Curious Cabinets at Exit Art, NYC

Digimovies Plus: Curious Cabinets
May 2 / 7pm
475 Tenth Ave. New York, NY 10018
Exit Art is pleased to present Digimovies Plus: Curious Cabinets, a one-night event of experimental digital films that explores both the literal and abstract interpretations of fernweh, the “ache for distant places.” Within the context of this program, the feeling of fernweh unfolds to express something larger than oneself, whether it is love, the cosmos, the future, or the mystery of hindsight. Given our ongoing curiosity for the unknown, Curious Cabinets explores the notion of “farsickness” through various manifestations.
In Penny Lane’s The Voyagers, two-stories are interwoven: a love-story between Carl Sagan and his future wife Anna Druyan, and a story about the 1977 launching of Sagan’s golden records into space. The Voyagers is both a beautiful homage to Carl Sagan and a tribute to life on this planet. In Lee Arnold’s celestial time-lapse photography Clouds, the filmmaker uses an upward camera angle as a gestural nod to the cosmic ocean that Lane probes in The Voyagers. A stellar piece chronicling the changing sky over Brooklyn on a single fall day, Arnold’s exploration of the temporal is also reflected in David Baumflek’s moving video Earthrise. Baumflek contrasts the voice of an older man, who recounts his experience of loss and the mystery of hindsight, with abstracted images of light and motion shot the same year by astronauts circling the moon.
Representing the more eccentric side of fernweh is the “identity contortionist” Alison Kobayashi, whose From Alex to Alex tells the PG-13 love-story of two “mostly gay” fourteen year old classmates of the same name. Fascinated with the origins of found objects, nostalgic iconography, and the lives of others, this interpretative piece was based on a letter found on Ontario’s Winston Churchill Boulevard that read “From Alex to Alex.” If Kobayashi imagines the lives of others, Daniel Lichtman’s Site Visit (That’s The Man I Am) privileges his experience as subject. Filmed in a Cathedral in England, Lichtman interjects a semi-personal narrative about a man and female with close-circuit shots of non-correlating imagery. In his exploration of human behavior and the creation of subjective experience within a highly politicized space, Lichtman questions how humankind relates to a tradition of ready-made histories.

Sweetening up the texture of the program is Carlos Charlie Perez’ autobiographical I Miss You, a story about the love/kinship between a mouse and tower. If the inverse of “farsickness” is homesickness, this metaphorical love-story evokes a sense of curious wonder between two unlikely figures that have found home. Rounding out the program is Stephen Rife’s The Cello Incident, a mini-feature documentary. Rife was invited to participate in a ceremony to honor the life of the 16th century philosopher Giordano Bruno, a heretic and champion of free thought. Rife created a performance for the occasion that involved the burning of a broken cello. Stolen before the performance, the cello sparks a journey across Minnesota to talk about death, religion, philosophy and artistic communities.

Selected from Digimovies’ ConceptPlus, an innovative model that set out to democratize exhibition opportunities by focusing on the artistic idea itself, Curious Cabinets is curated by Curatorial Assistant Candice Strongwater.