Dani Leventhal – Guest Curation, August 2017

dani_levanthalBorn 1972.  Lives and works in Columbus, Ohio. MFA’s from UIC and Bard College. 
Leventhal collects and chisels moments, stories, and images, placing them within loose constellations rarely unmarked by the specter of death. Leventhal shoots her own footage, often involving individuals who are close to her, but treats the resulting images almost as a bank of found material to be manipulated and recontextualized through montage. Her cutting is intuitive, not systematic. Micronarratives of birth, aging, awkwardness, and pain gradually take shape without ever fully congealing. The textures of the everyday are refracted through an intimate sensibility that dwells in the vulnerability of our fleshy bodies, our need for care and communion—and our cruelty.

—Erika Balsom for the 2017 Whitney Biennial catalogue






The Noise of Licking by Nadja Andrasev, 2016, 9 minutes

I fell for this at the Athens International Film Festival last April.


"My film was inspired by a short story written by Ádám Bodor, in which I was initially captivated by the absurd situation of an unexpected visitor silently watching a woman in her own living room as she is going about her day. Introducing another layer of voyeurism and sexuality to the original work, my aim was to capture an atmosphere in which we have a glimpse of the characters’ various ways of coping with loneliness, desire, sometimes self-destructing fetishes, and where at times it is difficult to differentiate between reality and imagination." – Nadja Andrasev

Je, Tu, Il, Elle  by Chantal Akerman

Je, Tu, Il, Elle  by Chantal Akerman, was introduced to me by my beloved Sheilah Wilson. Made in 1974, the 1hour and 22 minutes is riveting. We did a reenactment of the  shot where Ackerman and her ex girlfriend are sitting at the table and she unbuttons her blouse. It’s impossible to perform as she and Claire Wauthion do. Our shot couldn’t make the final cut…

Tamara Tracz writes an interesting article about it here:

Gordian Lightfoot by Deirtra Thompson, 5 minutes, 2016

This one by Deirtra Thompson jumped into my top 5 as the video moves in redness and wetness. Check out some of her other works to see her range of voice.

“Gordian Lightfoot is a therapeutic filmmaking exercise in understanding how the experience of fear is lived out in my own body. Dissociated memories of song—especially those of Gordon Lightfoot, whose legacy, vulnerability, and resilience I admire immensely—are often the connection between my witnessing self and my somatic self. For this installment, I’m pulling footage from films (The Descent, Carrie, Silence of the Lambs) within the historical canon of women and trauma to craft a video Pensieve; as a practical tool to parse my own traumatic experience, disassociation, and agency. I’m asking: if trauma divides us into different selves with varying potential, goals, and resources, where am I on my own hero’s journey”? Deirtra Thompson

Le Chant d’ Amore  by Jean Genet, 1950, 26 minutes 

This gorgeous film was introduced to me by my friend Jared Buckhiester. Certain scenes find their way into my mind unexpectedly from time to time. A blurb off Wikipedia: When in 1966 distributor Sol Landau attempted to exhibit the film in Berkeley, California, he was informed by a member of the local police special investigations department that were he to continue screening it, the film "would be confiscated and the person responsible arrested." Landau responded by instituting the case of Landau v. Fording in which he sought to show Genet's work without police harassment. The Alameda County Superior Court watched the film twice and declared that it "explicitly and vividly revealed acts of masturbation, oral copulation, the infamous crime against nature [a euphemism for sodomy], voyeurism, nudity, sadism, masochism and sex…" The court rejected Landau's suit, further condemning the film as "cheap pornography calculated to promote homosexuality, perversion and morbid sex practices." When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the decision was confirmed once more, in a 5-4 per curiam decision in which the justices simply stated that Un chant d'amour was obscene and offered no further explanation.  — The Encyclopedia of Censorship

Deadpan by Steve McQueen


Watch here: https://vine.co/v/MTYOeTnITW3

Deadpan by Steve McQueen NEVER stops being AMAZING. The only link I can find is incomplete. The video is 4.5 minutes long, made in 1997. I stumbled upon it looping at the MoMA, where the projection was installed all the way to the floor, which was shined so you could see the reflection. All the blurbs I read about it are insufficient to the way I see and feel the video. For me it’s about surviving the brutality and absurdity of life and gratitude for it. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/98724