Screening One at Gallery SKE

EXPERIMENTA and GALLERYSKE presents an evening with avant-garde filmmakers David Gatten and Jessie Stead at 6pm on Sunday January 20th, 2008 .

Today (2007) by Jessie Stead

Filmmaker, Henry James fan, recent Guggenheim fellow and aspiring audio book artist, David Gatten makes bookish films about letters and libraries, lovers and ghosts that are filled with words, some of which you can even read.  His work has shown around the earth planet in museums, festivals, biennials, galleries, archives, access centers, elementary schools, storefronts, on sides of buildings and once on a barge that was floating down river. You can find his films in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Art Institute of Chicago but he can rarely find his glasses.  He lives and works by the water in Red Hook, Brooklyn and on Seabrook Island, South Carolina.

Jessie Stead was five years old in 1984. She has produced a meandering school of film/video, albums, catch phrases, installation, mail art, and other mercurial curios with pocket money since before the turn of the century. Sometimes acting alone, and sometimes with a rag-tag association of collaborators (some of whom are internet strangers, a few of whom are unwitting and famous, and one of whom is an obscure musician named John Webster Johns).

SECRET HISTORY OF THE DIVIDING LINE by David Gatten 2002 16mm B&W silent 20 mins

“As a graduate student at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996, David Gatten after having been inspired by the works of Agnes Martin, experimented with drawing lines on film, when serendipity led him to a little known volume called The Secret History Of The Line. An 18th century text written by William Byrd II a wealthy planter and government official in Virginia, this book (together with its companionThe History Of The Dividing Line) is an account of the author’s journey mapping the border between Virginia, the first English colony in North America, and the newer colony of North Carolina. Byrd’s life and writing became all the more interesting to the filmmaker as he learned that Byrd possessed one of the largest libraries in the colonies at the time, a collection of almost four thousand books. And so Gatten embarked on a cycle of nine films considering the relationships among language, image, experience and representation, this is one of the most erudite and ambitious undertakings in recent cinema.” Henriette Huldisch in Art Forum

WHAT THE WATER SAID, NOS. 4 – 6 by David Gatten 2007 16mm color sound 17 mins
Strips of previously unexposed film went into the ocean and these fragments are what returned. In this final installment of a nine year project documenting the underwater world off the coast of South Carolina, both the sounds and images are the result of the oceanic inscriptions written directly into the emulsion of the film as it was buffeted by the salt water, sand and rocks; as it was chewed by the crabs, fish and underwater creatures.

HUGE FLAG by Jessie Stead 2007 digital video color sound 10 mins
Huge Flag is a self-explanatory video document about what happened in a park on an unseasonably windy day when a number of people got involved with a familiar but unusually large, seductive and indifferent American fabric.

TODAY! by Jessie Stead & David Gatten 2007 16mm color sound 20 mins
A revival of the long-dormant “films using a bumper-sticker as a script” genre, Today! Privileges abstracted motivation over abstracted form; the language of popular soda bottles over the language of popular adventure novels. Starring Jessie Stead and various plastic receptacles. Scenes move through random locations (two of which are exotic). Highlights include cameo appearances by the United States Postal Service, a dance in Chicago with some abandoned candy, and a recurring pre-occupation with a useful but problematically self-aggrandizing shopping bag. Please note Today! stands today as purposely unfinished (an excerpted excerpt from an episodic episode).

filmography, events bio:
voice review of the byrd films:,tracking7,68254,20.html
new york film festival, byrd films program notes:
a byrd program review

All are welcome………….