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Marvelous Movie Mondays: In Solidarity

EPFC | June 8th, 2020

//MARVELOUS MOVIE MONDAYS//

Given the moral crisis we are facing and the urgency to fight white supremacy and support Black liberation, Marvelous Movie Mondays is shifting its focus for a bit. We support the efforts of our June guest curator, Nicole Elaine Baker, to use this platform to share relevant anti-racist resources and films and amplify Black voices.

Love and solidarity to all who are fighting against police violence, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy.

Kate Lain (for Marvelous Movie Mondays) + Echo Park Film Center
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Statement from MMM curator Nicole Elaine Baker:
In light of recent events in the US and worldwide, the EPFC and I agreed that the space usually dedicated to Marvelous Movie Mondays would be better utilized to help educate on anti-racism, and amplify Black voices with films by Black filmmakers that focus on Black lives and experience.
I appreciate the opportunity offered by the EPFC to curate MMM and look forward to doing so at a future time.

In solidarity,
Nicole Elaine Baker

Marvelous Movie Mondays: It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I feel fine)

EPFC | June 3rd, 2020

MARVELOUS MOVIE MONDAYS
Guest Curator: Nicole Elaine Baker

Hi everyone. This month’s theme is:
It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)

The world as I know it is brutalized by white supremacy, locked in toxic hegemony, and is being eaten alive by capitalism. And I don’t know about you, but I would like to see it end. Yeah, it is the end of the world as we know it, but that means that something else begins. What will it be? What should it be? What should we preserve and what will we happily cheer to see go down in flames?

If you’re like me, the recent months have been an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes you are genuinely “fine”, cautiously optimistic and patient. Maybe even empowered to stand up for change and each other. But then you see the numbers, and the suffering, and the fear. And the utter lack of compassion, and the aggressive ignorance, and the cruelty. And when asked you say you’re “fine”, but it’s that other kind of “fine,” the kind that masks the deep sense of dread and hopelessness that if fully expressed would have your loved ones concerned about leaving you alone with sharp objects.

We thought the end times rode in on a virus, but then we were reminded that we had other problems to tackle.The time has come to abandon the status quo and embrace the end of the world as we know it. Every Monday for the month of June I will bring you the work of experimental filmmakers who are grappling with the end, the unknown and the possibilities.

Today we start #marvelousmoviemondays with Relational Plane Rich Flight 209 by Peter Christenson.
From the filmmaker: Relational Plane Rich Flight 209 siphons and repurposes found footage into a thematically-networked consciousness stream, a collaged and dreamy trip across pop culture’s symbolic, economic, and relational fields.

When I watch this film, I see a sly take-down of the white supremesist threads forming the weft of capitalism.

I stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the protestors, everyone pushing back against racism and police brutality, and the families and communities of the countless victims of that brutality. I ask you to donate if you have the means, get out and protest if you feel safe to do so, support the protesters with resources and/or your time. Take action.

Marvelous Movie Mondays: Floating Light

EPFC | May 28th, 2020

Guest curator: Michael Woods aka M. Woods aka Disassociative Productions

Theme of the month: Body Politics / Digital Phenomenology

Happy Memorial Day and thank you again to Echo Park Film Center and Kate Lain for the opportunity to share this work with a larger audience. Today is my last time posting, but it has been a privilege. I will continue sharing work I love at the facebook group for AGITATE:21C . (Agitate is an all-inclusive avant-garde. If you are involved in creating or distributing avant-garde work of any kind, feel free to join and take part.)

Today I’ll be sharing the work of three great artists. In advance, however, I want to remember a young leader in the avant-garde. Eli Hayes was a community-builder, excellent curator, an emerging and extremely talented artist who could have been one of the best filmmakers of his generation. All of those things are eclipsed by his kindness and warmth and honesty. This morning I read that Eli has passed away. I didn’t believe it. He was only 26 years old, prolific and active in ways I will always admire. And though I didn’t know him well, I was expecting to meet him in Milwaukee this year before the coronavirus situation changed everything.

Eli was an artist who did more for others than himself, engaged with everyone he could, spread his love of cinema and art, and treated everybody with respect. I regret not watching enough of his work. I regret not being able to work with him. I regret not getting to know this good person enough when they were with us. Eli was the only film festival programmer in the US to pick up my feature film, Dailies from Dumpland. He introduced me to the work of one of the artists I’m highlighting today – Sylvia Toy St Louis – who has become one of my biggest allies and a cornerstone of Agitate. I don’t think Agitate would exist in the same way without Eli’s talent for connecting other artists. So today I’ll be sharing a small fraction of his work alongside the brilliant artists Michelle Chu and Sylvia Toy St Louis

Michelle Chu is an artist/theorist and one of the biggest influences on my work through the many hours-long conversations we’ve had over the course of the last decade. Her movie This is Not Paris But It’s About Paris https://vimeo.com/415706644 is newly uploaded and is one of the best pieces I’ve seen this year. The work begins as a low-grade digital camera sits on a corner and drum samples begin to syncopate with the progressively more theatrical social interactions until a stranger’s gaze looks directly into the digital sensor. The narrative that emerges is of the path of the digital file into a hard drive. What emerges is a small record of 2012 – the year of our illusory apocalypse – in multiple media formats; the comforting words of a friend reveal the images of exterior spaces to be a trove of painful memories; digital remnants of places that now reflect trauma. The piece is a poignant, emotive poem on the decay inherent in digital representation and its dysfunctional experiential and spacial memory. This is the follow up to Chu’s Septum Ring Secret https://vimeo.com/125496287 , one of my favorite video works of the last decade.

Sylvia Toy St. Louis aka Sylvia Toy Industries is a multi-disciplinary artist whose recent work has primarily involved ultra-low budget green screen and performance. She multiplies herself into dozens of characters that, through her immense talents as a performer, transcend the glitchy digital artifacts that imprison her characters. Her multitude of characters begin to express a single consciousness divided, a particularly effective way to visualize our fragmented country and collective psyche. Sylvia has over a hundred videos on her Vimeo page https://vimeo.com/sylviatoystlouis but I want to highlight the work, The Harpy, https://vimeo.com/174805336 , a cosmic, sci-fi freak-out in a pixelated sky desert. Sylvia uses the broken aesthetics of low-fi digital noise to great effect while twisting language into a hypnotic scolding.

As I wrote above, Sylvia and I met through Eli. Her feature film Creation (trailer here: https://youtu.be/astxZ88SgMQ ) was an award-winner at Eli’s online Hazel Eye Film Festival.

Lastly, I want to leave with a few works by Eli Hayes that demonstrates the aesthetic experiments he was making in digital phenomenology. Eli’s work is a kaleidoscopic, multi-layered, mandala of nuanced musical expression. At its best, its textures evoke a strong nostalgia for dream logic and landscapes, a beauty that resonates through his explorations. Eli made several feature films, and I have only watched a fragment of his work, but these two pieces standout. Pharos https://vimeo.com/261772293 and Floating Light https://vimeo.com/382985437 both made with filmmaker Alex Davies are among the most visually exuberant of his works. Join me in celebrating his work by sharing it with your friends and loved ones. Remember to cherish those around you when they’re here. Remember to support those who may be struggling but who share their immense talents with us.

Thank you again for your time and viewership.
Sincerely,
M. Woods

Marvelous Movie Mondays: Robert Seidel’s _grau

EPFC | May 19th, 2020

MARVELOUS MOVIE MONDAYS
guest curator: Michael Woods

Hope everyone has had a great week! I’ve been binge-watching 66th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen Online when I can!

THEME: Body Politics / Digital Phenomenology

I’m going to keep this week’s edition short and sweet. Robert Seidel’s _grau is an exploration of digital phenomenology – “a personal reflection on memories coming up during a car accident, where past events emerge, fuse, erode and finally vanish ethereally … various real sources where distorted, filtered and fitted into a sculptural structure to create not a plain abstract, but a very private snapshot of a whole life within its last seconds …”

I came across this piece when I was 16, and I’m still in love with this car crash in digital space. The crystalline perfection of CG spectacle is destroyed/pierced, projecting/ejecting a time-suspended after-image as the broken body sorts its damage and recollections and media images. Shards of cartoons and once-familiar objects lose value in a purgatory of nameless shifting energies. Equally revelatory is the score by Heiko Tippelt and Philipp Hirsch.

https://vimeo.com/2669327 – _grau

Other movies – recently showcased at Oberhausen! – that pertain to our theme.
I am the people_I – Li Xiaofei
Untitled #2 – Nguyen Anh Tu Pham
16mm Selfie – Karan Suri Talwar & Sofia Thenmozhi Ashraf
The Falling Sky – Peggy Ahwesh
Labor of Love – Sylvia Schedelbauer

Marvelous Movie Mondays: Karissa Hahn

EPFC | May 13th, 2020

Just a reminder! My name is Michael Woods aka M. Woods aka Disassociative Productions and I’m guest curating for the month – bringing you radical work in the times of corona.

Just a reminder, the theme for this month’s work is Body Politics + Digital Phenomenology. Please check out last week’s artist Xiaoer Liu

This week I’m breaking the rules and I’ll be showing multiple videos & highlighting awesome sounds – like DJ Activist Omjpg Yara aka I-VYE aka I-VYE ZYU GAWA. https://soundcloud.com/yaralaurine/tracks Check her work out for consciousness raising mixes. Dope shit for quarantine dancing and creativity building.

MOVIE TIME!!
I have gotten the privilege to curate my friend Karissa Hahn‘s work for years. Her work is already a fixture of Echo Park Film Center and LA and she is the perfect representative for that diverse and extraordinary scene, which includes LACDA Los Angeles Center for Digital ArtThe VAST Lab, and Los Angeles Filmforum – a network that has helped exhibit Karissa’s ‘spectra ephemera’, what she terms the ever-expanding universe of her work in multiple media.

Often, but not always, Hahn’s work begins with the use of super-8, a perfect mechanomorphic semi-automated apparatus for the depiction of a mundane digital world in semi-simulated, semi-mechanical, semi-broken disarray.

The movie I’m highlighting is Cataract Churning Grey – https://vimeo.com/416508335 – a horror film set in a transitory dream/wake state that begins with Hahn’s regular character, herself, in a larval state, wrapped in bed sheets. From the first image, Hahn evokes her own work – a wormhole connection to the movie ___________ https://vimeo.com/191743012 in which the horrors of the Trump administration lowly murmur in the background as she attempts to flatten her body until it is nothing but a line. A form of physical escape.

But in Cataract Churning Grey, Hahn falls into a mediated dream where she is forced into a Sisyphean loop, continually trying to ease the tension of a tea kettle propped against a desert backdrop that Hahn must continually traverse – portraying her struggle with a self-aware despair that borders on irony and actual exhaustion. She runs in slow motion, both mocking and acknowledging the prison of mundane suspense and time-space. She is both action hero and stuck in a molasses suspension of grey silvers that have sublimated into pixel meat that billows like the water vapor trying to escape. The kettle calls out like a siren, which draws Hahn’s Sisyphus out of fear of over-boiling, to alleviate the increasing pressure to become stranded in the rocks. (In this sequence, Hahn’s work reminds me of the way we compromise politically, trying to set the hot issues aside until they become catastrophic; until there is no way to stop them from boiling over.)

The key image of the movie occurs on Hahn’s third attempt – mocking and perfectly demonstrating the Hollywood rule of threes – the tea kettle is revealed to be propped precariously upon a mobile hot-plate next to an anonymous nowhere ocean.

The tension reaches its height as the threats to Hahn’s character’s body outweigh the fear of over-boiling. A new set of fears dominate – being drowned, electrified, abraded, and bruised, while Hahn calmly sets the kettle off the hot plate and finds herself back in the horrors of the mundane to continue the same task endlessly.

(The grey cataract of the title also reflects Hahn’s tendency to selectively and completely erase the identity of landscapes and objects. The cataract apparatus allows her to render all mis-en-scene in a hypnogogic micro-narrative. Her main character is almost a caricature of self. The super-8 and other analog/digital hybrid techniques she utilizes help to create this transitory state that functionally reflects the void between sleep and dream states in a world over-boiling in its own stew of physical reality/hyperreality/entropy/hypermundaneness.)

Cataract Churning Grey is genius in the way it serves to tie together pieces of the spectra ephemera. Other examples: it recalls the stranded mermaid that must abrade herself to be seen by the camera in Before the Portrait: https://vimeo.com/85898529

It recalls Hahn’s analog/digital trip-escapes like Please Step Out of the Frame https://vimeo.com/251074549 which connects to Open Window https://vimeo.com/190027404 which then connects to pieces like Thank You https://vimeo.com/415003964 in the way they interrogate and corrupt hybrid analog/digital technologies. Another essential part of her artmaking is her daily instagram experimentation using ink-jet printers, automated vacuum cleaners, slow-scan video sources, motion detectors, and all sorts of consumer instruments to further degrade the integrity of the mundane illusion.

Hahn’s work is radical, imaginative, unique, ever-expanding, and deserving of further critical examination for its complexity. Her place is already solidified amongst the best avant-garde filmmakers in history.

Last thing – I know I know tl;dr
A little shameless self-promotion, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen is this week. My movie Body Prop: Movement 2 [SOLAR NEMESIS] is playing in the Muvi International Section. CHECK IT OUT

Also, AGITATE:21C is our international avant-garde. Karissa has been one of the artists we’ve exhibited in the past. We’re open to anyone who is avant-garde. Totally inclusive except to haters and abusers. Promoting all voices – not just those that are white and male.

Signing off – stay safe and healthy and I’ll see you next week with a selection from Robert Seidel WHICH IS AMAZING. & don’t worry, before the month is out I’m gonna drop a bunch more than 4 movies. THANK YOU Kate Lain once again for letting me hijack.