Experimental Film/Video and History @ the Berks

Location: Small Screening Room, Robarts Library, 130 St. George Street, 3rd Floor
Friday: 3:25-4:25, 4;24-4:55, Q&A.
Saturday: 3:45-4:45

Cost: Free, No sign-up required.
Supported by South Asian Visual Arts Centre and Vtape

The Story of Milk & Honey, Basma Alsharif, 10’, 2010    

Through voiceover narration this video weaves together images, letters, and songs that detail an unnamed individual’s failure to write a love story in Beirut, Lebanon. Wavering between fact and fiction, a tale of defeat transpires into a multi-layered journey exploring how we collect information, perceive facts and recreate history.

Basma Alsharif is a nomadic artist/filmmaker of Palestinian origin. She received her MFA in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her films have screened at YIDFF, TIFF, the Berlinale, Videobrasil, and Manifesta 8. Alsharif won a Jury Prize at the 9th Sharjah Biennial, she was awarded the Fundacion Botin Visual Arts grant, and received the Marion McMahon Award at the Images Festival in Toronto.           basmaalsharif.com


Village, silenced, Deborah Stratman, 7’, 2012

A re-working of Humphrey Jennings’ seminal 36-minute 1943 docudrama “The Silent Village,” wherein Welsh coal miners from the village of Cwmgiedd collectively re-enact the Nazi invasion and annihilation of the resisting Czech mining village of Lidice.  Focus in this iteration is on sound as a mode of social control and the larger historical implications of repetition.  An homage to Jennings’ lucid address of labor solidarity, power and commemoration.

Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based artist interested in landscapes and systems. Much of her work points to the relationships between physical environments and human struggles for power and control that play out on the land.  Most recently, they have questioned elemental historical narratives about faith, freedom, expansionism, surveillance, tactical audio, levitation and sinkholes.   She’s exhibited internationally at venues including MoMA NY, Centre Pompidou, Mercer Union, the Whitney Biennial and festivals including Sundance, Viennale, Oberhausen, Ann Arbor, Full Frame and Rotterdam.  She teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.   pythagorasfilm.com


Measuring, Nahed Mansour, 2009, 3’

Measuring is a video-performance shot on super-8 film referencing ethnographic films that document non-Western women, particularly popular during the mid-20th century. Mansour films herself individually inserting twenty-eight wooden tongue depressors in her mouth, each one symbolizing a letter in the Arabic alphabet. Conceived as an auto-ethnographic examination, the work speaks to questions of authenticity, identity, and reclamation.

Nahed Mansour’s works often combine video, performance, and installation. Most recently she has taken up notions of mimicry in popular entertainment, specifically producing work that speaks to physicality, performance, and power relations between generations, genders, and races. Working with personal, historic, and popular archives her works center on dancers and singers who become apertures for thinking about the ways in which racial identities are performed and negotiated in the globally hybrid post-colonial present. She is currently the Executive Director of the Mayworks Festival in Toronto.


A Ess Fe Arbüse’zieropp: Dee Dijcht’konst Fonn Enn’waundra Weadbüak’moaken*, Kandis Friesen, 5:26’, 2011

A poetic and critical video work animating the Plaut’dietsch (Mennonite Low German) dictionary, looking at the ways in which language holds, preserves, and animates culture. The work exists variably as a single channel video, a video installation, as well as forming the visual element of a live twenty minute experimental video lecture, titled M is for Muttasproak: Animating Language, Culture, and Migration in Mennonite Low German.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Kandis Friesen is an artist and cultural worker based in Montreal, Quebec. Working across media, her practice engages contexts of labour and production, language and ethno-national identity, and the role of document and archive in constructions of public memory.
Grounded in drawing as an expanded practice, her work maintains a dialogue between theories of video and theories of drawing, looking at immediacy, intimacy, and accessible representation as inherent and transmutable in both media. Friesen has exhibited locally and internationally at various festivals and galleries, including La Centrale, SKOL, DARE-DARE, articule, and FOFA Gallery in Montreal, MIX Festival (NYC), Traverse Video (France), Athens Video Art Festival (Greece), THEOFFCENTER (San Francisco), WNDX (Winnipeg), and Centre for Art Tapes (Halifax).    kandisfriesen.tumblr.com


Her Sugar Is?Dana Claxton, 2:36’ 2009

A playful burlesque performance peels away layers of history to reveal a persuasive and thought-provoking dance that informs as much as it delights.

Dana Claxton is an interdisciplinary artist working with film and video, installation, performance and photography. She has taught with the Indigenous Media Arts Group (Vancouver) and Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design (Vancouver). Her work is held in public collections, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Art Bank of Canada and Caixiforum Fundacio la Caixa, (Barcelona). Her work has been screened internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis), Sundance Festival (Utah) and Microwave in Hong Kong.

She is an active member in the arts community and has participated in panel discussions, juries, curatorial projects, advisory committees, mentoring youth and young artists.    danaclaxton.com


Demonstration of Indianness #31, Adam Garnet Jones, 3:30’2006,

Demonstration of Indianness #31 is a short experimental film based on old home movies that the artist’s grandfather shot in the 1950’s. The film is as much a portrait of a struggle and a declaration of identity, as it is a questioning into the history of documentation and anthropology.

 Adam Garnet Jones is an Aboriginal Canadian writer and director with a BFA in Film Studies from Ryerson University. Adam’s work has broadcast on television, screened widely at film festivals, and earned him recognition internationally.

His short films include Cloudbreaker, A Small Thing, Can You Love Me? and Wave A Red Flag.

Adam is currently focusing on the production of a new short film called Liar, in addition to several feature-length projects – Wild Medicine and The Walking Wounded. Adam looks forward to expanding the themes of his earlier work into more complex and rewarding narrative forms as these projects move closer to production.   GirlBoyProductions.com


Intermittent Delight, Akosua Adoma Owusu, 5’, 2007

“The intersection of identity and cultural appropriation is at the heart of Akosua Adoma Owusu’s video Intermittent Delight. This carefully constructed work juxtaposes close-ups of batik textiles, fashion and design from the 1950s and 1960s, images of men weaving and women sewing in Ghana, and fragments of a Westinghouse 1960s commercial—aimed to instruct women on the how-to of refrigerator decoration. Constructed from a combination of 1960s Afrobeat, traditional Asante Adwoa music, and field recordings of West African men and women during production of cloths and garments, the soundtrack pulls the piece together and imbues it with a jolty and festive tone. The work touches upon the idea of feminism’s uneven geographical and historical development, and the nuances of labor conditions women face depending on where they live.”

– New Langton Arts

Akosua Adoma Owusu is an American avant-garde filmmaker of Ghanaian parentage, born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. Owusu earned her MFA from the departments of Fine Art and Film and Video from California Institute of the Arts. She is informed by personal diaspora, history, and cultural representation. In 2013, The Huffington Post listed Owusu in “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know.” Her film Kwaku Ananse won the 2013 Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Short Film. She has exhibited worldwide including at MoMA, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Centre Pompidou, Berlinale, Rotterdam Film Festival, and London Film Festival.    akosuaadoma.com


Vigilance, Lorri Millan and Shawna Dempsey, 3:20’, 2014.

A woman is dragged through an empty field in a scenario reminiscent of horror movies and news stories. But she is alert, impassive, and remains vigilantly focused on the camera.  This hand-processed, Super8mm film juxtaposes degraded, awkwardly-staged footage of every woman’s worst nightmare with an interior monologue regarding media representation of sexualized violence. The piece asks how violent, misogynist images play out in our psyches and in our culture. The film was commissioned by 8fest, Toronto.

Collaborators since 1989, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan were catapulted into the international spotlight in their 20s with the performance and film We’re Talking Vulva. Since then, their live work and videos have been exhibited in venues as far-ranging as women’s centres in Sri Lanka to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This Winnipeg-based duo has created installations (such as Archaeology and You for the Royal Ontario Museum) and books (such as Bedtime Stories for the Edge of the World, Arbeiter Ring Press). To most, however, they are known simply as the Lesbian Rangers.   fingerinthedyke.ca


Postcard to an Unknown Soldier,Wayne Yung, 4:27’2004

In 1942, the National Film Board of Canada produced a film describing Hitler’s plan to build a world empire, by conquering the oilfields of Iraq and Iran. Commissioned as part of the -40 Remix Project.

Wayne Yung was born in Edmonton, Canada, in 1971 to a Chinese immigrant family. After moving to Vancouver in 1994 and Hong Kong in 2000, he moved to Germany in 2001, where he lived in Hamburg and Cologne, before settling in Berlin. As a writer, performer and video artist, he has explored issues of race and identity from a queer Chinese-Canadian perspective. For several years, he was an active member of Video In Studios, an artist-run centre for video and media art in Vancouver. As a curator, educator and collaborator, he has been committed to supporting emerging and independent artists in Canada, the USA and Germany. His work has screened internationally at Vancouver’s Out on Screen Festival (2001), Seoul’s Queer Film & Video Festival (2000) and Toronto’s Reel Asian Film Festival (1999), Stuttgart Filmwinter Festival (2005), Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (2004), and Chicago Underground Film Festival (2001). As a curator, he has organized programs at festivals and independent venues in Vancouver, Portland (Oregon), Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, and Amsterdam.   wayneyung.com


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