Image credit: From Shambhavi Kaul’s Mount Song.
A guided tour through some of the most adventurous, formally innovative and unusual films and videos to emerge in the last year. Defying easy classification, these short, non-fictive works play at the intersection of forms–experimental, documentary, animation–to produce inquiries into how ideas can be structured and the material properties of what we look at and hear. Personal and popular archives, found artifacts, and light itself are our departure points.
Followed by a post-screening conversation featuring Hey-Yeun Jang, Shambhavi Kaul, and Nina Yuen.
Curated by Chi-hui Yang.
Running time: 69 minutes.
Canada, 2012, 6 mins, Video, Color
DIRECTOR: Nobu Adilman
Cinema finds its accounts in an uncommon ledger, whose lines and tabulations conceal the greatest love of all.
USA, 2013, 9 mins, Video, Color
DIRECTOR: Shambhavi Kaul
Oriental pagodas, mysterious wisps of smoke, garishly colored sunsets and dramatic thundercracks: Kaul repurposes sets and effects from 1970’s Hong Kong genre films to bring the background to the fore and evoke an uncanny vision of a movie-mythologized East.
IT’S NOT A PRISON IF YOU NEVER TRY THE DOOR
USA, 2013, 7mins, Video, B&W
DIRECTOR: Josh Gen Solondz
Multi-hyphenate Solondz creates a remediated, glitch-filled revision of a monster classic. As pixels melt, stick and stutter, Godzilla arises and the world decays, a startling vision of mutation and destruction.
USA, 2012, 6mins, Video, Color
DIRECTOR: Libbie D. Cohn
In this sensory encounter with the elements and urban space, Cohn plays with the acts of looking and hearing, and turns an unfamiliar place and the everyday into an abstracted pleasure.
NIGHT FALLS ON GLASS
USA, 2012, 11 mins, Video, Color
DIRECTOR: Norbert Shieh
A shimmering city symphony refracted through Vancouver’s vertical skyline. Highrise windows are reframed as geometric patterns and merge with urban din to reveal a gleaming city of glass.
USA, 2013, 8mins, 16mm, Color, Silent
DIRECTOR: Hey-Yeun Jang
Orchard.5 might have started from the random flashing headlights that slip through my bedroom window blinds and fleetingly lick the walls and ceiling. The title originates from the name of the street that I have lived for the last five years and fifteen days.
None of the above says much about the film.
USA, 2013, 6mins, Video, Color
DIRECTOR: Nina Yuen
Through a play of performance, collage and projection, Yuen’s interpretive portrait of painter Joe Andoe is channeled through her body and the slogans of a Nike ad, producing an inquiry into the limits of ambition and the creative process.
Canada/India, 2012, 16mins, Video, Color
DIRECTOR: Oliver Husain
In this lavish production, Husain mines Indian musical dramas of the 40s and 50s to explore the liminal spaces of the dressing room and a tired actress’ inner thoughts, where the space behind the stage becomes the stage, and the veneer of performance is exposed.
Chi-hui Yang is a film programmer, lecturer, and writer based in New York. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU. As a guest curator, Yang has presented film and video series at film festivals and events internationally, including the MoMA Documentary Fortnight, Robert Flaherty Film Seminar (The Age of Migration), Seattle International Film Festival, Washington D.C. International Film Festival, and Barcelona Asian Film Festival. From 2000-2010 he was the Director and Programmer of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the largest showcase of its kind in the US. Yang is also the programmer of Cinema Asian America, a new On-Demand service offered by Comcast.
Libbie D. Cohn is in the Bay Area studying regenerative landscape architecture and editing her fourth film, Bad As Me, about a young couple confronting mental illness. Her favorite cities include Lisbon and old Beijing. Contact her at email@example.com
Oliver Husain is a filmmaker and artist based in Toronto and Frankfurt. Husain’s projects often begin with a portrait of a person or place. He uses a wide range of cinematic languages and visual codes—such as dance, puppetry, and animation—to disassemble and subvert fixed readings of the original material. His installations, performances, and films set up narratives that charm or fold the viewers into questioning their role as a spectator or subject.
Recent solo exhibitions include Gebimsel at Susan Hobbs Gallery, Pandy Ramada’s Bendable Displex at Gallery TPW R&D, Toronto; and C-Value at Republic Gallery Vancouver. In 2013, his films were included at MAK Vienna, Surrey Art Gallery, and NKV Wiesbaden and screened at Reel Asian Film Festival, Toronto, Mumbai International Film Festival, and Bangalore Queer Film Festival. His website is www.husain.de
Hey-Yeun Jang is a Korea-born, New York-based artist. Her works often involve 16mm film as either installation or a single channel film. Her films have been screened at the New York Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and VIDEOEX, and have been included in exhibitions all around the world. Her works have been awarded with the Fellowship Grant in New Genre by The National Endowment for the Arts and with the Finishing Funds by the Experimental TV Center.
Shambhavi Kaul’s cinematic constructions conjure uncanny, science-fictive non-places. Described as creating “zones of compression and dispersion,” her work utilizes strategies of montage and recirculation, inviting an affective response while simultaneously measuring our capacity to know what we encounter. She had exhibited her work worldwide at venues such as the Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Ann Arbor Film Festival among others. Kaul was born in Jodhpur, India and currently lives in India and the US, where she teaches at Duke University.
Joshua Gen Solondz is a film/media artist, and musician. He’s shown work at MOMA’s Documentary Fortnight, Images Festival, Light Industry, UnionDocs, video_dumbo, Harvard Film Archive, and Parsons Hall Project Space. In 2012, Josh screened at the Lima Independent Film Festival, Onion City, Chicago Underground, the Toronto Film Festival’s Wavelengths, and at Black Maria where he won the Jury’s Choice Selection Award. Josh won the Chris Frayne Award at the 2013 Ann Arbor Film Festival and received Special Jury Mention from the 2013 New Orleans Film Festival. In 2014, Josh shared a joint show with Peter Watkins at Heliopolis Gallery entitled ZERO LAND. Josh attended Bard College and is an MFA candidate at CalArts. He lives in Los Angeles.
Norbert Shieh is a Taiwanese American filmmaker and cinematographer exploring new perspectives on the quotidian through delicate and formal observations. His films and collaborations as a director of photography have screened internationally in festivals and venues, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Beijing New Youth Film Festival, REDCAT, LACMA, Anthology Film Archives, and Paris’s Centre Pompidou. His experimental short film WASHES (2011) premiered at the New York Film Festival and won the Jury’s Citation Award at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival. Shieh is based in Los Angeles and holds both a BA in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego and a MFA in film/video at the California Institute of the Arts. PRESERVES, his current project in pre-production, is the recipient of a 2012 Creative Capital grant. It is a hybrid feature-length film that explores the little-known relationship between traditional Taiwanese pickled mustard greens (suan cai) and the island’s disappearing agricultural landscape—and how this friction comes to head within a bowl of beef noodle soup.
In her videos, Nina Yuen (born 1981, Hawaii) creates an intimate world in which the ultrapersonal comes together with the general human condition. She has had recent solo exhibitions at the Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, the Stedelijk Museum Scheidam, and De Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam.