In partnership with Chicago Dancemakers Forum, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and montom arts, Body + Camera presents a broad spectrum of contemporary work in experimental, dance, and performance film, and includes special thematic screenings. This dynamic forum celebrates the intersection between the moving body and the moving image, focusing on risk-taking and independent artists, and featuring contemporary experimental projects that stretch mediums to their edge.
This installment’s submissions, which originated from more than 25 countries, convey an uncertain mood; underlying many of them are dilemmas around the context, purpose, and boundaries of the human form. The works illuminate ways in which we now struggle to understand corporeal existence within a fluctuating world shaped by fast-changing technologies, political absurdities, and grave environmental shifts. It is from within and without the boundaries of this complex reality that this year’s event finds its sentiment and title: The Un/Certain Body.
Featuring more than forty short films by emerging and established artists from around the world, with previous screenings at Mana Contemporary’s Jersey City and Miami locations, Body + Camera 2019’s final stop at the Chicago Cultural Center will include short programs and special live presentations.
Body + Camera Advisory Panel:
Misty DeBerry, Brendan Fernandes, Lizzie Leopold, Eugune Park, Bryan Wendorf, Danièle Wilmouth
All day in the Claudia Cassidy Theater lobby
WILLIS GLASSPIEGEL (ILLINOIS), PORTRAITS OF CHICAGO DANCERS
Portraits shines light on the life and work of six award-winning dancers in Chicago:
Jenn “Po-Chop” Freeman, Nico Rubio, Ayesha Jaco, Rob Welcher, Anna Martine Whitehead, and Joanna Furnans. Each dancer discusses potential future projects facilitated by a prestigious grant from Chicago Dancemakers Forum. Portraits was directed by Wills Glasspiegel and edited by Brandon Calhoun.
A selection of films by artists under 25, curated by Sophia Wolfe, Artistic Director of Festival Of Recorded Movement (F-O-R-M)
COURTNEY KEHR (PENNSYLVANIA), MY BODY HER SKIN
My Body Her Skin is based on the artist’s poem about her singular relationship with her mother, whose hand-me-down clothing embodies memories to which the artist gives new life.
CARLA CASTLE (SINGAPORE), TO BE FL;WD
A short, experimental stop motion film responding to the stubborn popularity of plastic surgery. As humans, we are defined by our flaws, and in trying to “correct” them, we expose and trap ourselves still further.
GABRIELLA ENGDAHL (SWEDEN), DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS RIGHT NOW?
Through a combination of witty text and images of everyday movement, Do you know what time it is right now? explores our uneven perception of the passage of time.
KAYANA WALLER (NORTH CAROLINA), AMINA (I’M STILL HERE)
A jaded dancer envisions a space to call her own.
ABBEY SACKS (WASHINGTON), WHITE FOX ARCHETYPE // GRAVEYARD SHIFT
A dance film that uses dance, animation, and projection to capture the essence of a song by White Fox Archetype
SARAH PRINZ (CALIFORNIA), WAIT
A queer film about the cyclical nature of codependency that explores intimate moments in which we define our identities through another person, and must dismantle it to start over
TOBI AREMU (NEW YORK), NEGOTIATION
A physical exploration of black masculinity
AARON JACKSON (FLORIDA), BLCK
A glimpse of the realities of our justice system, Blck highlights the overwhelming prejudice faced by people of color.
RALPH ESCAMILLAN (CANADA), FAUX SOLO
Empty space, a human body, and eight articles of clothing. Faux Solo explores the interplay between body, sound, clothing, and space.
JAMIE ROBINSON (CANADA), SPACEMAN’S WORD FOR IRRITATING DISTURBANCES
A film that questions our mutable relationship with technology, pointing out its flaws and failures
DARIA MIKHAYLYUK (CANADA), CHAPTER 21
“There’s no greater misfortune in the world than the loss of reason.”—Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
MUTI MUSAFIRI (UNITED KINGDOM), ENIGMATIC FABRIC
Enigmatic: ˌɛnɪɡˈmatɪk/, difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious. Fabric: ˈfabrɪk/, synonyms: structure, framework, frame, form, make-up, constitution, composition, construction, organization, infrastructure, foundations, mechanisms, anatomy, essence
Photo: Still from Gabriella Engdahl, Do you know what time it is right now?, 2017. Color film. Photo: Courtesy of the artist
The End of Things
A selection of films that navigate transition, loss, death, and decay
TEOT.05 New York After Rain.jpg
JOHANNES GIERLINGER (AUSTRIA), A SUBSEQUENT FULFILLMENT OF A PREHISTORIC WISH
A film about the accidental death of a female artist. A narrator, connected to the subject through layers of ritual, searches for her and a lost artwork, but finds nothing more than broken memories.
SCOTTY HARDWIG (VIRGINIA), OUR LAST ARIA
Filmed on location in the Eureka dunes of Death Valley, our last aria tracks a duet dance for film by American dance artist Scotty Hardwig, performed by Keanu Forrest Brady and James Mario Bowen. Two figures traverse a kinetic and emotional landscape in a desert wilderness.
DAGMAR DACHAUER (AUSTRIA), COMPETING FOR SUNLIGHT: ASH
A melancholy ode to an endangered species set to music by Tom Waits. “The death of a species, especially a species as significant as the ash, punches a hole not only in nature, but also in our culture.”—George Monbiot
BERNHARD JOHANNES SCHMITT (SINGAPORE), FOSSILES
A human skull finds its true love in ballet.
MARTA DI FRANCESCO (UNITED KINGDOM), JANUS
A poetic work named for the two-faced god of transitions, doorways, and new beginnings, Janus explores the effect of time on identity. In periods of transition, a sensitivity to presence is vital; we are at the threshold of a new era that will be defined by our ability to learn from the past.
HAISI HU (NEW YORK), NEW YORK AFTER RAIN
New York After Rain explores the moment before death through the protagonist’s feelings of longing, fear, and numbness. In this strikingly alien life, only pain can awaken love for the world.
CARLOS ALBERTO RODRÍGUEZ (SPAIN), THE OLD THRESHING FLOOR OF HORCAJO. A PLACE OF MEMORY AND DANCE
A documentary that allegorizes an almost-forgotten site.
Choreography of the Camera:
The Camera as an Instrument of Movement, Abstraction, and Dance
Provided courtesy of Chicago Film Archives, a regional film archive dedicated to identifying, collecting, preserving, and providing access to films that represent the Midwest
LARRY JANIAK WITH ROBERT STIEGLER AND JEFFREY PASCO, LIFE AND FILM
A collaborative film conceived as a ‘picture postcard,’ the moving images recorded by the camera mirroring the card’s picture side, the sound track evoking its written message. Life and Film is a lyrical look at some Chicago filmmakers on their way to the Michigan sand dunes.
ROBERT STIEGLER, CAPITULATION
Capitulation uses negative film stock, multiple exposures, and rapid editing to construct fluid layers of movement through urban Chicago. Merging abstraction with the documentation of everyday experience, it explores light and film as materials.
BYRON GRUSH, CIRCLES
A film about circles that begins with a roll of film. Circles was made during Byron’s studies with Frank Barsotti and Ken Josephson at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
BYRON GRUSH, LES PRELUDES
An imagist “musical” set to Liszt’s Les Preludes that incorporates manipulated color, multiple exposures, and seemingly unrelated images, with references to Les Chants de Maldoror, an early Surrealist novel by Comte de Lautrémont, and the Flash Gordon serials.
LARRY JANIAK, ADAMS FILM
Adams Film is a visual collage combining live action footage with abstract images and textures drawn onto 16mm film stock. The soundtrack consists of tape loops, while the live action footage captures scenes from a Chicago Earth Day parade and a Janiak family gathering.
The Era and Wills Glasspiegel on Dance/Film Collaboration
The Era Footwork Crew is a collective of dance activists, educators, and filmmakers that pioneered the battle dance known as Chicago footwork. Featuring members of dance battle cliques Terra Squad and Goon Squad, with musical support from DJ collective Teklif, the Era has been recognized for the intricacy and speed of its moves. It has performed alongside such leading artists as Chance the Rapper, and has launched film festivals and gallery exhibitions. Named cultural organizers of the year in FADER and choreographers of the year in New City, the Era has been awarded support from the Field Foundation of Illinois and the Joyce Foundation, and works with I am Queen, a footwork group for women. Its members include Brandon “Chief Manny” Calhoun, Jemal “P-Top” De La Cruz, Wills Glasspiegel, Sterling “Steelo” Lofton, and Jamal “Litebulb” Oliver.
Public Places, Private Worlds
Films that navigate private lives in public spaces and distort the physical form of everyday reality
JILLIAN MAYER (FLORIDA), DAY OFF 1
DAY OFF is an ongoing series of videos in which the protagonists play what is assumed to be an immersive virtual reality video game. They appear completely disconnected from the world of the viewer, oblivious to their environment and to our presence and gaze.
DADANS AND NESLIHAN KOYUNCU (TURKEY), AMORPHOUS
Co-directed by the dadans collective and Neslihan Koyuncu, and produced by dadans, Amorphous is a short dance film that explores ideas of evolving form and reality through movement-focused research carried out in real space.
ERIKA ROUX (THE NETHERLANDS), PSYCHE AND CUPID
Run time: 6 minutes, 17 seconds
The video is an attempt to recreate a detail of Antonio Canova’s marble sculpture Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. Erika Roux chooses her father and his girlfriend to re-enact the image of Psyche offering her soul to love, but her aim is never satisfactorily achieved.
CAMIEL ZWART (THE NETHERLANDS), PLATFORM 13
The tragicomic story of a Japanese railway conductor whose strong, graceful movements keep crowds under control, but who ends up in a nightmarish new world in which his job has become irrelevant
XIAOQING ZHU (ILLINOIS), MUTUAL MEASUREMENT
A film that documents impromptu performances made in response to the environment of Chicago. The body of the artist is integrated into industrial products, public facilities, and artificial structures in order to question “civilized” human activity.
ROSIE TRUMP (NEVADA), WOMEN IN CITIES
A short stop motion dance film assembled from more than two thousand stills of female figures in motion, referencing painter Robert Longo’s iconic Men in Cities series
MAJA MIREK (AUSTRIA), UNSPOKEN
There is a place in the throat where unspoken words stick, accumulating to produce an illusory reality that allows us to feel comfortable together.
ROSELY CONZ IN COLLABORATION WITH ANA BAER (MICHIGAN), TERRABLUE
A collaboration between choreographers Rosely Conz and Ana Baer and composer Alexis Bacon that draws on their experiences as foreigners and immigrants to confront issues of identity and belonging
JOCELYNE MOREAU (THE NETHERLANDS), THE INNER HARBOUR
The Inner Harbour is based on choreography by Milou Nuyens of the Dansk Danstheater, Copenhagen. It was made during her eighth month of pregnancy on the Inner Harbour Bridge (Inderhavnsbroen) between her house and the Opera House, and features a cappella vocals by Camille Dalmais.
Cherrie Yu, Trishia and Homer
An artist recreates movements from a Trisha Brown dance film, and documentary footage of a maintenance worker at work. Afterwards she has a conversation with Homer the worker about dance, music, and movement.
This Is How We Do It
In these films, bodies form communities.
JAN PIETER TUINSTRA (THE NETHERLANDS), OTHERLAND
Based on the life of Elvin Elejandro Martinez, Otherland follows a vogue dancer who performs at a voodoo carnival ball in which he must gain the acceptance of the local ballroom community.
ANDREA RÜTHEL AND SUSANNA BERIVAN (GERMANY), LIKE
An exercise in learning language through imitation. Sound forms and loses itself, becomes a word, a term, an attempt to participate.
BENJAMIN BUXTON (ILLINOIS), ON THE RINK
The Rink in Southside Chicago has been home to a vibrant community of rollerskating enthusiasts for more than forty years. Benjamin Buxton’s portrait conveys their boundless energy.
BARAN CHERAGHIPOUR (IRAN), COCOON
A film about knowing yourself and emerging from your cocoon.
¿CHE.NE.SO? (GERMANY), RHIZOPHORA
Dancing between waking and dreaming, Rhizophora follows a day through the eyes of eleven young residents of the Friendship Village in Vietnam who are living with disabilities caused by Agent Orange.
SHON KIM (SOUTH KOREA), BOOKANIMA: DANCE
Bookanima is an experimental animation technique that uses chronophotography to give books new life. Bookanima: Dance, the project’s second chapter, incorporates aerial silk, aerobics, ballet, breakdance, disco, jazz dance, Korean dance, modern dance, social dance, and tap.
JOHNSON CHENG (CALIFORNIA), BEAST
A crew made up of suburban Filipino and Mexican American youth who found both family and salvation
A suite of films confronting the anxieties surrounding societal expectations of gender norms.
MARLOES TEN BHÖMER (UNITED KINGDOM), ANNABELLE, BARBRA, BECKY, ALEXIS, KRYSTLE, ELLEN, OLIVE, EVE AND KIRSTEN, NOT STUMBLING, SLIDING, SINKING, FALLING OR OBLIVIOUS
A video that questions contemporary social constructs of femininity through a historical taxonomy of cinematic moments in which women are stymied by high heels—to suspenseful, dramatic, comedic, or other effect—repurposing certain elements as an obstacle course
VICTORIA DONNET (FRANCE), I AM FINE
A short film about the relationship between our inner lives and our facial expressions. When we say “I’m fine,” what are we really communicating? Perhaps nothing other than “I’m alive.”
JAKKRAPAN SRIWICHAI (THAILAND), PHIMABONG
Phimabong flickers between daydream and nightmare in its mysterious tale of two men who spend the day in a rainforest cabin.
ERYKA DELLENBACH (NEW YORK), HELD OVER SHORE
Shot on old 16mm film, Held Over Shore is a poem on masculine mystique from a woman’s perspective. Mining the early stages of a collaboration between artists Matty Davis and Ben Gould, it is driven in part by the energy of Gould’s Tourette Syndrome.
ROSWITHA CHESHER (UNITED KINGDOM), TO THE ENDS OF THE FINGERTIPS
Slipping through the fingers of time, we follow a search for freedom and fulfilment in this richly surreal tale.
CAT MAHARI (ILLINOIS), IMPRINTS & TRACES
Imprints & Traces follows two empathic scientist-activists from “the AfroFuture” who discover the final records of Kansas City, Missouri, and encounter traces of anti-blackness, sexual disparity, capitalism, and genocide.
NIKITA MAHESHWARY (THE NETHERLANDS), EVE TEASING
Part of the ongoing short film series SitaaurGita, Eve Teasing captures an ordinary day in the lives of women on the streets of India as they brave sexual harassment (the “teasing” of the title), capturing states and reactions that range from caution and vigilance to sickness and fear.
HUGO LJUNGBÄCK (SWEDEN), FOR HIS SAKE; FOR HIS PLEASURE
In For His Sake; For His Pleasure, the artist explores the coercion experienced by teens and younger gay men to pose for and send nude selfies. Contains nudity.
FRANCESCA FIN (ITALY), FAIR & LOST
Wearing electrostimulators set to maximum, Francesca Fini attempts to apply makeup while involuntary muscular contractions sparked by the electric shocks cause it to spread across her face, and a conflict between conscious behavior and social conditioning is poised to erupt.
Sex and Horror: Active/Passive Female Bodies
A screening and conversation moderated by writer and educator Terri Griffith in which filmmakers Jeanne Donegan, Jennifer Sova, and Jim Vendiola address their creative interest in the agency and onscreen representation of the female body.
Featuring excerpts from the following films:
JENNIFER SOVA AND JEANNE DONEGAN (ILLINOIS), THRILL OF THE CHASE
A look at American filmmakers’ fascination with the chase.
JIM VENDIOLA (ILLINOIS), VIOLETS
A psychological horror that reframes the genre’s ubiquitous predator-prey dynamic.
JIM VENDIOLA (ILLINOIS) LIBRARY HOURS
A throwback to vintage erotica that favors empathy over exploitation, and stylistic purpose over the male gaze.
Eight films that explore our ongoing search for physical intimacy with nature
RAFEL ARNAL (SPAIN), FERRAN
A filmic portrait in which shots of a buried body emerging from a mound of earth, dragging itself along the edge of an irrigation ditch, and lying down on the edge of an orchard are layered atop one another, each action describing an episode in the performer’s life.
ROSSINA BOSSIO (COLOMBIA), RUINS
A group of dancers moves through a surreal landscape of dust and stone. Through sound, movement, and magical atmosphere, Ruins unveils the beauty of chaos and celebrates the uncertainty of life.
ELLEN MUELLER (MINNESOTA), CRUNCHING
Made during a residency at Playa Artist Residency in Oregon, this film is set on the edge of a lake that dries up every summer due to commercial irrigation, depicting textures that reflect a strained relationship between natural processes and human exploitation.
CHENGLONG TANG (CHINA), GATHA
Gatha tells the story of two Tibetan brothers’ pilgrimage to Mount Kangrinboqe, or Mount Kailash, during which the elder brother dies. When the younger brother finally arrives at the Holy Land, alone, he is grieving but fulfilled, and his journey continues as a new cycle of life begins.
CHARLIE FORD (CALIFORNIA), IMITATION OF A ROCK
A camera captures a humorous intimate interaction between a body and a rock.
CHEN JIEXIAO (SINGAPORE), INDIGNANCE
At a moment of personal transition, a dancer heads for his favorite sanctuary from the rain.
DULCEE BOEHM (ILLINOIS), KNEAD/NEED
The simple action of kneading bread emphasizes the connection between our bodies and the landscape.
JAIME WHITBY (UNITED KINGDOM), AN ISLE FULL OF NOISES
A custom-built drone-mounted lighting system illuminates this modern take on an extract from The Tempest, narrated by David Oyelowo. An Isle Full of Noises was originally broadcast in the UK by Channel 4, as part of its experimental film strand Random Acts.