‘Curating Media: Flaherty at the New School’ Programs at UnionDocs


Curating Media: Flaherty at The New School

What does it mean to curate history? How, in curating, can we activate the moving image archive in response to contemporary conditions of culture and politics? These are some of the questions that were asked in Curating Media, a course offered collaboratively between the New School and the Flaherty Seminar this spring. This four-part series is the culmination of a semester’s worth of research working with the Flaherty’s archives, which are housed at NYU’s Fales Library.

Each program seizes upon a film or idea from a historically significant Flaherty Seminar between 1975 and 2002, and reframes it as part of a new conversation involving filmmakers past and present. Surprise guests will be present at each screening!

Curating Media is co-taught by Pooja Rangan, Chi-hui Yang and Genevieve Yue, and generously sponsored by the Whiting Foundation as part of the Civic Arts and Humanities program at Eugene Lang College.

All programs will take place at UnionDocs.  Screenings are free and open to the public.

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Tuesday April 28

Program 1, 7PM: Dialectic of Sex

Dialectic of Sex, named after Shulamith Firestone’s seminal feminist publication of 1970, reevaluates the societal constructs and confines that enforce categories of sexuality, gender, and class. The itineraries of Firestone’s radical manifesto are activated and complicated in Elizabeth Subrin’s reenacted documentary portrait of Firestone in Shulie (1997), a shot-by-shot remake of a 1967 student documentary that featured a 22-year old Firestone, then a young art student, as a member of the “Now!” generation. This film, shown during the 2002 Flaherty Seminar curated by Ed Halter, was recently shown at Lincoln Center, and Dialectic of Sex uses it as inspiration to amplify and explore its themes of femininity, performance, romance, art and commodification.

Films include: Cheap What I’m Looking For (Shelly Silver, 2004) and The Van (Alex Bag, 2001), Draft 9 (Dani Leventhal, 2003).

The program will be moderated by Jasmine Rault, The New School, Department of Culture and Media.

Curated by Annette Cohen, Maddy Johns, Smith McLean and Sarah Gonzalez.

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Tuesday, April 28

Program 2, 9PM: Forever &4evr Purchase Buy Order

Forever &4evr looks at the shifting tides of memory and immortality in relation to art, technology and the migration of television to the Internet. The program examines how modes of new media work to reprogram old forms and eternalize these forms in a digital realm. Forever &4evr is organized in response to the 1977 Arden House Seminar, “The Underrepresented in Public Television,” curated by Jay Ruby. This seminar, which featured Closed Mondays (Bill Gardiner and Will Vinton, 1974), also featured in our program, aimed to bring public television professionals in dialogue with experimental and documentary media-makers at a time when public television was being rapidly superseded by cable. Our program asks what it means to achieve this task in the era of TV-internet convergence.

Films include: Item Falls (Ryan Trecartin, 2013, credit sequence), Closed Mondays (Bill Gardiner and Will Vinton, 1974), #PostModem (Jillian Mayer, 2013), Star Spangled Chatter (Jason Vosu, 2002) and Light is Waiting (Michael Robinson, 2007).

The program will be moderated by Neta Alexander, NYU, Cinema Studies Department.

Curated by Stephen Biga, Jason Brickhill, Allegra Isenberg, Coley Gold and Sophie Lo.


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Tuesday May 5

Program 1, 7PM: STREET

This program of historical and contemporary films focuses on the city’s streets as a

means of complicating the postmodern—but nonetheless humanist—narrative of New

York as the “city of a million stories,” as seen in Taylor Swift’s recent “Welcome To

New York” promotional ads. STREET is organized in response to the 35th Annual Flaherty Seminar in 1989, curated by Pearl Bowser & Grant Munro, a program whose failure in authentically representing the African Diaspora was widely attributed by attendees to its attention to another, dissonant, topic of the time: Glastnost. This program confronts the failures and challenges of “authentic” representation, channeling the spirit of In The Street (Helen Leavitt, Janice Loeb, and James Agee, 1948), which was also shown in the 1989 seminar.

Films include: Solo, Piano NYC (Anthony Sherin, 2013), …until justice rolls along (Krissy Mahan, 2014), In The Street (Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb and James Agee, 1948), Mulignans (Shaka King, 2015), and Litefeet (Scott Carthy, 2014).

The program will be moderated by Russell Morse, Columbia University, CreativeWriting Program.

Curated by Peter Donohue, Sophia Ishaq, Veija Kusama-Morris and Whitney Sanchez.

in the street

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Buy Tuesday May 5

Program 2, 9PM: We Must Discuss, We Must Invent

What does the term “Third World” mean today and how have the politics of it—as a claim of solidarity, or a marker of denigration—shifted and changed in the last half century? Featuring filmmakers from the African Diaspora and Latin America, this program explores how artists across generations have used poetics and politics to complicate notions of development, authorship and power. We Must Discuss, We Must Invent is curated in response to the 1975 Flaherty Black and Third World Filmmakers Mini-Seminar, programmed by Madeline Anderson, which was a historic gathering of filmmakers of color in New York City to share their works with each other.

Films include the 1967 documentary For The First Time made by Cuban filmmaker Octavio Cortazar and featured at the 1975 Seminar, Movie Tote (Ephraim Asili, 2014), Forget Me Not, As My Tether Is Clipped (Zachary Fabri, 2012), and a special sneak preview of an upcoming film by Anisia Uzeyman.

The program will be moderated by Tsige Tafisse, Eugene Lang College, Students of theAfrican Diaspora.

Curated by Kadin Herring, Jazmin Jones, Michael Laed and Carley Sposta.


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Contact Information:

Pills Cheap Pooja Rangan: [email protected]

Chi-hui Yang: [email protected]

Genevieve Yue: [email protected]