Kerry Laitala and Jonathan Walley on Expanded Cinema and Cinema Expanded

Posted January 15th, 2021 in Canyon Cinema Salon, Co-Presentations, Events and Screenings, News / Events

A Canyon Cinema Salon, co-hosted by Shapeshifters Cinema
Sunday, January 31st @ 7pm PST
Livestream on
YouTube (free)

Artist and filmmaker Kerry Laitala (San Francisco) and cinema scholar Jonathan Walley (Columbus, OH) engage in an illustrated conversation about expanded cinema, including Laitala’s recent 16mm film projection performance Fire Fly EYE (hand-processed 16mm Ektachrome and B&W film, dual projection) and the iconic paracinematic work Retrospectroscope (1996; pictured above). Walley will also discuss his book Cinema Expanded: Avant-Garde Film in the Age of Intermedia, published last year by Oxford University Press, the first comprehensive historical and theoretical account of expanded cinema published since Gene Youngblood’s landmark book Expanded Cinema (1970). Laitala will also share documentation of her studio, which will be the basis for a discussion with Walley about the role of studio spaces and practices in the creation of expanded cinema works. Q&A will follow.  


Since 2014, Canyon Cinema’s Salon series has provided a free, informal platform for dialogue and engagement with moving image artists. In the past, these events have taken the form of artist-led screening-and-discussions, staged in an intimate setting (16 Sherman Street, in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood). Expanding into the digital space due to the current necessity of physical distancing, we have further opened the forum to scholars and curators to present their research alongside experimental cinema and media artworks. The Canyon Cinema Salon series is made possible with generous support from the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.


Kerry Laitala is a media archaeologist whose work spans the territories of photography and expanded cinema performances, to 3D single-channel videos and sculptural installation. Laitala’s work synthesizes ideas and ephemera from the realms of science, history, and technology. An expert in optical printing and DIY practices such as photogram and hand-processing techniques, she utilizes these methods (among others) to re-shape “found” archival film materials into 16mm and 35mm handcrafted short films that embody and celebrate the phenomenon of lo-fi spectacle. Inspired by avant-garde filmmakers like Phil Solomon and Paul Sharits, her work conveys a similar connection to film materials, but with a more unhinged sense of decay. She investigates our shifting relationships with the natural world and the artifacts we introduce into it, whether through installation, photography, para-cinema, performance, kinetic sculpture, or single-channel forms. She teaches film at the San Francisco Art Institute as well as in small workshops held around the world.

Jonathan Walley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema at Denison University. As a researcher, he specializes in avant-garde/experimental film, and especially expanded cinema. His book, Cinema Expanded: Avant-Garde Film in the Age of Intermedia, was published in 2020 by Oxford University Press, and his writings have appeared in OctoberMoving Image Review and Art Journal, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, The Velvet Light Trap, Millennium Film Journal, and in numerous collections on avant-garde cinema and art. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.  

Shapeshifters Cinema is an experimental microcinema located in Oakland, CA. Our mission is to provide a venue and support for contemporary artists working with experimental and artist-made film, video, sound, music and other types of mediated performance. In addition to regular, live events, we offer workshops on experimental moving image and sound production and a storefront shop specializing in print publications, sound recordings and other artist-made media. 

Image: Kerry Laitala, Retrospectroscope (1996). Installation view. From “Timeless Motion,” SOMArts Gallery, San Francisco, 2016. Photograph ©Kerry Laitala, courtesy of the artist.