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Festival features U-M faculty, U galleries

Through Sunday, the engaging work of University of Michigan faculty and festival filmakers explores the aesthetics and democratization of filmmaking. The work can be viewed at several U-M galleries.

Below are several of the showings:

Threshold of Peripheral Induction

Leighton Pierce

2012 | 4 Channel Video, 8 Channel Audio

UM Slusser Gallery

March 26 – April 2

PLEASE NOTE: Pierce provides an artist talk Friday, March 30th at 3pm in Slusser Gallery

Pierce’s installation creates an environment for proto-narratives. The imagined camera constantly moves as if an entity through real yet abstracted space. Small events occur, yet a plot never takes hold. This is the proto-narrative—events seem to be linked in time and across space, but likely outcomes are never encouraged.

Through specific arrangement of a “U” shaped projection object, Pierce has made it impossible to see more than two projected images at once. The observer must continually change their viewing position – a move which simultaneously eliminates some images from view. The purposeful lack of an ideal viewing position forces an engagement with memory and forgetting as the observer integrates visual, aural, and spatial impressions into an internal shifting coherence.

The images themselves are both beautiful and uncanny. The bulk of the material was shot in natural light at night, much of it in a rural setting away from most artificial light sources. Pierce shot thousands of handheld long-exposure digital stills that he later wove into video “shots.” He moved the camera during each of these long (several seconds in most cases) exposures, painting with the low light and strange color shifts of night onto the image sensor. In these images, both the light of night and the markers of time due to intentional motion blur create a sense of familiar strangeness.

Pierce’s process of shooting embodied an attentional effect, which he continued to explore throughout the editing and arrangement of the finished piece. The difficulty of capturing handheld moving stills to be later animated into video, forced an attention to kinesthetic memory while shooting. Each hour long “shoot” (required to gather material for a one or two minute shot) was a continuous dance with the camera. Coupled with the necessary live calculations of simultaneous time streams (1 – each exposure’s duration and the unnaturally slow movement required to shoot in this stop-motion manner and 2 – the anticipated duration and temporal flow of the completed video shot), this created a production environment in which he could embed a quality of attention into the process of making itself, from the very first moment.

American Falls

Phil Solomon

2010  |  55 min  |  3 Channel Video, 5.1 Audio

March 25 – April 2

Tuesday through Saturday: Noon – 7 pm, Closed Sunday/Monday. Free Admission

Work Gallery  |  306 State Street  |  Ann Arbor, MI 48104

PLEASE NOTE: Solomon in attendance for a program dedicated to his films on Friday, March 30th

An epic cross-examination of 20th Century American history, begins with an image of Annie Edson Taylor, who became the first person to survive a plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel in 1901. The idea of “falling,” both literal and metaphorical, becomes the guiding concept of this three-channel installation, as Solomon applies his trademark “image alchemy” (a process that involves applying chemical solutions to film emulsion) to images that somehow seem conjured from the collective unconscious. Begun at the dawn of the Bush era and com- pleted as Obama took office, American Falls is a magisterial, meticulous survey of the promise and failure of a cracked American dream. – By John Powers

Gallery Project

Spatial Shift Exhibition

March 7 – May 15, 2012

Tu-Thur : noon–6pm

Fri-Sat: noon–9pm

Su : noon–4pm  Mon : closed

50 SCREENS of the 50th AAFF presents five video-based installations in the lower level of Gallery Project. These are located in the gallery’s lower level.

On Location

Chris McNamara | 2011 | Multi-Channel Video, Mixed Media

This multimedia diorama addresses the ways certain late-capitalist cities are fetishized and looted in the name of cultural production and discourse. And, on a more fundamental level, this piece explores the ways in which cities function as sites for elusive memory.

I Could Walk Forever (If There’s Nowhere For Me To Sit)

Scott Northrup | 2012 | Multi-Channel Video, Dimensions Variable

The piece is a vigil of sorts for my maternal grandmother, a woman of great faith who was haunted by nightmares and fascinated by the inexplicable. She never learned to drive a car and always slept with the TV on.

Thirteen Views in Arid Lands

Potter-Belmar Labs | 2011 | Multi-Channel Video, Mixed Media

This collection of time-lapse, panoramic videos was shot using custom-built equipment in the American SouthWest. The unique form of their presentation alludes to traditional Chinese landscape meditation scrolls, hand-cranked canvas panoramas of 19th century North America, and early penny arcade peephole spectacles.

Spline Describing a Phone

Jen Proctor | 2012  |  iPhone, Pico Projector and Fog

A loving remake of Anthony McCall’s 1973 sculptural light installation, Line Describing A Cone. Originally made with smoke and a 16mm film projector, this remade version explores the effects of the shrinking scale of technology and shift toward digital image systems.

Map of Forgotten Places

Kyle Kramer, Jacob Mendel, Kevin Serota, Edmund Zagorin |  2012  |  3D Video, 5.1 Surround Sound

An installation in stereoscopic 3D that explores abandoned production zones in the industrial Midwest.


The 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival presents 50 SCREENS, a city-wide series of free film, video and moving image installations. Throughout film festival week local, national and international artists will illuminate more than fifty screens in galleries, theaters, shops, outdoor locations and non-traditional screening spaces in Ann Arbor. The intention of this expansion beyond traditional cinema screenings is to more widely engage the public with film as an art form in celebration of the 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival, taking place March 27 – April 1, 2012.

Threshold of Peripheral Induction

Leighton Pierce

2012  |  4 Channel Video, 8 Channel Audio

UM Slusser Gallery | March 26 – April 2, 2012

The premiere of Pierce’s multi-channel video and audio installation creates an environment for proto-narratives.

American Falls

Phil Solomon

2010 |  55 min  | 3 Channel Video, 5.1 Audio

Work Gallery | March 25 – April 2, 2012

Solomon’s acclaimed American Falls multi-channel, surround sound installation “is a magisterial, meticulous survey of the promise and failure of a cracked American dream.” – John Powers

Spatial Shift Exhibition

Gallery Project | March 7 – May 15, 2012

Video-based installations by Chris McNamara, Scott Northrup, Potter-Belmar Labs, Jen Proctor and Kyle Kramer, part of Gallery Project’s exhibition and 50 SCREENS of the 50th AAFF.

Nickels Arcade

March 19 – April 2, 2012

An indoor/outdoor walking exhibition of eight video works created by regional, national and international artists: Bill Brown, Adrianne Finelli & Dan F. Friedlaender, Kent Lambert, Jodie Mack, Ryan Molloy, Sean Curtis Patrick, Evan Roth and Gary Schwartz.

Michigan Theater

March 28 – April 1, 2012

Includes video installations by Martin Thoburn, Phil Solomon and Alex Moeller, a bike-powered zoetrope by Jodie Mack, Rick Cronn’s mobile sculpture UR Videohead and the “Urban Fairy Mini-Theater”

Other Locations

Includes outdoor projection of new work by Joost Rekveld, a 9 Channel Video installation by C. Jacqueline Wood, a dual-channel piece by Aaron Valdez, Margaret Parker’s “Dream House”

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