Dec 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm
An Evening with Sky Hopinka
Screening to be followed by discussion with Sky Hopinka and Lynne Sachs
“The searching, striking digital films of Sky Hopinka are complex formal arrangements, conceptually and aesthetically dense, characterized by an intricate layering of word and image. But they are also wellsprings of beauty and mystery, filled with surprising confluences of speech and song, color and motion” writes Dennis Lim in ArtForum in advance of his screening at this past year’s Whitney Biennial.
While in Portland, Oregon, Sky studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His work centers around personal positions of homeland and landscape, designs of language and the facets of culture contained within (Video Data Bank).
We are lucky to have Hopinka here from his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as an instructor at our weekend workshop A LETTER TO THE WORLD: EXPERIMENTS IN ESSAY FILMMAKING. In conjunction we will present a selection of his recent short works which have been deemed, “more ethnological than ethnographic, investigating the history of ethnography rather than practicing it per se” by Matthew Jeffrey Abrams in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Kunįkága Remembers Red Banks, Kunįkága Remembers the Welcome Song
10 min., 2014
The video traverses the history and the memory of a place shared by both the Hočąk and the settler.
6 min., 2014
Featuring speakers of chinuk wawa, an Indigenous language from the Pacific Northwest, Wawa begins slowly, patterning various forms of documentary and ethnography.
8 min., 2015
Logging and approximating a relationship between audio recordings of my father and videos gathered of the landscapes we have both separately traversed. The initial distance between the logger and the recordings, of recollections and of songs, new and traditional, narrows while the images become an expanding semblance of filial affect.
Anti-Objects, or Space Without Path or Boundary
13 min., 2017
Images and representations of two structures in the Portland Metropolitan Area that have direct and complicated connections to the Chinookan people who inhabit(ed) the land are woven with audio tapes of one of the last speakers of chinuk wawa, the Chinookan creole, chinuk wawa.
I'll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You'll Become
13 min., 2016
An elegy to Diane Burns on the shapes of mortality, and being, and the forms the transcendent spirit takes while descending upon landscapes of life and death.
17 min., 2017
An incomplete and imperfect portrait of reflections from Standing Rock. Cleo Keahna recounts his experiences entering, being at, and leaving the camp and the difficulties and the reluctance in looking back with a clear and critical eye. Terry Running Wild describes what his camp is like, and what he hopes it will become.
Sky Hopinka was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, and Portland, Oregon and is currently based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His work centers around personal positions of homeland and landscape, designs of language and facets of culture contained within, and the play between the accessibility of the known and the unknowable. He received his BA from Portland State University in Liberal Arts and his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
His work has played at various festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images Festival, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival, Sundance, Antimatter, Chicago Underground Film Festival, FLEXfest, Projections, and the LA Film Festival. His work was a part of the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial and the 2017 Whitney Biennial. He was awarded jury prizes at the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, the More with Less Award at the 2016 Images Festival, the Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival, and 3rd Prize at the 2015 Media City Film Festival.
Lynne Sachs makes films, installations, performances and web projects that explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with every new project.
Her five essay films took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany — sites affected by international war – where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. Recently, after 25 years of making experimental documentaries, Sachs learned something that turned her filmmaking upside down. While working on Your Day is My Night (2013) in NYC’s Chinatown, she saw that her subjects were performing for her rather than revealing something completely honest about their lives. The process of recording guaranteed that some aspect of the project would be artificial. This moved Sachs toward a new type of filmmaking — she invited her subjects to become her collaborators — to work with her to make the film about their lives.