Structures of Experience: Interpreting the Built Environment Through Film and Video

A Screening of Experimental Documentaries Programmed by Vera Brunner-Sung

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 8:00 pm at WUHO

This two-part screening series of experimental documentaries take architecture and the urban landscape as a theme. Programmed by filmmaker Vera Brunner-Sung, Part I will take place at WUHO on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 8:00pm. (Part II is scheduled for January 2011; date TBA.)

Part I brings together work by contemporary filmmakers Alexandra Cuesta, Taylor Greeson and Seth Stewart, Taylor Lane, Rachel Reupke, Scott Stark, and Brunner-Sung. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.

Intimate, strange, and funny, this first screening reveals individuals navigating the architectural underpinnings of the unfamiliar. Whether exploring a labyrinthine corporate hotel, contemplating the monumental urbanism of Beijing, or witnessing a bomb blast in Lebanon, they are united in the ability to evoke a psychology of place from the materials and structures of their surroundings. Brunner-Sung brings together these works to offer compelling considerations of the political, personal and aesthetic resonance of the landscapes we traverse, as well as to enrich her own creative interests in these themes.

The Films
NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR (Rachel Reupke, digital video, 9:00, 2007). This video work reflects a fascination with science fiction and the inherent problem of visualising the future. Shot in Beijing in 2006, it is inspired by a city in the throws of a construction boom where developers’ hoardings intrude on every street, each displaying, in a pastel-soft style, an architect’s visual of what is to come: the future of the city rendered as illustrated inserts into the reality of its present.

HOTEL CARTOGRAPH (Scott Stark, 16mm, 12:00, 1983). A camera mounted on a movable cart, pointing down at the floor, passes over a seemingly endless succession of gaudy carpets and surfaces in a single shot through a major hotel. The movements across the 2-dimensional space, and in and out of elevators through 3-dimensional space, suggest a conceptual map of the visible environment, which is perhaps drawn by the camera itself.

PLACES CHANGE (Taylor Lane, digital video, 5:30, 2009). Places Change is the story of a childhood home left behind, and the unexpected changes that follow. The house is left unrecognizable by disaster before it can be given a proper farewell, and something unfamiliar is resurrected in its place.

WAYWARD PILGRIMS (Taylor Greeson and Seth Stewart, super-8 on digital video, 6:30, 2007). A young couple sets out to capture images of a mormon polygamist community, only to become waylaid by roadside attractions, ghost towns, and the meanderings of their own relationship. Shot on Super8 and hand-processed in a kitchen sink, Wayward Pilgrims embraces an unadorned immediacy and subtle eloquence to tell a touching and humorous story of uncertainty, naivete, and the compelling idiosyncracies of human relationships.

BEIRUT 2.14.05 (Alexandra Cuesta, 16mm, 8:00, 2008). During the shooting of From Beyrouth With Love (Wael Nourredine, 2005), Alexandra Cuesta captured her impressions of Beirut using a handheld camera. The images are indirect and unsettled: reflections in the rain or through display windows, a view out of a moving car. Cuesta captures and edits these images into fragments with the certainty of a dream. The menace of war resonates in her images without taking on form. Beirut 2.14.05 is both honest and masterly, a miniature at the roots of poetry; where the palpable echoes the visible. (Viennale)

THE GARDEN CITY (Vera Brunner-Sung, 16mm, 13:30, 2007). To what extent can we control the lived environment, and how does this impact our lives? A letter recounts a journey from American suburbia to a foreign city, becoming a meditation on growth and development that suggests all landscapes are human.

TRT of the Screening: 54 mins

About the Filmmakers
Vera Brunner-Sung is a Los Angeles-based non-fiction filmmaker interested in the way personal and social history is channeled through landscape and architecture. Her films have screened across the U.S. and abroad, most recently at the 28th Torino International Film Festival. In addition to making moving image work, she is an educator and writes film criticism.

Alexandra Cuesta is a filmmaker and photographer who lives and works between Los Angeles, California and Quito, Ecuador. Some of the ideas she continually revisits are about the construction of place, structures of time, and documenting the invisible. Her films have screened at venues including the Viennale International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, London Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Los Angeles Filmforum, and Queens Museum of Art.

Taylor Greeson and Seth Stewart both received an MFA in Film Directing from the California Institute of the Arts in 2007. Taylor is a senior producer with a creative marketing company in Los Angeles, and a documentary filmmaker. His latest projects involve polygamy, the death of Kodachrome, and voir dire. Seth spends a lot of time toodling around art colleges. His new writing project, “Archipelago,” is the source material for an upcoming show of the same name by illustrator/artist Patrick Hruby, and will be featured at the Sloan Gallery in New York this February.

Taylor Lane is from a small New Mexico town about two hours north of El Paso, Texas. He is currently a student at the University of New Mexico studying cinematic arts. Many of Taylor’s recent works revolve around the concepts of place, and belonging. Mostly Taylor enjoys westerns, and the films of Aki Kaurismaki.

Rachel Reupke uses TV commercials, film scenes, postcards, webcams, and the paintings of Bruegel, Friedrich and Turner as a source of inspiration for her films, webcam films, film stills and photo series about landscape panoramas. Her work has been widely exhibited internationally in galleries and film festivals. She lives and works in London.

Scott Stark has made over 65 films and videos since the early 1980s, and has created numerous installations, performances and photo-collages as well. His work has shown nationally and internationally in venues as diverse as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Cinematheque, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Tokyo Image Forum, and the Whitney Biennial. He is a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient.

Images from Now Wait for Last Year. Courtesy of Rachel Reupke and LUX, London

Posted in 2010, Past

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