Affinities or The Weight of Cinema

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The idea behind Affinities or The Weight of Cinema derives from Goethe’s classic 1809 novel Elective Affinities. The project, playfully adapting Goethe’s artistic-scientific theory of attractions to the practice of exhibiting experimental cinema, is presented in person by filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson and curator Greg de Cuir Jr, who serve as co-curators. Eight programs of international works of film and video art are arranged along various thematic lines that correspond to their shared interests and concerns. Additional screening programs will be presented at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. With thanks to Kevin Jerome Everson, Greg de Cuir Jr, Jon Goff and Rhea Combs of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Madeleine Molyneaux, and all the artists involved.

Additional information about the programs is available at www.nga.gov/film 

Saturday January 6 (2:00)
An Affinity for Witnessing

Kelly Gallagher in person 

Works assembled for this program explore the idea of bearing testament, the notion that visible evidence is as necessary for the experimental impulse in cinema as it is for the documentary urge. Titles include Ears, Nose and Throat (Everson, 2016), Perfect Film (Ken Jacobs, 1986), Shoot, Don’t Shoot (William E. Jones, 2012), and From Ally to Accomplice (Kelly Gallagher, 2015). Total running time 55 minutes. 

Saturday January 6 (4:00)
An Affinity for the Interval

Claudrena Harold in person

Cinematically, the interval can refer not only to durational elements (how long a work is), but also to the space it creates. Trinh T. Minh-ha posits that the interval can be described as “what persists between the meaning of something and its truth.” Program includes Oscar at 8903 Empire (Everson, 2016), Considerations (Arthur Jafa, 1982), Bird’s Milk (Dineo Seshee Bopape, 2009), Hour Glass (Haile Gerima, 1971), Kuhani (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, 2013), and Reassemblage (Trinh T. Minh-ha, 1982). Total running time 85 minutes. 

Sunday January 7 (4:00)
An Affinity for Labor

Akosua Adoma Owusu in person

A question commonly posed when considering labor is who benefits, and who is exploited? In this case, an alternate question might be: what sort of labor constitutes the practice of both making and viewing films? Works include Smooth Surface (Everson, 2015), Marseille après la guerre (Billy Woodberry, 2016), Intermittent Delight (Akosua Adoma Owusu, 2007), and Iseeyou (Simon Gush, 2013), among others. Total running time 40 minutes. 

Sunday January 7 (5:00)
An Affinity for Constructivism

Margaret Rorison in person

As written by its early theorists, constructivism indissolubly unites the ideological with the formal. Titles in this program offer a contemporary cinematic rendition of the term in both practice and interpretation. Included are Kino-nedelja No. 33 (Dziga Vertov, 1919), Genet parle d’Angela Davis (Carole Roussopoulos, 1970), One Document for Hope (Margaret Rorison, 2016), and We Demand (Everson and Claudrena Harold, 2016) among others. Total running time 53 minutes.

Saturday January 13 (2:00)
An Affinity for Color

Dirk de Bruyn in person

Color is explored in this program as a visual quality, a variance of temperatures and the ideas they signify, as well as a racial construct through which to view and know the world. Titles include Grand Finale (Everson, 2015), Feeling Seven (Tomislav Gotovac, 2000), Explosion Ma Baby (Pauline Curnier Jardin, 2016), Rainbow’s Gravity (Kerstin Schroedinger and Mareike Bernien, 2014), and Ujamii Uhuru Schule Community Freedom School (Don Amis, 1974). Total running time 58 minutes.

Saturday January 13 (4:00)
An Affinity for Minimalism

Each of the four films assembled in this program could be characterized by reduction, achieving maximum effect through seemingly simple means: 27.12.2013 St. Louis Senegal (Friedl vom Gröller, 2014), Several Friends (Charles Burnett, 1969), Movies of Local People (Chapel Hill) (H. Lee Waters, 1939-1941), and Rams 23 Blue Bears 21 (Everson, 2017). Total running time 62 minutes.

Sunday January 14 (4:00)
An Affinity for the Readymade

Cauleen Smith in person

While the use of found footage conjures the notion of the readymade in the visual arts, films in this program also repurpose visual and aural recordings original to the makers, to build on tradition and to attain new forms in cinema. The program features The Citizens (Everson, 2009), Nice Biscuits #2 (Luther Price, 2005), My Only Idol is Reality (Martine Syms, 2007), Our Trip to Africa (Peter Kubelka, 1966), and Sugarcoated Arsenic (Everson and Claudrena Harold, 2013). Total running time 42 minutes.

Sunday January 14 (5:00)
An Affinity for Collage

Christopher Harris in person

Assembling elements from the archive, films in this program gain shape from collision and multiplication. This particular affinity is closely related to the readymade and functions as a complication and extension of the former. Works include A Saturday Night in Mansfield, Ohio (Everson, 2015), Reckless Eyeballing (Christopher Harris, 2004), WAP (Dirk de Bruyn, 2012) and Songs for Earth and Folk (Cauleen Smith, 2013) among others. Total running time 69 minutes.

Image Gallery: 

Intermittent Delight (Akosua Adoma Owusu, 2007)
Intermittent Delight (Akosua Adoma Owusu, 2007)

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Dates: 

Saturday, January 6, 2018 (All day)
Sunday, January 7, 2018 (All day)
Saturday, January 13, 2018 (All day)
Sunday, January 14, 2018 (All day)
  • Fourth Street and Constitution Ave., NW
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