Preview Screening and Discussion
with Director Brett Story
Co-presented by Gallery 400
Run of Life Experimental Documentary Series
Wednesday, June 8, Free
6 pm- Exhibition Viewing / 7 pm- Screening
Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria, Chicago, IL 60607
Inspired by “our duty to fight”, Gallery 400 and Run of Life are pleased to present Brett Story’s astute and affecting documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016, HD file, 87 min). A longtime prison activist, Story uses a strong structural device to make visible the many sprawling effects of the contemporary American prison system. From the construction of pocket-parks in Los Angeles designed to keep sex offenders out of the neighborhood to a New York City warehouse that specializes in helping families provide care packages to prisoners, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes deftly eschews the romanticized themes of forgiveness traditional to prison documentaries in exchange for the more consequential web of systemic forces buttressing mass incarceration. Story also employs a wide range of documentary tactics; the connections to the prison institution are clearly laid out in some sections of the doc, while others leave more open space for the viewer to build the relationships themselves, a tactic that encourages further interaction with the central ideas of the movie long after the screening has ended. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is an important movie and possibly represents a new and sophisticated mode of social justice documentary making.
“It’s not this, that or “a” prison she’s looking for, it’s “The Prison” as institution and idea, American style. Her idea about that idea is clever, damning, and convincing: that to best understand the culture of incarceration in 2016 isn’t to film inside but rather outside of correctional facilities, where America’s prison industrial complex affects innumerable and fundamentally vital aspects of life—from laws and economies to the ways we treat and understand one another.” -Eric Hynes, Film Comment
Brett Story is a writer and independent non-fiction filmmaker based out of Toronto and New York. Her first feature-length documentary, the award-winning Land of Destiny (2010), screened internationally and was broadcast on both Canadian and American television. Her journalism and film criticism have appeared in such outlets as CBC Radio, The Nation Magazine, and Antipode. She was the recipient of the Documentary Organization of Canada Institute’s 2014 New Visions Award and was a nominee for the 2015 Ontario Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. Brett holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, Brett’s second feature-length documentary, is currently screening at festivals internationally.
Gallery 400‘s current exhibition, our duty to fight will be on view preceding the screening. Organized by Black Lives Matter Chicago, our duty to fight offers a living testament to the specific and shared struggles that have been at the core of radical, visionary world-making in Chicago organizing. The exhibition invites visitors to join the struggle against state repression and terror while working to build collective power.
Run of Life is a collectively curated experimental documentary and expanded media series held at the Nightingale Cinema and/or other venues roughly once a month. The series pairs a recent feature experimental documentary with a short nonfiction work in any number of mediums – performance, video short, interactive presentation, audio doc, etc. At each event, a post screening Q&A will be moderated by either a local expert engaged in the movie’s subject matter or an artist involved in the making of the work. RUN OF LIFE seeks to join experimental and documentary media audiences while exploring emerging tactics within representations of reality; the empathetic connection that is built through sensory experience rather than factual arguments; and aesthetic shifts in documentary that come with the breakdown of the fourth wall. RUN OF LIFE is programmed by Jillian Hansen-Lewis, Yana Kunichoff, Christy LeMaster & Beckie Stocchetti.
Filed under: archival
, artist in attendance
, social justice
Multimedia Methods and
Presented by the Subconference of the
Annual Meeting of the AAG
Wednesday, April 22, 6 pm, $7-10
The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N Milwaukee, Chicago, IL
Join us for an evening of discussion and excerpts from four films with four documentarian-geographers. In coordination with the Subconference of the Association of American Geographers’ annual meeting, this event will provide an opportunity for an off-site, trans- and non-disciplinary, multi-method mingling of idea makers and media makers. While exploring different content in different geographic settings, the four panelists’ pieces take up the overlapping themes of economic, state, and extra-judicial violence amidst the quest for endless accumulation and surplus. The works explore the the prison and military industrial complexes, contested spaces of ‘urban renewal,’ and sites of accumulation and abandonment ranging from the body to the Mojave Desert to the city of Detroit and beyond. We will gather to discuss process-oriented questions about filmmaking and public scholarship for liberatory social change. The event will comprise a panel discussion with the four filmmakers (Elizabeth Knafo, Amanda Matles, Alexis Mitchell, and Brett Story) moderated by Annie Spencer, as well as excerpts from their latest films. We will reserve ample time for audience discussion.
Rare Earth (2014) // Elizabeth Knafo
From the Mojave desert, to the Pacific seabed, to the surface of the moon, the rush for rare earth minerals is afoot. “Rare Earth”explores the re-opening of an historically toxic rare earth mine in the California desert, and the intensifying land rush for the high-tech minerals across the world. The work is a portrait of changing desert landscapes and the residents who grapple with the impacts of industrial mining. “Rare Earth” traces the toxic and transformative legacy of treasure hunting in the American West—a legacy of speculation, produced scarcity and the social violence of resource extraction—deepening in our era of global climate change.
Rerooting the Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation (2013) // Paper Tiger
This is Detroit as seen by Paper Tiger Television members, Maria Byck, Amanda Matles, Nadia Mohamed, Adrienne Silverman. From food deserts, to the plans to “rightsize” the city, Detroiters resist, rework, and remain resilient given the social and ecological failures of post-industrial global capitalism. With a critical lens on race and class dynamics, this documentary weaves together segments on Detroit’s labor history, the roots of Detroit’s urban agriculture movement, a critical look at philanthro-capitalism and its relationship to urban renewal, as well as media (mis)representations of a city in transformation.
STEALTH (2014) // Chase Joynt and Alexis Mitchell
By merging hidden camera footage from a patient’s hysterectomy, with interviews of the objects used in these procedures and spaces, STEALTH poignantly and humorously mobilizes ‘sousveillance’ to subvert the perspective of surveilling machinery. Through a triangulation of corporeal, medical and military technologies, STEALTH provocatively points to previously unexplored histories and relationships between inanimate objects and human bodies.
EMPIRE SYMBOL OR, A MAN AND HIS MULE(2015) // Bambitchell (Alexis Mitchell & Sharlene Bamboat)
Empire Symbol, Or A Man and his Mule, traces the journey of a Canadian veterinarian who was responsible for transporting mules from New York to Karachi, India during WWII. Employing his diary entries, Bambitchell unearth both the psychic life of The Vet, as well the histories of Canadian Militarism that are embedded within mundane processes of global trade and transport.
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (in progress) // Brett Story
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is a non-fiction work about the prison from the places we least expect to find it: the front yards, public spaces, and social rituals of everyday life. A meditation on the prison and its geographic disappearance in the era of mass incarceration, the doc unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of landscapes across the United States where prisons do work and affect lives: an anti-sex offender pocket park in Los Angeles, a congregation of ex-incarcerated chess players shut out of the formal labor market, the overnight buses that carry visitors to far away prisons, an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs, and a host of other unexpected spaces.
The event is happening in collaboration with the Subconference of the Annual Meeting of the AAG. The Subconference was created to offer a space for radical academics and activists to think critically and creatively about the connections between academic geography, higher education, and social/political change. The subconference is an evolving ambition. Each year we seek out new ways to creatively appropriate the critical mass of the AAG, using the space of the conference as an asset for forging solidarities and facilitating collective exchanges between people who are already engaged in radical, socially transformative work in all the disparate locations that we come from.
Annie Spencer, curator of A GEOGRAPHER’S LENS, is a writer, organizer, media maker, and doctoral candidate in economic geography at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Spencer’s work examines state improvement schemes, accumulation, addiction, and everyday wageless life in the post-American century.
Filed under: archival
, found footage
, new media