ENG 4146: Curation as Production

One tends to imagine a fairly clean division between the act of making a film or video and the act of programming it (of putting on a show, a festival, a tour, etc.). However, in the experimental film world, not only do makers tend to wear many hats on the production side of things (as director, cinematographer, editor, composer, distributor, etc., etc. etc.) but they also tend to be much more frequently involved in programming as well. In fact, given the few venues and meager support for experimental film in the U.S. (and really everywhere), it is critical that those invested in making work also be involved in helping to create situations in which an audience might encounter it as well. In recent years many notable makers have also been known for their programming efforts; Matt McCormick, Ben Russell, Jackie Goss, and Miranda July all ran festivals, screening series, video or DVD labels, etc. At the same time, many young curators (some of them right out of school) have made a name for themselves based on their curatorial efforts alone, like Astria Suparak (currently of the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon) and Thomas Beard (currently with Light Industry in New York and co-curator of film and video for the upcoming Whitney Biennial).

So, while this is a course in production, it considers curation as a creative act, as a kind of production in its own right. Students in the class will collectively be responsible for putting on a number of shows in various venues around Gainesville over the course of the semester with different small groups taking turns assuming primary roles. Possible shows include reprises of past Gainesville offerings such as Silent Films/Loud Music (with bands scoring silent 16mm prints), Experimental Karaoke (which comes in several different varieties), Cinema under the Stars (outdoor screenings in public places), Trash & Treasures (curated shows of educational/industrial films from our 16mm archive), and the Gong Show (like Trash & Treasures, only with the audience selecting the films from a master list and being able to stop the chosen film by hitting a gong). Any show ideas that you might be interested in initiating could also be added to this list. Additionally, students will be involved in the selection of films for the competitive program in next yearÕs FLEXfest (the Florida Experimental Film/Video Festival: see www.flexfest.org), which has become a major stop on the experimental film circuit over the last decade.

Alongside these curatorial efforts, we will also study the history of alternative programming from the relatively recent microcinema movement to the 1960s film societies and cinˇ clubs to the very earliest experiments in ambulatory cinema (e.g., Dziga VertovÕs film train).

Admission to the class is by application only. Interested students should contact the professor as soon as possible to receive an application for the course; the application process must be completed by Friday, March 23. Preference is given to English or IDS majors who have taken one or more of the core film studies classes (ENG 2300: Film Analysis, ENG 3115: Intro to Film Theory, ENG 3121: Film History I, and ENG 3122: Film History II).