Mar 4th 2022

Flesh to Spirit: Materiality and Abstraction in Black Experimental Film with filmmakers in discussion



(Various artists; 1966 – 2021; 16mm, 35mm, digital)

“Flesh to Spirit” explores the manifold ways that film artists have embraced abstract techniques and explored the materiality of film and video to represent Black experience, from the 1960s to the present. Charting connections between several generations of moving-image makers, “Flesh to Spirit” will showcase brilliant works in 16mm and 35mm film, analog and digital video. From Paige Taul’s After DeCarava, which treats photographic abstraction as a form of care, to Ayanna Dozier’s Maman Brigitte, which connects Black women’s bodily autonomy to the contingency and texture of analog film, the films in “Flesh to Spirit” propose alternative potentialities in film and life alike.

Following the screening, filmmakers Paige Taul and Christopher Harris will appear for a discussion and Q&A.

Presented with support from the Kaplan Humanities Institute at Northwestern University


About the films:

After DeCarava (Paige Taul, 2018, 2 min, digital)

Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts (Edward Owens, 1966, 6 min, digital)

Flesh to Spirit (alima lee, 2019, 9 min, digital)

Maman Brigitte (Ayanna Dozier, 2021, 3 min, digital)

Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification (Barbara McCullough, 1979, 4 min, 35mm)

Chronicles of a Lying Spirit (by Kelly Gabron) (Cauleen Smith, 1992, 6 min, 16mm)

MPG: Motion Picture Genocide (Robert Banks, 1997, 4 min, 35mm)

Reckless Eyeballing (Christopher Harris, 2004, 13 min, 16mm)

cavity (ariella tai, 2019, 6 min, digital)

An Ecstatic Experience (Ja’Tovia Gary, 2015, 6 min, digital)

Planet X (Ulysses Jenkins, 2006, 7 min, digital)

28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark) (Christopher Harris, 2009, 3 min, 16mm)


Total runtime: approx 70 min

After DeCarava, Chronicles of a Lying Spirit, Reckless Eyeballing and 28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark) courtesy of Canyon Cinema. Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts courtesy of Film-Makers’ Coop. Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification courtesy of Barbara McCullough and Third World Newsreel. Planet X courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix. Flesh to Spirit, Maman Brigitte, MPG: Motion Picture Genocide, cavity and An Ecstatic Experience courtesy of the artists



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