Perceptual Exploration: In Dialogue with Anna Kipervaser

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Anna Kipervaser is a Ukrainian-born artist whose work engages with a range of topics including human and animal bodies, ethnicity, religion, colonialism, and the environment. Her dynamic film practice is informed by a commitment to formal experimentation and incorporates 16mm, digital video, CT scans, archival images and optical printing. Currently a VSW Project Space artist, Anna has curated a program of her films along with films from the archive at VSW.


Brain Power 1982 | 16mm | Color | Sound | VSW Collection | 11 min  

John Houseman discusses three key principles of perception: recognition (pay attention to details), interpretation (tolerate a little ambiguity), and expectation (beware limiting expectations).

And By The Night Anna Kipervaser | 2017 | 16mm | silent | 10 min

After a period of no revelations, Surah al-Duha was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, stating that God had neither forsaken nor forgotten him. And to be patient. The film is also a response to my abortion.

Factors in Visual Depth Perception | circa 1965 | 16mm | silent | 9 min | The Ohio State University Dept. of Psychology

An educational science film demonstrating principles of visual perception.

The Order of Revelation: Surah An-Najm Anna Kipervaser | 2017/2021 | 16mm | silent | 7 min

The Order of Revelation is a long-form, multi-part, silent 16mm film translating / transliterating the Quran from Arabic to Visual in the order it was revealed, rather than the order in which it was canonized. The film reclaims Visual as a Language and challenges the way translation prioritizes semantic meaning over considerations such as form fidelity. It asks whether the revelatory nature of the Quran rests solely in its semantic content, or if revelation can be experienced on account of connections, collisions between letters, between sounds. The Order of Revelation: Surah An-Najm is a translation of the 23rd Surah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad of the 114 that make up the Quran.

Sacred Rites: Divination by Animal Tracks  Hermann Schlenker | 1965 | 16mm | Sound | 9 min 

For the purpose of giving an initial understanding of Dogon religious practice, this  film shows a common method of divining. A shaman, the Dogon soothsayer, an elder of the village, enters the sacred ground. By members of his village, he uses a symbolic language to draw a representation of the village in the sand. He then drops peanuts at strategic places to lure the night jackals into the field. The following morning the shaman returns to prophesy the future from the tracks left by the jackal in the sand.

How a Sprig of Fir Would Replace a Feather  Anna Kipervaser | 2019 | 16mm | silent | 8 min

Taking its title from Charles Altamont Doyle, the film is a meditation on ritual, at once a labor of love and of pain, of parting. A taxonomy of the investigation of love, of becoming. In perpetual beginning. In perpetual ending. Coming into vision, into the present, a leaving. A leaving.

Mujer del Milfuegos  Chick Strand | 1976 | 16mm | Color | Sound | 15 min

A kind of heretic fantasy film. An expressionistic, surrealistic portrait of a Latin American woman. Not a personal portrait so much as an evocation of the consciousness of women in rural parts of such countries as Spain, Greece and Mexico; women who wear black from the age 15 and spend their entire lives giving birth, preparing food and tending to household and farm responsibilities. MUJER DE MILFUEGOS depicts in poetic, almost abstract terms, their daily repetitive tasks as a form of obsessive ritual. The film uses dramatic action to express the thoughts and feelings of a woman living within this culture.

Time Being   Gunvor Nelson | 1991 |16mm | B&W | silent | 8 min

“This extraordinary film manages to craft a delicate portrait of her mother through time and refracted light while unfolding in purple silence the relationship of Nelson and her mother as well.” – Crosby McCloy

With The Tide, with the tide  Anna Kipervaser | 2022 | 16mm | sound | 3 min  

I know, you’re a seasonal beast

Like the starfish that drift in with the tide

With the tide

So until your blood runs

To meet the next full moon

Your madness fits in nicely with my own

With my own

Your lunacy fits neatly with my own

My very own

– from Sea Song by Robert Wyatt

in ocula oculorum Anna Kipervaser | 2021 | digital | sound | 12 min

*flicker warning + pain inducing sound warning*

in ocula oculorum interrogates the unknown and the internal, in both subject matter and experience. Dealing with the contemporary state of perpetual doom, the film contemplates various stages of life and death from the point of view of our human bodies and perceptual systems. It explores beta movement and phi phenomenon, pushing the limits of intermittence and persistence of vision, playing with our innate desire for continuity and cohesion by forcing image slip.

Purchase tickets here

Suggested: $10

The VSW Salon is programmed by Tara Merenda Nelson, [email protected]

The VSW Salon is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts and by the ArtWorks program of the National Endowment for the Arts.


Visual Studies Workshop - Rochester, United States


Thursday, March 9, 2023 - 19:00



Thursday, March 9, 2023 - 19:00
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