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Still Moving: Cinema, Photography, and the Real

Still Moving: Cinema, Photography, and the Real

At the Hour of Tea, dir. Paul Sietsema, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery

Thursday May 10, 2018, 7:00 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum @ MOCA presents

Still Moving: Cinema, Photography, and the Real

At MOCA Grand Avenue, Ahmanson Theater, 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

Programmed by Kate Brown and Greg Cohen

Domietta Torlasco in Person!

Conceived in conjunction with the exhibition at MOCA Grand Ave., Real Worlds: Brassäi, Arbus, Goldin, this program offers a series of thought-provoking films and videos that operate between the still and the moving image. Employing diverse formal and conceptual means, these works by Johan van der Keuken, Paul Sietsema, and Domietta Torlasco tackle the complex status of the reproducible image as both document and invention, posing timely questions about the systems of knowledge and the construction of identity often associated with film and photography, whether analog or digital. Much as Brassäi, Diane Arbus, and Nan Goldin probed the limits of “documentary” photography—ultimately in order to expand them—these contemporary artists of the moving image pursue a commensurate challenge, looking beyond traditional observational approaches to “the real” to address the speculative and projective dimensions of film, video, and photography alike.

“ I, too, will one day pass, Sietsema suggests, as will all art, into an endless sequence of historical markers flattened, made equivalent and unmoored by increasing technological mediation.” — David Geers, “Paul Sietsema,” (Dec. 16, 2014)

“[Johan van der Keuken] took his campaign against the arrogance of omniscience further than any documentarist before or since. Not only did he refuse overt interpretation and explanation, but he also rejected the too tidy editorial decisions that went into the selection and shaping of a subject.” — Dave Kehr, New York Times (Dec. 5, 2006)

“In Torlasco’s work we are forced to confront those blind spots of our own viewing habits and, in so doing, see another side of our world that is one of productive life and hope, as much as it is one of suffering and sorrow.” — Graeme Stout, “The Displaced of Cinema: The Video Essays of Domietta Torlasco,”Crosscuts, Walker Art Center (Oct. 23, 2017)

Tickets: $15 general admission, $8 students with ID

FREE for MOCA & Los Angeles Filmforum members; must present current membership card to claim free tickets.

Tickets available in advance at

For more event information:, or 323-377-7238

Paul Sietsema (born 1968) lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been the subject of one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, the Kunsthalle Basel, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Monographs on Sietsema’s work have been published by the Kunsthalle Basel, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum. 

Johan van der Keuken (1938-2001) was a documentary filmmaker, writer, and photographer, based in Amsterdam. He published nine books on photography and film. His photographs were exhibited internationally, as were his over fifty films, which were shown at venues that include the Centre Pompidou, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Munich Film Museum.

Domietta Torlasco is a filmmaker, critical theorist, and associate professor at Northwestern University. In her video essays, Torlasco mixes fiction and documentary to explore the political stakes of a series of aesthetic operations—the framing of spaces, the tracing of borders, the delimitation of enclosures (domestic or otherwise), wherein people are asked to live together. Her pieces have screened at national and international venues, including the Galerie Campagne Première in Berlin and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Torlasco is also the author of two books that investigate cinema’s capacity to remember forgotten pasts and imagine alternative futures, The Time of the Crime: Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis, Italian Film (Stanford University Press, 2008) and The Heretical Archive: Digital Memory at the End of Film (University of Minnesota Press, 2013).


Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA furthers MOCA’s mission to question and adapt to the changing definitions of art and to care for the urgency of contemporary expression with bimonthly screenings of film and video organized and co-presented by Los Angeles Filmforum—the city’s longest-running organization dedicated to weekly screenings of experimental film, video, documentary, and animation.

Education Programs at MOCA, including Contemporary Art Start and Sunday Studio, and the MOCA Teen Program, are generously supported by The Hearst Foundations, Banc of California, MOCA Projects Council, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation, Edison International, Joseph Drown Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Satterberg Foundation, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, Michael Asher Foundation, The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, The Rhonda S. Zinner Foundation, The Winnick Family Foundation, and​ Pazia Bermudez-Silverman.

Los Angeles Filmforum is supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.

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At the Hour of Tea, dir. Paul Sietsema, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery

At the Hour of Tea

Directed by Paul Sietsema

U.S.A., 2013, 16mm, color, no sound, 17 mins.

At the Hour of Tea presents five sequences that explore configurations of found objects — including an envelope, a typewriter, coins, an inbox, Roman glassware — each following a structure that concludes with an image of a composed tableau. These sequences and objects offer historical analogues for modern processes of consumption, production, and communication: collecting, arranging, and recording. Throughout the sequences a text is revealed piece by piece, gradually describing a historical painting in modernist terms. (Matthew Marks Gallery)

vanderKeuken To Sang Fotostudio

To Sang Fotostudio

To Sang Fotostudio

Directed by Johan van der Keuken

Holland, 1997, 35mm transferred to DVD, black and white, sound 35 mins.

In To Sang Fotostudio, Johan van der Keuken records portrait photographer Li To Sang making studio photographs of business owners and workers on his street in Amsterdam. As much performance as document, the film centers on the ritual of photography, both moving and still. Through the film's construction, van der Keuken seems to question the contrivances of portraiture and documentary filmmaking alike. –Kate Brown/Greg Cohen

Torlasco SG library smaller

Sunken Gardens

Sunken Gardens

Directed by Domietta Torlasco

U.S.A., 2016, HDV, color, sound 19 mins.

An old roadside motel in Florida is revealed to be a prison for people in debt—the unemployed, the working poor, and the disenfranchised middle class. Part documentary, part fictional scenario, Sunken Gardens juxtaposes disparate materials—silent portraits, personal interviews, staged readings—to glimpse how lives are led in unseen quarters of our economic and justice systems. (Domietta Torlasco)