Oct 12, 2018 at 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Screening to be followed by a discussion with John Gianvito, Hope Tucker, Courtney Stephens and Mathilde Walker-Billaud
Organized in conjunction with the workshop “Speculation In the Archives“, this event presents John Gianvito ‘s Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind, preceded by Hope Tucker’s shorts: Bessie Cohen, Survivor of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and The Sea [is still] Around Us.
This program looks at fragile and sometimes invisible threads of history and how they are written on American lands. Tracing the humble placement of local historical markers, plaques, graves, residues, and statues, the films in the program reveal how (and which) histories get inscribed into the environmental record. Where these events have been unremembered or unacknowledged, the films creatively manifest them: be it labor struggles, battle scars, or the efforts of ordinary citizens. The films themselves function as both public and private monuments: odes to the commons that betray private yearnings for grace in lost and neglected struggles. In their efforts to search and listen, these works show how trauma can be held and recollected and perhaps healed.
The screening will be followed by a discussion with the two filmmakers, co-hosted by Courtney Stephens and Mathilde Walker-Billaud.
Bessie Cohen, Survivor of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
Hope Tucker, 2000, 3 min.
The last ninety years of a complex life become eclipsed by an escape from a burning building.
The Sea [is still] Around Us
Hope Tucker, 2012, 4 min.
In 1964, the author E.B. White mourned the death of his fellow Mainer Rachel Carson and the altered ecology of a nearby lake. “Rachel Carson is dead, but the sea is still around us…This small lake is a sad reminder of what is taking place all over the land, from carelessness, shortsightedness, and arrogance. It is our pool of shame in this, our particular instant of time.“
Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
John Gianvito, 2007, 58 min.
Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind is a visual meditation on the progressive history of the United States as seen through cemeteries, historic plaques and markers. Inspired by Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” its contemplative style belies the violent history of labor and protest in the United States it uncovers. But it is exactly its carefully considered distance which underscores the bloody narrative it constructs.
Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind was the winner of the National Film Critics award for “Best Experimental Cinema” in 2008.
John Gianvito is a filmmaker, curator, and critic. His films include the feature films The Flower of Pain, Address Unknown, and The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein, and is the winner of multiple awards including having been cited as one of the top ten films of the year by critics in The Chicago Reader, The Boston Phoenix, and Film Comment magazine. His 2007 documentary, Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind, received considerable acclaim and multiple awards including “Best Experimental Film of the Year” by the National Society of Film Critics and Grand Prize for Documentary Feature at the Belfort EntreVues Film Festival. In 2010, the magazine Time Out (New York) voted Profit Motive #45 in a critics’ poll of the 50 Greatest Documentaries of All Time. He has taught film production and film history at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Rhode Island School of Design, and Boston University, and was film curator for five years at the Harvard Film Archive. In 2001, he was made a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.
Artist Hope Tucker transforms what we know as a daily form of narrative through THE OBITUARY PROJECT, a compendium of moving image that gives new life to the documentary practice of salvage ethnography.
Mathilde Walker-Billaud trained and worked as an art editor in Paris. She was a Program Officer for the Book Office at the French Embassy and for Villa Gillet in the USA. She is now an independent curator and cultural producer based in New York, City.
Courtney Stephens is a filmmaker and programmer based in Los Angeles. She has combined her interest in geography and archives into live essay-documentary, curated programs, alongside her work in experimental documentary. Her films have screened at SXSW, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Union Docs, Anthology Film Archives, Mumbai International Film Festival, Dhaka International Film Festival, and elsewhere. She co-programs the film and lecture series Veggie Cloud, and has presented events at The Getty Museum, REDCAT, AM-London, Art Contemporary Los Angeles, Human Resources, the Velaslavasay Panorama, and ongoingly at Veggie Cloud’s space in Los Angeles. Stephens attended the American Film Institute, is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a Sloan Scholarship, and periodically lectures on subjects relating to film and geography at the Royal Geographical Society, London.