Media Arts Program

Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Co-sponsored/co-presented by:
The Central New York Programmers Group


Presented at:

Screening of works presented in person by poet and film and video artist Amie Siegel. Her first book, The Waking Life, was published by North Atlantic Books (1999, Berkeley, CA). She has given readings of her poems and experimental writings throughout North America. Siegel's films and videos have shown at museums and festivals including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Kino Arsenal Berlin, Cinematheque Ontario, 2001 School of Sound Glasgow, San Francisco Cinematheque, Pacific Film Archive, Filmforum LA, Chicago Filmmakers and Anthology Film Archive. She received her B.A. from Bard College and her M.F.A from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Siegel has received several awards and fellowships including a Princess Grace Film Foundation award for her 1999 film THE SLEEPERS, distributed by the Freunde der Deutsche Kinematheque, Berlin. She is currently working on EMPATHY, a film about psychoanalysis, and preparing for a DAR residency in Berlin, for Spring 2003.

HAPPY ARE THE HAPPY (Vas nejoblibenejsi vtip, prosim/ YOUR BEST JOKE, PLEASE)

(Sarah Jane Lapp & Jenny Perlin, 1999, 18 min., 16mm, b/w, sound)
HAPPY ARE THE HAPPY (YOUR BEST JOKE PLEASE) examines the trinity of comic impulse, memory, and survival among a diaspora of displaced persons currently living in the Czech Republic. Weaving interviews with Bosnian refugees, Auschwitz survivors, Romany children, and other survivors of contemporary conflict, the film explores how humor operates as a common language amongst disparate communities. Alternately fulfilling, fragmented, and frustrating, the film's strategy reflects that of a performed joke, recognizing the complicated denial and necessity of these testimonies.

THE SLEEPERS (Amie Siegel, 1999, 45 min., 16mm, color, sound)
THE SLEEPERS uses the urban [Chicago] architecture of windows at night ¡© lives largely glimpsed at a distance; a man talks on the phone s his wife reads the paper, another watches TV, a woman stares out into the dark ¡© to explore tensions between public and private, the performative and the real, the lyrical and the vernacular. Are these scenes set- up? Are these people actors? Do they know they are being watched? The images and sound track (composed of police surveillance, cell phone conversations, dramatic 'film-score' music, and occasional lip-synch dialogue), together blur the boundary between fiction and documentary, challenging our notions of intimacy, privacy and narrative expectation.

LIFE/EXPECTANCY (Michelle Fleming, 1999, 30 min., 16mm, b/w, sound)
LIFE/EXPECTANCY meditates on a woman's midlife search for meaning. THE MISFITS, INTOLERANCE, SUNSET BOULEVARD, and LADY FROM SHANGHAI emerge as selected film narratives an tales from the larger culture that draw her in. As a visionary artist, she must excavate these works on her own terms. She creates brief, captivating segments from the films in order to isolate the emotional core and fundamental impulse of storytelling that she is convinced these fragments bear. As the project unfolds, the woman realizes that there are no grand narratives that work for her and that the heart of midlife resides in glimpses of stories that refuse to be told, or in the "footnotes" that survive the loss of those tales.

Some publications related to this event:
November and December, 2002 - 2002