LA: Stephanie Barber brings little presents of film and video to Filmforum on Sunday

From: Adam Hyman (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Apr 15 2010 - 13:43:56 PDT

Sunday April 18, 2010, 7:30 pm
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Stephanie Barber: Little Presents

Stephanie Barber in person!

At the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles

Laden and light, with ideas and technology and analogy and analogue
essences, whimsical manipulations of time and text, suffused with the
emotional heft needed for these heart-wrenching, media mad times, the works
of Stephanie Barber are among the most unique and delightful being produced
these days. We've lucky to have her in Los Angeles for a night of a West
Coast jaunt from Baltimore. Don't miss this rare opportunity to explore
these films and converse with the artist about them… or let them play in
your dreams for the weeks to follow.

Tickets: $10 general; $6 students/seniors with ID; free for Filmforum
Advance tickets at:

"Stephanie Barber . . . has one of the most original visions to emerge
recently from the diverse experimental film scene. Deceptively simple at
first, her work is unique in the way it alters and even suspends time." –
The Chicago Reader

"[Stephanie Barber's films] can feel like highly formal exercises in film
language made by a profoundly restless mind, playing image and sound off
each other and forcing you to locate implied meanings on your own. Others
are both silly and oddly engaging, involving puppets mundanely discussing
pressing metaphysical concerns. And others calmly and almost imperceptibly
sweep you up in the genuine breadth of their emotional wake." - Bret McCabe
at The Baltimore City Paper

flower, the boy, the librarian (1996, 16mm, 6 min.)
for those who find listing and repetition romantic.
a near perfect structure. three acts, an auditory red herring and classic
love story.

they invented machines (1997 16mm 7 min)
This film is thinking about colonialism, entertainment and love. the images
are taken mostly on disneyworld rides where one is shown facsimiles of
people from far away lands. The sound track a little more than half way
through ceases its cricketing and, against impressionistic waterfalls,
mentions love ("they have love here") which must then be thought of in the
context of this same wonder, possession and amusement. the film ends with a
series of flights.

shipfilm (1998, 16mm, 3 min.)
this is probably the most heartbreaking film i have made, the pacing is
romantic and simple, haiku-esque pauses and inclusions, with the words
contrasting this poetry with their factual, disinterested narration. and
that narration is a simple statement of failure, one which lies, not in any
action, but in the pre-thought to that action, the hope or faith one holds
in oneself, one's knowledge or abilities.

metronome (1997, 16mm, 8 min.)
metronome is both the most straightforward, as well as the most difficult of
my films. it is very dear to my heart. the radio play soundtrack is off-set
by the intractable images "spaces." the former seems to balance precariously
between kitsch and true heartrending emotion and the latter is referencing
the asceticism of seventies minimalism (in experimental film) with the
impenetrable intellectualism becoming increasingly moving as the film
progresses. the marriage of these two elements is an odd tension, the tale
of the play, the threat of limb extraction, asks the necessity of "whole and
what the elements are which compose complete."

letters, notes (1997, 16mm, 6 min.)
This film brings together found photographs and letters to create new mini
narratives. death and disease are set blithely beside, and given equal
importance as, the sighting of a skunk or love sick scribblings.
"letters, notes was neither too long nor too knowing and produced the most
profound occasion of un remembrance on my part. Too busy trying to figure
out what it all meant, I neglected to note down the words passing across the
screen or what was beneath them, but I can tell you I was strangely moved,
and I desire to see it once more just so I can again become so wrapped up
that I forget to remember." --jeff lambert, senses of cinema

little present (for my friend columbus the explorer) (1999, 16mm, 3 min.)
While referencing the explorer christopher columbus the film is actually a
gift for my friend, the performance artist, theresa columbus. The short
imagistic film is suggesting, or questioning, ever so gently the effects--
both positive and negative--that exploring has on that which is being
explored. our most well known columbus, now so often vilified, here stands
in for a more psychological and artistic exploration and the fall out that
can occur from that sort of expansionism as well. like many of my films the
piece itself works almost separately from the implications and sidelong
glances of the title and the way it interacts with the, almost passive,
images and often quite dominant soundtracks.

total power, dead dead dead (2005, 16mm, 3 min)
a love letter to the charm of two dimensional images and a struggle for
attention. confusion over the inequity of the mortality of images and that
of humans. (slightest indictment). the spectacle awaits our adoration, gives
a tender, false intimation of collusion.

catalog (2005, 16 mm, 11 min.)
catalog is a composition of stillness—inversion of the spectacle-–actors are
recreating various photographs in surroundings unfrozen. The sound track is
a labile and dense tale of spaces, royalty and a photograph more mutable
than an image should be.

dwarfs the sea (2007, dv, 7 min)
small biographies and musing generalizations--men's relations to each other
and their lives. there is hope and loneliness, companionship and isolation
and the simplest of filmic elements to contrast the complexity of human
emotions. the delicacy of the formalist writing moves the listener from
intimacy to universalism and back again, swaying gently to and fro like the
rocking of a ship.

"Single photographs get a different kind of life in Stephanie Barber's
Dwarfs the Sea, where still images of supposedly deceased sailors are
presented to the camera, being placed one atop of another while a vaguely
computerized female voice describes these men in precise but generalized
details—he was a joker, they had a great friendship, I found him without
empathy, etc. Melville and Conrad would have loved Barber's paean to the
richness of character but supremely allegorical aspect of sailor
personalities, and similarly Ford would see some of his Stagecoach in how a
confined vehicle placed in the wilderness brings out the types of society,
at once specific and universal. A touching, human idea, presented just as
it should be: simply." --Daniel Kasman for 'The Auteurs'

the visit and the play (2008, mini dv, 8 min)
First the ladies visit, then go to watch a play. On a television, in a snow
garden. In many ways the play references the cadence of the ladies
conversation—the tedious animosity and lack of attentive or appropriate
response. In the end, all I want to think about lately is the art of
conversation. The various directions this art takes.

the inversion, transcription, evening track and attractor (2008, mini dv,
13 min)
how looking at what has become the skeletons of photographs is a visual
lecture on aesthetic pleasure or emotion. and how being, almost entirely
denied of this pleasure, or having the pleasure merely suggested induces a
viewer to uminate on the act of viewing and that of wanting to view. and
maybe it is evolution which causes this anxiety and art form. A series of
collages recreating the photographs of well known artists (uta barth, kohei
yoshiyuki, candida hofer, deborah willis) and a very slight suggestion of
the actual photographs. The soundtrack is composed of approximately 25
statements on photography.--sb

"The images in Barber's new video the inversion, transcription, evening
track and attractor are a series of collages Barber has created, they are
entirely white--white on white exquisite cut-outs of exact replications of
well known photographs. These are painstakingly constructed and delightful
and she superimposes them ever ever so slightly over the original images.
The entirety is an unbelievably transcendent, ruminative and spellbinding
experience referencing high modernism, the history of photography and
questions of ownership in the construction of the theories on this artform.
I left feeling as though my eyes and ears had been scrubbed clean and
replaced with new suggestive models. As with all of Barber's soundtracks
the text is formally considered and plays intelligently between a cold
distant consideration of ideas and an often devastating emotionalism
sneakily brought in and in many ways serving as counterpoint to the
asceticism of the images. An astounding and important video from an artist
most well known for her film work, it is gratifying to see that she has
maintained the high level of delicacy in this (new to her) video
medium."--Henry Trial, 2008

to the horse dream of arms (2010, DV, 5 min)
A brief study in the ways of time travel. the ways ideas and assumptions
travel through time, the way humans travel through time and the way sound is
created by traveling through time. onward ho!

to the horse dream of arms was originally created for the 2010 screening at
Rotterdam International Film Festival entitled THE COST OF LIVING (Break
Glass Upon Reflection)–curated by Mark McElhatten for the BREAK EVEN STORE.

Stephanie Barber is a multi media artist who creates meticulously crafted,
odd and imaginative writing, films and videos as well as performance pieces
which incorporate music, literature and video. She has had numerous
screenings of her film and video work including solo shows at MoMA, NY,
Anthology Film Archives, San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center, Chicago
Filmmakers, Bio Penrepo Prague, Close-Up Video, London and The Madison
Museum of Contemporary Art. Her films and videos have also been included in
screenings at The New York Film Festival, Film Festival Rotterdam, The
Cinematheque Francaise, The London International Film Festival, The Whitney
Museum of American Art, Proekt Fabrika and the State Contemporary Art Centre
(both in Moscow), The San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art and The Los
Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art among others.

Her performances have been featured at the Baltimore Museum of Art, The
Milwaukee Museum of Art, The Haggerty Museum of Art and galleries and
artspaces around the world. Her most recent video/performance piece, in the
jungle, premiered in May 2009 at The Stone, NYC, and has recently screened
at Los Solos in Baltimore in Chicago for the closing night of the Chicago
Underground Film Festival and will screen at the San Francisco Cinematheque
and DC Center for the Arts in the spring of 2010.

Her book poems was published in 2006 by Bronze Skull Press and her recent
book these here separated to see how they standing alone or the soundtrack
to six films by stephanie barber was published in May 2008 by Publishing
Genius Press. Included in this book is her experimental essay the
inversion, transcription, evening track and attractor (the soundtrack for
the video of the same name) which was recently for a Pushcart Prize. She
currently lives in Baltimore, MD USA.

2007 Interview with Stephanie Barber:

This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board
of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the
Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. Additional support
generously provided by the American Cinematheque.

Admission for Filmforum screenings: $10 general, $6 students/seniors, free
for Filmforum members
Advance ticket purchase available through Brown Paper Tickets at

For the screenings at the Egyptian Theater:
Parking is now easiest at the Hollywood & Highland complex. Bring your
ticket for validation. Parking is $2 for 4 hours with validation. Enter that
complex on Highland or Hollywood. The theater is 1.5 blocks east.
------------ --------
Coming soon to Los Angeles Filmforum:

April 20 - Avant-Game, at UCLA Melnitz Movies – video game-based
experimental shorts
April 24 & 25 - Poetry and Film, co-presenting two shows at the UCLA Film &
Television Archive

May 12 - NewTown, Los Angeles Filmforum & Cinefamily Present:
Blast Phemy! #4 - A Mid-week Music/Media Mashup!

May 16 - MURDER and murder with Yvonne Rainer in person
May 23 - Potter-Belmar labs

May 26 - NewTown, Los Angeles Filmforum & Cinefamily Present:
Blast Phemy! #5 - A Mid-week Music/Media Mashup!

**For full and up-to-date information, please visit our website at or email us at email suppressed
<> **

To see what else is playing at the American Cinematheque, please see

***For a complete listing of alternative films in Los Angeles, check

Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization
dedicated to weekly screenings of experimental film, documentaries,
and video art. This is our 34th year!

Filmforum is also raising funds. Sponsor a whole season for only
$5000, or become a member for $60, or anything in between. We're also
looking for a Sony J-30 video deck, which plays Beta SP and DigiBeta,
PAL and NTSC tapes, and a Sony HVRM25AU HDV/DVCam VTR or HVRM15AU
HDV/DVCam VTR, which each play HDV, DV Cam, and miniDV.
Filmforum is a 501(c)3 non-profit
organization which means your fiscal donations are fully tax deductible.\

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.