We're not shy about our love of MOCA's annual showcase of video art, the Optic Nerve Festival. Heck we even voted it our Best Film Festival in Miami this year. From Coral Morphologic's glowing sea creatures to Christy Gast tap dancing on the rim of Lake Okeechobee, our city is wonderfully flushed with amazing video art and this event really spotlights local talents. But this year, in honor of the museum's 15th anniversary, MOCA opened Optic Nerve to artists all over the U.S.
Of the 18 short films selected, four are South Florida creations. Jillian Mayer's "I Am Your Grandma" made the cut as did videos by Karlo Andrei Ibarra, Zachary Ordonez, and Ruben Millares and Antonia Wright.
The jurors included locals Justin H. Long (a 2010 Optic Nevre winner),
De la Cruz's director Ibett Yanez, and MOCA's Ruba Katrib, Jillian
Hernandez, and Bonnie Clearwater as well as Stephanie Dodes (Curator of
Big Screen Plaza in NYC) and Shannon Stratton (Co-Founder and Executive
Director of threewalls Artist Residency in Chicago).
As usual, one winning short film will be purchased for MOCA's permanent
collection. Although last year, the line-up was so rich, the museum
ended up buying three: Gold lamé-clad alter egos exercise in Susan
Lee-Chun's Let's Suz-ercise!, one in which a beachgoer encounters an aggressive sea
horse in Justin H. Long's In Search of the Miercoles, and artist
Autumn Casey purging of her closet's contents onto blighted Miami streets
in Getting Rid of All My Shoes.
Optic Nerve XIII will not only expand beyond our area code, but also beyond the typical one-night-only screening. The De La Cruz Collection will screen all of the 18
finalists from September 10 to October 8.
Here's the detailed list of finalist films, which include everything
from amateur YouTube reactions to Psycho to watercolor animations of
suburban bridal showers.
John Bonafede, 21 Gestures, 2:50 min, New York, NY
An artist ascends into the frame with the statement "I'm Emerging." in
both English and Japanese, cuing her companion to do another push up
which in turn enables the artist to add another gesture to a portrait
she is drawing above her head. At the 21st attempt, she is finished
and he is exhausted.
Brian Bress, Alone, 1:02 min, Los Angeles, CA
The artist uses a found photograph of a deserted, sparse landscape as
the backdrop over which he video-collages his own totemic portrait as a
woeful expression of loneliness.
Brian Bress, Its Been A Long Day, 2:13 min., Los Angeles, CA
What begins as care for an oozing wound turns into a lesson in painting and a portrait of deception.
Jennifer Campbell, Unbridled :18 min, Seattle, WA
The artist constructs images by posing with a variety of props in ways
that de-contextualization of both the body and the object.
L. Ashwyn Collins, Remake, 3:50 min, Gifford, NH
Remake is a compilation of 16 distinct videos sourced from YouTube
consisting of the original shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's 1960
thriller, Psycho and 15 amateur recreations of the same scene.
Christina Corfield, Hot Circuit, 5:00 min, San Francisco, CA
This film uses a traditional narrative to mimic a penny arcade machine -
even to the extent that the characters within the story are themselves
robotic, endlessly repeating the same actions and same story, raising
questions about our growing dependence on new technologies and myths.
Christina Corfield, Hot Circuits
Kasia Houlihan, Hold On, 1:39, Chicago, IL
With a nod and a knowing half-smile, a girl suddenly breaks into a
spasmodic dance of disorienting leaps, jerky falls, and floating
zigzags. As the camera tries to follow her sporadic dance, and keep its
subject in the frame, it becomes a duet between camera and subject,
subject and viewer.
Eunjung Hwang, Feature Creatures, 5:00 min, New York, NY
This film is part of a series of experimental animations, which explores
the complexity of cryptic images from dreams and the subconscious. The
main aspect of the project is to produce visionary narratives inspired
by the illusion of fragmented realities and compile them into a usable
Karlo Andrei Ibarra, Crossover, 3:11 min, Miami Beach, FL
This video which depicts random Puerto Rican citizens singing the Star
Spangled Banner, amplifies the socio-cultural distance between Puerto
Rico and the United States. Many long for statehood yet often do not
know the language of the country in which they wish to assimilate.
Richard Jochum, Twenty Angry Dogs, Group Bark, :59 min, New York, NY
This one minute video is a single channel appendix to the sound and
video installation "Twenty Angry Dogs", in which the artist asked 20
people to bark like an angry dog.
Jennifer Levonian, Her Slip Is Showing, 4:12 min, Philadelphia, PA
This cut out watercolor animation of a suburban bridal shower explores
the persistence of traditional gender roles, social awkwardness and the
way in which friendship has evolved over time.
Jillian Mayer, I Am Your Grandma, 1:03 min, Miami, FL
This autobiographical video diary log (vlog) which the artist created
for her unborn grandchildren was posted on YouTube, inspiring copycats
and creating fans. Envisioned as an authentic solution to fleshing out
the detached model of the family tree, the artist hearkens to bygone
times when ancestors could glimpse one another through a locket or lock
of hair. By placing the video in a public forum, the film becomes a
study of why people ultimately share their personal feelings with
anonymous strangers, and whether this sharing effects the actual
emotional significance of the piece.
Ruben Millares & Antonia Wright, Job Creation In A Bad Economy, 2:15 min, Coral Gables, FL
This new video series by the collaborative Ruben Millares and Antonia
Wright, is a playful commentary on the somber issue of the devaluation
of the arts and education in our society. The artists physically and
metaphorically tackle the bureaucracy and walls that uphold these
systems and leaving the viewer feeling sympathy for Millares and Wright,
yet laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation.
Tara Nelson, Hull, 5:00 min, Jamaica Plains, MA
This film is a journey between layers of corporal consciousness,
exploring the physical memory of trauma and the psychological
repercussions of a surgical disaster.
Zachary Ordonez, Resistance - Release - Recover, Part II, 4:30 min, Cutler Bay, FL
Using strength, endurance and willpower, various men compete to see who can last the longest hanging onto a pair of ropes.
Carlos Charlie Perez, Billy The Kids, 4:40 min, New York, NY
Billy The Kids depicts a group of teenagers pretending to be famous
actors questioning life's meaning through a quirky "Cat In The Hat"
Carlos Charlie Perez, Billy The Kids
Perfect Lives, Marfa, 4:57 min, Oakland, CA
Artists D. Sadja and S. Martinez fuses elements of narrative film, music
video and performance art in this story about two unsuspecting
cowboys. Marfa was shot in a single 18 hour period in Marfa, TX and is
part of a larger body of video postcards depicting situations and
narratives in various locations.
Sarada Rauch, Pile of Demon Heads, 1:51 min, Brooklyn, NY
This film is based on the 2nd episode of the Devil Mahatmyam Epic, and
takes its aesthetic from the original Star Trek series. It is the last
fight scene between Our Hero and the Demon. The world was under attack
by the most powerful demon, who took many forms, including that of a
buffalo. The gods, fearing total annihilation, endowed Our Hero with
their powers and sent her into battle. During their long battle the
demon changes forms many times, and each time our hero chops his head
off. The heads that Our Hero has chopped off accumulated in a field of
daisies and created pile of demon heads.
Optic Nerve XIII will be presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art ( 770 NE 125th Street, North Miami) on August 27. It is free with museum admission ($5 adults; $3 seniors and students with ID; free for MOCA members, North Miami residents). Seating is limited and RSVP is required. For reservations, call 305-893-6211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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