Expanded Cinema Performances, New Media Installations, and Salons

at the 57th Ann Arbor Film Festival  |  March 26 – 31, 2019





117 West Liberty Street

Free and open to the public

As if the color was looking at you

Sara Bonaventura 

This video presents a triplicated body entangled in a network of exterior conditionings. The viewer encounters a mesmerizing triptych of choreography performed by Annamaria Ajmone and processed using analog synthesizers. Voltage-controlled oscillators and patches give way to an endless dance of colors. A version of the work premiered at Adiacenze gallery in Bologna, Italy. The sound design is by Caterina Barbieri.

Sara Bonaventura is an Italian visual artist currently based in Singapore. Her works have been screened in Italy and abroad, including at the Anthology Film Archives in New York. She has been selected for residencies at Signal Culture in Oswego, New York; Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium; and the Fundación Botín in Spain. Sara is working on her first feature, Forest Hymn for Little Girls.

Chorus for Untrained Operator

Stephan Moore and Peter Bussigel 

This public is invited to interact with this installation, providing a direct encounter with a collection of discarded objects. Each has been relieved of its original responsibilities, rewired, and transformed to emphasize its musical voice. The ensemble is controlled through the patchbay of a 1940s Western Electric switchboard.

Peter Bussigel builds sound systems that become instruments, performances, sculptures, and less general interanimata. Peter also makes music with brass instruments and electrons and teaches new media and sound arts in Vancouver. Stephan Moore makes objects, software, and scores that organize sound in space and time, manifesting as installation art and sound designs for performance. He is active as a curator, teacher, and performer in Chicago.


Sarah Friedland

A three-channel video installation of a durational dance, CROWDS investigates the choreography of crowd typologies and the slippages between them. Focusing on the choreographic nature of crowd behavior—its collective formations, movements, and gestures—CROWDS uses dance to interrogate the distinctions we make between types of human groupings and to destabilize the relationship between ideologies and moving bodies. In CROWDS, we watch 22 dancers fluctuate among 13 different types of crowds. Much as with a flock of murmurating birds, the thresholds between these crowd types are blurred and distorted: The rocking of bodies in prayer slips into the shaking of raving dancers; the training exercises of sports teams slide into the structured formations of fascist spectacles. CROWDS reflects what is amassed and what is lost as we gather and disperse.

Sarah Friedland is a filmmaker and choreographer working at the intersection of moving images and moving bodies. Her work has screened and been presented in numerous festivals and film spaces, including New Directors/New Films, the New Orleans Film Festival, Cucalorus Festival, and Anthology Film Archives; in art spaces such as MoMA, Nasher Museum, and Manifattura delle Arti (Bologna); and in dance spaces including the American Dance Festival and Dixon Place. Sarah graduated from the Brown University Department of Modern Culture and Media and started her career assisting filmmakers including Steve McQueen, Mike S. Ryan, and Kelly Reichardt.

Drum Solo: Hyperbole for the Undiscovered Country

McLean Fahnestock

Hyperbole for the Undiscovered Country is a reconfigurable looping installation of interconnected monitors. Water spills from one screen to another, cobbled together into a giant impossible waterfall. The sound generated is not the roar of water but is instead rolling snare drums. The piece considers the desire for paradisiacal locales—such as the isolated waterfall—and the lengths to which we will go to attain them, including even violence. The footage was sourced from YouTube relaxation videos. They are idealized places whose job is to give us relief through escape. Beyond being unreal, they most likely belong to someone else. The title alludes to this ownership and to the colonialism that seeks to claim them with the backing track of the drums of war.

McLean Fahnestock seeks an understanding of place, modes of knowledge acquisition, and the character of exploration. McLean earned a BFA from Middle Tennessee State University and an MFA from California State University, Long Beach. Her work has been screened and exhibited nationally and internationally. McLean keeps her studio in Nashville, Tennessee.



North Quad Space 2435

10 am – 6 pm daily

105 South State Street

Free and open to the public 

Manifest Destiny 

Tess Elliot

A year after the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, the western frontier was closed and the doctrine of manifest destiny was transformed from an ideology tied to physical space into the dominant mythology in mainstream American identity. Manifest Destiny explores the contemporary relationship between climate change and private space programs as an extension of the belief in expansion as a supernatural mandate, while also looking to past representations of the mythology within the cinematic genre of the Western. Manifest Destiny weaves these narratives together in an interactive, dystopian experience merging sculpture with the technological frontier of virtual reality.

Tess Elliot is an assistant professor in the Art, Technology, and Culture program at the University of Oklahoma School of Visual Arts. She earned an MFA from Ohio State University in 2017 and holds a BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art. Her work spans multiple disciplines, including sculpture, installation, VR, and film.



Eric Souther 

XYZ is an audiovisual installation that focuses on the exploration of sonic material for real-time sculpture. The work utilizes three analog oscillators in tandem to generate the x, y, and z dimensions of the sculpture. A series of knobs and sliders allow viewers to explore the creation of their own sonic sculptures.

Eric Souther is a video and new media artist who draws from a multiplicity of disciplines, including anthropology, linguistics, religion, and critical theory. He earned an MFA in electronic integrated arts from Alfred University and is an associate professor of new media at Indiana University.

Student reels

This presentation features work by students from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit; Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, England; the Department of Film, Television, and Media in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan; and the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan.

Stamps Gallery

201 South Division Street


Hamutal Attar

What happens when your familiar inner world becomes alien, and the language mechanisms collapse? The video installation YYYAAAOOO focuses on a conflict between a woman and herself through video, drawing, and animation. The woman reads the signs inside her body and vocalizes them with primal voices while trying to memorize this new and unfamiliar language. The signs moves and twist, and her inner world gets wild and defies her. YYYAAAOOO explores the gap between a person and her soul and the attempt to mediate between the two. The collision between the video and the animation produces an uncomfortable intermediate state, a moving collage of paper and video.

Born in Israel in 1992, Hamutal Attar is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Tel Aviv. She earned a BFA in 2018 from the Department of Art at Shenkar College in Israel and is exploring new links between drawing and video art. Hamutal’s videos and animations have appeared in exhibitions and festivals around Israel.

Michigan Theater

603 East Liberty Street

Before her investiture, the novice must hear what she has to, learn what she has to, shape what she has to, say.

Katharine Fry | Lobby Phone Booth

In this video installation for one, you enter an intimate red velvet world and encounter a novice in a strange educational setting. Her truncated torso and limbs thrust awkwardly from a school desk. The scene is tense stillness except for her spinning, shaking, magnified mouth. The novice must rehearse the lesson dictated by an unseen voice, but her body refuses. A pair of red shoes lies in wait on the feet of long legs that support her desk. Could they dance her out of this disciplined red recess and into red revelry? What is being suppressed and shaped by her lesson is desire. The novice must sacrifice unbounded desire—press it into language, into discipline, into rule. She refuses her lesson but remains trapped by its rote.

Katharine Fry creates enchanted spaces of desire and inertia. She is completing a practice-based Ph.D. House Arrest at Goldsmiths, University of London. Katharine has received a Hauser & Wirth First Prize, Soho House Mentoring Prize, and prizes from the Creekside Open and Black Swan Arts Open. Her work was recently exhibited at Visions in the Nunnery in London and the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in Hawick, Scotland.


Dressing Up + Down                 

U-M students from the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design with Rebekah Modrak

Mezzanine Level

Students in Professor Rebekah Modrak’s Dressing Up + Down class at U-M’s Stamps School designed and built costumes inspired by the iconic short animation Quasi at the Quackadero, which was created in 1975 by artist and AAFF alumna Sally Cruikshank. The costumes will be exhibited as wearable art by the students—who will be milling about in the grand foyer on Friday evening at 9pm—and on mannequins on the mezzanine level on Saturday and Sunday, March 30–31.

U-M Stamps School Professor Rebekah Modrak is an artist and writer whose practice is situated at the intersection of art, activism, critical design, and creative resistance to consumer culture.



Synergetic Curtains

Noel Stupek | Grand Foyer

This installation is inspired by the words of Prospero in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “The fringèd curtains of thine eye advance / And say what thou seest yond.”



What We Saw

Screening Room Lobby

Blank cards are provided for you—the audience—to write down what you observe at the festival, onscreen and off. Leave your card in the box provided at the What We Saw station to be photographed and added to the ongoing slideshow. This presentation is an experimental remix documentary made possible by you: the savvy, diverse, and experimental-film-loving AAFF audience. All are invited and encouraged to participate!


Queen of Discomfort™

Sofia Caetano presents Fatty Con Fetti | Michigan Theater | Graffiti Alley

Queen of Discomfort™ presents a multimedia installation in a touring box-truck gallery. POISON GARDEN presents landscapes of expanded paintings: video collages of remixed VHS are projected on mylar paper and acrylic paint. The visitor wears a projection helmet; just as miners use a lit-up helmet for substance-hunting, visitors wear a helmet for truth-digging. The digital body of the host, Fatty Con Fetti (non-material guru), will be projected out of the helmet. Fatty introduces the viewers to her iterations of contemporary flowers. These poisonous flowers propose the corrupted fragrance of toxic elements present in our everyday lives. At the end is a hidden, dark room. Inside, the visitor uses the helmet’s light to investigate Fatty Con Fetti’s precious digital prints of POISON GARDEN.

Sofia Caetano was born in 1987 in the Azores. She works between the flatness of the filmic screen and the spaciousness of its relationship with installation, investigating comedy, staging, and spectatorship. She teaches film and media art production, co-directs The Spectacular House, and is producing her first feature film.



Tuesday 3/26


3–5pm | North Quad Space 2435 | Free


This reception for North Quad exhibitions features works by Tess Elliot, Eric Souther, and a variety of students.


5:30–6:30pm (during the Annual Director’s Fundraiser, a ticketed event) at Sava’s

7–8pm (during the Opening Night Party, a ticketed event) at the Michigan Theater

The Stories Within by Melissa Airy


The Stories Within is a live performance in which the artist engages the audience on a personal level, allowing them to peer through the windows of a custom-built wooden doll house to view short video clips that are revealing of a private and intimate personal narrative. The audience takes an active role as witness to the stories. By minimizing the distance between audience and performer, the work confronts the tension between private versus public; and by empowering the audience to become part of the performance, the work creates a juxtaposition between vulnerability and voyeurism.

Melissa Airy is a performance artist based in Iowa City, Iowa, and an MFA candidate in Intermedia Arts at the University of Iowa. Melissa uses performance art and video to investigate her relationship to her faith and how she can translate these experiences to a secular world.

Wednesday 3/27

10am–12pm | North Quad Space 2435 | Free

Artist Roundtable with James Snazell and OTS! performance artists

Salon session

This roundtable features performance artists including James Snazell, who is an experimental film artist based in Manchester, England; a senior lecturer in animation at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, England; and an M.Res. candidate in creative practice at the University of Westminster in London. James’s work has shown at a range of film festivals, including Punto y Raya in Barcelona, Festival Des Cinémas Différents et Expérimentaux de Paris, and the Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival in Lausanne, Switzerland.


3–5pm | Stamps Gallery | Free

Artist Roundtable with Hamutal Attar and OTS! installation artists

Salon session

This roundtable features visiting Israeli artist Hamutal Attar, whose video installation YYYAAAOOO explores the gap between the everyday pressures of society and the deeper, hidden desires within one’s soul. The work is composed of a two-channel video and a large-scale charcoal drawing. Together they create an immersive environment where the artist is portrayed trying to mediate between the two worlds.


9:15pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

Ritual for Biological Media by Debora and Jason Bernagozzi

Two live cinema performances (presented during the ticketed screening of Films in Competition 4)

Ritual for Biological Media is an expanded cinema performance and a continuation of the artists’ Ritual for Hybrid Media performances. This new work is a meditation on the unseen world of biological processes as a metaphor for the transmission and processing of the data structures that govern our world. This performance will feature custom-made, real-time analog and digital processing tools created in part by Jason Bernagozzi for the performers’ nonprofit residency center, Signal Culture.

Debora and Jason Bernagozzi are video and new media artists who have performed at such venues as the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival; Harvestworks; and Squeaky Wheel. They co-founded Signal Culture, a nonprofit residency and resource center for artists, researchers, and innovators focused on experimental media art.


glimmer by Sophie Trudeau / Michaela Grill

This improvisational work combines image and sound, exploring audiovisual worlds filled with fragile structures of melody and shadows of images. Ghosts in the machines dream about memories they have never experienced, longing for coalescence—and maybe some beauty.

Soon after completing her classical training in violin through the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and receiving her B.A. in philosophy at the University of Ottawa, Sophie joined the genre-breaking instrumental rock group Godspeed You! Black Emperor, winner of the Polaris prize and world-acclaimed for both the intensity of its live performances and the cinematic quality of its music. Working with visual artists and film has always been an important influence for Sophie’s music, and her work has been featured on numerous film scores.

Michaela studied in Vienna, Glasgow, and London (Goldsmith College) and currently lives and works in Vienna and Montreal. Michaela has been creating film and video works, installations, and live visuals since 1999, with performances and screenings on five continents, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid; La Casa Encendida in Barcelona; the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; and many cinematheques. Her videos have been screened at more than 150 festivals worldwide. Michaela received the Outstanding Artist Award from the Austrian Ministry of Art and Culture in 2010 and the State Scholarship for Media Art in 2015.


11–12:30pm | Lo-Fi | $10 or free with AAFF pass

Jerusalem in My Heart with Ben Shemie

Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH) is a live audio-visual performance project, with Montréal-based producer and musician Radwan Ghazi Moumneh and Montréal-based filmmaker Charles-André Coderre at its core. JIMH is touring promoting Daqa'iq Tudaiq, the third full-length album from the Montréal-Beirut contemporary Arabic audio-visual duo. Daqa'iq Tudaiq features album art by Charles-André Coderre, whose innovative 16mm film techniques frame JIMH’s entire visual identity –this time using archival photos from the Arab Image Foundation, which have been re-photographed and subjected to experimental chemical treatments of Coderre’s own invention.

Thursday 3/28

10am–12pm | North Quad Space 2435 | Free

AAFF Screeners Get-Together hosted by InfoReady

Salon session

Everyone is encouraged to attend this free, public, informational meet-and-greet. This includes the AAFF screening cadre and anyone interested in joining! Learn more about the AAFF film review process, give feedback on past experiences, and discuss upcoming screening opportunities.


3–5pm | Ann Arbor Art Center | Free

Reception with work by Sara Bonaventura, Peter Bussigel, Stephan Moore, McLean Fahnestock, Sarah Friedland, and James Snazell, featuring a Milk Drops 2 performance by James Snazell

Milk Drops 2 highlights a duel between a 16mm projector and a digital recording from a 16mm analytic projector. It explores using milk as film emulsion. Drops of milk are placed on clear leader by a pipette and a sequence of single drops along the leader is formed. Two loops of milk drops give the sense of a dynamic, organic, animated dance when double-projected. The work is a palindrome; it begins as it ends, with the digital projection of a blank black image. In between is the analytic projector, which builds from a still frame to short 30-second phases of 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 frames; to a midpoint of 24fps; and then back to 16, 12, 8, 4, 2, and a still frame.

Based in Manchester, England, artist and filmmaker James Snazell produces live cinema and installations. His work explores the development of analog film and film emulsion. James is a senior lecturer in animation and film production at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, England.   


9pm–1am | \aut\ BAR | Free
Project MAMA II: Above Board by Carlos Rosas and Leanna Rosas
Project MAMA II: Above Board will feature short motion graphics and animated works by selected artists projected on the media art mobile attack (mama) unit’s main sail. MAMA II is the latest iteration of an ongoing series of collaborative curatorial projects that first came to fruition in 2006. The project makes use of a large, road-ready utility trunk designed to function as a self-contained exploration vessel equipped to facilitate, mobilize, and exhibit a wide range of new media works.
Carlos Rosas and Leanna Rosas are new media artists, designers, and scholars whose creative works and collaborative explorations engage a range of media, technologies, and disciplines that reflect upon digital culture’s technology-impelled impositions, emerging ideologies, and ironies at play. Rosas and Rosas are on the faculty in the School of Visual Arts at Penn State University.

Friday 3/29

10am–12pm | North Quad Space 2435 | Free

Out of Step! Out of Line!! Top Alternative Work by Students

Salon session

The University of Michigan Department of Film, Television, and Media in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts presents a film showcase and discussion.


3–5pm | North Quad Space 2435 | Free

Film Art Forum

Salon session

In this Pecha Kucha–style event, filmmakers and other festival guests present 20 slides for 20 seconds each, resulting in a dozen six-minute talks by film artists. The subject matter varies, with all presentations aiming to promote an in-depth exploration of cinema as an art form and to encourage further discussion that nurtures the AAFF community.


9pm | Michigan Theater Grand Foyer | Free

Dressing Up + Down by Professor Rebekah Modrak and U-M students from the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design


Before and after the screening of Films in Competition 9: Animation (scheduled for 9:15pm), U-M students in the Stamps School class Dressing Up + Down will appear in wearable art they designed and built. These costumes were inspired by the iconic short animation Quasi at the Quackadero, created by artist Sally Cruikshank and shown in 1976 at the 14th AAFF. Working from pre-existing garments to turn the ordinary into the unconventional, students drew inspiration from elements in the film including Anita’s affectations; the whimsical, oblique architecture and wallpaper; 1970s fashion; characters that defy human and animal forms; and Cruikshank's rendering of movement and impact through bursting stars and gusts of clouds. The costumes will remain on display on the mezzanine level of the Michigan Theater throughout the remainder of the festival.

U-M Stamps School Professor Rebekah Modrak is an artist and writer whose practice is situated at the intersection of art, activism, critical design, and creative resistance to consumer culture.


11pm | Club Above | $7 or free with AAFF pass

Magic lantern performance by Saint Victoria’s Incorruptible Body

DJ set Aaron Batzdorfer

Saint Victoria’s Incorruptible Body is a collaboration between experimental animators Melissa Ferrari and Sam Gurry. The expanded-cinema performance duo manifests the spirit of the late martyr, externalizing both her pain and her pure faith through a mixture of sound and sight. Melissa Ferrari provides visuals through a menagerie of magic lanterns utilizing both handmade and antique mechanical slides with imagery ranging from Phantasmagoria to the cosmos. Sam Gurry, as DYMPHNA, blends voice and guitar initiating an impassioned wall of sound at times both melancholy and incensed. DYMPHNA thrashes, screams, and settles into a place that can only be found by those not looking for it. Though Saint Victoria’s essence ascended to heaven, her body remained on this coil, unspoiled and encased in wax. We are born, we die, and then we ascend, joining her in that place of piety and hope among the stars.

Melissa Ferrari is an animator, scholar, and documentarian. Sam Gurry’s work, in film and performance, explores issues of identity and ephemerality. Their work has screened internationally, including at the Toronto International Film Festival, South by Southwest, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Slamdance, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Aaron Batzdorfer is a DJ with 25 years of experience playing music from the 1950s onward. He curates all-vinyl sets of known and unknown sounds into a cohesive listening experience for dancing or ambience. Aaron excels at volume and vibe.

Saturday 3/30

11pm | Circ Bar | $5 or free with AAFF pass

Library Music by microluv

Performance with visuals by Camilo Gonzalez

Together we will explore the rare and fascinating world of library music. Often referring to the production music heard on television, on radio, and in film, library music does not fall under a specific genre. It encompasses every genre, from classical to funk and experimental electronic and much, much more. Commonly the work of uncredited musicians or popular musicians using pseudonyms, this strange and vast music is hard to find and inconsistently archived. Journey with me—microluv—down the rabbit hole as I make your ears, mind, and body move to the mysteries of the music you never knew you knew.

Jared Van Eck (aka microluv) has been making music in many forms for almost 20 years. His passion for electronic music and beat sampling production—specifically, the wonders of library music—has led him around the world and down random roads in search of rare sounds.

Camilo Gonzalez is an artist working in film, video, electronic, and other media. A native Colombian living and working in Houston, Gonzalez is the media arts and education manager at Aurora Picture Show. He earned a BFA in photography and digital media from the University of Houston and has exhibited his work at such venues in Houston as the Lawndale Art Center and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.

Sunday 3/31

10–11am | North Quad Space 2435 | Free

What the Hell Was That? with Daniel Herbert

Salon session

Moderated by Associate Professor Daniel Herbert—a media scholar on the faculty of the Department of Film, Television, and Media Arts in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan—this panel discussion has been an Ann Arbor Film Festival favorite for more than a decade. It began when a filmmaker overheard an audience member declare, “What the hell was that?” after viewing his film. An enlightening discussion ensued, and the idea for the panel was born. Join visiting filmmakers and other special guests for an opportunity to watch and discuss three short experimental films selected from this year’s festival lineup.


1pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room | Ticket required for associated screening

Why did you cry when you read that poem by Fulla Abdul-Jabbar


Why did you cry when you read that poem explores the rigidity of structure and the quality of form that moves us. Part of a series of PowerPoint poems which re-present the medium as inherently personal and expressive, this performance is interested in how, when you exert unfamiliar pressure on a structure, its irrationality reveals itself. Once we move the lines of structure—whether in poetry, the body, the voice, or PowerPoint—they move us, in return (sometimes, to tears).

Fulla Abdul-Jabbar is an artist and writer living in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is managing editor at the Green Lantern Press.


Various times starting at 5:30pm | Michigan Theater | Free

Bitch, Thunder!


Bitch, Thunder! is an all-female drum line from Toledo, Ohio. Led by accomplished percussionist Jess Hancock, the group consists of eight women committed to inspiring female musicians while proving the power of drumming in public spaces. To celebrate the announcement of festival awards, Bitch, Thunder! will lay down their percussive sounds in front of the theater before the first screening, in the grand foyer before the second screening, and—after the second screening—to lead a parade of festival-goers down Liberty Street to an afterparty at Babs’, where everyone is invited to cap off a week of experimental and avant-garde film art together.


8pm–12am | Babs’ Underground | $7 or free with AAFF pass

Cowboy Microwave Music by Elliot Sheedy


Outlaw Crooner of Suburbia Elliot Sheedy performs Cowboy Microwave Music, a solo record created by the artist. This live musical performance features octave-fuzz guitar solos from Arcadia, cluster-chord synth panorama to convert the Philistine, and a lyrical distillation of the zeitgeist via electric shaman incantation. It also includes a threshing-floor stage created by the artist Sofia Caetano out of trinitite.

Elliot Sheedy was born in Irwin, Pennsylvania. He plays the viola, guitar, and piano; produces records; and makes films. Elliott studied in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Pittsburgh and earned an MFA in media arts from Emerson College. He co-directs The Spectacular House with his wife, Sofia Caetano.



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