Chris Kennedy

“Letters and Notes, Lost in a Room.” August 21, 2015

Letters and notes, lost in a room

David K. Ross’ The European Rooms anchors this programme about the confines of built environs and their representations. The video takes us through the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, which are small-scale replicas of rooms built during the Enlightenment. Capturing the rooms in a seamless, gliding pan, Ross disrupts our sense of proportion while highlighting the extraordinary detail and craftsmanship of these dioramic representations of privilege and prestige.

Vincent Grenier’s World in Focus plays even more intensely with scale: using a close- up lens to examine a large atlas, Grenier reduces cities and continents to patterns of dots and lines, living under the looming shadow of the turning pages. Sergei Loznitsa returns us to a more human plane with The Letter, a portrait of a psychiatric home in rural Russia; the film’s glowing black-and-white imagery gains even more poignancy when we consider that such institutions were often employed as a means to curb dissent during the Soviet era.

The programme begins and ends with two films by San Francisco Bay Area artist James Sansing, both of which material filmed at an abandoned juvenile hall. Samsing has worked with this building over several years, documenting its gradual decay in both still and moving images. In Forsaken, he explores the interior classrooms and hallways, while in Verses he concentrates on the rotting pages of notebooks and ledgers left behind by the institution’s former inhabitants.—Chris Kennedy

Forsaken dir. James Sansing | USA 2010 | 6.5 min. 16mm
The European Rooms dir. David K. Ross | Canada 2014 | 27 min. video
World in Focus dir. Vincent Grenier | Canada/USA 1976 | 20 min. 16mm
The Letter dir. Sergei Loznitsa | Russia 2013 | 20 min. 35mm on video
Verses dir. James Sansing | USA 2012 | 4 min. 35mm

David K. Ross in person.

Tuesday, August 25 6:15pm