BRATTLEBORO -- The evocative power of words finds celebration in innovative and exciting ways in the fourth annual Words and Video Exhibition, which takes place Thursday on the opening night of the Brattleboro Literary Festival at the Center for Digital Art in the Cotton Mill.
Featuring nine established or emerging video artists, the exhibition, which runs from 7:30 to 9 p.m., celebrates the written word through collaborations between video artists and writers or pieces that were inspired by works of literature.
Showcasing a range of expressive voices, the event features six short films, two experimental video art installations and reading accompanied by video projection. The works explore the relationships between written language, text, literature and visual representation -- and they celebrate collaboration, both between the artists themselves and between the Center for Digital Art, Write Action and the Brattleboro Literary Festival.
The artists in Words and Video are some of the best and most innovative in their field and their work has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art and Tribeca Film Festival in New York, the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Biennale and Geneva’s Center for Contemporary Image, as well as closer to home at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center and the Hooker-Dunham Theater.
Two of the pieces were based on work by local authors -- Lissa Weinmann and Genna Nethercott -- while others were inspired by Samuel Beckett, Geoffrey Chaucer and Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss).
Admission to Words and Video is free, and refreshments will be served.
Featured works include:
* "Too Many Daves" by Kevin Abrams, a short film based on Geisel’s poem and featuring Dr. Seuss’ trademark wit. Abrams is a puppeteer, animator and visual artist based in Brooklyn, N.Y. His work has appeared with Cinema Club, Runaway Parade, Duvergent Magazine and the blog The Not So Starving Artist.
* "The Death and Birth of Jesse James" by Wyatt Andrews and Genna Rose Nethercott. A short narrative based on Nethercott’s soliloquy to the notorious Wild West outlaw. Nethercott is a poet, playwright, performer and Brattleboro native whose piece "Ghostmaker: A Myth for Voices" was presented earlier this year at the Hooker-Dunham Theater and other regional venues. Andrews is a cinematographer and videographer who works at the Brattleboro-based Mondo Mediaworks.
* "Pop Cowboy" by Christian Hali bathes an image of the iconic American cowboy in a Pop Art palette. Intentionally ironic, the piece asks the viewer to consider questions of convention, expectation, delusion and doubt. Hali is an award-winning art director, creative executive, illustrator, painter and video/performing artist who has worked at MTV, Nickelodeon and Disney and has taught art and animation.
* "World Enough & Time: On Looking" by Michael Hanish and Christian McEwen. McEwen will read excerpts from her book "World Enough & Time," against a video projected background by Hanish. Mcwen is a writer,, educator and cultural activist. Hanish is a videographer, editor and educator based in Southern Vermont. He is also projects coordinator at Sandglass Theater in Putney.
* "Decay Unsynched" by Michel Moyse and Lissa Weinmann. Moyse used "Decay," a short story by Weinmann to create this digital art installation. He filmed Weinmann reading her story and then rearranged the reading using his signature "motionpainting" style. Moyse is an artist, filmmaker, teacher, artistic director and founder of the Center for Digital Art. He has worked as sound editor for Woody Allen, Brian DePalma and Alan Pakula. Weinmann works at the World Policy Institute, where she directs the eduction program, the Cuba Project. She is a journalist, prose writer and co-organizer of the Brattleboro Film Festival.
* "Venus" by Jessica Oreck is a short film and selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Images of leathery-skinned female sunbathers take on abstract form when juxtaposed against a narration of the birth of the gas-planet Venus. Oreck is an independent filmmaker and producer and founder of Myriapod Productions.
* "Burning Through" by Matt Ostrowski, intended as an immersive video/audio installation, interprets a reading of the Miller’s Tale from Chaucer’s "Canterbury Tales." It explores the differences between written and spoken words and between words as carriers of meaning and as pure phenomena. Ostrowski is a video artist and composer in New York City. His work has been exhibited at PS1 and The Kitchen in New York and at festivals worldwide. He will be exhibiting new work in an installation at the Center for Digital Art in December.
* "Mauvais Garçon, Bad Boy" by Walter Ungerer takes conversations with friends and alters them to produce an assemblage of profiles of the participants. A celebrated experimental filmmaker and video installation artist for more than 40 years, Ungerer’s work has been featured at MoMA, BMAC and elsewhere.
* "Quad 1/11" by Emma Zbiral-Teller is based on Samuel Beckett’s "Quad 1/11" and is a recording of a performance piece of hers which interprets Beckett’s writing through four figures in the style of a canon. Zbiral-Teller is a New York-based film designer, writer and editor.
Though an annual event, Words and Video also signals a renewed effort by the Center for Digital Art to be an venue and showcase for digital art and video in addition to continuing its work as a lab and classroom for students from the Windham Regional Career Center and elsewhere.
Monthly events are planned through May, starting on Oct. 25 with Jason Martin and "Power Animal Systems," a multimedia performance piece which explores the hierarchical struggles in our society.
For more information on Words and Video and upcoming CDA events, visit www.centerfordigitalart.com.