LA Film Forum Logo

POSTPONED Pattern in Contemporary Film

POSTPONED Pattern in Contemporary Film

Maternal Fantasies, Maternal Fantasies: Field of Flowers (still), 2020. Courtesy of the artists.

POSTPONED Indefinitely due to concerns around COVID-19.  New date to be determined.

Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA Presents Pattern in Contemporary Film

Thursday, March 12, 7:00 pm. 

MOCA, Ahmanson Auditorium, 250 S Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

$15 general admission, $8 students with valid ID, $10 senior (65+); Free for MOCA and Los Angeles Filmforum Members.

Q&A with Jodie Mack, Brian O’Connell, and Charles Woodman after the screening

Inspired by the exhibition With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985, Pattern in Contemporary Film investigates the way pattern, decoration, and typically-domestic subject matter is used as material in contemporary film and digital media. This group show includes work by Charles Woodman, Brian O’Connell, the Maternal Fantasies artist collective, and Jodie Mack.

In "Pulse Generator Pastry", Charles Woodman, son of the artist Betty Woodman, repurposes patterns she prepared for ceramic sculptures as subjects for animation. The animation was deployed as an “attractor”, set up outside a 2016 gallery show of her work. Sculptor Brian O’Connell uses existing patterns – cycles of the moon and sun, chapter headings in an Italo Calvino book – to lend form and color to his 16mm film "Palomar". Maternal Fantasies, a nine-person German collective, produces tableaux vivants; based on classical or artwork references, these images are completely reconstituted to render a contemporary, poetic account of motherhood and care, “freed from the corset of generalization.” Finally, filmmaker Jodie Mack depicts an abstract landscape using trinkets and costume jewelry in her film "Something Between Us".  Curated by Kate Brown

Pattern in Contemporary Film reading list:

Lisa Baraitser: Enduring Time

Aram Boyajian: poems

Italo Calvino: Mr. Palomar

Hélène Cixous: The Laugh of the Medusa

Rachel Cusk: Lebenswerk (in German)

Sara Ruddick: Maternal Thinking - Toward a Politics of Peace

Adrienne Rich: Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

Cecile Starr and Robert Russett: Experimental Animation

Tickets: $15 general; $10 for seniors; $8 for students with ID; free for Filmforum and MOCA members. Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at   or at the door

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

OConnell PALOMARsmall



By Brian O’Connell

2015, 16mm, color, silent, 12 minutes

   “PALOMAR is a 16mm film approximately twelve minutes long. It is a colored document of a partial solar eclipse viewable from Southern California on October 23, 2014 and arose from an ongoing interest in the function of reflection and shadow in the production of an image and color. I filmed the eclipse using an adapted amateur telescope from Mount Wilson above L.A.
   “Working with a Hollywood color timer, I made a color negative from the black and white original. Each shot was colored according to the formal structure laid out in the index of Italo Calvino’s novel Mr. Palomar, encoding the themes of the novel with red, green, and blue light. There are 33 shots in the film, one for each chapter plus seven shots at the end to represent the index.”– Brian O’Connell

Mack SBU diamond1 smaller

Something Between Us

Something Between Us

By Jodie Mack

2015, 16mm, color, sound, 9.5 minutes

“A choreographed motion study for twinkling trinkets: costume jewelry and natural wonders join forces to perform plastic pirouettes, dancing a luminous lament until the tide comes in.” – Jodie Mack


Pulse Generator Pastry

Pulse Generator Pastry

By Charles Woodman

2016, digital, 7.5 minutes, black and white, silent

Pulse Generator Pastry is a collaboration with my mother, the ceramic artist Betty Woodman. Betty created the shapes, based on the forms she uses in her work. I animated those shapes and then used them as stencils in which both positive and negative spaces were filled with textures. The textures were created using a piece of analog audio test equipment called a pulse generator. The video was first shown in the store-front window at Salon 94 Gallery in NY, during Betty’s show there in Spring 2016. The video was designed as an ‘attractor,’ meant to encourage viewers in the street to enter the gallery. Somehow the rapper ASAP Ferg ended up shooting part of his music video for Let It Bang standing in front of the work.” – Charles Woodman

Woodman Drifting Checks smaller

Drifting Checks

Drifting Checks

By Charles Woodman

2019, digital, 1-minute, sound

Drifting Checks was made with material produced during a residency at Signal Culture in Owego, NY. The outputs from several different waveform generators were converted to video signals and then mixed together.  The results were then re-photographed off a video display.  This short piece was made specifically for the Then, What If? project.” (CW) As described on its website, Then, What If? “curated by Gene Gort and Ken Steen from an international call … is a collection of 60 video clips and 60 sound compositions that are 60 seconds in duration each, and are paired randomly using a Cageian model of indeterminacy with 3600 potential variations.” The MOCA iteration combines Woodman’s image with Connecticut-based composer Joseph Hayes’s score, “Cablestayed.” 

Woodman SHADOWBOX smaller



By Charles Woodman

2020, digital, 6.5 minutes, sound

LA Premiere!

Made as an optional set for the same dance it records, the film uses the forms of the dancers’ bodies as stencils or hold-out mats in a collaged moving image.

Shadowbox is a collaboration with the New York based choreographer Rachel Thorne Germond. Originally, two dancers were filmed against a white wall wearing black costumes. Those images were then used as stencils and footage of “sprinkles” (filmed by Rachel on her cell phone) were placed sometimes-inside and sometimes-outside those dancers. Those images underwent further re-combinations, occasionally doubling the number of dancers on the screen. The footage was then re-edited to the music of composer Fred Frith. The result is an explosion of color, pattern, and movement in which figure, ground and layers all become mixed together. Shadowbox will be presented in Manhattan this May in a version in which a video will be projected on top of live dancers on the stage.” – Charles Woodman

MaternalFantasies 03 field of flowers smaller

Suspended Time, on Caring

Suspended Time, on Caring

By Maternal Fantasies artist collective 

Members of the collective: Lena Chen, Mikala Hyldig Dal, Magdalena Kallenberger, Hanne Klaas, Maicyra Leao, Sandra Moskova, Aino El Solh, Isabell Spengler, Olga Sonja Thorarensen 

2020, digital, sound, 10 minutes

LA Premiere!

Suspended Time, on Caring (a work-in-progress) is a contemporary, poetic contemplation of the discourse on motherhood(s) in cinematic form. 

"As a Berlin-based feminist collective of nine female artists and their thirteen children, Maternal Fantasies challenges and disrupts the notion of ONE singular motherhood with its artistic and theoretical practice. 

"In their studio-based working sessions, the collective experiments with mixed procedures borrowed from feminist practices, activist movements, and the Surrealists avant-garde to produce fantastical situations that lie somewhere between the everyday, the historic, and the transgressive. Classic texts on feminist care ethics and maternal theory nourish the group’s artistic production, along with subjective, autobiographical experiences externalized in automatic writing sessions. The group transforms these writings into choirs and solos. Our production sets are simultaneously sites of social experimentation and performative notions of motherhood(s). Working with a rotation of authors, directors and performers, they develop scenes, tableaux vivants, and performances for camera according to project-specific, self-imposed rules regarding: image composition, duration, action, motion, costumes, location, aesthetics, and props. Filmed or photographed during group residencies in the countryside of Germany, the scenes are compiled into mixed media installations and film works. The ten-minute video presented tonight is a fragment of a longer essayistic video piece to be completed and premiered on May 2nd, 2020 as part of the Advancement Awardees exhibition of the Arthur-Boskamp foundation in Hohenlockstedt, Northern Germany.     

"In response to the hierarchical model of the singular artist/auteur, our working methods favor “rotational authorship” and interdisciplinary collaboration in order to highlight the diversity of perspectives while inserting and perceiving singular experience as a way of thinking with and thinking over. The collective deals with motherhood as a paradoxical social practice including ambivalent experiences in relation to affections and subjectivities, time and work, practice and discourse. 

"Through interactions between bodies, objects, and spaces, mothers and children re-re-re-assemble and turn maternal fantasies into playful experiences, personal narratives into social questions, and body dimensions into fields of interaction.” – Maternal Fantasies artist collective