Optic Nerve Film Festival Selects Three Films For MOCA's Permanent Collection

The optic nerve dispatches information from your retina to your brain, a function that is entirely physiological and unless you suffer from psychosis, not open to interpretation. However, the films at Friday night's

Optic Nerve Film Festival

touched upon both our intellects and emotions. And one film in particular -- Juan Carlos Zaldivar's "Horror (Horror Sickness)" -- just had a lot of touching.    

This past weekend, the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami celebrated 10 years of the Optic Nerve Film Festival by screening the best short films by South Florida artists. Over 80 filmmakers submitted their films to Optic Nerve XII, and 22 made the cut.

According to Bonnie Clearwater, MOCA's Executive Director and Chief Curator, "the experimental films were once allowed to be 10 minutes in length but that proved to be too long for some of the audience members." This year, the films could be no longer than five minutes. Many of them ran between two to three minutes, and they covered everything from Twitter to Wall Street.

Within 10 minutes, the room was packed with over 200 guests. Art patrons

attended for a night of visual stimulation, while hipsters poked fun at

their friend's videos. Originally, one artist was to be chosen to have a

permanent spot in the MOCA collection. But in the end, three videos

were awarded this much coveted prize. Congrats goes to winners Autumn Casey, Susan

Lee-Chun, and Justin H. Long.

With perhaps the most comical film of the night, Long presented his

version of a perfect Wednesday afternoon with "In Search of Miercoles," a

play off conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader's, In Search of the Miraculous.

In the film, Long traverses the ocean with an unsteady camera that documents

his every move. Not to ruin it, but his moment in paradise is ruined by

a seahorse in search of its own miraculous.

Casey's film, "Getting Rid of All My Shoes," was representative of the

artist's desire to break free from material objects. As Casey explains,

her art often attempts to "draw a relationship between contemporary art,

everyday materials, and what is accessible." In her film, Casey, using

her own shoe collection, disperses boots, ballet flats, and sandals

throughout Miami's downtown. The artist described the act as

"liberating," but the situation also left her in a funny predicament. By

the time she was done, Casey was shoeless. "I quickly went to a

Salvation Army to buy some," she explained. And the shoes? They all

found new homes.      

-- Elena Chiriboga

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