FREE / Open Captions
Referencing a phrase from Carolyn Lazard’s video artwork A Recipe for Disaster (2018), This Set of Actions is a Mirror is a multipart look at expressions of disability culture and politics in artists’ moving image.
Organized by Minh Nguyen and Liza Sylvestre.
Featuring films and videos by Carolyn Lazard, Leroy Moore Jr., Sharon Snyder, David Mitchell, Liza Sylvestre, Joseph Grigely, Christine Sun Kim, Thomas Mader, and Zeinabu irene Davis, these two screenings forge connections between cinema’s oft-compartmentalized political and formal aspects, mapping out a framework for accessibility that is conceptual and generative. Collectively, the works explore how artists have responded to sensory hierarchies and assumptions implicit in the media and, by extension, society at large.
New Channels of Access
Multiple artists, 1995–2018, USA, 72 minutes, open caption
Streaming February 22–28, Gene Siskel Film Center Virtual Cinema
New Channels of Access gathers together short videos by Carolyn Lazard, Leroy Moore Jr., Sharon Snyder, David Mitchell, Liza Sylvestre, Joseph Grigely, Christine Sun Kim, and Thomas Mader to explore the last three decades of creative struggles and expressions within disability culture and politics. Through a variety of means and perspectives, these works expand and complicate systems of communication, particularly in regard to film and video, while examining the practices (and systemic failings) of accessibility and accommodations. This program is organized in the spirit of Mitchell and Snyder’s insistence that disability subjectivities “are not just characterized by socially imposed restrictions, but productively create new forms of embodied knowledge and collective consciousness” (Biopolitics of Disability, UMichigan Press, 2015).
Zeinabu irene Davis, 1999, USA, 95 minutes, ASL, open captions
Streaming February 25–March 3, Gene Siskel Film Center Virtual Cinema
Renowned for its depiction of Black Deaf lives and expansive reimagining of the cinematic form, Zeinabu irene Davis’s exquisite 1999 film stars Michelle Banks, founder of Onyx Theatre Company in New York City, the first Deaf theatre company for actors of color. The film tells the stories of two Black couples—each, a deaf woman and a hearing man—falling in love at the start and end of the 20th century. As both couples draw closer, they must also navigate the intertwined—and enduring—forces of racism, ableism, and economic disparity. Using title cards, photographic montages, and reenactments of early Black silent films, Davis charts a new path for the future of narrative film, one that embodies an ethos of accessibility by embracing the endless aesthetic possibilities of cinema itself.
Image: Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader, Classified Digits, 2016. Courtesy of the artists.