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Oct 7, 2022 at 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Cosmic Rays:
Look and Learn

Cosmic Rays Film Festival tours NYC with festival directors joining the discussion

In response to the lack of experimental film and media art programming, the Cosmic Rays Experimental Film Festival – founded by Sabine Gruffat and Bill Brown in 2017 – is an annual celebration of non-commercial short films, live-cinema, and new media projects in Chapel Hill, NC. The festival brings a collection of innovative films that question conventional models of production, exhibition, and distribution. Partnering up with UnionDocs, the festival’s tour is brought to New York City, where Gruffat and Brown will be joining the screening and lead exciting new conversation around the film program.

We’re delighted to feature a program organized with Gruffat, Brown and curator John Winn. LOOK AND LEARN, features a series of works that investigate our idea of what media art is and what it can be. The program foregrounds the materiality of the image, featuring work that makes innovative use of found footage, archival documents, scientific imaging, new media, drones, and celluloid. These films ask us to consider how the visual world is historically, technologically, and sensorially structured. From fundamental visual interactions of instruction manuals from the 1950’s, death and transcendence, to telepathy and mirrors, help us to navigate and expand the ways in which we perceive sounds and visuals in film.

This program is an early chance to see the new UnionDocs space in-progress. We’re still very much in the raw phases of building out our space and want to invite you in and not miss the opportunity to screen these amazing films!
We’ll promise good work, company, vibes and conversation. Doors at 7:30 – show starts a bit after!


Look and Learn, Janie Geiser


LOOK AND LEARN excavates the visual vocabulary we use to operate and construct our daily world. Look and Learn investigates a range of material image forms: elementary school books, visual instructions (furniture assembly diagrams, how-to manuals, safety instructions, maps) and photographs—with a focus on 1950’s era school class photographs, images from photography manuals, and others.

Another Horizon, Stephanie Barber

9 min.

When I was twenty, I lived in Richard and his wife Mary’s apartment, the site of their voodoo spiritual temple in New Orleans. Of course, as priests and priestesses, Richard and Mary spoke often of death, transcendence, ethics and health. Our days were slow and filled with philosophical rumination. Richard a brilliant old man schooling a young wandering wonderer.

Are You Tired Of Forever?, Caitlin Craggs

6 min.

A surreal montage of selfdom in a lensed world. We start in transit and end in the boudoir. Tea and light snacks will be served.

The Glass Note, Mary Helena Clark

9 min.

In The Glass Note, a collage of sound, image, and text explore cinema’s inherent ventriloquism. Across surface and form, the video reflects on voice, embodiment, and fetish through the commingling of sound and image.

Sky Room, Marianna Milhorat

6 min.

Someone is missing. Plants grow, but at what cost? Technology threatens and seduces as humans attempt to solve a mystery through telepathy and mirrors. Stainless steel and broken glass strewn about an intergalactic discotheque. Commissioned by the Chicago Film Archives and made in collaboration with sound artist Brian Kirkbride, with footage and sound from the archive chopped, manipulated and arpeggiated into a fertile mix of anthem and narrative.

The Air of the Earth in Your Lungs, Ross Meckfessel

11 min.

Drones and GoPros survey the land while users roam digital forests, oceans, and lakes. Those clouds look compressed. That tree looks pixelated. A landscape film for the 21st century.

Please Step Out of Frame, Karissa Hahn

4 min.

from your desk(top) mistrust the manufactured image distrust the assembled picture give no credence to the massed account discredit the aggregate narrative defame the corporate chronicle denigrate the collective annals doubt the constructed copy – consider the clone. accept the dismantled vision exalt the forged now brain subscribe to the ditto fuel the doodad delusion nourish the gizmo nightmare incite the idiot box prophecy inflame the dingbat phantasm a film burn becoming pixels as band-aid a manufactured reinforcement in the empire of computer and you feeding machine-vision the partition of screen

khôra, Caroline Key

8 min.

An incursion into Medicine, specifically gynecology, exposing problem origins and fraught desires.

Void Vision, Alexander Stewart

7 min.

In Void Vision the real and the simulated are equally constructions; a space where doubles, twins, duplicates, re-creations, and copies blend into one another. Void Vision combines a science-fiction sensibility with the aesthetic of early CG animation experiments. Rotating arrangements of lasers and duplicated women fade in and out onscreen, appearing as both photographed scenes and CG-modeled recreations. The audio track, incorporating text from Philip K. Dick’s VALIS, features an improvised electronic score and a voice espousing theories about the mind and the universe. Void Vision presents a consideration and re-consideration of reality; a cold fever-dream of paranoia and reification.

84 min

Sabine Gruffat is a French-American artist born in Bangkok, Thailand. She works with experimental video and animation, media-enhanced performance, participatory public art, and immersive installation. In this work, machines, interfaces, and systems constitute the language by which she codes the world. The creation of new ideas means inventing new ways of using existing tools, crossing signals, or repurposing old hardware. By actively disrupting both current and outmoded technology, Gruffat questions the standardized and mediatized world around us. She has produced digital media works for public spaces as well as interactive installations that have been shown at the Zolla Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, Art In General, Devotion Gallery, PS1 Contemporary Art Museum, and Hudson Franklin in New York.

Bill Brown is a media artist interested in ways landscape is interpreted, appropriated, and reconfigured according to human desires, memories, and dreams. His films have screened at venues around the world, including the Rotterdam Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, and Lincoln Center. A retrospective of his films was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In addition to his filmmaking, Brown is the co-founder of the Zine Machine: Durham Printed Matter Festival, and the Cosmic Rays Film Festival, an annual showcase of experimental and first-person films.

Presented With

The Cosmic Rays Experimental Film Festival

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Oct 7, 2022
7:30 pm – 11:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
QUEENS, NY 11385 United States
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