2016 was a great year for me personally, and not such a great one for the world...
Let's start with the good: I somehow managed 52 screenings, installations, and live performances, including five solo presentations and a Loop Collective touring programme that spanned from coast to coast. I made seven new 16mm films, a handful of other projects, and resurrected four older films with new digital restorations. I finally managed to place all of my work in distribution with CFMDC and Light Cone, so something will survive if my house burns down. My films were mentioned on 'best of' year end lists by Rinaldo Censi, Donatello Corona, and Ángel Rueda, and I was happy to do my first lengthy interview on my filmmaking with Edwin Rostron. I have three new projects in process that I am confident will be among my best work to date, and I began several new collaborations and working relationships with other artists and organizations that I look forward to continuing in the coming year. And my personal life continues to blossom as I enjoy the struggles and triumphs of being a parent.
As for the downs: while I'm not the type to wax dramatic over the deaths of celebrities I've never met (with the possible exception of Leonard Cohen), the stories of rampant environmental destruction that filled this year's news -- the death of 80% of the Great Barrier Reef, the loss of 2/3 of wild animals, the radical acceleration of Arctic ice melt, and the near certainty that a great catastrophe will be upon us all within fifty years or sooner -- have left me feeling increasingly pessimistic about the future, especially given the ascendant world political scenario. I find myself mulling over Hölderlin's question, "What are poets for in a destitute time?" It can seem profane to task oneself with making and exhibiting artworks in such a climate (sometimes even impossible), but they are also needed now more than ever. I will be taking a sabbatical from most social media platforms for the next while with the hope of being able to better ground myself, but please feel free to write me anytime, I would love to hear from you!
B Movie (2005) will be presented in Montreal at La Lumière on December 16th as part of Contre Courant, a programme of found footage works curated by Guillaume Vallée.
Finally, I'm happy to announce that the final show prints of the films in The Lost Cycleare ready and will soon be available for rental via CFMDC and Light Cone, at long last. Please go and rent them! :)
Hope you all stay warm and focused this winter.
Still images from On Sundays (2007) and Field (2016).
Early Monthly Segments is pleased to host a screening of the work of local artist Dan Browne. A prolific film and video maker over the last decade, Browne finds himself drawn to the abstract patterns of nature, organizing them visually into immersive films that examine light play and embodied vision.
After a few years diving prolifically into digital image-making—including the much lauded memento mori—tonight’s screening features a return to celluloid for Browne with a brand new compendium of seven short films, entitled The Lost Cycle. The cycle, for Browne, “came about as a result of the process of going through my negatives — I found these otherwise lost moments in my filmography, moments that had meaning, which I had intended to do things with but never got around to doing, and decided to release them as a coming to terms with my karma for the medium.”
Quanta, Dan Browne, Canada, 2008, 16mm, 9 min.
On Sundays, Dan Browne, Canada, 2007, 16mm, 20 min.
Hand-processing, Dan Browne, Canada, 2010, 16mm, 3 min.
The Lost Cycle, Dan Browne, Canada, 2016, 16mm, 24 min.
Festival of Light, Dan Browne, Canada, 2007, 16mm, 3 min.
- UNEXPOSED Microcinema on September 30th, part of a three-part series on Canadian experimental film, alongside Shannon Harris, Erin Celeste Weisgerber, Parastoo Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko and Faraz Anoushahpour, Scott Fitzpatrick and Mike Hoolbloom.
- Festival du Nouveau Cinema, "The New Alchemists #2," on October 10th & 12th, featuring works by Anouk de Clercq, Solomon Nagler, Katherine Liberovskaya, Matthias Müller, Jessica Sarah Rinland and Audréane Beaucage. I will be in attendance for both screenings!
Also, Midway (2008) will be presented at Curta8 International Festival of Super 8 on October 8th, in a programme alongside works by Saul Levine, Stephen Broomer, Joseph Bernard, Malena Szlam, Alexandra Morales, and Eda Goksel and Rita Piffer. This is the first time the restored version has been publicly presented, many thanks to Rafael Schlichting and Cláudio Cárdenas!
Above: Stills from Midway (2008, 13 min, Super 8 Kodachrome).
I am also really pleased to say I have some upcoming solo screenings in the works. I will do a separate post on these as soon as they are announced, but for now I can say that in December I will be touring the Loop Collective "Recent Works" programme to Ottawa with Canadian Film Institute, and Montreal with VISIONS / La Lumière Collective, alongside a selection of my own films, featuring The Lost Cycle (2016). It also looks like I will have a solo show in Toronto later this month... Details TBA soon!
Quanta (2008) will be presented as part of Light Cone's Scratch Expanded Show on September 17th in Paris. This is a favourite among my own works that is rarely shown, and so I am very appreciative to have it included in an amazing programme of silent films by icons such as Hans Richter, Oskar Fischinger, Maya Deren, Robert Breer, Stan Brakhage, and contemporaries such as Stephen Broomer and Josh Lewis. The event will be a "projection en plein air," don't miss it if you are in Paris.
Four years ago this month I premiered memento mori at the WNDX Festival of Moving Image, where it received the Jury Prize for Best Canadian Work. I am grateful that it has been viewed over 4,000 times online and liked by 100 people on its Vimeo page since then, which means it is played almost 3x daily. I sometimes feel conflicted about offering my work online for free, but consider it important for it to be as accessible as possible because I want it to be seen. I am grateful to receive the following comment from one of my favourite filmmakers, Joseph Bernard, who writes: "Your life flashed before my eyes in this delicious experience of images and recordings interwoven with cinematic genius... a network of thought and displacement sharing an exposed nervous system -- all with a dense, dark beauty. This is a absolute rarity of pure filmmaking. Stunning!" If you have enjoyed memento mori (or any of my other works) and would like to support me, you can purchase a BluRay from me personally via email (I will be creating an official limited release to promote this soon). Or, if you are a curator, please consider renting this work from one of its distributors: Winnipeg Film Group, CFMDC, Light Cone.
^ Still frame from Gulf (2016, 4 min, 16mm, col, sil)
Below are some photos from my show with Karl Fousek at Vector Festival in July courtesy of Vector and InterAccess. We had a great response to the performance, which was entirely improvised and our first time playing together (no rehearsal!), and I hope to collaborate with Karl again sometime soon. It was also great to perform with Michael Trommer and Eric Filion on the bill, and we all had a great panel discussion the next day, entitled "Algorithms, Generative Art and Machine Agency," moderated by festival co-curator Martin Zeilinger. This was the first A/V live show of Grids and it won't be the last.
This month, Graphical Records releases VARIATIONS, a DVD featuring twelve Canadian moving image artists reinterpreting Michael Snow's "Poem" (1957), for which I made my recent eponymous work. These works will be presented at Gallery of Alberta Media Art, Calgary, from June 1 - August 31st, and Latitude 53 in Edmonton from June 23 - July 30th. Very happy to be a part of this project, with an alternative version of Poem featuring a score by Steve Richman. (The original concept was to feature collaborations between image and sound artists, however it deviated at some point -- hence the reason why I commissioned an alternate soundtrack from the version currently touring festivals.)
Finally, I recently shot some documentation of my video installation The Water Suite, which is on permanent rotation as part of Speech Bubble, an LED screen installation by Jennifer Marman + Daniel Borins, at The Pinnacle on Adelaide (295 Adelaide St. at John, near TIFF Lightbox, Toronto). I had been waiting for it to get warm to do this, but it sort of backfired because there is a very long line behind the screen all day for a trendy soft serve ice cream place! On the plus side, these people spend time watching the installation while they eat their ice cream, which is great. Here is an article about the work with an image from one of the videos in The Water Suite,Waveform (2016). Speech Bubble runs daily from 9am-9pm, so check it out if you're in the area. It also features work by Marman + Borins, Gordon Douglas Ball, and Talia Shipman on scheduled rotation, so you might catch me or someone else but, regardless, it's great to see a screen in Toronto showing something besides an advertisement!
Right: Speech Bubble playing Grid11a. Left (distant): The Audience by Michael Snow.
This month in Found Footage Magazine issue #2 there is an article by Clint Enns called "Images Beyond Time: Cinema as Photographic Archive," that considers my film memento mori in the context of Hollis Frampton's (nostalgia) and Derrida's Archive Fever -- wonderful to be in such company, with several other excellent contemporary film artists considered as well in the article, and some very insightful analysis. The whole issue is great, and also features an artist page I contributed with 35mm film frames from B Movie (2005). You can buy it online here!
In the process of reprinting my extant filmography, I uncovered some lost works that form a suite of new 16mm films that I am very excited about -- more info on these soon!This year certainly seems to be all about 16mm for me - with a dedicated studio and the right equipment I was finally able to organize and rediscover materials that were previously lost or without a label, and after showing my 16mm together in a programme for the first time in January, I finished my first new work in 16mm in five years, Gulf (and a Super-8 film, Parhelion).