Microscope presents the first 2017-18 edition of our emerging artist series YES with a screening of film and video works by Alison Nguyen and Monica Savirón. Both Brooklyn-based artists’ bodies of works include 16mm films and videos that are situated within the tradition of “found footage” or “appropriation”, terms that fall short of conveying the painstaking processes of “seeking” each of them undertakes in selecting their imagery from sources including vast archives of daily newspapers, 16mm film vaults, and the web.
Nguyen, in her most recent video “Dessert-Disaster”, draws attention to visual trends and similarities between imagery used in the advertising of dessert products and that used in the documentation of natural and artificial disasters. Through the juxtaposition of the two in split screen, she reveals the TV and cinematic inspirations for dizzying movements of chocolate and other visually striking manipulations of otherwise inert candy bars. Similarly, in “you can’t plan a perfect day sometimes it just happens”, Nguyen culls brief sequences of camera lens flare from American commercials to reflect upon their function of “visual shorthands for authenticity and spirituality used in white-dominated mass media”. Earlier works by the artist in the program – shot on Super 8mm and 16mm film – are abstractions and more formal investigations of light and color.
Savirón’s works in the program – with the exception of her first piece “To Begin With” (2012) – mostly draw from existing still photograph that is repurposed and given new life within the filmstrip. For instance, in “Broken Tongue”, which “pays homage to the diaspora of the different waves of migration” to the US, the artist rephotographed images printed in the New Year’s Days issues of The New York Times, from its first publication in 1851 until 2013. Her latest work “Answer Print” – a term used to describe a print struck to preview the image and sound of a movie before final printing – is a perpetually decaying 16mm film consisting of deteriorated copies of 9 separate movies as well as anonymous film rushes and camera tests. With its fading red hues and accumulation of other imperfections, the work despite its title is unable to “answer” the question of how it will look or sound at any of its future projections.
Nguyen and Savirón will be in attendance and available for Q&A following the screening.
General admission $8
Members & Students $6
Alison Nguyen is a New York-based artist working in film, video, photography, and installation. She uses these forms to raise questions about the circulation of images and the cultural surrounding. Often integrating re-appropriated footage from mass media, Nguyen investigates systems of control found within the visual codes of this material. Alison Nguyen (b. 1986) graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Literary Arts. Selected screenings and exhibitions include: The Whitney Museum and The Parrish Museum (in collaboration with expanded cinema group, Optipus), Palace Film Festival, The Manhattan Independent Film Festival, Satellite Miami, and BOSI Contemporary. She has received awards and residencies from NYSCA, Signal Culture, Vermont Studio Center, Flux Factory, and Brown University.
Mónica Savirón is an independent curator, writer, and experimental filmmaker. Originally from Madrid and currently based in New York, her work explores the cinematic possibilities of sound and avant-garde poetics. Her film Answer Print (2016) had its World Premiere at the 54th New York Film Festival. This work, made with deteriorating color celluloid, is meant to disappear over time. Broken Tongue (2013) is a tribute to conceptual poet and performer Tracie Morris. Winner of the Best Film award at FRONTEIRA Film Festival in Brazil, it has been shown at more than fifty major festivals and art venues around the world. Her previous video, To Begin With (2012), had its World Premiere at Experiments in Cinema Festival. As a curator, she has organized shows at the Museum of the Moving Image, Microscope Gallery, UnionDocs, and Anthology Film Archives. Her essays about avant-garde and artists’ cinema have been published internationally. For ten years, she also directed a weekly radio show on documentary and experimental films while producing the television show Documenta2. Savirón has collaborated with preservationist and artist Bill Brand; and has worked on archiving and preserving the legacy of American avant-garde filmmaker and cellist Beryl Sokoloff.