Works by Jessica Bardsley


The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N. Milwaukee
March 9th, 2012

The NIGHTINGALE is delighted to present a program of recent work by Chicago based film and videomaker, Jessica Bardsley. Based in essay and observational styles, Bardsley’s pieces are at once personal and universal. Moving adeptly between lo-fi video and 16mm, travelogue and more structured portraits, Bardsley uses personal inquiry to unravel the constructedness of testimony and inhabit the fictive dimension of history.

Program Details:
Oceanography (4:3, color, sound, hi8, 2008, 6min.)
“Jessica Bardsley’s Oceanography, is a lyrical video, in which the attempt to resolve has more akin to the process of becoming — like a girl growing into her long legs, or a little boy waiting for his face to catch up to his two front teeth. The video does chart its course, but the navigator dreams of many alternate journeys. Bardsley is a taxonomist of wayward souls, human and animal- whether they be air-bird or sea-mammal. We are lead towards and away from the bottom of the ocean, its ever changing surface, and its most haunting and breath-taking inhabitants. Quite unexpectedly the digital edge of in-camera audio begins to splice a roving camera (searching for land?) into tranquil sunset studies and warbling horizon lines. The blend of found and self-generated footage is seamless and yet the brutality of the sound edits doggedly forces us out of a the romance of simulation. This is an investigation. This is a quest.”-Description by Cauleen Smith at Carousel Microcinema

Land of Mourning Calm (4:3, color, sound, hi8, 13 min, 2010)
Land of Mourning Calm uses personal memory as a mode of exploring female intimacy, self-discovery, and issues of cross-cultural translation. Land of Mourning Calm usurps traditional ethnographic expectations of landscape as a mode of coming to know a place or culture, instead activating landscape on a semiotic level where place is transformed into a mood that shifts fluidly over time.

The Order, the Disorder: Ryerson and Burnham (16mm to DV, color, sound, 2012, 9 min.)
As part of a larger interest in describing the topography, desires, and aesthetics of museum-archives themselves, The Order, the Disorder contemplates the architecture and technology used to tame the chaos of art historical archive of the Art Institute of Chicago museum. Filmed at the Ryerson and Burnham Archives at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art of Catching (4:3, color, sound, 16mm to Video, 2011, 35 min.)
Set within the damp depths of the Florida Everglades, The Art of Catching is part autobiography, part imagined history. Emanating from a historical and geographical reality, the film moves as a febrile dream, where a mysterious ornithologist joins a photographer on an anthropological expedition into the wilds of Florida’s marshlands. The film blends aged ethnographic and documentary film with original color footage, not to contrast temporalities but to eventually synthesize them, effacing clear distinctions between past and present.

Annie (4:3, color, sound, miniDV, 2012, 4 min.)
Tourists pose confidently with a statue-monument of Anne Frank outside of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

Jessica Bardsley received her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is presently completing her MA in Visual and Critical Studies. She is a film and videomaker whose work has been presented by the Black Maria Film and Video Festival, European Media Arts Festival, Kassel Dokfest, CPH:DOX, Antimatter Film Festival, Images Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Rooftop Films and more. She has received awards from the Princess Grace Foundation and the Black Maria Film and Video Festival and her video works has been included in multiple media journals, including The Journal of Short Film and INCITE! Journal of Experimental Media and Radical Aesthetics Issue # 2.



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