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Expanded Cinema Performances at the 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival

The Sick Sense | Brent Coughenour Performance | WED 3/22 7:30pm

What is expanded cinema performance? This is basically when the artist creates the movie in real time in front of the audience. The 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) audience has the opportunity to experience a dynamic range of aesthetics and expressions in this exciting and unique moving image artform with roots in shadow puppetry, magic lantern shows, and avant garde film going back to Joseph Cornell, as well as a 1960’s heyday with expressions from psychedelic light shows to Andy Warhol and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable.

No two artists or artist groups use the same tools, materials, and processes as you can see this week at the 61st AAFF. The moving image artists performing this year use a wide lexicon to describe the media in which they work: Live cinema & multiscreen installation with sound; Double 16mm projection with separate audio; Audiovisual performance; Performance; Live video; Digital projection created live using custom 16mm film projector, candles and broken crystals; Analog video live cinema performance; and Expanded cinema, animation, digital video.

Tuesday March 21, 2023

4pm | U-M NQ Space 2435 | free*

Along The Perimeter

by Darrin Martin Oakland, CA, USA | 2022 | 25 min

Live cinema & multiscreen installation with sound

An interlude with the backyard sublime, comprised of images and sounds made from the start of the pandemic lockdown from motion activated surveillance cameras to a micro-lensed device documenting the periphery of the artist’s home. Commingled flora and fauna are accompanied by a reimagined glass harp played with hearing aid feedback. Lenses and listening devices open a multiplicity of ways in which to imagine the worlds of those in which we share the land.

Darrin Martin engages the synesthetic qualities of perception found in nature as expressed by technologies both old and new. Working primarily in video, sound and installation, Martin lives in Oakland, CA and teaches art at the University California, Davis.

*During the U-M North Quad Space 2435 exhibition reception featuring installations by David Opdyke, Dawn Roe, and the New Voices works

Expanded Cinema Performances

Wednesday March 22, 2023

7:30pm | Michigan Theater main auditorium

This full program of expanded cinema performance at the 2023 61st festival presents four performances that broaden the definition of film art by activating the artwork through live manipulation of the moving image.

Microstars Le désert mauve Montréal, Québec, Canada

Audiovisual performance

Microstars unfolds a soft and playful universe which explores the sensitive relationship between visual and sonic vibrations. The abstract visuals created by Charline Dally, through modular synthesis and video feedback loops are characterized by saturated hues and undulating lines. The sound, created by Gabrielle HB, conceives minimal spaces that rely on the delicacy of gesture and an economy of material means. Using two oscillators and a polyphonic synthesizer she composes smooth and luminous scenes. Together, the sonic and visual oscillations blend and transform through deliberately slow progressions.

Inspired by the self-titled novel by poet Nicole Brossard, le désert mauve proposes a soft audiovisual synthesis. As a duo, sound artist Gabrielle HB and video artist Charline Dally produce video artworks and performances oscillating between fluid landscapes, never-ending views, and microscopic dances.

Surface Connection

Senem Pirler & Monica Duncan Brooklyn/Troy/Alfred, NY


Surface Connection is a live performance that explores the concept of queer space, objects and the relationship between queer bodies through a series of audiovisual interactions where we touch/vibrate/fluctuate/excite surfaces and objects. In our collaboration, we channel our camp sensibility and create performative actions by “vibrating”, “deviating” and “disrupting” bodies, objects, and surfaces from their normative representations and their linear paths.

Monica Duncan and Senem Pirler create audiovisual performances that investigate everyday objects, concepts of agency and queer potentiality. Their collaborative work has been shown in numerous festivals. They have been artists-in-residence at IEA, Signal Culture, and PACT Zollverein

Night Out of Song Scott Stark San Francisco, CA | 2022 | 20 min

Double 16mm projection with separate audio

Abstractions are lifted from the urban palette and deposited atop shapes both organic and inorganic, in an ebb and flow of movement through the city. A kind of breathing.

Scott Stark is an artist working in film, video, moving image performance and installations. He lives in San Francisco.

The Sick Sense 2023: The Year We Make Kontakte (or, My Friend Flicker) Brent Coughenour Portland, OR | 2023 | 20 min

Live video

“During a sunny afternoon foray spent gamboling along the thresholds of the fusion frequency, I discovered ways to bring all properties under a single control in order to create a total serialism of the mind, a psychophysiological gesamtkunstwerk in which the fabric of time is rolled up like a rug, cut into sections, taken out of doors to be cleaned slice by slice, then reassembled, seamlessly blanketing the surface of our conscious reality.” -Karlheinz Stockhausen

Brent Coughenour is a media artist whose most recent work focuses on building audio-visual systems for live exploration of the boundaries of the perceptual system.

Thursday March 23, 2023

4pm | Ann Arbor Art Center | free*

May Waves Rise From Its Floor

Matthieu Halle

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | 2018 | 30 min

Digital projection created live using custom 16mm film projector, candles and broken crystals with music by Chien-An Yuan and Jonathan Barahal Taylor

An improvised performance piece for visuals and sound. Flickering candlelight influenced by Hallé's breathing, is focused with handheld pieces of broken crystal onto a video camera sensor, which becomes the light source that illuminates a 16mm film of an abstracted, ocean landscape.

The live music and visuals play off each other. Hallé’s barely perceptible hand gestures and his intentional breathing, spontaneously adapt and create the projected world of light and shadow, color and movement.

Matthieu Hallé is a filmmaker based in Ottawa, Canada. His work includes short film and video work, as well as the creation of different ‘visual instruments’ for live performance in collaboration with other artists and musicians.

*During the AAFF "viewing" of the installations at the Ann Arbor Art Center by Christopher Pavsek, Troy Ramos, Alexandre Roy, Lilan Yang

Friday March 24, 2023

9pm | Michigan Theater main stage

ticketed event, with Films in Competition 8: Animation

You're Not Listening

Jeremy Rourke

San Francisco, CA | 2020 | 20 min

Expanded cinema, animation, digital video

“You’re Not Listening” is a live cinema performance that recounts a journey to the 16mm archive of filmmaker Craig Baldwin. While digging into the illuminated content, we can hear heartfelt musings on its serendipitous strength and repurposed relevancy. The ponderous stacks of cans and reels teeter as we breathe the underground aura of lyrical titles. Guitar in hand, as this song is spliced together, Jeremy sings.

Jeremy Rourke is a stop motion animator. He creates intricate, handmade, 12fps homes for his performative, musical, educational and collaborative endeavors.

Friday March 24, 2023

10:30pm-12:30am | Heidelberg Club Above

Mystic Fire

Mystic Fire with Jesse Clayton

Fort Collins, CO | 2020-ongoing | variable

Analog video live cinema performance

Conjuring analog apparitions and scan line specters, Mystic Fire creates a hypersonic visual immersive experience.

Creating live a/v performances with relics of video's past, Mystic Fire is a champion of the lo-fi aesthetic and an homage to the great home video company that distributed masterworks of the avant-garde throughout the late 20th century

Jesse Clayton is a composer and performer of electronic music creating an immersive experience with classic and modern synthesizers. His performances are informed by perception and flow.

Saturday March 25, 2023

9pm | Michigan Theater main stage

ticketed event, with Films in Competition 12

left/right/wrong (or, RGB and You and Me) - The Sick Sense, Part 3

Brent Coughenour

Portland, OR | 2020 | 10 min

Live video

Phasing, color blending modes and the verbal transformation effect combine to create a sensory overload spurring a variety of auditory and visual hallucinatory phenomena and depth illusions, a series of techniques clinically proven to have salutary effects on depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronophobia, and other maladies of the mind.

Brent Coughenour is a media artist whose most recent work focuses on building audio-visual systems for live exploration of the boundaries of the perceptual system.


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