MOCA Announces Finalists for Optic Nerve Festival XIII

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.

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

pictorial catalogue.

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"

rhyme scheme.

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 rsvp@mocanomi.org.

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