2010 Distribution Grant for New York State Artists recipients announced
Zoe Beloff, Dreamland: The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and its Circle 1926-1972
Beloff’s multi-faceted installation includes a series of 10 films, architectural model, and artifacts. It documents a fictional society founded following Sigmund Freud’s visit to Coney Island in 1909. Beloff imagines a Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society that flourished from 1926 to the early 1970’s. The members of this fledgling society, most of them Jews and Italians from the surrounding neighborhoods, grasped its utopian potential: while Socialism might liberate workers from oppression, psychoanalysis would liberate their psyches not just from the tyranny of class, but also from the cultural and sexual mores of the time. They wished to tap into the power for self expression afforded by technologies like home movie cameras that were newly accessible to ordinary people. Distribution funding will assist in meeting installation touring expenses.
Mary Walling Blackburn, A Novel in the Form of a Car Bomb
Informed by a sifting of Google news alerts reporting recent car bomb events, A Novel in the Form of a Car Bomb is performed outdoors with an audience-in-a-round. The project includes a chorus (in the spirit of Greek Chorus,) and eight actors whose voices are microcast using site-specific radio transmission creating an immersive, spatialized listening experience that expands upon a classic radio play formula. Distribution funds will assist with the production of a stereo recording for broadcast, a publication of the original radio play, and related visual ephemera.
Todd Chandler, Flood Tide
Flood Tide is a fictional narrative film that was created in collaboration with the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, a project by the artist Swoon and built by an eclectic group of artists and performers. In the summer of 2008, the crew built and floated seven large, boat-sculptures down the Hudson River, putting on performances in towns along the way. The film tells the story of a group of musician friends who, driven by dreams, desperation and a sense of adventure, decide to build a boat out of salvaged materials. As they begin to build, more people gather at the river, assembling vessels out of trash. They set out down the river to make a new life, inspired and uncertain. Funding will support distribution activities including DVD production, soundtrack digital downloads, promotional materials, and festival submission expenses.
Adam Frelin, Diviner
Shot in Omaha, Nebraska, Diviner introduces audiences to Joe York, a mentally disabled man with a remarkable interest in the weather. Meteorlogy quickly segues into religion and live metaphors in this film and installation work. A project, which incorporates equal amounts of factual and fictive information, Diviner the installation, includes the fabricated props from the fictional scenes. Distribution funding will support a publication intermixing the film and installation components into a handheld, portable, and easily disseminated version of the project.
Michelle Handelman, Dorian
Dorian is a four-channel video installation based on Oscar Wilde’s 19th century novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Inspired by Wilde’s themes of decadence, beauty, and the meaning of art, Handelman’s Dorian is a young woman discovered by a fashion photographer, then catapulted into a world of high celebrity. Falling under the tutelage of a renowned drag queen, she becomes a downtown nightclub luminary, constantly followed by the paparazzi. Media images become the infamous portrait, grotesquely mutating as she grows more beautiful and famous, culminating in her own narcissistic destruction. Distribution funding will support the acquisition of projectors, a surround sound system, custom shipping crates, website design, and press kits.
Tracie Holder, Joe Papp in Five Acts
Joe Papp in Five Acts is a documentary film about the founder of New York's Public Theater and free "Shakespeare in the Park." Papp, who introduced interracial casting to the stage, single-handedly fomented a revolution in American theater. From 1954 until his death in 1991, Joe Papp brought more theater to more people than any other producer in history. Distribution funds will be used towards film festival application fees, promotional materials, and online outreach venues including the project’s website, blogs, social networking, email, and twitter feeds.
Ken Jacobs, RAZZLE DAZZLE The Lost World
A canonical figure in avant-garde film, Ken Jacobs writes, RAZZLE DAZZLE is an early Edison shot cut off at its head and tail and along its four sides from the continuity of events like any camera-shot from a bygone day; no, like any camera-shot, immediately producing an abstraction. This abstraction pictures a great spinning maypole-like device lined with young passengers dipping and lifting as it circles through space.” Support will provide funding towards the production of a DVD edition of this single-channel work for distribution.
Tony Martin, Light Pendulum
Light Pendulum functions both as a stand-alone kinetic sculpture and as a temporal instrument for a setting inhabited by performers whose actions elicit responses from it. The earth's rotation and conditions of air movement make the pendulum swing. Nylon line suspends the five-inch diameter solid glass pendulum from the installation space ceiling. An LED pin-spot installed at the top of the line illuminates the pendulum, the mirrored dish positioned beneath it, and the central space. Receptors and sensors positioned at various places on and under the dish function as photovoltaic cells, and other current-producing and regulating components. Information from these sensors is influenced by proximity, movement, and location of the viewers. The combined signals and circuits from this regulate three channels of audio and three channels of ambient and projected visual imagery. Distribution funding will support forthcoming installations of Light Pendulum including equipment acquisition and promotional materials.
Jennifer Redfearn, Sun Come Up
Sun Come Up is a character-driven documentary following the relocation of some of the world’s first environmental refugees – the Carteret Islanders. The Carteret Islanders – a matrilineal society of 3,000 – inhabit some of the most remote and pristine islands in the South Pacific; an atoll located 50 miles off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The islanders share a rich tradition of music, dance, and storytelling. For centuries, they’ve lived without cars, electricity, or running water. Their carbon footprint leaves one of the lightest impressions on the planet. Now, however, a modern crisis has intruded upon them, and their idyllic community is on the verge of dramatic change. The islanders face three urgent problems: the population is increasing, access to food and water is decreasing, and the islands are shrinking rapidly. Sun Come Up follows relocation leader Ursula Rakova and a group of young families from the Carteret Islands as they search for a new place to call home. Distribution funding will facilitate a DVD-run, promotional materials, and website updates in support of the project’s distribution plan.
Phillip Stearns, Apeiron | Peras V and VI
Apeiron | Peras is a body of non-representational, non-narrative video graphics films and performances created using hand-made electronics arranged in generative feedback loops. The result is an intense display of electronic synethesia - sound and image are produced by sonifying and visualizing the same raw electronic signals as directly as possible. The dance of drones and vibrant visuals is chaotic and unpredictable, yielding moments of tranquility amidst complete sensory assault, from epileptic sequences of strobing bands of light to soft continuously morphing color fields. Each work stands as a record of an intuitive journey, navigating the expressive landscape produced by folding electronic signals inwards upon themselves in generative feedback networks. Distribution funding will support the production of DVDs for preview, screening, and acquisition.
Miao Wang, Beijing Taxi
Beijing Taxi is a feature length documentary that vividly portrays the ancient capital of China going through a profound transformational arch. The lives of three taxi drivers thread through the morphing city of Beijing confronted with modern issues and changing values. Beijing Taxi uses the 2008 Olympic games as the backdrop for the film. The Olympics is a catalyst for change and aptly the biggest metaphor to mark this era of China in transition. It is the new China’s coming-out party to the world. The taxicab is used as a cinematic device and thread to reveal the city of Beijing and its characters. Distribution funding will support the production of a limited-edition DVD package and promotional materials.
2010 Review Panelists:
Christopher Allen, Executive Director, UnionDocs (Brooklyn, NY)
Calliope Nicholas, Director, FilmColumbia Festival (Chatham, NY) and Residency Director, Millay Colony for the Arts (Austerlitz, NY)
Natalia Mount, Executive Director, Red House Arts Center (Syracuse, NY)
The 2010 Distribution Grant for New York State Artists is a regrant program made possible with public funds from the Electronic Media and Film Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
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