Before becoming an accomplished painter and blues guitarist, Mike Henderson studied with Robert Nelson in the SFAI Film Department; between the 1960s and 1980s he sustained a filmmaking practice, creating a remarkable body of work that renders black experience and the joys and struggles of making art with humor and idiosyncrasy. He joins us to present his film The Shape of Things alongside canonical work from Nelson and George Kuchar, two of the filmmakers and teachers most closely associated with film at SFAI, and Bruce Conner, whose work and legacy has helped to define alternative cinema in the Bay Area.
Filmmaker, “media archeologist,” and interim chair of the SFAI Film Department Kerry Laitala makes use of decaying cultural relics and antiquated medical technologies to resurrect images and artifacts that have been forgotten. For her screening on April 3, she will present her own work together with haunting, melancholic work by Phil Solomon and the recently departed Barbara Hammer–as well as a special performance of her recent expanded cinema work Chromatic Wheels, with a live score by Jon Leidecker.
Filmmaker Scott Stark will show a selection of his Super-8mm and Regular 8mm films from the 1980s, screened here as newly-scanned high resolution digital versions that offer scale and detail not always seen in the celluloid originals. These early small-gauge works are experiments in the magical capabilities of the 8mm film camera, and are comprised of images and sounds derived from the commonplace: garish elements surgically extracted from the patina of popular culture. Sometimes shot in public spaces with a wry element of performance, the artifice of the films’ constructions is laid bare, the camera being a participant as much as an observer, making each film a record of its own process of production.
A personal tribute to artist friendship, this 1971 filmic collaboration reflects on a moment in time in the lives and careers of Bay Area legends William Allan, William Geis, Robert Hudson, Robert Nelson and William T. Wiley. These painters, sculptors and filmmakers and their circle associated with Funk art enjoyed a certain freedom on the West Coast to forge their own territory and forms of expression.