Day Is Done

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 7:00 pm

My House curator, Tobin Gibson, introduces this special event — only the third time Mike Kelley's "fractured feature-length musical" has been screened in a cinema. Extending the artist's subversive, multifaceted examination of trauma, abuse and repressed memories, refracted through the prism of personal and mass-cultural experience, Day Is Done is composed of live-action recreations of high-school yearbook photographs of extracurricular activities, or, as the late artist himself termed them, "socially accepted rituals of deviance." These carnivalesque disruptions of the normal school schedule, in the form of pageants, recitals, variety shows, hazings, slave auctions and dress-up days, mirror events in the broader cultural arena.

Day Is Done | USA 2005. Dir: Mike Kelley. 169 min. Video.
Tobin Gibson lives in London, UK, and has previously worked with Presentation House Gallery, The Apartment, and, more recently, with Maureen Paley in London. He is currently working towards two thematic exhibitions for 2017: the first linking somatic, temporal and material gestures within abstraction and minimalism; the second focused around humanity's sixth mass extinction. 
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition My House: Mike Kelley & Ryan Trecartin at Presentation House Gallery, December 19, 2015 – March 6, 2016.
With special thanks to the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.
Please note earlier than usual start time.

The Nine Muses

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 7:30 pm

Programmed by Michèle Smith

DIM Cinema opens its 2016 season with Ghanaian-born British artist-filmmaker John Akomfrah’s epic film about the African diaspora to postwar Britain. Conceived as a gallery piece based on Homer’s Odyssey, this retelling of Telemachus’s search for his lost father, Odysseus, grew into a feature-length cinematic work structured as a song cycle, with each musical chapter named after one of the nine muses.  Intermixing archival footage with original scenes shot in Alaska, and scripted from sound clips of established works of the (mainly) Western canon, the film summons up “a mood, rather than a story, that reflects on the immigrant experience and the violence of displacement with a majestic grace" (Jason Solomons, The Observer). “Striking ... Extends, complicates, and enriches the definition of documentary. Though lofty, The Nine Muses is never grandiose, taking as its subject the primal notion of what constitutes home” (Melissa Anderson, Artforum).

The Nine Muses | Great Britain 2011. Dir: John Akomfrah. 94 min. HDCAM 
"[A] beautiful and beguiling film."
Screen Daily | full review
"A handsome, restful, thought-provoking film."
The Guardian | full review
John Akomfrah, born to activist parents in Accra, Ghana, in 1957, has lived in London since the age of four. His films and installations focus on the African diaspora to Europe and North America, exploring themes of temporality, memory, history and identity. Akomfrah's multilayered visual style was forged as a founding member of the seminal Black Audio Film Collective, which he and long-term collaborators David Lawson and Lina Gopaul started in London in 1982 to address issues of race politics in Britain. Their second film, Handsworth Songs, about the 1985 riots in London and Birmingham, won the Grierson Prize for Best Documentary in 1987. His collaborative and solo works have been shown in museums and galleries including the Venice Biennale and the Liverpool Biennial; Documenta 11, Kassel; the De Balie, Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Serpentine Gallery, Tate Britain/Modern and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; and MoMA, New York. His films have been screened in international film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, amongst others.
Image: Courtesy of Icarus Films

Almanac (Circa 1970)

Monday, November 23, 2015 - 7:30 pm

Programmed by Helga Pakasaar and Michèle Smith

In 1970, a unique project was commissioned by the Stills Division of the National Film Board of Canada: fifteen West Coast artists -- many of them using a camera for the first time -- were invited to create a series of photographic booklets that were later compiled into an anthology. The B.C. Almanac(h) C-B artists conceived the book as an exhibition, and designed the accompanying exhibition as a 3-D version of the book’s production. To bring to light this forgotten event in the history of West Coast media art, Presentation House Gallery has reprinted the anthology and remounted the exhibition, along with works from the period by artists featured in the book.
This screening of iconic works by West Coast filmmakers reflects the collage and deconstruction aesthetic of the BC Almanac, and celebrates a vibrant, multidisciplinary art scene as it embraced the expressive potential of newly accessible camera technologies.
Cosmic Ray | Bruce Conner/USA 1961. 4.5 min. 16mm.
Variations on a Cellophane Wrapper | David Rimmer/Canada 1970. 9 min. 16mm.
7362 | Pat O’Neill/USA 1967. 10 min. 16mm.
Aaeon | Al Razutis/Canada 1970. 24 min. 16mm.
Runs Good | Pat O’Neill/USA 1970. 15 min. 16mm.
Crossroads | Bruce Conner/USA 1976. 37 min. 35mm.
Total running time: approx. 99 minutes
Organized in partnership with Presentation House Gallery and its exhibition B.C. Almanac(h) C-B, on display September 30 - November 29, 2015. presentationhousegallery.org
Bruce Conner (1933-2008) was based in San Francisco for most of his career. His drawings, collages, sculptures, assemblages, photographs and films were considered groundbreaking in his own lifetime.

Pat O'Neill has been involved in the Los Angeles avant-garde film scene since the 1960s. A former professor at CalArts, his practice includes drawing, sculpture, printmaking and photography, but he is best known for his highly graphic, layered and reflexive films made with an optical printer.

Al Razutis moved to Vancouver from the United States in 1968, after graduate studies in mathematical physics, bringing a combination of technological interests to his multimedia experiments and innovations, most recently in virtual reality and stereoscopic 3-D video. His films have received a number of awards, including a 1988 Los Angeles Film Critics Award.

David Rimmer is an internationally renowned experimental and documentary filmmaker from Vancouver who has also worked in performance, sound, sculpture, and holography. He was an influential teacher in the film and video department at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.

Image: Bruce Conner, Cosmic Ray, 1961. Courtesy Conner Family Trust. ⓒ Conner Family Trust

Stella Polare

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 7:30 pm

Programmed by Michèle Smith

“This port city, it’s much like any port city: it’s everywhere and nowhere.”

For Remembrance Day, DIM Cinema presents Stella Polare, an immersive essay film on the nature of war, terror and resistance; loss, memory and forgetting. The soft voice of an anonymous narrator addresses us, the viewers, in the second person, situating us behind the camera as flâneurs casting our stranger’s gaze across an unnamed European city. There we encounter some of the town’s inhabitants strolling along a jetty in the fading evening light, peer into shop windows in half-deserted streets, and drift through the interiors of 19th-century apartments and museums, following the “dusted faded traces of a glorious imperial past.” From these images, and from fragments of sounds and voices, develops a forensic narrative around “past histories, events and incidents that bleed into the present” (Andy Birtwhistle, Vertigo Magazine).
Stella Polare | Great Britain 2006. Dir: Anthea Kennedy and Ian Wiblin. 76 min. Beta SP 
Anthea Kennedy studied fine art in Leeds and film at the Royal College of Art, London. As well as making her own films, she has worked as a film editor, often with the late Stephen Dwoskin. Her work has received awards, including a Hubert Bals Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.
In addition to his filmmaking, Ian Wiblin is a photographer whose work has been exhibited internationally. A monograph of his photographs, Night Watch, was published during his artist residency at Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge.
Kennedy and Wiblin have been making films together since 2000. Their work takes the form of experimental documentary or essay films, focusing on place, history and memory. These have been shown at international festivals and galleries including Rotterdam, EMAF, Thessaloniki, Athens Ohio, Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery London and Collection Regard Berlin. 
 “A lyrical meditation on memory, history and violent political activism” (Geoff Andrew, Time Out, Rotterdam Film Festival review).

Alarm Songs and Anomalies

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 7:30 pm

Programmed by Michèle Smith

A screening of works by two Montreal-based artists who embed video in multi-media environments and situations. For her 2012 installation, Anomalies, Julie Favreau took as inspiration a Soviet-era novella about science gone awry, but then utterly transformed it into a series of sci-fi scenarios with enigmatic objects, to “suggest parables about the judicious use of knowledge and technology, and about personal discipline and mindfulness” (Saelan Twerdy, Canadian Art). Dominique Sirois’s recently completed project, Alarm Songs, orchestrates the passage from modernity to the dystopian now using sampled warning sounds from a music database and texts by Freud, Stockhausen, and the Russian poet Alexei Gastev. The suite of four videos connects different epochs through quasi-allegorical figures and narratives to reveal the past function and latent memory of the locations they were filmed in, millenial pantomimes that track the development of militarism, industrialization, globalization, and leisure, as forms of social control.


Anomalies | Julie Favreau/Canada 2012. 11 min. DCP

Color Boy | Dominique Sirois/Canada 2015. 7 min. DCP

Military Techno | Dominique Sirois/Canada 2015. 8 min. DCP

Victorian Sushi | Dominique Sirois/Canada 2015. 11 min. DCP

Leisure Machine | Dominique Sirois/Canada 2015. 20 min. DCP
Located at the crossroads of visual art and choreography, Julie Favreau’s practice is based on inventing gestures out of objects (sculptures) or, conversely, on inventing sculptures out of gestures. Her projects take on different forms, such as installation, video, sculpture, performance, and photography. Recent works induce a state of heightened sensory awareness in the viewer, inviting concentration, focus, and intimacy. Favreau has presented/performed her work in many contexts including exhibitions, festivals, and performances on stage. A participant in the MACM Quebec Triennial in 2011, and Sobey Art Prize nominee, she is currently working on a new creative cycle for stage and solo exhibitions at various sites: Gallery 44 (Toronto), Edinburgh Art Festival - Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Scotland), Battat Contemporary and Darling Foundry (Montreal).
Dominique Sirois’s practice takes the form of installations involving the interplay of sculpture, video, sound and prints. Her work deals with three fields of interest: value and surveillance; economy and affects; ruins and obsolescence. In a recent project, the Mimesis Trinity, she has been looking at the self-referential structures that exist in both finance and art, through the medium of a fictitious learned society. She has exhibited in galleries across Canada. Her work with a frequent collaborator, the artist Grégory Chatonsky, has travelled internationally. Alarm Songs was produced during a residency at Glasgow C.C.A. 
Image: Julie Favreau, Anomalies - Femme compas, 2012. Inkjet on paper. Courtesy the artist and Battat Contemporary.

Fischli & Weiss are Rat & Bear

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 7:30 pm

Programmed by Michèle Smith

“Like Laurel and Hardy, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Bouvard and Pecuchet, Rat and Bear!"  Stefan Zweifel,  Flowers and Questions, 2006.

Dressed in rented animal costumes, internationally acclaimed multimedia artists Fischli and Weiss, "the merry pranksters of contemporary art" (The New York Times), take their characters "rat" and "bear" on a string of adventures that pose serious questions about art, crime, nature, and the meaning of life. Their first film, a Chandleresque crime drama, begins with them stumbling upon a corpse in a Los Angeles art gallery. Hoping it will be their key to fame and fortune, they take it with them, only to find their plans spiraling out of control. “The result is more reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction watched after a dose of psilocybin mushrooms” (Lauren O’Neill Butler, ArtForum). In the sequel, rat and bear’s philosophical debates and fractious relationship are tested against the majestic backdrop of the Swiss Alps, as they find themselves at the mercy of nature, once again grappling to understand the seeming chaos of the world. "In the epic style of an age-old tale, the film traces the path to understanding: the profound, melancholy, but also the comic realization that every "right way" is also a wrong way (and every wrong way also a right way)" (Patrick Frey, Parkett Magazine).

Der Geringste Widerstand (Point of Least Resistance | Switzerland 1981. 29 mins. 16mm-film transfer to video. In German with English subtitles.
Der Rechte Weg (The Right Way) | Switzerland 1984. 55 mins. 16mm-film transfer to video. In German with English subtitles.
Peter Fischli (born 1952) and David Weiss (1946-2012) started working as a creative duo in 1979. Their collaboration included sculpture, photography, drawing, art books, video and multimedia installations, often using everyday objects to convey humor, irony or wonder at the seemingly mundane. They have been the subject of exhibitions and retrospectives at Tate Modern, MoMA, The Guggenheim Museum, and Le Centre Georges Pompidou, and twice represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale, in 1995 and in 2003, winning on the second occasion the Golden Lion.

Image: The Point of Least Resistance. Courtesy of Icarus Films and Sprüth Magers Berlin

Programmed by Michèle Smith

Ute Aurand’s trilogy of films Toying with String I-III (Fadenspiele I-III) was made in a spirit of artistic spontaneity and improvisation with her sister, the painter Detel Aurand, between 1999 and 2013. Filmed inside the artist’s studio and outdoors in forests, fields, and mountains, they feature various natural and manmade materials invisibly manipulated to create images in a constant state of metamorphosis. This aspect of the sisters’ films serves as a bridge to the work of local artists Julia Feyrer and Tamara Henderson, who will show a selection of 16mm films from their collaborative and separate practices.

Fadenspiele. Germany/Ute and Detel Aurand, 1999. 8 min, 16mm, silent. 
Fadenspiele II. Germany/Ute and Detel Aurand, 2003. 8 min, 16mm, optical sound.
Fadenspiele III. Germany/Ute and Detel Aurand, 2013. 9 min, 16mm, optical sound. 
The Artist's Studio. Canada/Julia Feyrer, 2010. 5 min 5, 16mm, silent.
Neon Figure. Canada/Tamara Henderson, 2013. 2 min 55, 16mm, optical sound.
Spirit of Garfield. Canada/Tamara Henderson, 2012. 2 min 55, 16mm, optical sound.
Escape Scenes. Canada/Julia Feyrer, 2013. 4 min 37, 16mm, silent.
Gliding in on a Shrimp Sandwich. Canada/Tamara Henderson with Jeannine Han and Dan Riley, 2014. 2 min 55, 16mm, optical sound.
Accent Grave on Ananas. Canada/Tamara Henderson, 2013. 2 min 55, 16mm, optical sound.
Bottles Under the Influence. Canada/Julia Feyrer and Tamara Henderson, 2012. 9 min 43, 16mm, optical sound.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ute Aurand has been making experimental films in the lineage of Jonas Mekas, Marie Menken, and Margaret Tait since graduating from the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin in 1985.  Detel Aurand is a visual artist based in Berlin who works with painting, collage, and installation. 
Julia Feyrer works with film, sculpture, sound, and historical photographic techniques to address themes of the corporeal and the temporal. Tamara Henderson translates her experiences of unconscious states, such as dreaming and hypnosis, into sculpture, furniture, and film scenarios. Feyrer and Henderson began working together in 2009 while studying at Frankfurt's Städelschule, and have exhibited their installations at Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, and the ICA, Philadelphia.
Image: Ute and Detel Aurand, Fadenspiele I, 1999.

Ute Aurand: Eye Movement Stillness

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 7:30 pm

Programmed by Michèle Smith

Ute Aurand’s diary films, film portraits, and travelogues belong to the lineage of Jonas Mekas, Marie Menken and Margaret Tait. A key figure in Berlin’s film scene since the 1980s, Aurand records life’s small, ephemeral details on a handheld Bolex camera, later reworking them in a style that is at once energetic, rhythmic, playful and — unusually for experimental cinema — tender. She has described her approach as “a brief touch” — “like a swing, to go away and come back and go away and come back again.” Her films explore the lives of friends and strangers, the atmosphere of local and foreign places, and “the absolutely singular, exquisite textures of daily life around her” (Michael Sicinski).  
Im Park/A Walk/Zuoz. Germany, 2008. 6 min, 4.5 min, 7.5 min. 16mm. Silent.
Kopfüber im Geäst (Hanging Upside Down in the Branches). Germany, 2009. 15 min. 16mm. Silent.
To Be Here. Germany, 2013. 38 min. 16mm. Sound.
Zu Hause (At Home). Germany, 1998. 2.5 min. 16mm. Silent.
Please note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Terzen (Thirds), will no longer screen. In its place, a collection of silent works by Aurand will accompany her latest film, To Be Here.
Ute Aurand is a filmmaker, curator and educator who has been making experimental films since graduating from the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin in 1985. During the 1990s, she presented the series "Filmarbeiterinnen-Abend" at the Arsenal Cinema, which featured films, mostly experimental, made by women; she also co-founded "FilmSamstag" (Film Saturday), a monthly film programme at Kino Filmkunsthaus Babylon Mitte that ran until 2007. In 1991, she co-authored, with filmmaker Maria Lang, "Frauen machen Geschichte – 25 Jahre Studentinnen an der dffb“ (Women make History-25 Years of Women Students at the dffb). Her films, which have toured internationally, were the subject of a recent retrospective at Tate Modern.
Image: Im Park, 2008. Courtesy of the artist

Jean-Paul Kelly: The Full Catastrophe

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 7:30 pm

Programmed by Michèle Smith

Using abstraction, animation, and re-enactments, Toronto-based artist Jean-Paul Kelly — the 2014 recipient of the Kazuko Trust Award for “artistic excellence in the moving image” at the New York Film Festival — has created a powerful series of short videos that examine the attractors and repulsors of various forms of media representation. Details from documentaries, press cuttings, publications, and online media streams are isolated, superimposed, composited, and otherwise reconfigured into new meanings — often in disturbing pairings of pleasure and pain, desire and trauma. The centrepiece of the program, Service of the goods, is a shot-by-shot reproduction of scenes from Frederick Wiseman documentaries, stripped of their naturalistic signifiers to bring underlying ideologies into sharper focus. “This film is not only a bang-on piece of filmic analysis; it also poses fundamental questions about the representation of social institutions, and those stuck inside of them” (Michael Sicinski, Keyframe Magazine).

(Glissement) The Sense of an Ending | Canada 2010. 4 min.
A Minimal Difference | Canada 2012. 5 min.
Service of the goods | Canada 2013. 29 min.
Figure-ground | Canada 2013. 5 min.
The Innocents | Canada 2014. 13 min.
Movement in Squares | Canada 2013. 13 min.
Screening format: DCP
Jean-Paul Kelly is a Canadian artist who uses video, drawing, and photography to explore the relationship between materiality and perception, interrogating the limits of representation by examining complex associations between found documentary and photojournalistic reference materials. His work has been exhibited and screened across Canada and internationally. From 2009 to 2012, Kelly was programming director and curator of Trinity Square Video (Toronto). 
Image: Service of the goods, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Soundfigures: Films by Aura Satz

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - 7:30 pm
Programmed by Michèle Smith

(Near) extinct technologies make sound visible in this program of shorts delving into ideas of knowledge, memory, and communication. On a Chladni Plate, a device that marked the birth of acoustics, grains of sand, moving like Busby Berkeley dancers, form intricate patterns in response to changing sound frequencies, their shapes recalling the utopian quest for a “pure,” onomatopoeic alphabet. Wax cylinder recordings combine with modern scientific instruments to animate a text by Rainer Maria Rilke on the possibility of hearing the dead by playing their skulls with a gramophone needle. A histrionic voice-over, translated into a wave of small flames on a Ruben’s Tube, provokes unexpected associations, from the biblical burning bush to various acts of ventriloquism in pop culture. Hand-drawn compositions by electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram are run through her radical invention, the Oramics Machine. Kaleidoscopic effects in the lamphouse of a 35mm-film printer honour Natalie Kalmus, colour consultant on masterpieces of the Technicolor era. The eyes of the George Eastman family and early Hollywood stars reveal chromatic distortions in some early colour film tests. And in a dramatic finale, Satz and experimental filmmaker Lis Rhodes encode their voices as abstract light patterns on 16mm mono and 35mm stereo filmstrips in a collaborative exploration of sound-image synchronicity.

Onomatopoeic Alphabet | Great Britain 2010.  DCP. 5:35 mins.
Sound Seam | Great Britain 2010. DCP. 14:47 mins.
Vocal Flame | Great Britain 2012. DCP. 9:29mins
Oramics: Atlantis Anew | Great Britain 2011. DCP. 7:27 mins.
Doorway for Natalie Kalmus | Great Britain 2013. DCP. 8:45 mins
Chromatic Aberration | Great Britain 2014. DCP. 9 mins
In and Out of Synch | Great Britain 2012. 16mm. 20mins.
Aura Satz is a London-based artist whose practice encompasses film, sound, performance and sculpture. She was nominated for the Film London Jarman Award in 2012. Recent solo exhibitions include Colour Opponent Process at Paradise Row, Impulsive Synchronisation at the Hayward Gallery, London (both 2013), Chromatic Aberration, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle (2014), and Eyelids Leaking Light, at George Eastman House, New York (2015). This past year her work was included in the group exhibitions Mirror City: London Artists on Fiction and Reality, Hayward Gallery, and They Used to Call it the Moon, Baltic, Newcastle. 
Image: Universal Language, 2010. Courtesy of the artist.