award at the 2011 Black Maria Film Festival. –DB

Compost Confidential 
(Caryn Cline, 16mm transferred to digital video/Color/Sound, 4:00, 2012)

A recycled film that addresses our culture of waste. According to a Cornell University research report, eleven thousand tons of trash a day are discarded in New York City, and 15 to 40% is food scraps that could and should be composted. In "Compost Confidential," handmade botanicollage film frames, saved from unrealized projects, were put in a compost bin, left for several weeks, then retrieved and optically-printed. In the printing process, the sprocket holes themselves, usually outside of the frame, were intentionally revealed as an element inside the frame. The soundtrack, recycled from an audio project, features interviews with urban composters at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City.--CC

Salt Lines 
(Cade Bursell, 16mm transferred to digital video/Color/Silent, 4:49 minutes, 2012)

A haptic, visceral response to discordant lines of text associated with Himalayan salt extraction  --CB

Markings 1-3 
(Eva Kolcze, 16mm transferred to digital video/Color/Sound, 7:00 minutes, 2011)

An emotional journey in three parts.‚Äč Markings 1-3 is an attempt to connect with nature through the surface of celluloid, using such techniques as tinting, toning, painting and scratching.  --EK

Zero Visibility 
(Steve Woloshen, 35mm transferred to digital video/color/silent (found footage), 2:15 minutes, 2010)

This film explores the possibility of being blind under the conditions of distance, light, and atmosphere while attempting to cross Montreal’s Victoria Jubilee Bridge during a blinding nighttime snowstorm. My aim was to create a sense of severe structural damage, giving the look of a snowy white out by fermenting the film prints in yeast, sugar and water. To further increase the sense of unease, I froze the decayed images in ice and then reconstructed the sequence by gluing each frame back onto 35 mm clear leader. --SW 

Auroroborous Loop (16mm live performance)
(Devon Damonte, Live Performance with projector, 35mm film cone, and 16mm film, silent, 2013, approx. 5 minutes)

A snakeskin is shed from a star garter, then found in summer's tall grass at Helsing Junction, WA. Snakeskin burrows to summerschool darkroom for flashes of electric light beams, shadowcast upon long slithery silver-imbued strips of high contrast (7363). Finally the shed skin itself adheres to clear leader, reanimated to reveal atmospheric layers of musical spheres arpeggiating scales in perfect li. Dedicated to my boyhood pet Lance, an affectionate gopher snake whose sheddings featured in my very first student film "Pfilm" (1987). - DD


About Johanna Gosse:

Johanna Gosse is a Seattle-based art historian specializing in experimental film and media. In 2014, she received her PhD from Bryn Mawr College, with a dissertation on the films of San Francisco-based artist Bruce Conner. Johanna has curated and programmed multiple exhibitions and film screenings, taught courses in art history and film studies, and presented research at numerous national conferences. Her writing has been published in journals such as Camera Obscura, Moving Image Review & Art Journal, Radical History Review, and The Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, in various exhibition catalogues, and in an edited volume entitled Abstract Video forthcoming from University of California Press in 2015.

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