Media Arts Program

Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Caroline Koebel


Presented at:

This evening's screening that spans two decades of experimental filmmaking by internationally exhibited, Buffalo-based media artist, features early 16mm films, as well as the premiere of Berlin-Warszawa-Express (2006).

hole or space (2006, miniDV, silent, 3:23)
Pricks, gaps, dots, openings, hole or space takes its cue from contortionists of the early screen in spiraling out from conceptions of the body as whole. The film is based entirely on archival material: Luis Martinetti, Contortionist (Edison Mftg. Co., 1894); Crissie Sheridan, Serpentine Dance (Edison, 1897); Ballet Mécanique (Fernand Léger & Dudley Murphy, 1924); An Optical Poem (Oskar Fischinger, 1938); Tarantella (Mary E. Bute & Ted Nemeth, 1940).

Berlin Warszawa Express (2006, miniDV, 19:50)
In Berlin Warszawa Express a disappearance becomes a departure, but rather than attempting to reconstitute what is lost, the filmmaker follows the clues and signs framing the site and scene with an anticipatory gaze. She performs the kino eye, meeting the same train day after day, yet here the eye is aligned with not just any body, but with the distinctly maternal body. Her pregnant self a decoy, the filmmaker takes in the world around her, and makes contemporary the tradition of the city film. Tracking shots, the Lumiére brothers, animation, structural film, light and reflection, protofilmic toys such as the zoetrope, sprocket holes-cinema itself is a main line for Berlin Warszawa Express. The live-ness and intersections of all the film's rails depend on who's traveling.

Puss! The Booted Cat (1995, 16mm, 13:00) Puss! The Booted Cat is an erotic short that laps up the various incarnations of the classic fairytale Puss-In-Boots. The tale, popularized in 17th century France by author Charles Perrault, is here transformed into a contemporary adventure of unrequited love, lands-titles-and-goods-to-be-conquered, identities-to-be-claimed, and feminine feline power. The heroine, who is both the woman Mademoiselle Puss and Puss the cat, battles loss and misfortune with irrepressible rebellious energies. At last she is able to relax in her throne of the Bubastic Queendom, enjoying music, dance, and a most unusual mushroom-it had once been the ogre whose vengeance is the catalyst of this particular episode in one of her nine lives. The film's black-and-white images, intertitles, nonsynchronous sound, low tech "tricks," and theatricalized acting-style borrow from early film even as its modern-day references, fast paced editing, and feminist sensibility place it paws down in the present.

Calm Calm Calm Calm (1990, 16mm, 8:00) A woman chews steak and gazes onto a scene of kids-in-boats circling around to the repeated sound of a chorus asking "Father" for permission (or knowledge or approval or power). Through novel and unruly interplays of sampled picture and sound, this film takes a critical yet humorous stab at patriarchy. Beware-the "rat on the sidewalk."

Stephanie Stairs (1986, 16mm blow-up from Super8, 6:30) This early film chronicles two summers of a bestfriendship between the filmmaker and Stephanie Oxley. Shot as a collaborative adventure first in Columbus, Ohio, and then in San Francisco and the East Bay.

Inflorescentia (1997, 16mm, 13:00) Attempting to fissure prevailing relations between spectator and screen, between sight and touch, desiring subject and object of desire,Inflorescentia uses poetics, humor and erotics as means to voice "the body" and to take stock of cinema as one of the multiple transgressive sites for female pleasure. Its influences are productions by gay men, including Sergei Paradjanov, Derek Jarman and Jean Genet. Featuring a cast of poets, filmmakers and performance artists: Gloria Alvarez, Noelle B., Mila Chistoserdova, A.J. Escobar, Angelica Garza, Kate Haug, Nadja Muzhik, and Beverly Tang. "Inflorescentia takes the traditional association of female sexuality with nature and through a sensorium of taste, touch, sight, and sound fragrantly explores and divinely disrupts this relationship." -Jennie Klein

Knucklebones: Self-Sustaining Members of the Human Species (1992, 16mm, 13:00) Knucklebones follows the course of hysterical outburst to instances of alienation and isolation. From a 1903 newspaper, "While fifteen hundred persons looked on in breathless excitement, an electric bolt sent the man-killing elephant staggering to the ground. With her own life, she paid for the lives of the three men she had killed." The film combines archival with Super8 and 16mm original footage and intertext in an experiential exploration of gender, sexuality and identity. Featuring Katherine Crockett, prior to becoming a Martha Graham Dance Company soloist. "A haunting evocation of the body under stress."-Kathy Geritz, Pacific Film Archive

Through an expanded arts and cultural practice infused by experimental film, Caroline Koebel problem-solves relations of form and content anew in each project with the intent to create participatory audienceship. In addition to single-channel cinema, she uses film and digital video as key components of installation and performance. Transmissions of conceptual art, feminist film and literary theory, and punk d.i.y. ethos guide Koebel in work that embraces pleasure and desire as tactics to corrupt commodity culture, authoritarianism, and the endangerment of subjective experience. For a handful of years, the global movement for progressive social change has inspired her to place greater focus on questions of political agency, while continuing to examine how individual artworks are themselves agents of power. Drawing breath from pioneers such as Germaine Dulac and Maya Deren, Koebel situates writing and curating firmly within her creative practice.

Some publications related to this event:
January, 2007 - 2007