Feb 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm
That Which Is Possible
With Michael Gitlin and Issa Ibrahim, in discussion with Jim Supanik.
Michael Gitlin’s film That Which Is Possible is a portrait of a community of painters, sculptors, musicians and writers making work at the Living Museum, an art-space on the grounds of a large state-run psychiatric facility in Queens, New York. Shot over the course of two years and structured across the arc of a day, the film observes with an intimate lens and unspools like a musical, both bracing and tender. That Which Is Possible explores the liberatory and reparative functions that creative action has for a group of artists drawn together by shared struggle.
The title, That Which Is Possible, points to several things at once: the Living Museum as a place where a variety of ways of being are possible, where one can paint or sculpt or write or play music, or simply be left alone for a moment outside the temporal and spatial control of the modern psychiatric institution; the way this moment outside of control allows for the possibility of spontaneous interaction, closedness, and even joy; the possibility that the Living Museum might serve as a kind of template for a more humane and holistic approach to mental illness; and the utopian possibility that the Living Museum and places like it might serve as transformational fulcrum points for larger social changes.
Michael Gitlin will be joined by Issa Ibrahim and Jim Supanick for a discussion to follow the screening.
Michael Gitlin’s work has been screened at numerous venues, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Full Frame Documentary Festival, the London Film Festival and the Whitney Biennial Exhibition. His 16mm film, The Birdpeople (61 minutes, 2004), is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Gitlin was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006. His work has also been supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Gitlin received an M.F.A. from Bard College. He teaches at Hunter College in New York City.
Jim Supanick is a videomaker and writer born in Cleveland, Ohio, and living in Brooklyn. Forthcoming videos include a long-term project titled “Seed Sold Back to the Farmer”, a two-part animated essay about the assembly line and its legacy of damage, as well as a re-edited segment of Caspar Stracke’s “Circle’s Short Circuit” (featuring an interview with Avital Ronell). He has received support from NYSCA, the Puffin Foundation, and the Experimental Television Center. His essays on film, video, and visual culture have appeared in such publications as Film Comment, Millennium Film Journal, The Wire, Cineaste, and The Brooklyn Rail, along with exhibition catalogs and with DVD releases. He is the recipient of a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and a NYFA Grant for Nonfiction Literature. He is also a member of Synthhumpers, a quasi-musical collaboration with Josh Solondz. Jim currently teaches at City College of New York.