The I and S of Lives, courtesy Kevin Jerome Everson; trilobite-arts DAC; Picture Palace Pictures

Are We Here, Together?: Experimental Shorts

Part of First Look 20/21
Saturday, July 31, 6:30 p.m.
Museum of the Moving Image - Redstone Theater

A mining of perception exploring landscapes, cityscapes, bodies, sexuality, feminism, anti-capitalism, and anti-authoritarianism in search of meaning, connection, the self, resolve, and greater ideals. These two programs of shorts conclude with a projector performance by Roger Beebe paying tribute to the filmmaker Norman McLaren.

Program 1: In These Times

With Emily Vey Duke, Talena Sanders, and Cooper Battersby in person

Running time: approximately 60 mins.

We Carry with Us Our Mother
Dir. Olivia Ciummo. United States. 2019, 5 mins. Planetary events and blood red landscapes blend with ethereal sounds as text leaves clues about difficulties with the mind and body. New York premiere

Garden City Beautiful
Dir. Ben Balcom. United States. 2019, 12 mins. One sunny afternoon in the Midwest, suspended in a time between, two commuters daydream about a life lived otherwise. New York City premiere

Zen Basketball.
Dir. Mike Hoolboom. U.S. 2020, 5 mins. In a series of simple frames, the often misunderstood practice of Zen takes shape as basketball bliss. Now in retirement, the greatest defensive player of the amateur leagues continues to practice on a remote island, far from the madding crowds. His techniques and dedication undergo continual refinement, revealed here in this startling exposé. North American premiere

Eastern State
Dir. Talena Sanders. U.S. 2019, 5 mins. Eastern State brings a found archive of decades of footage documenting the lives of the patients and employees of one of the oldest mental health institutions in the United States into dialogue with Barbara Loden's 1970 film Wanda. Through digital video corruption, VHS artifacting, stroboscopic effects, direct animation, and overlays, this collage film considers the fidelity of nonfiction media to lived experiences of isolation. Warning: flicker effects. New York premiere

Standing Forward Full
Dir. Alee Peoples. United States. 2020, 6 mins. A helter skelter is an amusement ride with a spiral slide built around a tower. Like this film, an exorcism attempt of an unrequited desire, itʼs either moving too fast or at a complete standstill. Disorienting but exciting. New York premiere.

Curious Fantasies
Dir. Jesse McLean. United States. 2019, 8 mins.The language and imagery related to celebrity perfumes (both descriptive and visual) are a starting point to think about consumer desires and the corruption of branding. “Give us your songs, your smells, and we will give you everything.” The rich get richer, everyone smells poorer. New York premiere

Dir. Ariel Teal. United States. 2018, 8 mins. Embodying a body after trauma. Blowjobs, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and memory are interwoven in an attempt to process and find bodily autonomy. Content warning: The film contains text dealing with sexual trauma. New York premiere

Civil Twilight at the Vernal Equinox
Dirs. Emily Vey Duke, Cooper Battersby. U.S, 12 mins. “What would another world look like, one that is carried by this feeling of empathy, of mutual love between humans and animals, between species? How would our relationship with a largely domesticated nature and environment change? How would established relationships of power and strength be redefined with this thought?”—Tasja Langenbach. New York premiere

Program 2: Perceptual States

With Peter Burr, Margaret Rorison, and Ross Meckfessel in person

Running time: approximately 75 mins.

Black Square
Dir. Peter Burr. U.S. 2020. 7 mins. An assembly of human figures writhe and squares strobe in rhythm to audio sampled from the opening of the 1965 Op Art exhibition "The Responsive Eye." Through the friction of this contrast, a portrait emerges of an anxious divided society testing the boundaries of awareness. Warning: flicker effects. New York premiere

Another Horizon
Dir. Stephanie Barber. U.S. 2020. 9 mins. The horizon, where the sky and the earth meet, is always elsewhere, a promised place where these two elements come together. A metaphor, an orienting, a promise of transition, change, transcendence. A place where the corporeal and spiritual meet, or are cleaved apart. New York City premiere

Zero Length Spring
Dir. Ross Meckfessel. U.S. 2020. 16 mins. A walk through corridors and rooms culminates in a familial Reiki session—what’s underneath and within. An apotropaic film, imprinted by rituals and symbols, basking in ruptures of the body and the earth. Through ASMR brush tracks and the language of self-help therapy, film surface abrasions and alleged paranormal photos, the film gives shape to various unseeable forces. You’re worth it, you deserve love, you can grow. New York premiere

The I and S of Lives
Dir. Kevin Jerome Everson. United States. 2021, 7 mins. The “I” and “S” of “Lives” are the smoothest area of resistance. A rollerblader (Jahleel Gardner) navigates the letters on the pavement of Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington D.C. on a summer afternoon, 2020. New York premiere

Dir. Margaret Rorison. United States. 2021, 22 mins. A montage of the underpopulated streets, shuddered storefronts, and crumbling cornices of Baltimore City suggests a disturbed, mind’s eye recollection of social neglect and physical decay. New York premiere.

Live Performance
Lineage (for Norman McLaren)
Dir. Roger Beebe. U.S. 2019. 15 mins. 16mm projector performance. Lineage is a loop-based “orchestral” film performance for four 16mm projectors. Using as a point of departure Norman McLaren’s abstract animations in Lines Horizontal as well as reworked footage from two documentary portraits of McLaren in his prime and in his later life, the film explores how abstract marks made in a variety of ways—laser printing and etching, contact printing and hand-processing—result in strange and surprising sounds. New York premiere.

Tickets: $15 / $11 seniors & students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / Free for MoMI members. Order online. After your purchase, an electronic ticket will be sent via email. All seating is general admission. Please review safety protocols before your visit.