The Experiment: Season Two Finale Laura Kraning and Fern Silva
Maysles Cinema New York, NY
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The Experiment: Season Two Finale Laura Kraning and Fern Silva
The Experiment is pleased to present for its second season finale a selection of shorts by Laura Kraning and Fern Silva. The recurring thread of the series this year concentrates on a comparative cinema wherein particular pairs of filmmakers are gathered to celebrate commonalities and contrasts found in their cinematic aesthetics. The films and videos of The Experiment are a testament to the convergence of documentary and experimental tableaus that, as our featured filmmakers pronounce, "traverse the border between the objective and the subjective, the real and the imaginary," (Laura Kraning) and "reflect the tensions between mystification of the observational and experiential and the realization of moments in time as a form of unification." (Fern Silva)
34 / -117 2009, 16mm, color, 1m An elevated embankment traverses the hazy orange glow of an industrial zone on the outskirts of Los Angeles where a flood control dam is envisioned as a futuristic ruin.
Skynoise 2009, DV, color, 5m A journey across the ethers through portals attuned to shifting frequencies; trees like antennae, lines etched into a frozen landscape, searchlights and electric patterns vibrate in the night sky.
Devil's Gate 2011, Blu-ray, b/w, 20m Devil's Gate explores the metaphysical undercurrents of a Southern California landscape scarred by fire. The film lyrically depicts the physical and mythological terrain of Devil's Gate Dam, located at the nexus of Pasadena's historical relationship with technology and the occult, and intertwining with its central figure, Jack Parsons, who some believe to have opened a dark portal in this place. The film merges an observational portrait of a landscape transformed by fire, ash and water with a fragmentary textual narrative, providing a view into man's obsession with controlling and transcending the forces of nature and spirit. It can be seen as unearthing a subconscious of the landscape, as the echoes of the past reverberate in the present and infect our perception and experience of place.
Laura Kraning's experimental documentaries are portraits of secret worlds hidden beneath the surface of the everyday that traverse the border between the objective and the subjective, the real and the imaginary. Her early work as an abstract painter infused her filmmaking process in which she makes visible the textural and symbolic layers inherent in landscapes filmed over time. Her work has screened widely at international festivals and venues including the New York Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Visions du Réel, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Athens International Film and Video Festival, Rencontres Internationales, and the National Gallery of Art. Her film VINELAND was awarded the City is Cinema Jury Award at the 2010 Ann Arbor Film Festival and she is a recipient of a 2010 Princess Grace Foundation John H. Johnson Film Award for her latest film, DEVIL'S GATE. Laura currently resides in Los Angeles. http://laurakraning.com/
Sahara Mosaic 2009, 16mm-to-video, color, 10m An orientalist kaleidoscope that constitutes a geographically complex yet cinematic whole. From Egypt to Las Vegas: the old and the new world are reflected and doubled in this experimental travelogue.
Peril of the Antilles 2011, 16mm-to-video, color & b/w, 6m Peril of the Antilles was filmed at the beginning of November 2010 while visiting a friend in Haiti. At this specific time, the cholera epidemic was on its way to Port-au-Prince, Hurricane Tomas was on the horizon, presidential elections were in a couple weeks and the first Gede (day of the dead) took place since the January quakes. Along the way I acquired a very curious copy of a music video of Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly (Haiti's newest president and once bad boy of Compas), from his early Nineties heyday shot in a familiar location rajé gain zoreille Fern Silva
Passage Upon the Plume 2011, 16mm, b/w, silent, 7m "Those who go thither, they return not again." Plumes dust the arid land, east to west, shape-shifting as they lift in ascension. Something lowers. An ark ran aground where revolution took root: ropes raise stones in baskets. Hearts heavier and lighter than the feather, permitted passage. Tethered or freed, resting from life or dawning anew. Charity Coleman
Fern Silva (b. 1982, Hartford, CT) has created a body of film, video, and projection work that has been screened and performed at various festivals, galleries, museums and cinematheques including the Rotterdam, New York, Ann Arbor, and Images Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Wexner Center for the Arts, San Francisco Cinematheque, Roulette Gallery, LAXART, White Box Gallery and MOMA P.S.1. His work emerges out of travel, documenting movement through the world as a conduit into the realms of the personal and ephemeral, and the effects of geography, climate and environment on social relations, communication, and the metaphysical. He's drawn to subjects that defy a national identity or obscurity through myth, folklore, mysticism, or particular rituals. Rather than focusing on one aspect, he moves through moments to show commonality amongst beings and structures. In an effort to avoid conventional aspects of documentary, he reinforces imagination through embracing suggestions of possible narratives. Driven by curiosity and memory, his work reflects the tensions between mystification of the observational and experiential and the realization of moments in time as a form of unification. He was listed as one of the top 25 filmmakers for the 21st century in Film Comment magazine's avant-garde filmmakers poll and is the recipient of the Gus Van Sant Award from the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival. He received a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art, MFA from Bard College and is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. http://www.fernsilva.com/
Part of the Maysles Cinema series, The Experiment, a quarterly series examining the common ground between documentary and experimental/avant-garde modes of cinema. Curated by Lorenzo Gattorna and Peter Buntaine.
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