Now available: Six recent works by David Gatten

Posted January 21st, 2020 in Announcements, New Acquisitions, New Films, News / Events

Throughout his filmmaking career David Gatten has explored the intersection of the printed word and moving image. His body of work illuminates a wide array of historical, conceptual and material concerns, while cataloging the variety of ways in which texts function in cinema as both language and image, often blurring the boundary between these categories. These movies measure the movement of desire across distance, and the manner in which words, books, letters and other written or printed communications might both produce and mediate that distance.

Canyon Cinema is delighted to announce six recent works by Gatten now available for distribution on 16mm.

Narrow Rivers, Open Seas & Seventeen Sunsets (Silences for A Merchant Mariner) (2016 | 8 minutes | COLOR | SILENT)

The last time I had dinner with Peter we spoke of sunsets – both sunsets we had experienced and sunsets we had filmed – and, of course, of boats; shrimp boats in particular. We made a plan to share with each other all the rolls of all the sunsets we’d never put into our films. That was November of 2015. By June of 2016, Peter was gone. We never had the chance to exchange our sunsets, but in the 72 hours after his passing, I composed this film, made of up some of the elements about which he cared so much: sea and sky, water and light, boats making for the horizon. In memory and in celebration.


The Matter Propounded, of its Possibility or Impossibility, Treated in Four Parts (2011 | 13 minutes | B&W | SILENT)

“A relatively short film (13 minutes), and somewhat unique in its “straightforward” presentation of text […] The Matter Propounded strikes me in retrospect as either a transitional film, indicating a possible new path for Gatten (somewhat unlikely, given that he has already announced several more years of continued work on the Byrd series) or (to my mind a much more likely explanation) one of a number of deliberately small, personally oriented works that Gatten periodically generates, which have very direct relationships to his oeuvre and his broader intellectual and aesthetic project, but are “single” and “complete” unto themselves.” – Michael Sicinsk


Film for Invisible Ink, Case No. 323: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (2010 | 20 minutes | B&W | SILENT)

A series of instances, a set of promises, a frame that takes a breath with each line. Wind-blown pollen finds purchase and Francis Bacon sends a telegram. A.C. Baldwin considers Matrimony as the Oregon Trail leads us Home. An epithalamion for Erin Espelie.


Shrimp Boat Log (2010 | 6 minutes | COLOR | SILENT)

SHRIMP BOAT LOG, the first reel of the ongoing Continuous Quantities series, contains 300 shots, 29 frames each, alternating between a notebook listing the names of shrimp boats that frequent the mouth of the Edisto River and images of these same boats. I started keeping track of these boats in 1994 when my family first starting visiting Seabrook Island, South Carolina every summer. I’ve returned to this spot many times since, making a series of underwater, cameraless films there (the WHAT THE WATER SAID series), always continuing to watch for the shrimp boats. I filmed these images during the summer and fall of 2006 and cut them over the next several years, using Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebooks as a guide.


So Sure of Nowhere Buying Times to Come (2010 | 9 minutes | COLOR | SILENT)

A tiny shop in small snow covered town. Glazed window panes. Pocket watch, postal scale, miniature mirror. Stop watch, open knife, dated bandages, hour glass. Time is short. Time is running out. The time left is all the time we have.

Journal and Remarks (2009 | 15 minutes | COLOR | SILENT)

JOURNAL AND REMARKS, the second reel of the ongoing Continuous Quantities series, contains 700 shots, 29 frames each, shuttling between the 1839 version of what later became Charles Darwin’s A Voyage of the Beagle (1845) and images I gathered on a recent trip to the Galapagos Islands. Space and time, word and image, animal and landscape are divided and drawn together in accordance with Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook entry No. 917: “Describe the nature of Time as distinguished from the Geometrical definitions.”

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