An Experimental Documentary by Erin Espelie
Filmmaker in Attendance!
The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N. Milwaukee
Thursday, September 22nd, 7 pm, $7-10
The Nightingale welcomes Erin Espelie to present her experimental documentary about rare earth elements (the lanthanides), black mirrors (from obsidian to iPads), and how technology is reshaping the way we record the present and replay the past.
From the portals of personal computing devices to ancient obsidian mirrors, optical tools control how people see, foresee, record, and remember their lives. The Lanthanide Series ( 2014, USA/France/UK, 72 minutes) meditates on how we frame and understand the world through such material means and instruments, with a reliance on certain chemical elements and the people who we love.
“Part poetry, part chemistry lesson, part landscape film, part cinematic exploration, part history and geography lesson, part environmental revelation,part magic. The Lanthanide Series is something new under the sun.”– Scott MacDonald
“The Lanthanide Series fuses poetry and science to create a thrillingly uncategorizable work.” – Anthology Film Archives
Preceded by Kari Altman’s R-U-INS
ERIN ESPELIE is a writer, editor, and filmmaker, with a background in the research sciences. Her poetic, nonfiction films have shown around the world at the New York Film Festival, the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival, the Whitechapel Gallery, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Imagine Science Film Festival, and more. Espelie currently holds an assistant professorship in Film Studies and Critical Media Practices at the University of Colorado Boulder; she serves as an Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and is editor in chief of Natural History magazine, a centenarian publication for which she has worked since 2001. erinespelie.com.
OJOBOCA, Samuel Delgado & Helena Girón, Ben Rivers, Ralitsa Doncheva, Josh Gibson
The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N. Milwaukee
Saturday, May 7, 7 pm, $7-10
“I then took another look into the rearview mirror, on my own. And I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that when you look in the rearview mirror you do not see what has gone passed. You see what is coming. And the rearview mirror is the foreseeable future. It is not the past at all. The title, the phrase “rearview mirror” appears to distort the situation. Most people think of it instinctively from the sound of the phrase, “It must be the past.” In terms of media, of course, the thing that is occupying the foreground in terms of the rearview mirror is nostalgia. Nostalgia is the name of the game in every part of our world today. Nostalgia is not, well it’s a kind of rearview mirror if you like, but it’s also the shape of things to come.” – Marshall McLuhan
The Nightingale is pleased to present this program of short films that have their own particular ways with looking back, while simultaneously sharing in the projection of what lies ahead. Guided by voices via archival recordings, literary renditions, oral histories, and personal testimonies, these modern mythologies strive toward utopian fulfillments, but also present the threats of shifting ecologies that all too often accompany such palpable yet fragile states of being. Please join us for an evening of Chicago premieres as we travel to the small town of Hüllen-Hüllen, the isolated community of Ye on the island of Lanzarote, the remote volcanic Republic of Vanuatu, the Zelenikovsky Monastery in Bulgaria, and the backwaters of North Carolina in search of simply that which makes us come alive.
Anja Dornieden & Juan David González Monroy, 2014, 16mm, color, 16:37
In 1984, for three weeks in May, what appeared to be a giant cloud shrouded the small town of Hüllen-Hüllen in darkness. Before the end of the month the cloud had dispersed and life seemed to return to normal. One month later, however, the town was hastily abandoned and its residents were nowhere to be found. They left most of their belongings behind in such a way as to make one think they would return at any moment.
The search that followed led investigators to a cave on the outskirts of town. Inside the cave a number of homemade contraptions were discovered. Connected by a variety of mirrors and fitted with a wide array of lenses, they were found to form a large projection device. Even though at first sight it appeared to be either unfinished or broken, it was eventually determined to be in working order. When it was turned on it projected a series of images over every surface of the cave. Initially the source of the images could not be established, yet upon further examination it was found that the images were engraved directly on the lenses of the machine.
Along with the machine a sheet of paper covered in handwritten text was also found. It was titled “Cloud Shadow”. Beyond the uncertain clues provided by the images and the text, no verifiable explanation for the disappearance of the town’s residents has ever been given. For the sake of preservation the engraved images were transferred onto 35mm slide film. Copies of the text and images were made and archived together. We have been lucky enough to obtain one of these sets. For the benefit of those interested in examining this strange occurrence, we’ve put them together as a narrated slideshow.
Neither God nor Santa María
Samuel M. Delgado & Helena Girón, 2015, 16mm to digital, color, 11:45
Since airplanes did not exist, people moved around using prayers, they went from one land to another and returned early, before dawn. In old audio recordings, the voices of pastors speak of the mythical existence of witches and their travels. In the daily life of a woman the magic of her tales begin to materialize as night falls. Night is the time when travel is possible.
There is a Happy Land Further Awaay
Ben Rivers, 2015, S16mm to digital, color & b/w, 20:10
There Is A Happy Land Further Awaay (2015), captures the landscapes of the remote volcanic Republic of Vanuatu archipelago, before they were devastated by Cyclone Pam in early 2015, the footage becoming a ghostly document of an ecosystem now irrevocably altered.
A hesitant female voice reads a poem by Henri Michaux, recounting a life lived in a distant land, full of faltering and mistakes. Island imagery of active volcanoes, underwater WW2 debris, children playing, and wrecked boats transform into intangible digital recollections of the island, made on the opposite side of the world. Images of the eroded land merge with eroding film, a lone figure on a boat drifts at sea.
Baba Dana Talks to the Wolves
Ralitsa Doncheva, 2015, 16mm to digital, color, 10:38
Baba Dana Talks To The Wolves is an intimate, impressionistic portrait of Baba Dana, an 85 year-old Bulgarian woman who has chosen to spend her life in the mountains, away from people and cities. She lives in one of the oldest monasteries in Bulgaria, Zelenikovsky Monastery. Once known as a favorite place of repose for Bulgaria’s last Tzar, the place is now known as Baba Dana’s home. There are no wolves in this film. There are no wolves left in Bulgaria.
Journey to the Sea
Josh Gibson, 2015, 35mm to digital, color & b/w, 14:23
In Journey to the Sea, an elderly woman floats down a river of elusive memories and fragmented artifacts from cinema‘s history, straining to recall the places that she has been. Passing through childhood creeks and riverside views of great cities, she also struggles to remember the impulse of travel itself. Her fading and fluid memories of touristic desire merge into an unreliable account of a great river teeming with duck-billed platypuses, disappearing Native Americans, fellow tourists and intimate hair washes.
Works for the Screen by Graduating UIC MFAs
Co-Presented by UIC School of
Art & Art History
The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N. Milwaukee
Tuesday, April 5 & Thursday April 7, 7 pm, Free
Coinciding with the 2016 UIC MFA Thesis Exhibitions at Gallery 400, a series of works for the screen by graduating MFA students from the School of Art & Art History at University of Illinois at Chicago are presented at Nightingale Cinema.
APRIL 5 PROGRAM DETAILS Wanderlust, Sara Condo(2015, 12 min, HD Video) Wanderlust is a short experimental documentary centered around a woman who travels alone and contemporary notions of female hysteria, agriculture, and the dawning of the New Age.
Tissues, Jessica Pierotti(2015, 8 min, Video) Tissues is a performative video work that addresses anxiety, control, absurdity, and an obsessive and sincere interest in attempting to understand the inside of a box of tissues.
Sponge/Mopping Up, Grace Cross (2015, 6 min, Video) Sponge/Mopping Up is a performative feminist diptych video, that uses a magic domestic mop as paintbrush and hairdo; discussing issues of cultural appropriation and the intimacy of female micro-economies that persist under the radar.
A study, in the key of C, Rachel Glass (2015, 6 min, 16mm on video)
Make Your Own Metric, Aaron Walker (2016, 2 min, video) Where does the creation of a work and its evaluation begin and end? We take a look.
Context Is Half The Work, Aaron Walker (2016, 2 min, video) A slow pan reveals that things are exactly as they seem.