Chris Kennedy

“Ellie Epp: Elements of Contact.” November 12, 2015

Ellie Epp: Elements of Contact

This new quintet of digital videos represents a return to moving image-making for Ellie Epp, whose previous four films hold a significant place in the history of Canadian experimental filmmaking. Born in rural Alberta, Epp travelled to London in the 1970s and became an observer of the London Filmmakers Co-operative scene. Inspired by Chantal Akerman’s Hotel Monterey—she described it as the film that “lit the fuse … It was the sense that you could use film to engineer a change in consciousness”—Epp shot her first film trapline over a period of months at a Victorian-era swimming pool, creating eighteen minutes of pure cinema out of twelve shots that offer a series of observations on reflection, refraction, presence and perception. Returning to Canada to edit trapline, Epp settled in Vancouver and embarked on notes in origin, a project that returned her to her northern Alberta roots. In ten long takes, Epp creates a beautifully intimate portrait of the rugged rural landscape, her attention to the anti-spectacular evoking the possibility of the sublime.

Epp’s latest videos—made after nearly a twenty-year hiatus in moving-image work, during which time Epp completed a PhD in neurophilosophy and taught for several years at Goddard College in Vermont—feel very much of a piece with the artist’s earlier films in their interest in the expressiveness of water, commitment to duration, and ability to acutely direct our senses by highlighting a felt absence in the frame. A statement Epp made over fifteen years ago frames these new videos well:

“Technically, duration is something quite particular—when you keep seeing something that doesn’t change very much you stabilize into it, you shift, you get sensitive, you cross a threshold, something happens…. It’s an endless source of pleasure and knowledge…. [When I first] made the crossing, it was ecstatic. What it is, is that deep attention is ecstatic in itself.”

by the lotus dir. Ellie Epp | Canada 2013 | 3 min. video
notes in origin dir. Ellie Epp | Canada 1987 | 15 min. 16mm
trapline dir. Ellie Epp | Canada 1976 | 18 min. 16mm
o sea dir. Ellie Epp | Canada 2015 | 5 min. video
ob pier 5, 3 movements dir. Ellie Epp | Canada 2015 | 8 min. video
here dir. Ellie Epp | Canada 2015 | 4 min. video
last light dir. Ellie Epp | Canada 2015 | 7 min. video

Ellie Epp in person.

Thursday, November 12 6:30pm