Programmed by Scott Miller Berry, re:assemblage collective, Toronto
Program presented with support from the Ontario Arts Council’s Touring Program, an agency of the Government of Ontario.
“But I never said I would stay to the end
I knew I would leave you and fame isn’t everything
Screaming like this in the hope of sincerity
Screaming it’s over and over and over
I leave you with photographs, pictures of trickery
Stains on the carpet and stains on the memory
Songs about happiness murmured in dreams
When we both of us knew how the end always isHow the end always is…” — The Cure, “Disintegration” (1989)
The nine short films in this program each explore notions of loss through profound personal explorations of personal and/or political disintegration. Each short is a personal diary unto itself, delving into his/herstories in profoundly emotional ways; wherein the form is only assisted through tactility: whether hand-processed celluloid, archival video footage, in camera creation, VHS tapes, standard-definition recording or processing films with plant life.If the film strip or video screen is flat, does film have depth? Is such depth in regards to colour grading or to the form or the content? I would argue projected film or video does have depth, but what does that look like in a ‘flat’ presentation or reception format? In each of the nine films in Unless You’re Living It: Dis/Integration, emotional depth is beautifully explored through hands-on approaches that bring the viewers body and mind into the screen and beyond. Christine Negus’s videos anchor the program with three personal explorations of loss, extinction and exaltation.
Malena Szlam’s film Lunar Almanac takes us to the sky for a single frame ecstatic dance of light play and reflection. Cecilia Araneda’s video essay The Space Shuttle Challenger reflects on the impact of barbarous historical events on a young refugee. Alexandra Gelis’s The Island is a small-gauge hand-made portrait of a gardener who continues to resist, survive and thrive. Sarah Bliss’s Unless You’re Living It is a verité portrait of small-town Mount Forest, Ontario told through intimate photography and interviews with its residents via hand-processed 16mm film and painted colour. Franci Duran’s It Matters What is a multilayered juxtaposition of human, animal and plant lives and the power of plant life in the photographic process as filtered through theorist Donna Haraway. Sharlene Bamboat’s Video Home System is a dynamic video essay that contrasts popular culture, political nationalism and the underground film economies in Pakistan of the 1980’s and 1990’s.