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wave 1

Thursday, May 4

@ Maysles​ Documentary Center

(one ticket allows access to all programs in wave 1)

A to Z

(Michael Snow, 16mm, 5 min) 

12:00pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

It makes an odd sort of sense that Michael Snow’s career would begin with a pornographic animation about the romance of domestic objects. Done in charcoal on paper, its table, chairs, and ceramics exist as mostly negative space, shaped patches of white against hatched messes of gray. Taking on a life of their own, they move jauntily within their flat realm, coming together as couples and groups in search of not so obscure pleasures. The fetish of commodities has rarely been handled with such a light touch. —Phil Coldiron


A Chair

(Takahiko Iimura, 8 min)

12:00pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

In Memoriam, Takahiko Iimura (1937-2022). Offering no less (and considerably more) than its title suggests, this forerunner of conceptual video art filters the object of its attention through grainy black and white signals accompanied by sounds of drumline static. Its original installation format at the inaugural Forum Expanded program in Berlin, which was re-staged in 2023, allowed visitors to view together and share the moment on multiple synced TVs brought in by Arsenal staff.  —Inney Prakash

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Where do you stand, Tsai Ming-Liang? 

(Tsai Ming-Liang, 23 min) 

12:00pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

“I am fond of chairs,” Tsai Ming-Liang announces via title card. Joining the pantheon of auteur quarantine missives alongside Jafar Panahi’s Life, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Night Colonies, Mati Diop’s In My Room, and Alice Rohrwacher’s Four Roads, Where do you stand reveals a peculiar obsession with playful ease, showcasing the director’s favorite places to sit (not stand, presumably, as the official translation suggests), in addition to a few of his recent paintings and a bright orange tabby cat— satisfying any desire for the mundane details of our artistic heroes’ lives. –Inney Prakash

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Henny Penny the Sky is Falling

(Raphael Montañez Ortiz, 10 min) 

1:00pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

Ortiz destroyed pianos throughout the 1960s (he flayed, stabbed, smashed and otherwise deconstructed many other household objects, too, but he seems most remembered for those pianos). Henny Penny is scored by Ortiz’s most famous concert, at the Destruction in Art Symposium in London in 1966. The piano’s death rattle is synced to grainy, black and white footage shot in a Coney Island chicken slaughterhouse in 1958. Married to a cacophonous symphony of death, suddenly the loss of the piano doesn’t seem all that bad. Henny Penny mirrors shots from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre—a hellish flurry of feathers in front of a vertiginous camera— but it’s the nightmare-Deleuzian final freeze-frame that will make you want to puke.

—Mackenzie Lukenbill


Tierra de Leche

(Milton Guillen, Fiona Hall, 12 min) 

1:00pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

A group of Central American diary workers in the Northeast of the United States reminisces about their relationship to the land, labor practices, and their home countries. Hours, days, weeks, and years pass by and the repetitiveness of the labor makes way to new families in a non-place. These workers, despite their initial dreams, never come back home, where many of their families forget about them, or are lost to time. The film is an exploration of multispecies exploited by capitalistic forces, humans and cows, and questions the technologies we have created to maximize efficiency over liberation. It is not all lost, however. They have left the farms. —Milton Guillen and Fiona Hall


The Raw & The Cooked

(Lisa Marie Malloy, Dennis Zhou, 26 min) 

1:00pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

The Chens are an Amis family living on Taiwan’s eastern coast. As some family members venture into the brush after a midnight rain, others harvest rice amid the whir of machinery. Blending work and play, food becomes a site for the Chens to pass down their endangered language to a younger generation, trade ghost stories, and express the vibrant hybridity of contemporary indigenous identity. —Lisa Marie Malloy and Dennis Zhou 

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Next Her Heart

(Anna Kipervaser, 16mm, 12 min) Followed by a Q&A

1:00pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

Eternal recurrence and wisdom undone. The end or the beginning. Who are we that we. One and the same are the shadow cast and its cause. A hypnotic meditation through the seven valleys on the way to reach the abode of the Simurgh. —Anna Kipervaser

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(Crystal Z Campbell, 3 min)

2:30pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

An obsolete global currency central to the slave trade, cowrie shells have become an emblem of Black self-fashioning embedded in hair, garments or jewelry. Currency is a striking synaesthetic gesture whose soundtrack emerges from the collisions of the cowry shells and beads woven in performer Angela Davis Johnson’s hair as she moves and rolls her head, hands pressed firmly against an abstract lightboard wall. The pace is erratic, unpredictable, but the pattern a familiar sideways motion of refusal. - Chrystel Oloukoi


默 / To Write From Memory

(Emory Chao Johnson, 18 min)

2:30pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

Queer time moves differently. Selves are multiplied and then hidden away, secret objects are infused with mimesis, desires are internalized. Vials of synthetic testosterone provide most of the narration in Emory Chao Johnson’s collage. The filmmaker withholds the audience’s view from domestic drama and traumatic squabbles that invade the soundtrack, keeping at bay what Moyra Davey once referred to as “the wet.” Instead, Chao Johnson focuses on methodical practices—injections, cooking, commuting, inspecting one’s own body—collapsing those fraught, wet questions of identity until they undergird their quotidien present. —Mackenzie Lukenbill

To Write From Memory.tiff

Remembering Wei Yi-fang, Remembering Myself

(Yvonne Welbon, 30 min) Followed by a Q&A

2:30pm @ Maysles Documentary Center [tickets]

Sovereignty is inextricably linked to questions of both belonging and ownership. During her six-year stay in Taiwan, filmmaker Yvonne Welbon “learned the importance of choosing to name one’s self, the importance of knowing one’s self,” the ability to declare your own sovereignty. Welbon briefly took the name Wei-yi Fang. She interrogates her Black past in fluent Chinese; she was born in the United States to Honduran parents. This building of a multiplicity of selves forms a prism, through which Weibon is able to sharply comment on the differing racisms that her multiple selves have encountered. A cohesive personal history is fittingly assembled from many sources—interviews, recreations, documentary and archive—until a sovereign self comes into focus. —Mackenzie Lukenbill

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