This four-night screening series showcases a number of artists who work primarily on 16mm. These meticulously constructed 16mm films reflect on the density of time and history as they fade into abstract, sometimes difficult to recover memories.
Reflecting what Jeffrey Skoller has called the postmodern avant-garde’s tendency toward evocation rather than representation, these films and these artists reflect on worlds that are ephemerally slipping beneath our grasp.
All films will be screened on 16MM
• Daniel Eisenberg, Displaced Person, 1981, 11 minutes
Displaced Person works with a carefully chosen set of particular elements in order to explore the larger questions within the historical field. Stately and sinuous passages from a Beethoven string quartet create a complex argumentation around images and text. This music, both sympathetic and distanced, establishes rhythm and breadth in relation to a radio interview with Claude Levi-Strauss, and archival footage obtained from rephotographing Marcel Ophul's The Sorrow and the Pity. These elements wheel through many revolutions of repetitions and combinations, forming multiple perspectives. Through recontextualization, meaning blossoms rationally and incongruously like the alleged blossoming of flowers that took place in the dead of winter in wartime Germany, brought on by the intense temperatures of exploding shells.
Displaced Person is a tether that entwines and unravels; by necessity and the nature of its subject it is inconclusive. (DE)
• Daniel Eisenberg, Cooperation of Parts, 1987, 42 minutes
Unlike most films that deal with the Holocaust, Cooperation of Parts takes place firmly in the present and does not attempt to recapitulate history. Using lists, descriptions of photographs, a catalog of proverbs, images of streets, trains, ruins and riots, the film explores the territory of the recent past with a second generation perspective, distanced through time and reflection.
With the visual field as a touchstone for a complex set of narrative associations, the film spins a tight web of memory, history, and experience. It is within this web that the film finds its wider significance: as a model for how daily life, history, first hand and second hand experience bind, through purpose or chance, to form identity itself. (DE)
• Ernie Gehr, Signal – Germany on the Air, 1985, 35 minutes
"[W]hile reintroducing social concerns, Signal does not give us facts about the Nazi period or present-day Germany; Gehr's film is instead about a form of thinking. It addresses the mental processes that might govern looking at a Berlin street, rather than literally explicating present or past. ...
Gehr’s particular vision in Signal is doubtless inflected by the deep emotions he must have felt in trying to view a city that at one point in its history would have denied his parents life and him birth." —Fred Camper, Chicago Reader
Daniel Eisenberg prints provided by Oberlin art library; all other prints provided by Canyon Cinema
This event is presented with support by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Art.