Screening and discussion: Deborah Stratman

Screening and discussion: Deborah Stratman

Deborah Stratman, Optimism (still), 2018.

Aesthetics of Resistance

Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art

Screening and discussion: Deborah Stratman

Admission starts at $5

Date
January 28, 2023, 5pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
USA

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Saturday, January 28 at 5pm for a screening of Deborah Stratman’s Optimism (2018), The Illinois Parables (2016), and Untied (2001), followed by a video Q&A with the filmmaker. 

Reflecting on the political power of landscape films, we are happy to feature works by Deborah Stratman who often explores the relationships between humans and their environments. Her landscape films are meditative and often experimental, employing a variety of techniques such as the use of found footage, animation, and experimental sound to investigate political histories of particular places exploring the intersection of human and nature. Stratman's films often focus on themes of power and control, as well as the impact of human intervention on the natural world.

The screening constitutes the second event of “Landscapes To Be Deciphered,” the second chapter of the four-part series Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art taking place at e-flux Screening Room in monthly chapters between December 2022 and March 2023. Read more on the series here.

Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art is produced and organized by e-flux; with the support of the German Film Office, an initiative of the Goethe-Institut and German Films.

Films

Optimism (2018, 14 minutes)
”Draw down the sun. Dig up the gold.” The urge to relieve a winter valley of permanent shadow and find fortune in alluvial gravel are part of a long history of desire and extraction in the far Canadian north. Can-can dancers, curlers, ore smelters, former city officials, and a curious cliff-side mirrored disc congregate to form a town portrait. Shot in location in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.

The Illinois Parables (2016, 60 minutes)
A suite of Midwestern parables that question the historical role belief has played in ideology and national identity. It is an experimental documentary composed of regional vignettes about faith, force, technology, and exodus. Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism, and resistance, all occurring somewhere in the state of Illinois. The state is a convenient structural ruse, allowing its histories to become allegories that explore how we’re shaped by conviction and ideology. The film suggests links between technological and religious abstraction, placing them in conversation with governance. Locations are those where the boundaries between the rational and supernatural are tenuous. They are “thin places” where the distance between heaven and earth has collapsed, or more secularly, any place that bears a heavy past, where desire and displacement have lead us into or erased us from the land. What began as a consideration of religious freedom eventually led to sites where belief or invention triggered expulsion. The film utilizes reenactment, archival footage, observational shooting, inter-titles, and voiceover to tell its stories and is an extension of previous works in which the director questioned foundational American tenets.

Untied (2001, 3 minutes)
A small portrait of the volatility of intimacy, and of breaking free from abusive cycles. Made in response to a year of collapsing relationships and violent accidents that left the filmmaker broken, dislocated, and stuck in her apartment. 

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

Accessibility           
–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.
–For elevator access, please RSVP to program@e-flux.com. The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.         
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Category
Film, Religion & Spirituality, Sexuality & Eroticism
Subject
Landscape, Violence, State & Government
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Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art

Artist and filmmaker Deborah Stratman makes work that investigates issues of power, control, and belief, exploring how places, ideas, and society are intertwined. She regards sound as the ultimate multi-tool and time to be supernatural. Recent projects have addressed freedom, surveillance, public speech, sinkholes, levitation, orthoptera, raptors, comets, evolution, extinction, exodus, sisterhood, and faith. Stratman’s films and artworks have been exhibited and awarded internationally. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois.

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