Ariana Gerstein: Traces and Memories

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Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Ariana Gerstein:  Traces and Memories
Sunday, April 7, 2019, 7:30 pm
At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Ariana Gerstein in person!

Ariana Gerstein joins us from New York to present her remarkable animations and experimental films, often using imagery created from scanners.  “The tactile films of Ariana Gerstein reconcile her fascination with filmic materiality with the soft ephemeralities of light, time and memory. Using complex hand-wrought editing methods and extensive optical printing Gerstein’s work dazzles in its visual complexity and rhythmic timing. Gerstein’s recent work innovatively integrates desktop image scanners into her analog filmmaking process, capturing minute personal gestures in a sort of slow-motion real-time animation process, creating a visuality both intimate and abstract. Tonight’s screening comprises a mini-retrospective of these works, 2000–2018, including Close the Lid, Gently; Performance for Perfection 1200; Images of Flying and Falling; upCycles; In Glass Houses; Skin in The Game and Traces with Elikem.” (Steve Polta)

Ariana Gerstein works in experimental and experimental documentary forms both on her own and in collaboration with others.  Feature documentaries include collaborations with husband Monteith McCollum Hybrid and Milk in the Land.   Her short experimental documentary “Alice Sees the Light” showed on the PBS series P.O.V. Gerstein’s independent films have been screened and awarded prizes at festivals internationally. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Cinema Department at teaches at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Tickets: $10 general; $6 students (with ID)/seniors; free for Filmforum Members. Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at or at the door.

For more information: or 323-377-7238.

Notes by Ariana Gerstein except where noted.
- Images of Flying and Falling (2001, 16mm trans to digital, b&w, sound, 24 min.)
Memory and its reconstruction, fleeting and misleading. A film about loss.
Winner of the Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film, Ann Arbor Film Festival
“Images of Flying and Falling uses moving and still photographic images to revive and recount lost memories of her deceased grandmother. As if piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, Gerstein strategically layers and aligns images and sounds as she reconstructs stories and searches for answers. Gerstein states, “Images of Flying and Falling is an attempt to connect and hold onto the elusive, asking the viewer what is reality and how do we shape it in the age of personal computers?” – LeAnn Erickson

- Close The Lid, Gently: A Home Document Scan (2012, digital (desktop scanner), b&w & color, sound, 5:46)
Los Angeles premiere!
This is a piece about home and a particular image making process using equipment once common in a home office.
Soundtrack is cut up from instructional accompaniment - for "proper use" of scanner.

- Performance For Perfection 1200 (2014, digital (desktop scanner), b&w, sound, 13:30)
Los Angeles premiere!
The Perfection 1200 is a 14 + year old photo document scanner. It renders an image over time, from right to left, not like the camera’s instant frame. As the scanner arm moves beneath the glass surface, it emits it’s own light which bounces off of the subject and returns information onto it’s CCDs. One scan, depending on resolution used, can take 10 to 20 seconds or more. As the actor performs for the scanner, he does so in near silence, struggling with each isolated pose and breath for the duration. Fixed are the traces of the movements of life. The animation process rebuilds and unfixes the construction during play, recombined with breath and sound. Through this artificial deconstruction and reconstruction process, there is a reflection of life and art, deeply felt. Don Boros’s double speaks with his voice, about Beckett, acting, of “living truthfully, under imaginary circumstances”.

- UpCycles (2016, s8/16mm/35mm to digital, b&w, sound, 7:00)
Los Angeles premiere!
It began with super 8 film shot at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and 16mm shot from the El train and along lake Michigan. Images were thought through as they were re-worked by optical printing (a process of re-shooting film back onto film one frame at a time) and hand chemical processing. Film cut every frame or two (would never run through a projector) were stepped up and down along the way (super 8 onto 16mm onto 35mm and back down to 16mm). The film remained as film for years. Recently it was taken to a new level by optical printing with a digital camera on a JK printer, also one frame at a time. It was rethought, retimed with a different screen ratio and sound.

- In Glass Houses (2017, digital (desktop scanner and digital video), b&w, sound, 8:22)
Los Angeles premiere!
An interview is conducted exploring methods used to facilitate a real research project whose aim it is to capture and analyze human micro-expressions for use by a variety of industries (including lie detection and entertainment/animation).  But the particular research or the use of human subjects is really just a point of departure. This film takes a moment to touch on our use of technology and vice versa.  The images in the film are created in three ways; 1. By scanning the actor and two other support figures interacting with the scanner glass and each other, one frame at a time 2. By filming the actor revealed by the light of the scanner as he is being scanned. (Each light pass represents a frame of the reanimated scanner image) 3. Through line drawings and smears which trace or mark points of contact between the actor and the scanner glass.

- Skin in The Game (2017, digital, b&w & color, sound, 5:00)
Los Angeles premiere!
As a filmmaker I could never throw anything away. Frames cut out of a larger films are amazing objects, like delicate fragments of time made visible and tactile, and I kept most of them. At some point I began making collages on glass with these frames and mounted them in light boxes. Here I could see all the individual moments gathered in a very different way then when they were projected as one film. Here, their animated quality was removed, physical and immobile, but still a new whole out of many disparate parts. With Skin in the Game, I began a process of returning all those frames to time-based sequences by scanning the collages, cutting them up and animating them digitally. Elements of the soundtrack are also made of fragments heard, written down, and then read by my daughter Maya when she was 9 years old. She is now almost 18. The end of the film is made from a longer piece of found footage, also kept for many years, and appreciated as a strip of film in hand and re- animated along with the optical printer used to view it. This collection is tactile and intimate because of the way it has been kept and played with over time and through process.

- Traces with Elikem (2018, digital (desktop scanner, digital video), b&w, sound, 7:00)
Los Angeles premiere!
Traces performed and captured by scanner and monitor surfaces. Other surfaces include paper and film. Light reflects and passes through, layers slide past and sometimes meet, punctuated by sounds vibrating and percussive. With the participation of Samuel Elikem Kwame Nyamuame, Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and Dance,
SUNY Binghamton.

Los Angeles Filmforum screenings are supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.

Los Angeles Filmforum is the city’s longest-running organization dedicated to weekly screenings of experimental film, documentaries, video art, and experimental animation. 2019 is our 44th year.

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Domingo, Abril 7, 2019 - 19:30
  • 6712 Hollywood Blvd.
    90028   Los Angeles, California
    United States
    34° 6' 5.1048" N, 118° 20' 11.742" W