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Jun 1, 2018 at 7:30 pm

The Illinois Parables

Screening to be followed by a conversation with Deborah Stratman & Nick Pinkerton

UnionDocs is thrilled to have the brilliant Deborah Stratman in attendance for a screening of her films in conjunction with her participation in the UnDo Workshop Forms of Experience: Approaching the Social Issue Documentary. With a body of work that spans almost three decades, Stratman takes the elemental, landscape film subgenre and reframes it via scrutiny towards the often adverse effects of human interference — technology, politics, history, surveillance, etc. She will be presenting a 16mm encore NYC screening of her last feature, The Illinois Parables, which relays the vast histories (of settlement, removal, technological brekathrough, etc) in the state of Illinois, as well as her new short Optimism, about the long history of desire and extraction in the far Canadian north, fresh from its Art of the Real premiere.



Deborah Stratman, 15 min., 2018

The urge to relieve a winter valley of permanent shadow and find fortune in alluvial gravel are part of a long history of desire and extraction in the far Canadian north. Cancan dancers, curlers, ore smelters, former city officials and a curious cliff-side mirrored disc congregate to form a town portrait. Shot in location in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.

The Illinois Parables

Deborah Stratman, 16mm, 60 min., 2016

An experimental documentary comprised of regional vignettes about faith, force, technology and exodus. Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism and resistance, all occurring somewhere in the state of Illinois. But the state is a structural ruse, and its histories are allegories that ask what belief might teach us about nationhood. In our desire to understand the inscrutable, whom do we end up blaming or endorsing?

75 min

Deborah Stratman is an artist and filmmaker 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, levitation, expansionism, surveillance and sinkholes. Stratman works in multiple mediums, including sculpture, photography, installation, drawing and audio. She has exhibited internationally at venues including MoMA NY, Centre Georges Pompidou, Hammer Museum, the Whitney Biennial, Witte de With, Walker Art Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and has done site-specific projects with venues including the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Temporary Services, Hallwalls (Buffalo), Mercer Union (Toronto) and Ballroom Gallery (Marfa). Stratman’s films have been featured at numerous international festivals including Sundance, Rotterdam, the Viennale, Full Frame, Ann Arbor, True/False, CPH:DOX and Oberhausen. She is the recipient of Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships, an Alpert Award and grants from Creative Capital, Graham Foundation, Harpo Foundation and the Wexner Center.

Nick Pinkerton is a freelance journalist and film programmer. He has written about films for Sight & Sound, ArtForum, the Village Voice, Moving Image Source and Reverseshot.com, among other publications. He is currently a member of the New York Film Critics Circle.

He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, lives in Brooklyn, NY, and has programmed at a variety of venues throughout the NYC area.

He contributes a weekly column, ‘Bombast’, to the SundanceNOW blog, and tweets as @NickPinkerton.

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Jun 1, 2018
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Free – $10.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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