Media Arts Program

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Excavaciones: The Films of Jesse Lerner

Presented at:

Hallwalls proudly presents Los Angeles based documentary film and video maker, Jesse Lerner. An award winning filmmaker, Lerner also is accomplished curator and writer, who has contributed to journals and magazines such as Wide Angle and Cabinet. Lerner will present a survey of recent experimental 16mm films that investigate and explore Mexican/American cultural exchange, including his feature film Ruins / Ruinas.

T.S.H - (16mm B/W, 6min, 2005)
"Based on the Estridentista poem by Luis Quintanilla (a.k.a. Kyn Taniya). The Estridentistas were a vanguard group similar to and influenced by the more familiar Dadists and Futurists." T.S.H. (Telegraf’a sin hilos | Wireless Telegraphy) combines static from the first Mexican radio broadcast in 1923 with avant-garde poetry and visual images of the period.

Magnavoz - (16 mm B/W, 25 min. 33 sec., 2006)
Magnavoz is an experimental adaptation on Xavier Icaza's speculative rant on the future of post-revolutionary Mexico. Bringing together noisy broadcasts from atop the volcanoes, raucous bacchanalia at popular watering holes and a series of apocalyptic, hypernationalistic pronouncements, the meditation is timely and prescient, though it was written more than eighty years ago.

Ruins - (16mm B/W, 78 min., 1999)
Surveying representative moments from the history of Mesoamerican antiquarianism, this experimental documentary suggests how diplomacy and Pan-Americanism framed the recontexualization of archeological objects as art. Part faked newsreel, part diffusionist rant, Ruins uses appropriated sounds and images to contemplate a history of appropriated objects. The film visits with Brigido Lara, master forger, and suggests parallels between the documentary film and the fake.

"Ruins celebrates irreverence through the collision of image after image at a frenetic pace, and in the process, delights its viewers with its astute commentary and aesthetic mastery." —Beth Irizarry, Frontier Section, Sundance Film Festival

ABOUT Jesse Lerner

His work has screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, the Reina Sof’a Museum in Madrid, the Sydney Biennale, the Sundance Film Festival, New York's Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles International Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and other festivals and museums internationally. He has received grants and fellowships including the Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship (N.E.A.), the California Arts Council fellowship, the Brody Family Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Fideicomiso para la cultura Mxico-EE.UU. In addition to his work as a filmmaker, his critical essays on photography, film, and video have appeared in Afterimage, History of Photography. His books include F is for Phony (with Alex Juhasz) and The Shock of Modernity (forthcoming).

He has curated for the Robert Flaherty Seminar, the Centro Fotográfico Manuel Alvarez Bravo in Oaxaca, and the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao. In 1999 he was a Fulbright fellow at the Universidad Aut—noma de Yucatán in Mérida, and most recently was awarded a Fulbright-Garcia Robles fellowship to research and teach at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estetica (Institute for Aesthetic Research, or IIE) at the National University (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, or UNAM), on their Ciudad Universitaria campus in Mexico City. He has taught at the University of California San Diego, Bennington College, California Institute of the Arts, the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City and was the MacArthur Chair of Media Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He teaches in the Intercollegiate Media Studies Program at the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California. For more information, please visit Jesse Lerner's website —

Some publications related to this event:
July and August, 2007 - 2007