Sandra Davis 2/24/2014 – Canyon Cinema Salon

San Francisco-based experimental filmmaker and curator Sandra Davis presents a contrasting duo that demonstrate differing avenues of motivation and inspiration in her practice – IGNORANCE BEFORE MALICE (2006, excerpt), a blistering essay film that sheds light on the struggle to heal within the American medical system and coming to terms with one’s own physical limitations and mortality; along with a very personal, short, ode-like work FOR A YOUNG CINEASTE / A UNE JEUNE CINEASTE (2014) which blissfully travels into another, and  private, direction.

7:00pm- Exhibition of photographic works and reception.

7:30pm* – Screening and discussion featuring an excerpt from IGNORANCE BEFORE MALICE (2006) and the unofficial world premier of her latest work FOR A YOUNG CINEASTE / A UNE JEUNE CINEASTE (2014).

*Note: Street entrance locked at 7:30 – please arrive on time.

Program Notes:

(2006, color, sound, 16mm, 30min) – excerpt

IGNORANCE IS MALICE attempted a form which would describe a struggle to heal
within the American medical system, and a personal rumination on the journey through
a sudden rupture of health into disability, and the loss of innocence of life in a mortally threatened body. Feeling my eye and brain in the act of conciousness in viewing the MRI of my brain, images from art history, personal history and fantasy exploded, as did the elements of the sound track. Original material was created by scanning images in books, or MRI cells, reworking these images digitally, then printing these onto transparent materials which acted as old-fashioned animation cells,which were then stacked together with colored gel materials and photographed frame-by-frame on a traditional film animation stand. Also integrated were other traditional “hands-on” animation techniques, such as stop-action of objects (and hands). I was particularly intrigued with the qualities of image resulting from the marriage of both digital and emulsion-based photographic techniques. My decision to use only digitally recorded sound (usually I use both analog and digital sources) was based on a personal evaluation of the digital audio quality as more “glassy” and hard-edged, as the quality of the imagery itself.

16mm film, traveling at 24 frames per second, sears the eye and brain with meaning that must be synthesized by the viewers consciousness into a whole by the end of the viewing – and it is not uncommon for persons to report that they “saw” a film quite differently in repeated, successive viewings. Throughout my career, installation and wall pieces created using elements, images, and thematics from a film as source, have allowed me to rework certain imagery, re-contextualize it (as in a collage process) and to isolate and develop certain of the multiple strains that one film might evoke. This is the process that results in the series All That Remains.

FOR A YOUNG CINEASTE / A UNE JEUNE CINEASTE (2014, color, sound, 16mm, 6min)

Ignorance Before Malice is an example of my one of my “big monstors” (as I think of them) Dense works that try to synthesize a lot of material into a coherent sound/image work.  Other films I think of as little stories without narratives – odes

In the french sense, an ode to, an ode for, a reverance of moment and passion of place. Makin a short form, in awe – feeling presence and facing time. After finishing Ignorance Before Malice, three little films came to me – I shot them over the next few years and knew they were all different, yet related. I worked them all at the same time, and as luck will have it, with necessary breaks from work, they are just rolling out. Sound and voice are integral to my work, their marriage culminates in the whole. I’ve wanted to do some work which can be appreciated fully by my friends and colleagues in France, where I spend time each year. And I love the language of french, so sonorous, and so exact, and at moments, so capricious in its whimseys of potential metaphor.

Sound here is really a “chorus of voices” as my mixer, Dan Olmsted called it. English and french vocals, a stolen reading of Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet” by a young Catherine Deneuve in a knockout performance.Very short work, with only two strains of images – both ‘live action’in the light of day.

About the artist:

Sandra Davis’ work has exhibited at film showcases and festivals  worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Pompidou Center, Paris.

Davis states: “ Many of my works center around the body as the site of imagistic and dynamic foundations that structure human impulses, feelings and thoughts. Imagery of natural landscape and architecture reoccur. All the films, as any rhythmic forms, are meant to be understood through the body and senses, as well as the conceptual mind. Editing tactics contrast fluid image and lyrical tempos with jagged, metric rhythms. Contradictory meaning can emerge and traditionally understood meaning can collapse in the parallel streams of images, which pulsate together until one of them takes over. The films utilize a variety of cinematographic techniques which emphasize the light-infused and textural qualities of the photographic frame.”

Davis has held teaching positions at the School of  the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of South Florida, and most recently, the San Francisco Art Institute. She has lectured widely in the US and Europe on experimental cinema and its place within modern and contemporary art.  Her film IGNORANCE BEFORE MALICE was an official festival selection at the 2007 San Francisco International Film Festival.