Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Thu, Aug 15 2019 8:00 PM

Balboa Theatre
3630 Balboa St. SF

Kerry Laitala is a media archaeologist whose work spans the territories of
photography and expanded cinema performances, to 3D single channel videos
and sculptural installation. Laitala’s work synthesizes ideas and ephemera from
the realms of science, history, and technology. An expert in optical printing and
D.I.Y practices such as photogram and hand-processing techniques, she utilizes
these methods (among others) to re-shape ‘found’ archival film materials into
16mm & 35mm handcrafted short films that embody and celebrate the
phenomenon of lo-fi spectacle. Inspired by avant-garde filmmakers like Phil
Solomon and Paul Sharits, her work conveys a similar connection to film
materials, but with a more unhinged sense of decay. She investigations our
shifting relationships with the natural world and the artifacts we introduce into it,
whether through installation, photography, para-cinema, performance, kinetic
sculpture, and single-channel forms. She teaches film at the San Francisco Art
Institute as well as in small workshops held around the world.
Laitala will be presenting four works from her City Luminous Series
celebrating the lighting pioneers that gathered just over a century ago at the
fabulous Jewel City, a 635-acre monument to impermanence constructed, and
soon after, demolished in San Francisco’s Marina district. These include The
City Luminous: Spectacle of Light, which recently received an audience
choice award at the 2015 Crossroads Film Festival presented by SF
Cinematheque, The City Luminous: Electric Salome, Chromatic Wheels, &
the San Francisco premiere of her brand-new Figments in Film, Number One.
All of these performances will feature live sound from Oakland’s experimental
music duo extraordinaire Voicehandler, made up of Jacob Felix Heule and
Danishta Rivero.

The City Luminous: Spectacle of Light- dual-16mm projector performance, 12
minutes 2015
In 1915 Walter D'Arcy Ryan induced explosions of color over the night sky as
part of the Pan-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), a presentation the likes of
which had never been seen prior, and which became the model for light displays
at future World's Fairs and illumination showcases. One hundred and four years
later, Kerry Laitala pays tribute to this historical moment with a dual-projector
performance involving archival images of silhouetted spectators of the 1939 New
York World’s Fair sharing screen space with sinuous light shapes swirling,
twinkling and bouncing across the frame like unbound forces of energy. The City
Luminous: Spectacle of Light will be accompanied by a live soundtrack by
Voicehandler (Jacob Felix Heule and Danishta Rivero), who manipulate sounds
from various sources including a mechanical music box from Switzerland.

The City Luminous: Electric Salome - dual-16mm projector performance, 20
minutes, 2015
Loie Fuller was a major innovator in fin-de-siècle dance, costuming and theatrical
lighting design. Her Serpentine Dances became hugely popular, inspired dozens
of imitators, and are best known today through the early films shot by the likes of
W.K.L. Dickson, Alice Guy Blache, Segundo de Chomon, Georges Melies and
others. Towards the end of her career Fuller brought her troupe to San
Francisco’s PPIE, where they performed under the dome of the Palace of Fine
Arts as a fundraiser to allow it to become the only major structure to be saved
from destruction at the end of the fair. Laitala filmed San Francisco dancer Jenny
Stulberg in the act of resurrecting Fuller’s fluttering aura through her own
choreographed interpretations. Then she reproduced Stulberg’s image onto
separate film strips which will rejoin together projected onto a phantom presence
that brings a sculptural element into the proceedings. Voicehandler provides the
sound.

Chromatic Wheels - 16mm 11 minutes, 2015
Pure shards of colorful light shimmers across the screen as the images are
pulled through the projector like taffy in this abstract work that highlights the
synthetic properties of the medium. Named among San Francisco Film Critics
Circle member Jesse Hawthorne Ficks’s favorite films seen in 2018. Shown with
a new soundtrack by Voicehandler for the first time.

Figments in Film, Number One- - 16mm 8 minutes, 2019
Creation and destruction. Grandiosity and hubris. Glory and The Abyss. These are
some of the themes explored in Figments in Film, Number One, which features
images from the PPIE while the buildings were in the process of being destroyed.
Viewers will be draped in a cloak of decay, rebirth and contemplation. Images were
hand-processed, toned and tinted. San Francisco premiere!

The City Luminous Series, which encompasses the realms of installation,
performance and photographic works was funded by a third Special Projects
Grant from the Princess Grace Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission
Grant, California Historical Society, and Maurice Kanbar.

Total Running time: 51 minutes
Videos featuring musicians playing at this event