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Underground Movies, program 3: Journeys Within

Underground Movies, program 3: Journeys Within

The Making and Unmaking of the Earth, by Jessica Bardsley

Sunday November 21, 4:00 pm Pacific Standard Time followed by a live Q&A with curators Jenny Perlin and Leo Goldsmith and filmmaker Jessica Bardsley and others to be confirmed.

Please note that the show time starts at 4 pm, and the films will play one time only.  They will not be available after the screening.

Caves, sewers, subways, mines, bunkers, crypts—the planet’s real and mythic subterranean spaces have served a capacious array of functions, as sources of fossil fuels and imaginative speculation alike. This series of programs explores how moving-image artists have tackled these hidden worlds—through documentary observation into their murky depths, performative bodily engagement, abstraction, archival montage, and computer graphics. Drawing together films from a historically and geographically diverse field—from early cinema to contemporary artists’ moving image; from the Americas, Asia, and Europe—“Underground Movies” charts a unique aesthetic terrain through which to explore larger questions of human’s material and psychological relation to the planet’s substructure—as a space to be reshaped and exploited, but also as one in which to imagine ourselves anew. —JP &LG

Programmed by Jenny Perlin and Leo Goldsmith

Ticketing for Underground Movies program 3: Sliding Scale, requested $12 for general admission, $8 students/seniors, $0 for Filmforum members, at

For more information: or 323-377-7238.

Guest Programmers:

Leo Goldsmith is Visiting Assistant Professor of Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College, The New School. He is a co-author of Robert Stam’s Keywords in Subversive Film/Media Aesthetics (Wiley, 2015) and the author of a book on the British filmmaker Peter Watkins (Verso, forthcoming). He is a frequent contributor to 4Columns, Reverse Shot, and The Brooklyn Rail, whose film section he co-edited from 2011 to 2017. A curator and film programmer, he currently serves as an advisor to the programming team of the New York Film Festival.

Jenny Perlin makes 16mm films, videos, and animations. Her films work with and against the documentary tradition, incorporating innovative stylistic techniques to emphasize issues of truth, misunderstanding, and personal history. Her projects look closely at ways in which social machinations are reflected in the fragments of daily life. Perlin’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and film festivals, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival, the Rotterdam Film Festival, and others.

Program 3: Journeys Within 

TRT 53 min.

Losing Ground 2 1920x

Losing Ground

Losing Ground

By Patty Chang

USA, 2000, HD, color and black and white, sound, 6 min.

A woman dressed in business attire struggles to remain standing on a wildly undulating lawn. 

Patty Chang is a Los Angeles based artist and educator who uses performance, video, installation and narrative forms when considering identity, gender, transnationalism, colonial legacies, the environment, large-scale infrastructural projects and impacted subjectivities. Her museum exhibition and book The Wandering Lake investigates the landscapes impacted by large scale human-engineered water projects such as the Soviet mission to irrigate the waters from the Aral Sea, as well as the longest aqueduct in the world, the North to South Water Diversion Project in China. Her most recent multichannel video project Milk Debt combines the act of lactation with people’s unspoken fears. Her work has been exhibited nationwide and internationally at such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; New Museum, New York; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; BAK, Basis voor actuele Kunst, Utrecht; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, England; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Times Museum in Guangzhou, China; and Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. She has received a United States Artist Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, a Creative Capital Fellowship, a Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship in the Visual Arts at the American Academy in Berlin, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and an Anonymous Was a Woman Grant. She teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.

Making and Unmaking of the Earth v2

The Making and Unmaking of the Earth

The Making and Unmaking of the Earth

By Jessica Bardsley

USA, 2018, HD, color, sound, 17 min.

Los Angeles premiere!

Combining archival footage of earth processes with interviews describing mysterious experiences of physical and emotional pain, this film turns to the earth to explore how everything we bury deep inside eventually speaks through the geology of the body. (Light Cone) 

Jessica Bardsley is an artist-scholar working across film, writing, and studio art. She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Media Practice and Theory at Colgate University and a Visiting Fellow in the department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies at Harvard University. Her films have screened within the U.S. and internationally at festivals like CPH:DOX, Visions du Réel, EMAF, Flaherty NYC, RIDM, True/False, and many more. She is the recipient of various awards, including a Princess Grace Award, Grand Prize at 25FPS, the Eileen Maitland Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Best Short Film at Punto de Vista, and numerous Film Study Center fellowships. Her research and writing have been supported by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies. She received a Ph.D. in Film and Visual Studies from Harvard University and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Christine Rebet Time Levitation 19

Thunderbird, 2018 Animation shot on 16mm transferred to HD, sound 5:40 min exhibition Time Levitation, Parasol Unit ©Photographer Benjamin Westoby 2020


By Christine Rebet

2018, Animation shot on 16mm transferred to HD, color, sound 5:40 min

Los Angeles Premiere

Thunderbird recounts the story of an ancient legend of a temple commissioned by the Sumerian ruler Gudea and dedicated to the god Ningirsu and his avatar the Thunderbird. It was believed that the gods sent a divine vision to Gudea, a dream that inspired the building of the temple. In response to the destruction and pillage of the last major archaeological sites in the Middle East, Rebet animates this divine myth which was inscribed on some ancient terracotta pillars that were discovered in the region.

Currently the temple site is the fieldwork venue for the British Museum’s ‘Iraq Scheme’, led by archaeologist Dr Sebastien Rey. Its mission is to train Iraqi archaeologists and international specialists in the techniques and technologies of rescue archaeology. Over the past several years Dr Rey and Rebet have fostered a dialogue, exchanging his research and her interpretations of the symbolic content of the temple artefacts. Text by Dr Rey appears in the nearby drawings.

Christine Rebet (b. Lyon France, lives and works in New York), received her MFA from Columbia University and her BFA from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, London. Rebet has exhibited and held performances in various international contexts including: Bureau, New York; LACE, Los Angeles; Human Resources, Los Angeles; Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, Netherlands; Grieder Contemporary, Zurich; AlbumArte, Rome; Sculpture Center, New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Singapore; the Cartier Foundation, Paris; Site Sante Fe, New Mexico; Le Magasin, Grenoble; Shanghai Art Museum; Parasol Unit, London; Kamel Mennour Gallery, Paris and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo. Her films have been screened at various festivals in international locations including: Centre Dramatique National, Nanterre, France; Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon; The Berlinale Short Film Competition; Hong Kong International Film Festival; Oberhausen Film Festival, Germany; Jakarta International Film Festival and London Film Festival. Rebet’s work appears in the public collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France and the Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine, France.

lookthenbelow 1080x610

Look Then Below

Look Then Below

Look Then Below

By Ben Rivers

UK, 2019, HD, color, sound, 22 min.

Los Angeles premiere!

Third in a suite of collaborations with science fiction author Mark von Schlegell that includes Slow Action (2011) and Urth (2016), Ben Rivers’ Look Then Below blends 16mm cinematography and computer-generated imagery to transform the areas in and around Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset, UK, into a new anthropocenic landscape, forever transformed and transforming. Vermillion skies, iridescent oceans, irradiated vegetation, and ruined ancient palaces lead the way to a subterranean space of glowing mystery. (Film at Lincoln Center)

Ben Rivers studied Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art, initially in sculpture before moving into photography and super8 film. After his degree he taught himself 16mm filmmaking and hand-processing. His practice as a filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction. Often following and filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society, the raw film footage provides Rivers with a starting point for creating oblique narratives imagining alternative existences in marginal worlds.

Silueta de Arena

By Ana Mendieta

1978, Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, color, silent, 1:33 min. 

Ana Mendieta Filmworks No. 65  (GP1930.2)

Another of Mendieta’s Siluetas, this time outlining the artist’s figure in sand on the beach.