Tuesday, Mar 13 at 7:00 pm
Common Visions: Future in the Past with Flaherty NYC
Screening at Anthology Film Archives to be followed by a discussion with Alison SM Kobayashi, Joshua Gen Solondz, and Rachel Valinsky
THIS EVENT IS NOT AT UNIONDOCS.
This shorts program is co-presented with Flaherty NYC as part of their Winter-Spring series Common Visions, programmed by Almudena Escobar López & Herb Shellenberger.
Uniondocs’ own Alison S. M. Kobayashi (Asm Kobayashi) will be in attendance for a LIVE PERFORMANCE with sound by Joshua Solondz. A discussion will follow the program with curator, writer, and translator Rachel Valinsky.
History thought backwards, personal experiences of the past as mirrors of historical collective memory. IN THE FUTURE THEY ATE FROM THE FINEST PORCELAIN uses speculative fiction as a strategy to imagine a future separated from technocratic constructions. EVENTS IN A CLOUD CHAMBER documents the history of the first Indian experimental film, which, though now lost, is reconstructed by its maker, Akbar Padamsee. The final two films both probe sisterly bonds in childhood, THE CRAFT fashioning a UFO mystery around the influence of American pop culture in 1990s Kuwait, whereas MUSIC IS MAGIC shows how music fandom and teenage lust crystallize around the lyric, “goddamn, you half-Japanese girls.”
Find more details here!
Events in a Cloud Chamber
Ashim Ahluwalia, 28 min., 2015
Events in a Cloud Chamber is a portrait of master painter Akbar Padamsee, who made the first Indian experimental film. Born 1928 in Bombay, after his studies he traveled to Paris in the early 1950s, where his painting was given an award by André Breton. In 1969, Padamsee made the 16mm film Events in a Cloud Chamber, showing a dreamlike scene in a six-minute shot. The film was received very poorly in its initial screenings and soon after the single print was lost in transit. In 2016, Ahluwalia worked with Padamsee to excavate the history of the film and re-create it. Ahluwalia stages this ghost story and reanimation of a crucial moment in Indian experimental film history, shooting Padamsee on 16mm and investigating the fragility of cultural and personal memory.
In the Future, They Ate From the Finest Porcelain
Larissa Sansour & Søren Lind, 28 min., 2015
Combining live motion and CGI, the film explores the role of myth for history, fact and national identity. A narrative resistance group makes underground deposits of elaborate porcelain, suggested to belong to an entirely fictional civilization. By implementing a myth of their own, the work becomes a historical intervention. The film takes the form of a fictional video essay. As it progresses, the narrative and visuals alternate between the theoretical and the personal. The resistance leader’s deceased twin sister makes a crucial appearance as the story takes the viewer deeper and deeper into the resistance leader’s subconscious.
Monira Al Qadiri, 16 min., 2017
A film that revolves around childish fictions laced with serious suspicions towards the real world. Using the lens of family history, the film dissects the artist’s own past to reexamine an uncanny relationship taking place in the shadows of her major life events. Reality gradually disintegrates like quicksand around this central question, as paranoia and speculation begin to take hold. Futuristic architecture, popular culture, dream readings, junk food, alien abductions, geopolitics, international diplomacy, war and peace; all of these once solid staples of modern life now become tinted with a general sense of distrust, overshadowing everything. Like a ticking time bomb at the center of the nuclear family unit, the suspicion reaches a crescendo when the protagonist suddenly discovers that the American century has finally ended.
Music is Magic
Alison S.M. Kobayashi, 14 min., 2016
A film about sisterhood, music and teenage lust using family archival footage. The lyric “Goddamn, you half-Japanese girls” from Weezer’s “El Scorcho” portends a psychic connection between the group’s frontman and two Japanese-Canadian sisters growing up obsessed with their favorite rockstars, performing front of the camera themselves and learning to navigate the world into young adulthood. The discovery of an older family member’s student film—a document of rabid fandom for an obscure Canadian new wave band—gives a clue to a familial predilection towards rock magic. Commissioned for the 2016 Reel Asian Film Festival (Toronto), Music is Magic is here performed with a live voiceover for its U.S. premiere.
Alison S. M. Kobayashi makes short videos and performances that have been exhibited widely in Canada, the United States and overseas. She was a guest artist at the 2008 Flaherty Film Seminar and her body of work was a Spotlight Presentation at Video Out, Jakarta International Film Festival, Indonesia and is a 2016 Yaddo and MacDowell Colony fellow. In 2012, she was commissioned by Les Subsistances in Lyon, France to produce her first live performance, Defense Mechanism. Her performance Say Something Bunny! received wide acclaim from press and audiences during its sold-out run from May 2017–January 2018. Alison S. M Kobayashi was born in Mississauga, Ontario and is based in Toronto and Brooklyn, NY where she is the Director of Special Projects at UnionDocs.
Joshua Gen Solondz is an artist working in moving image, sound, and performance. Solondz has received awards from Black Maria, New Orleans Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Ann Arbor Film Festival as well as commissions for shows at Heliopolis, ACRE TV, and microscope gallery. He has an ongoing collaboration with Jim Supanick as the electronic slime duo known as SynthHumpers. Josh studied at Bard College and received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his partner and occasional collaborator Emma Brenner-Malin.
Rachel Valinsky is an independent curator, writer, and translator born in Paris and based in New York. She is a doctoral student in Art History at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her writing has appeared in Art in America, BOMB, East of Borneo, and Millennium Film Journal, among others. She teaches Art History at Hunter College and is currently a Curatorial Fellow at The Kitchen.