An experimental film screening curated by Amina Gingold.

November 17, 2023

7:30 Doors

8:00 Screening

Featuring Peggy Awesh, Cecelia Condit, Nazli Dinçel, Lacie Garnes, Amina Gingold, Sonia Kahn, Justine Lai, Jodie Mack, Julie Orlick, Kathleen Rugh, and Patricia Voulgaris.


Surface Memory examines ideas surrounding fragmented narratives and performances of oneself, with a focus on how lived experiences are reimagined. The program features experimental films made on 16mm, low-resolution digital video, and 35mm still images presented on a carousel projector. Portraying themes of horror, comedy, education, glitz and raw materiality, this collection of moving images opens the possibilities of how stories are told. This series of films comments on how our memories gradually shift away from what has actually taken place. Technology and art have been linked often throughout history, influencing traditional filmmaking workflows that are susceptible to disruption. This interference takes on many forms, including laser engraving, multiple exposures, layered projections, and non-traditional chemical processing.

Featured works:

The Vision Machine by Peggy Ahwesh, 20 min

The spinning disks of Duchamp and the sex jokes of Bunuel collide in this essay about the feminine speaking subject, her wit, and its relation to her unconscious. "The girls-only party scenes in THE VISION MACHINE have both the ruddy look of overexposed home movies and the richly burnished texture of Renaissance paintings cracking under their veneer. A riff on Duchamp's Anemic Cinema, inscribes the lyrics of 'Wild Thing' on a warped video version of a roto-relief and on Buñuel's Viridiana, here with the lowlifes invading the manor are women artists, THE VISION MACHINE is an inspired depiction of girls dressing up and acting out, pleased as punch to have taken over the screen." -- Amy Taubin, The Village Voice.

Beneath the Skin by Cecelia Condit, 12 min 5 sec

Horror and humor merge in Condit's incredulous, wide-eyed narration of a bizarre and lurid tale, which unfolds as a subterranean nightmare of male/female relationships. Condit's account of her discovery that her boyfriend had killed his former girlfriend and hidden the mummified body in their bedroom closet propels an intricate collage of dreamlike, almost hallucinatory visions. Violence and innocence, the macabre and the witty, the grotesque and the beautiful coexist in what Condit terms "a murder story told by a girl on a swing." Swaying between fantasy and reality, images of a decaying mummy and a distorted female face are accompanied by a girlish song about Barbie and Ken. In this uncanny exercise in storytelling as psychological exorcism, Condit hauntingly probes "beneath the skin" — beneath narrative and representation — to disrupt the surface and unearth the subconscious of her female subject. Music: Malloy and Skladany. With: Jill Sands, Jennifer Dunegan, Marian Condit, Mary Jo Toles, Stephen Vogel, Robert Biederman, Lisa Kohn, Judith Allston.

Possibly in Michigan by Cecelia Condit, 11 min 40 sec

Possibly in Michigan is an operatic fairy tale of cannibalism, desire and dread in Middle America, a densely collaged narrative in which Beauty meets the Beast in the surreal landscape of shopping-mall suburbia. Two women with a penchant for "violence and perfume" take revenge on their animal-masked male persecutor. In this contemporary rendering of gothic enchantment, victim becomes aggressor and the familiar becomes the fantastic. Condit reworks popular narrative conventions using black humor, sing-song dialogue, and ironically gruesome images. Constructing a comically grim fairy tale of dreamlike pursuit and sexual violence, she inverts traditional Freudian metaphors to impart a subversive voice to her transgressive heroines: "I bite at the hand that feeds me." Possibly in Michigan is a classic tale of psychosexual horror, retold as an irreverent fantasy of the other. Music: Karen Skladany. With: Jill Sands, Karen Skladany, Bill Blume, Amy Krick, Jeff Chiplis. Editor: David Narosny. Sound Mixing: Joel Solloway. Special Effects: John Barak.

Instructions on How to Make a Film by Nazli Dinçel, 13 min

Shot at the Film Farm in Mt.Forest, this comedy is a quest about performance, educational voiceover, analogue filmmaking, ASCII, language, ethics of ethnography and narrative storytelling under a metaphor of instructions to farm land. Text by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Wikihow/shoot-film.

Outskirt (excerpt) by Lacie Garnes, 1 min 56 sec

Outskirt (2004-2005). The “Outskirt” project is a study of the private vs. the public body. I gather information using surveillance cameras that coincide with the methods used in capturing voyeuristic material known as “up-skirt” photography. Generally, these images are taken of unsuspecting women wearing skirts in public areas. A bag containing camera equipment is secretly slipped under the woman’s garment, filming the area between her legs without consent. Presently “up-skirt” photography is very marketable with online communities catering to this specific fetish. This has become increasingly problematic as imaging technology has rapidly advanced allowing access to possible voyeur tools on cell phones and other easily concealed devices. Voyeurism is a class C felony. However, a loophole exists stating that the prosecution of “up-skirt” voyeurs is unconstitutional.The ambiguity lies in the fact that one does not qualify as a voyeur unless the victim has a reasonable expectation of privacy. A voyeur only qualifies as unlawful if photographing in a dressing room, bathroom, or perhaps a bedroom. Because many of these images images are taken in public places (escalators, elevators, waiting lines), the photographer cannot be tried under current voyeur law. Within the “Outskirt” project, a hidden camera is placed between my legs gazing out from my skirt and into the world in public spaces. The images are collected using an oppositional surveillance view. This work embodies themes that expand upon the gaze, active and passive gender roles, legislation, surveillance, and protection, as well as private vs. public space.

Nothing is Something by Amina Gingold, 2 min 24 sec

“Nothing Is Something” teeters between finding meaning in the nonsense of everyday life. Nothingness is an enormous void where we attempt to imagine the nonexistent. It’s a complicated gap where we compare the tangible to the intangible. When we contemplate this comparison, one might begin to understand it. Our perception of reality is altered when we drift toward these spaces. Time and space are equally affected by our ability to store memories of events, including where and when they took place. One might experience a sensation of déjà vu in a world where nothing makes sense.

Colormanic by Sonia Kahn, 7 min 35 sec

Intervening into the cathode ray signal, this film deploys hardwire glitching to distort a mundane assortment of female figures. Originally encoded onto silver discs these bodies finally escape the confines of our gaze through bright nodes of color, dissolving into abstraction. All semblance of the female form now distorted through signal interceptions, reimagined on a bed of gelatine. The bliss of color, falling into grace. Dances in dizzying compositions, to blur and spill into technicolor haze. A kitsch narcosis.

Moon Cycle by Justine Lai, 2 min

Moon Cycle is a direct animation featuring imagery from the TV series Sailor Moon (1992). I recreate the girl-to-superheroine transformation sequences (also known as henshin) that are reused every episode to save on production.

Unsubscribe No. 2: All Eyes on the Silver Screen by Jodie Mack, 2 min 41 sec

Everybody's watching...

Trauer Natur by Julie Orlick, 3 min

Trauer Natur mourning nature

Summer's Last Moons by Kathleen Rugh, 3 min

As summer comes to an end, the moon reaches towards becoming full. Over three nights the moon is captured on film through in-camera editing and multiple exposures. The moons come together to interact and play with one another, while official NASA sound recordings from space bring us closer.

You'll Never Believe It by Patricia Voulgaris, 8 min 30 sec

Tucked away in a small town in New York lies Burn Brae Mansion. The owners, Mike and Pat have experienced unexplained occurrences, such as doors opening and slamming, children’s voices, balls bouncing, and the apparitions of a woman in white. Many guests, including myself, have felt an uneasiness while exploring the property. Durning my stay, I conducted an investigation of the home in an attempt to understand its history within the context of parapsychology. Burn Brea mansion continues to baffle curious visitors who are interested in exploring a piece of history. It has been debated as one of the most haunted bed and breakfasts in the U.S.