FLEX— The Florida Experimental Film/Video Festival– presents Spacey Space, a selection of some of their favorite entries from past festivals. The selection of these particular works was inspired by the theme of one of the festivals most popular programs of the 2009 competitive festival. While capturing the broad scope of work submitted each year to the festival, the individual works contained in this program all manage to share a common interest in exploring the notion of space–both inner and outer.
While some of these works implore us to pull from the void in order to recognize and remember that which appears lost–be it forgotten people, memories, ideas, yet others reveal what is already there, and unseen to the naked eye– electrons, devices of control and isolation, and ghosts. By exploring the expanses of inner and outer space, the phantom zones existing beside us and within us, these pieces demand of us a closer inspection of the unseen, the in between, and the forgotten.
Energie! by Thorsten Fleisch (Germany, 2007, 6 minutes, DVD)
From a more technical point of view, the TV/video screen comes alive by a controlled beam of electron in the cathode ray tube. For Energie! and uncontrolled high voltage discharge of approximately 30,000 volts exposes photographic paper which is then arranged in time to create new visual systems of electron organization.
Thorsten Fleisch’s experimentation of materials in his work results in a heightened state of awareness of unseen elements and captured ephemera. He began experimenting with super 8 film in high school. He went on to study with Peter Kubelka at the Stadelschule in Frankfurt where he began working with 16mm film.
Day/Night (Devil’s Millhopper) by Andres Arocha (USA, 2009, 5 minutes, 16mm)
Enter a space. A one hundred feet deep hole dwarfs invaders with visions of immeasurably tall trees in an almost pristine natural setting. How do you see it? Inspired by the grandeur of nature, Day/Night (Devil’s Millhopper) limits itself to this setting and explores it through different eyes.
Spaceghost by Laurie Jo Reynolds (USA, 2007, 26 minutes, DVD)
Space Ghost compares the experiences of astronauts and prisoners, using popular depictions of space travel to illustrate the physical and existential aspects of incarceration: sensory deprivation, the perception of time as chaotic and indistinguishable, the displacement of losing face-to-face contact, and the sense of existing in a different but parallel universe with family and loved ones.
Laurie Jo Reynolds is an artist, educator, and activist. In addition to being an advocate for prisoners’ rights, she is also involved with creative collaborative projects for prisoners and ex-offenders. She teaches at Columbia College and Loyola University in Chicago
Rosewell by Bill Brown
(USA, 1994, 23 minutes, 16mm)
A space kid borrows dad’s UFO for a joyride, but winds up crashing near Roswell, New Mexico. An amnesiac filmmaker goes looking for answers.
Bill Brown makes movies about ghosts that masquerade as movies about landscapes– or maybe it’s the other way around. He studied filmmaking at Harvard University, and received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.
All Through the Night by Michael Robinson
(USa, 2008, 4 minutes, DVD)
A charred visitation with an icy language of control; there is no room for love.
Since the year 2000, Michael Robinson has created a body of film, video and photography work exploring the poetics of loss and the dangers of mediated experience. Originally from upstate NY, he holds a BFA from Ithaca College, and a MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Phantogram by Kerry Laitala
(USA, 2008, 6 minutes, 16mm)
A communication between the maker, pure light, and the shadow?graphic spirits of cinema. A telegram from the dead using the medium of film. Slippery shimmers slide across the celluloid strip, to embed themselves on the consciousness of the viewers.
Kerry Laitala is an experimental filmmaker from San Francisco whose handcrafted films are masterful, tactile, manipulations of celluloid. She studied film and photography at Massachusetts College of Art, and has a masters degree from the San Francisco Art Institution.
It Will Die Out in the Mind by Deborah Stratman
(USA, 2006, 4 minutes, DVD)
A short meditation on the possibility of spiritual existence and the paranormal in our information age. Texts are lifted from Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker in which Stalker’s daughter redeems his otherwise doomed spiritual journey. She offers him something more expansive and less explicable than logic or technology as the conceptual pillar of the human spirit.
The title is taken from a passage about the time from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed:
Stavrogin: …in the Apocalypse the angel swears that there’ll be no more time.
Kirillov: I know. It’s quite true, it’s said very clearly ad exactly. When the whole of man has achieved happiness, there won’t be any time, because it won’t be needed. It’s perfectly true.
Stavrogin: Where will they put it then?
Kirillov: They won’t put it anywhere. Time isn’t a thing, it’s an idea. It’ll die out in the mind.
Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based filmmaker who leaves town a lot. Her films blur the lines between experimental and documentary genres, and she frequently works in other media including photography, sound, drawing and architectural intervention. Deborah teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Cal Arts.
FLEX–the Florida Experimental Film/Video Festival–has sought to provide a year-round home for the exhibition of experimental cinema from around the world since 2004. Our hope is that this annual event can serve as an important venue for artists to share their work, while also allowing local audiences a unique opportunity to see significant works that do not have a regular home elsewhere in the State.
Started by experimental filmmaker and University of Florida professor Roger Beebe in Gainesville, Florida, FLEX has earned itself a reputation for quality programing and events. In addition to the alternating festivals, one competitive and the other invitational, FLEX regularly presents film-centric events. These other events, like gong shows featuring industrial and educational films, Cinema Under the Stars- 16mm movie classics screened outside, and Silent Films, Loud Music- local musicians score music to silent films, all serve to promote the communal experience of film viewing.
Between splitting her time mining the internet for the most gruesome pics for her psychology lab job and working at Gainesville’s finest independent video store, Alisson Bittiker, once the FLEX chair wrangler, is now the Managing Director of FLEX. Dreams, of constant stress, work, and no pay, really do come true. She studied photography and video at the University of Florida.