I AM MAKING ART
Tuesday, February 17, 7pm @ Anthology Film Archives
Filmmaker Ilisa Barbash will be in person for a post-screening discussion with artist and NYU PhD Candidate in Media, Culture, and Communication, Carlin Wing.
The filmmaker and anthropologist Ilisa Barbash joins us for a screening of her documentary, In And Out Of Africa. The film examines the international trade in African sculpture by tracking an art dealer all the way from the rural Ivory Coast to the Hamptons. It is paired with Robert Gardner’s Passenger, a portrait of painter Sean Scully in his studio. Both films ask the question: how is an object transformed into an artwork? By observing the application of paint to canvas, chisel to wood, and international label to shipping crate, the films cast an ethnographic eye on strategies for making that journey.
Directed by Robert Gardner
(USA, 1997, 25 min., digital file)
In Passenger Gardner made what he calls “an observation in four movements.” The intent of the piece is to impart an experience of the engagement by Scully with the work in question, an engagement which is both physical and emotional. The only sounds are those made by the artist as he works and, occasionally, musical passages from tapes Scully listens to while he is painting.
In and Out of Africa
Directed by Ilisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor
(USA, 1992, 59 min., digital file)
Interweaving stories of Western collectors, Muslim traders, African artists and intellectuals, and the filmmakers themselves, the film focuses on a remarkable art dealer from Niger named Gabai Barre. It follows him all the way from the rural Ivory Coast to East Hampton, Long Island, where he bargains for a sale. The film shows how (through occasionally hilarious and frequently fantastic tales about the art objects) he adds economic value and changes the “meaning” of what he sells by interpreting and mediating between the cultural values of African producers and Western consumers.
Robert Gardner was the Director of the Film Study Center at Harvard University from 1957 to 1997. He is an internationally renowned filmmaker and author whose works have entered the permanent canon of non-fiction filmmaking. Some of his most prominent films include Dead Birds (1963), a lyric account of the Dugum Dani, a Stone Age society at one time living an isolated existence in the Highlands of the former Netherlands New Guinea (Gardner was the leader of the Peabody Museum-sponsored expedition to study the Dani in 1961-62); Rivers of Sand (1974), a social commentary on the Hamar people of southwestern Ethiopia; and Forest of Bliss(1985), a cinematic essay on the ancient city of Benares, India, which explores the ceremonies, rituals, and industries associated with death and regeneration.
Lisa (Ilisa) Barbash is Curator of Visual Anthropology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum where she makes films, writes books, and curates exhibitions about photography. She and Lucien Castaing-Taylor made In and Out of Africa (1992) and Sweetgrass(2009) about contemporary sheep ranching in Montana. Together they wrote Cross-cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for Making Documentary and Ethnographic Films and Video, and edited The Cinema of Robert Gardner. Barbash’s most recent project is the book Where the Roads All End (2015) about the Marshall Family Photographic Collection and the visual representation of the Ju/’hoansi.
Carlin Wing is an artist and a PhD Candidate in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University where she works on sport, performance, and technologies of the body. Her ongoing project Hitting Walls, is iterative and consists of works made in a wide range of media and forms. These works circle around the stories of squash, real tennis, handball, and other ball-wall games in order to make visible the athletic disciplining of bodies and the intimate play with architecture that accompanies the rise and transformation of capital. Wing is currently collaborating with composer Martin Scherzinger on a project about the piano as an early coded interface. One of the video works from that project, Typewriter Opera will be presented at the Orpheus Institute in the Netherlands this month in conjunction with a recital by pianist Bobby Mitchell.
Flaherty NYC at Anthology Film Archives: 32 Second Ave. (@2nd St.)
Tickets on sale at the box office day of screening.
This project is a collaboration with Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, and made possible with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation.
Flaherty NYC is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.