No Emoji for Ennui: Lana Z Caplan, Ross Meckfessel, Alison Nguyen, Matt Whitman
January 27 – March 26, 2022 Thursday – Saturday, dusk – 11pm Everson Museum of Art Plaza 401 Harrison Street
Plaza Projection Schedule Jan. 27-Feb 5: Lana Z Caplan, Autopoiesis Feb. 10-19: Ross Meckfessel, Estuary Feb 24-March 5: Alison Nguyen, My Favorite Software Is Being Here March 10-19: Matt Whitman, CAN’T ANSWER YOU ANYMORE (ON FACES) & HOW MUCH LONGER March 24-26: combined loop
In-person Screening Thursday | February 24 | 6:30 p.m.
Screening + Q&A Thursday, March 10 | 6:30 p.m. EST Streaming Online
About the Program
No Emoji for Ennui is a group show featuring the work of Lana Z Caplan, Ross Meckfessel, Alison Nguyen, and Matt Whitman that explores the difficult-to-define emotional tenor of our time—one that often leaves us overstimulated and underwhelmed at the same time it demands endless positivity. The seductive surface of the touchscreen shatters and the polygon meshes underlying our shared social reality peek out from under the digital skin.
What does it feel like to be a person in a world in which our sense of self has been thoroughly disoriented by technological entanglement and co-opted by neoliberal capital?
By turns unsettling, contemplative, humorous, and filled with existential dread, the resulting show is a collective selfie of who and what we are now.
Documentation Video from Solo Exhibition Gallery NAGA, Boston, September 2018
Includes 4K video, photographs, 35mm slides and 360-video installation.
This is my current research topic. In addition to the works exhibited in the video documentation above, a feature-length experimental documentary film and a publication of a book of photographic work are in progress.
My current multi-modal work in progress (2018-present), working title Shed on Passive Sands, uses news media; YouTube and public television programming, references to modernist photography by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston; popular folklore stories and songs; and streamed footage from public hearings to consider the current politically divided and environmentally threatened landscape of the coastal Oceano Dunes (one hour north of Santa Barbara, CA). I aim to pull up the history of this place from beneath the surface to populate the Dune site with a more profound sense of place and meaning, but also as a point of departure for conversation on the issues that extend far beyond this specific place. While the Oceano Dunes often appear as an empty, shifting landscape, through video, photography and virtual reality, my research weaves the rich histories of inhabitants spanning over 12,000 years – from the expunged Native American inhabitants, Cecil B. DeMille’s buried (and recently partially excavated) Ten Commandments ancient Egyptian film set, the proto-hippie squatters called the Dunites of the 1930’s, to the present-day ATV riders tearing up endangered species and polluting the air.
Autopoiesis (2019) is a short experimental film made with content sourced from the internet – clips of screen-recorded footage and sound, such as ski jumpers from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, divers from Leni Riefenstahl’s film Olympia of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, self-hypnosis how-to videos and Sun-Ra’s album Space is the Place. The video also includes overlays of text of current political and activist hashtags. As written in a review by arts writer and artist Heather Kapplow, “Autopoiesis intertwines complex ideas of utopia—Sun Ra’s speculative new black colony in outer space, Hitler’s Aryan nation, and the promise of a better world through hashtag activism—then counters it all by positing the impossibility of retreating or advancing, as the present moment is constantly buffeted with the darkness and struggle of current events.” I am responsible for all parts of production including sourcing and recording all the footage, editing and sound.
– Anarchivia (Mexico City, March 2019) – ECHOFLUXX 19 (Prague, May 2019) – AXW Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives (NYC, July 2019) – VASTLAB Experimental Film Festival (Los Angeles, September 2019) – Antimatter [media art] (Victoria, BC, October 2019) – Transient Visions Festival of the Moving Image (Johnson City, NY, October 2019) – Other Cinema (San Francisco, November 2019) – Stuttgarter Filmwinter (Stuttgart, January 2020) – Portland Underground Film Festival (Portland, OR, January 2020) – Space Time Event Series (San Diego, CA, January 2020) – Experimental Response Cinema @ Museum of Human Achievement (Austin, TX, January 2020) – Cosmic Rays Film Festival (Chapel Hill, NC, March 2020) – That One Film Festival (Livestream, September 2020) – 27th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival (Livestream, November 2020) – Marseille Underground Film and Music Festival (Marseille, France, November 2021)
Patches of Snow in July
8:19, HD video, 2017
Encompassing themes of media manipulation and environmental greed, Patches of Snow in July (2017) began as a reaction to the 2016 Presidential election. Mythology, religious fanaticism, climate deniers, environmental profiteers, natural disasters and the end of radio, are reflected by a morphing landscape, poised for new devastation. Footage includes images I recorded of the Maui volcano Haleakala paired with a soundscape of collected audio simulating turning the dial on a radio, catching news and music clips. I am responsible for all parts of production including cinematography, editing and sound.
– Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival (Hawick, Scotland, May 2018) – The Vast Lab (Los Angeles, May 2018) – Microscope Gallery (Brooklyn, May 2018) – Chicago Underground Film Festival (Chicago, June 2018) – OpenEyes FilmFest (Marburg, Germany, July 2018) – San Diego Underground Film Festival (August 2018) – Festival des Cinémas Différents et Expérimentaux de Paris (October 2018) – Antimatter [media art] (Victoria, BC, October 2018) – Other Cinema (San Francisco, CA, October 2018) – Kassel DokFest (Kassel, Germany, November 2018) – Anarchivia (Mexico City, March 2019) – AWAC Consciousness of Changing Climate (Berlin, July 2019) – CineAutopsia – Festival de Cine Experimental de Bogotá (August 2019) – Canyon Cinema Salon (San Francisco, November 2019) – Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh, December 2019 – January 2020) – Portland Underground Film Festival (Portland, OR, January 2020)
Maelstroms (2015) uses animation, heat sensitive camera footage from US border patrol screens, military bombing drone monitors, and other collected footage, in a mediation on the dehumanizing use of image technology to control borders by land, air and sea. Maelstroms won the Audience Award at CROSSROADS Film Festival in San Francisco and has been included in numerous exhibitions and festivals around the world including the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson.
Festivalist.com Review “a harrowingly intense look at how modern surveillance imaging creates a dehumanizing gaze. The film cuts between US border-patrol footage, drone footage, and various other forms of surveillance, all of which are presented in disconcerting shades of grey, like a negative transfer. a harrowingly intense look at how modern surveillance imaging creates a dehumanizing gaze. The film cuts between US border-patrol footage, drone footage, and various other forms of surveillance, all of which are presented in disconcerting shades of grey, like a negative transfer. ” Rohan Berry Crickmar, festivalists.com
–*Winner of Audience Choice Award* CROSSROADS 2016 (San Francisco, April 2016) – Anthology Film Archives, Another Experiment by Women Film Festival (NY, NY, Feb 2016) – Microscope Gallery Event Series (Brooklyn NY, October 2016) – San Diego Underground Film Festival (San Diego, Nov 2016) – Havana Film Festival (Havana, Cuba, December 2016) – Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival (Hawick, Scotland, March 2017) – Montreal Underground Film Festival (Montreal, May 2017) – Chicago Underground Film Festival (Chicago, June 2017) – Currents New Media Festival (Santa Fe, NM, June 2017) – WDNX Festival of Moving Image (Winnipeg, October 2017) – Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (Tucson, AZ, October – December 2017) – Experimental Response Cinema (Austin, TX, January 2018) – That One Film Festival (Muncie, IN, April 2018) – The Vast Lab (Los Angeles, July 2018) – Other Cinema (San Francisco, October 2018) – Revolutions per Minute Festival (Boston, February 2019) – Anarchivia (Mexico City, March 2019) – Pleasure Dome Screening Series (Toronto, December 2019) – Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh, December 2019 – January 2020) – LABOCINE Magazine, Unequal States, Issue 48, (July 2020) – RhizomeDC Microcinema (August 2020)
The Loveliest Mountain of China
Installation Documentation, 2014
3 – 40″ televisions vertically wall-mounted 3 – computers 2 – wall-mounted horn speakers Total running time of loop in installation: 45 minutes color, HD, sound
The three-channel video installation The Loveliest Mountain of China was filmed in the popular tourist destination Huangshan, China and installed in Beijing at the Inside Out Art Museum. This work lays bare the bones of the participatory documentary medium, deconstructing narrative film production modalities, and presents them across a wall space on three screens simultaneously. Comprised of three vertically hung monitors – one with interviews, one of fixed camera landscape views and one of “B-roll” of tourists posing in front of the mountain, a self-reflexive epi-narrative unfolds between the screens with an awareness of the illusion of ethnographic representation, gaps in translation, and the complexities of the politics of land use. The ecological impact of tourism and the illusion of transcendence is approached through the voices and perspectives of people who inhabit and visit – the locals and the tourists – the picturesque landscape of Huangshan (Yellow Mountain).
ARTnews Review The Loveliest Mountain in China was described in a review of the work in ARTnews Magazine – “one monitor shows the Hunagshan mountains from several vantage points during shifting light and weather. The next monitor displays tourists posing for pictures on a scenic overlook, and the third focus on people in the Huangshan tourism business – including porters, hotel employees and a local artist – explaining their impressions of the location where they earn a living. Change is a constant: clouds hide the sun, gusts stir branches and ponytails, cell phones ring. Caplan’s video highlights just how disparate experiences of the same spot can be, juxtaposing the magnificent spectacle of towering peaks with the bustle of tourism and the realties of everyday life. ” Joanne Sliver, ARTnews
Now approaching its twenty-seventh year, CUFF is officially the LONGEST RUNNING UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD. The fest is an internationally recognized program that screens documentary, experimental, avant-garde and cult cinema, and showcases films that explore new approaches to established practices.
‘Collected Dispersal’ Rosemary Taylor | ‘Patches of Snow in July’ Lana Z Caplan | ‘ Residual Minority’ Mieke Vanmechele | ‘Boy and the Sea’ Sarahjane Swan & Roger Simian | ‘Ruru’ Denise Batchelor | ‘ Emotion Over Raisin’ Ruth Waters | ‘Frozen’ Adonia Bouchehri | ‘The Hearing of the Eye’ Alessia Cecchet | ‘River Ghosts’ Jonathan Johnson | ‘Passage’ Richard Ashrowan
About Unequal States Stories of the continued struggle against oppression through movements, resistance, and solidarity are often documented and presented in many forms as acts of resistance themselves. In these stories, the notion of “inequality” draws together different worlds, cultures, and dimensions/scales (micro/macro). From animations to documentaries, these films shed light on the pervasiveness of this inequality on all fronts by exploring social, scientific, and political perspectives in our fight against racism, injustice, and inequality.
“Trauma and horrific histories are held in landscapes in every corner of the globe. For the past twenty years photographer, filmmaker, and educator Lana Z Caplan has been documenting sites of public killings in her project, Postcards from the Hanging: Sites of Public Execution. She shares some stunning statistics in her statement, “The United States is one of only 20 countries in the world that continues to employ state sanctioned killing. In 2019 we ranked 6th in the world in the number of executions following (in order) China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt (execution totals not known for Vietnam, North Korea, and Syria).” Her thoughtful examination of why our country continues to allow the death penalty adds another layer to its history of pain and suffering.” Lenscratch.com
After the success of our recent collaboration with the Society of Scottish Artists at the Open SSA + VAS exhibition earlier this year, CutLog are delighted to offer our online audiences the opportunity to view a selection of these works through our upcoming online screening program.
Including links to full length versions of 2 films: ERRATA 20:40 min, 2017 (Meditative and Calming playlist)
Sound by Alan F. Jones and Lana Z Caplan
Rhythms of the mundane become a meditation on leisure, work, and time. As the visual cycle repeats – passengers load, unload, reload, boats arrive, depart, arrive – the reading of the Italian ferryboat schedule – town names, times, and departures – morphs from announcement to chant, boats transform, deconstruct, and twist into a mindscape, rendering the unseen, the errata, seen.
ROAR 3:30, 2007 (Animals playlist)
Footage from the 1933 film “The Big Cage” stripped of sound and re-edited onto clear leader followed by the removed optical soundtrack, also affixed to clear leader. Each strip of sound acts as a character, mimicking the actions in the film.
THE 39th ANNUAL BLACK MARIA FILM FESTIVAL GOES VIRTUAL
The Black Maria Virtual Film Festival in partnership with the Hoboken Historical Museum presents over 100 award-winning short films completely free of charge – no strings attached – for as long as the pandemic lasts.
As the ringing alarm is consumed by static, fire haze hangs heavy on the California landscape of smashed cars, burning valleys, lost animals, and tented homes.As the ringing alarm is consumed by static, fire haze hangs heavy on the California landscape of smashed cars, burning valleys, lost animals, and tented homes.
Screenings: – 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany (May 2021) – Rock ‘n’ Roll Film Festival, Nairobi, Kenya (ROFFEKE), (January 2021) – 22nd Annual Moviate Underground Film Festival, Harrisburg, PA (November 2020)
Experimental Response Cinema presents OVER AND OUT, its third celebration of resistance to the policies of United States president #45! Cathartic as well as a call to action, this screening of short films will address the current political landscape in ways both playful and incisive. With it, we affirm creativity as a vital and needed clapback to lies, greed, bigotry and ignorance.
Space Time is happy to present an evening of contemporary, experimental Science Fiction videos. Screening of works by James Fotopoulos, Lana Z Caplan, and Michael Trigilio
January 17th, 2020
at Bread & Salt 1955 Julian Ave., San Diego, CA 92113
Doors: 7:30pm, Screening: 8pm
Dignity, James Fotopoulos, (2012, 82 min.) Autopoiesis, Lana Z Caplan, (2019, 7:20 min.) Glimmer Exodus Overture, Michael Trigilio, (2019, 12:31 min.)
33. STUTTGARTER FILMWINTER – FESTIVAL FOR EXPANDED MEDIA
January 16-19, 2020
Including Lana Z Caplan’s Autopoiesis in the special program “Digital Detox”.
Friday 17th of January 2020 at 5:30 p.m.
“For over 30 years, the Festival has been devoted to crossing the border between cinema and media art with an adventurous international programme comprising films, workshops, Expanded Media exhibition and performances for people of all ages. The Festival’s core are the international competitions for short film, Media in Space and Network Culture – flanked by a comprehensive programme. This year’s thematic focus is “Absence”. The Festival edition is located at the interface between a media-dominated society in all its facets and all of the things falling through or getting blurred by the grid of such a society: what is not said or depicted, the things pushed aside or rejected. We are longing for absence and its traces. Like a test strip, our Festival delves into the big house of absence – placing it at the macro focus.” https://filmwinter.de/en
Society of Scottish Artists / CutLog Artists Moving Image Exhibition
December 22nd and February 5th 2020
Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh
Including Lana Z Caplan’s Maelstroms and Patches of Snow in July
OPEN SSA+VAS, is presented in partnership with Visual Arts Scotland and will be the largest exhibition of contemporary art and craft to be held in Scotland this year giving an audience of over 30,000 people the opportunity to discover and enjoy artworks across all mediums.
“NewMediaFest 2020 – an event structure to take place in an exchange between virtual and physical space – starting on 25 December 2019 in Ethiopia – running until 31 December 2020 – will honour and include all artists, curators and other cultural instances like festivals, museum , galleries etc which were collaborating with Agricola de Cologne during the past 20 years since 2000 – in the basic program online – there will be at least 12 physical venues- each month another one in another country presenting an individual Jubilee program – to be complemented by monthly features online in video, netart and soundart.” http://retro.newmediafest.org/
Lost and Found in Late Capitalism curated by Shahbaz Khayambashi, Co-Chair, Pleasure Dome
Fri., Dec. 6, 2019
at the Small World Music Centre
180 Shaw St, Toronto, ON
Lost and Found in Late Capitalism, Curatorial Statement:
In recent years, with the election of right-wing and fascist politicians around the world, the link between fascism and capitalism has become impossible to ignore. As profit overtakes happiness as the endeavour of humanity and austerity becomes the way of the land, the citizens of the modern nation have no choice but to go with the pack or get trampled in the process. Of course, since it was left to fester for so long, capitalism has reached its inevitable zenith, reaching that time that we have been warned about for decades, the age of late capitalism. Existing somewhere between apocalypse and parody, the age of late capitalism has brought about dystopian ideals presented to its subjects as standard societal practices. No longer will people fight for their own rights, because their rights have been established as unrealistic, their fighting as criminal. Late capitalism is the current state of affairs. It cannot be stopped, unless people wake up to it, become aware of it. Perhaps the response from the art world could help that occur.
That is the idealistic background for Pleasure Dome’s Lost and Found in Late Capitalism, a response to this stage of late capitalism by using its own products. While capitalism continues to destroy our environment, wage wars on our people, and destroy our social fabric, this program will attempt to speak truth to power by speaking power’s language. This program consists of a series of short videos constructed from found footage, coming from a variety of formats, sources and levels of legality. These videos use footage from Hollywood films, business promotional videos, public domain artefacts and military footage to tell stories of life under the thumb of capitalism. It is through this re-appropriation of the products of capitalism that today’s artists can attempt to come to terms with the struggle of living under an unquestionable dictatorial system.
Beyond Human, Pete Burkeet (Ohio, USA), 2018.
Mad as Hell, Emily Pelstring (Kingston, ON, CND) and Meg Remy (Toronto, ON, CND), 2017.
Gone Sale, Matt Meindl (USA), 2018.
Public Domain, Jason Britski (SK,CND), 2018.
A Feverish Fascination, Imogen Clendinning, (Windsor, ON, CND), 2018.
Music of Desire, Kristin Reeves (KY, USA), 2016.
Painting with the Man, Freya Björg Olafson (Toronto, ON, CND), 2017.
What is an Object, Stephanie Deumer (NY, USA) 2015. Maelstroms, Lana Z Caplan (CA, USA), 2015.
Flat Pyramid, Kevin Doherty (NY, USA), 2017.
MEDIA ARCHEOLOGY 1
curated by the magical Craig Baldwin
@ ATA Gallery
992 Valencia St, San Francisco
November 2, 2019
MEDIA ARCHEOLOGY 1
SCOTT STARK + TOMMY BECKER + BILL BAIRD + LANA Z CAPLAN + A LiveA-V luv-fest fer sure, with distinctive, daring demonstrations of creative expression from four of Cali’s leading media-artists! Prodigal son Scott Stark proffers a para-cinema set featuring the premiere of CLYPPS and his in-house 35mm scope projector, while twinkling SLO satellite Lana Z Caplan orbits back with the NorCal launch of her35mm piece Apollonian Light and her Autopoiesis short. SF stalwart Tommy Becker sets up screen-left with the debut of his Side Two of Tape Number One–music and poetry exploring our entangled relations with auto-mobile machines. AND here’s the unveiling of The Cube by ex-Austinite Bill Baird–musical performance-art inside a projection-mapped tent! PLUS a sprinkling of cine/sonic tricks by Ryan Worsley, Bruce Haack, Brett Ingram, et al. Dizzying documentation of Brown/Gruffat’sUnsettling Texas film–performance follows Russ Forster‘s theremin busking.
“Other Cinema is a long-standing bastion of experimental film, video, and performance in San Francisco’s Mission District. We are inspired and sustained by the ongoing practice of fine-art filmmaking, as well as engaged essay and documentary forms. But OC also embraces marginalized genres like “orphan” industrial films, home movies, ethnography, and exploitation, as media-archeological core-samples, and blows against consensus reality and the sterility of museum culture.” http://www.othercinema.com/