On October 2nd from 7:30pm to 9:00pm at CDA’s loft located on the third floor of the Cotton Mill building, the Brattleboro Literary Festival and the Center for Digital Art in Brattleboro will host the fifth annual Words and Video Exhibition, a one- evening screening of short films and video art pieces presented in collaboration between CDA, the Brattleboro Literary Festival and Write Action, a locally-based writers’ group.
As in years past, the pieces selected for Words and Video were inspired by works of writing, or were made in collaboration between writers and filmmakers, and were collected together in the spirit of exploring the intersections between words and images, written language and visual signifiers. Ten established and emerging video artists and filmmakers were selected by the event presenters to be a part of this exhibition.
The artists in this year’s Words and Video have had their work presented at festivals across the country and around the world including The Ann Arbor Film Festival, Crossroads San Francisco Cinematheque, the Sarasota Film Festival, and the Oberhausen International Film Festival. The ways in which these artists have interpreted the theme of film/video work drawn from words is equally diverse.
The fifth annual Words and Video Exhibition will be held on Thursday, October 2nd at the Center for
Digital Art, located on the third floor of the Cotton Mill in Brattleboro. Words and Video is free and open to the public. The exhibition will screen for one audience only, from 7:30pm – 9pm. Snacks and refreshments will be served. CDA and the Cotton Mill are wheelchair accessible. The Center for Digital Art is a nonprofit resource center and studio/performance space dedicated to promoting experimental media, digital art and video/filmmaking in Southern Vermont. For more information on this event and others at CDA, visit www.centerfordigitalart.com
The Works & Artists (in alphabetical order by artist’s last name)
“Illusions” by Robert Fritz
“Illusions” was conceived in December of 2013 in Regensburg, Germany. The goal was to create a piece using words, images, and music to draw an ironic contrast between the “glorification of illusions of the vilification of reality.” Using lettering by German calligrapher Johann Maierhofer and narration by Rosalind Fritz, Robert Fritz constructed a piece that encompasses aspects of fancy and whimsy while playing on and contradicting the idea that reality as an acquired taste.
Robert Fritz is a writer, director, composer, a best selling author and award winning filmmakers and composer. Fritz studied composition and theater at The Boston Conservatory of Music, as a filmmakers Fritz studied cinematography at the Rockport Workshops and directing with Jim Pasternak. He has directed and co-hosted “Creating”, a Canadian TV series, as well as directed episodes of and composed music for PBS’s series “LeaderTalk” with Garrison Krause. As a composer, Fritz’s arrangements have received many accolades including his feature film “Overload” (2009) which received 14 awards including Best Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score at the LA Movie Awards. Fritz has also won a bronze medal at the Global Music Awards for his original score for “Past Tense”, which won top honors, an Award of Excellence from The Indie Fest.
“Instructions to Hearing Persons Desiring a Deaf Man ” by Brook Griffin
This short animated film is based on a poem of the same name by Deaf poet Raymond Luczak. Both the film and the original poem explore the poet’s own story of frustration and resilience: the struggle of a Deaf gay man to find love in the Hearing community. Without any sort of spoken word, the film’s only use of language is in American Sign Language, left untranslated.
Brook Griffin graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University this past May with a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies and Computer Science. At Harvard, she studied animation and was the recipient of the Council Prize in Visual Art and an Artist Development Fellowship. She has collaborated and studied with animators in the United States, Spain, and Italy. Outside of the arts, she has recently received scholarships Mensa and the National Merit Foundation, and was named a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, a Weissman fellow, a John Harvard Scholar, and a United States Presidential Scholar. She received Harvard’s highest prize for her senior thesis project and is currently a finalist of the Screengrab International Media Arts Award. Funded by a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship from Harvard, Griffin will be working on a project in Japan until summer 2015.
“Origin of Dreams” by Rebecca Metcalf
“Origin of Dreams” is a hand processed film shot on Super 8mm film. The piece addresses the abstractions of film, the body, and estrangement. For Metcalf, “It serves as a visualization of dreams during an extended period of time where I experienced an absence of them.” Australian poet, Michael Dransfield, whose work often deals with feelings of estrangement, influenced the film.
Rebecca Metcalf is an Australian filmmaker who until recently resided in Richmond, Virginia. Her recent move has taken her back to Perth in Western Australia where she has begun to work on documentaries. Metcalf recently developed an affinity for working with traditional film and finds that hand held filming methods offer a personal and holistic touch.
“A Conference of Birds” by Jamie Mohr
Based on the 11th century Sufi poetry of Farid Attar and, Mohr’s “A Conference of Birds” explores and investigates themes of presence, consciousness, identity, and spiritual self-negation. In tying these themes together, Mohr uses footage of the new- age cult “I AM TEMPLE” performing their wish-fulfillment springtime ritual. “A Conference of Birds” utilizes live performance, video projection, and sonic atmospheric musical accompaniment by Beverly and Shannon Ketch of the psychedelic folk band Bunwinkies.
Jamie Mohr is a video performance artist who has exhibited work in galleries and festivals across the United States, in Europe, and South America. Mohr is interested in alternate forms of distribution and has produced experimental public television programs: “Coma Club” and “Oral Tradition Tele-vision”. She has been a member of psychedelic noise performance art collective The Bunnybrains for nearly a decade, and has serves as Creative Director of Be Your Own Placebo Gallery in North Adams, Massachusetts.
“The Devil’s House” by Erick Msumanje
The Devil’s House is a short experimental film about a mysterious young man who takes a journey clouded in blurred memory, displacement, and trauma.
Erick Msumanje received his Bachelors of Arts degree at Hampshire College’s film, photography, and video program. As an award-winning filmmaker and recipient of the highly competitive Princess Grace Awards, he strives to push the boundaries of expressive cinematography, aesthetics, and storytelling. His other recent work includes a short film called “My Mother’s Songs” (2013), which examines inter-generational trauma through the eyes of several young women in Tanzania and “The Journey” (2012) examines racism and violence from the perspective of a little boy. His work has screened at film festivals, online platforms, and television. He is a San Diego Fellow pursuing his MFA in Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego.
“Broken Tongue” by Monica Saviron
“Broken Tongue” is an ode to the freedom of movement, association, and expression. It pays homage tot he diaspora of the different waves of migration, and challenges the way we represent our narratives. It is a search for a renewed consciousness, for reinvention, a “what if”, the formal equivalent of asking a question expressed with a broken tongue – or not so broken after all.
Monica Saviron (Spain) has worked as a film writer, editor, and programmer. Her essays have been published internationally. She directed a weekly radio show on documentary and experimental films in Madrid for ten years. In New York, she has worked on the legacy of experimental filmmaker Beryl Sokoloff; with preservationist and artist Bill Brand; and as a creative associate, archival researcher, and assistant editor of the IDFA Grand Prize film “First Cousin Once Removed” (2012). Her video “To Begin With (2012) had its World Premiere at Experiments in Cinema Festival. Her film “Broken Tongue” (2013), a tribute to avant-garde poet Tracie Moris, had it’s World Premiere at the 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival. Her work explores the cinematic possibilities of sound and avant-garde poetics.
“Abraxas” by Julianna Schley
Shot in 16mm, Schley’s piece is an abstract interpretation of the ending of Hermann Hesse’s “Demian”.
Julianna Schley graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a BFA in Film and Video in 2009. Schley’s work focuses on exposing contradictions of modern society. Through Schley’s multilayered performances, the work hopes to “Illuminate and dismantle the schizophrenic lifestyle imposed on people forced to split themselves between their happiness and their livelihood.” Now living in New York City Schley is a curator at Launchpad, a community art space in Brooklyn. Schley is currently directing a feature-length film called “The ‘Don’t Be Like Roy’ Campaign”.
“My Shadow an Illusion of Me” by Karl Stewart
“My Shadow an Illusion of Me” was created in October 2013, the film utilizes images of shadows, text, and audio to show the juxtaposition of each element in relation to one another. This works towards depicting the tension between images of the shadows and the text itself, this creates a sense of lightness for the image of the shadow. “My Shadow an Illusion of Me” has been screened at many festivals including: Zebra Poetry Film Festival, Berlin Germany, Szczecin European Film Festival, Szczecin, Poland, Perth Revelation International Film Festival, Perth Australia, and Walthamstow International Film Festival, London, England.
Karl Stewart is a video and photography artist presently living in Dusseldorf, Germany. A former National Endowment for the Arts Artist-in-Residence, he studied journalism at Ohio University and philosophy at Duquesne University. He has taught photographic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, worked as a photojournalist and journalist for newspapers in Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as an English Lecturer at the Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy for 24 years. While in academics Stewart has written many books including” “The Mathematics of Tense Construction”, “Conditionals That Condition Your Life”, and “Prepositions Have Meaning in Life, too”
“A Philosophy of Language” by Anna Swanson
Like the challenge of translating emotion and thought into speech, so is the translation of the poem into film. a philosophy of language explores how the interpretation or reading of the poem can be conducted through a touching, a body language preceding words themselves, like the things we know in our skin and in our hearts before we know quite what words to give them, tracing this primal trajectory of the Self’s awakening, using the camera to capture the literal inscription of a love poem onto the skin of the poet
Anna Swanson makes experimental scholarly creative nonfiction, and is most interested in using the camera as a relational and dialogical catalyst for ethical collaborative representations of humans, and for using social critique to inspire social change. Her work has been exhibited internationally as part of the Celebrity Aura Exhibition in Melbourne’s Phoenix Gallery, and closer to home at The Ledge Gallery and Artists in Storefronts in Minneapolis, the Olympia Film Festival, IC Docs, and EFF Portland, among others. She holds a B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies from Carleton College, where she has also taught workshops on music video theory and psychogeography, and is currently pursuing her MFA in Film and Video Production at the University of Iowa
“The Sound of Bombs” by Shashwate Talukdar
Based on the story “The Ocean of Mrs. Nagai” by Sharbari Zohra Ahmed, “The Sound of Bombs” is a meditation on war and the act of recovering pain and guilt in its aftermath. Using archival footage from World War II propaganda films, travelogues about Japan from the 1950s, and video shot in contemporary Japan and Taiwan, this video explores the multiple legacies of violence. “The Sound of Bombs” has been screened at Penca Short Film Festival in Argentina, FD Zone in Mumbai India, and Rios Festival Internacional de Cinema Documental e Transmedia in Vila Real, Portugal.
Shashwati Talukdar grew up in India where her engagement with theatre and sculpture led to filmmaking, and a Masters degree from Mass Communication Research Center, Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi. Talukdar developed an interest in American Avant- Garde film and recieved an MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University, Philadelphia. Her work covers a wide range of forms, including documentary, narrative and experimental. Her work has shown at venues including the Busan International Film Festival, Margaret Mead Festival, and the International Film Festival of India. She has been supported by entities including the Asian Cine Fund in Busan, the Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and received the James Yee Mentorship award from the Center for Asian American Media and an IFP fellowship among others. ‘