Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two free programs on Saturday spotlight the work of Vivian Maier and speculative designers

Posted By on 06.27.13 at 04:11 PM

Vivian Maiers photography is the subject of a South Side Projections event this Saturday.
  • Russell Bowman Art Advisory
  • Vivian Maier's photography is the subject of a South Side Projections event this Saturday.
There are two noteworthy film-related events happening around town this Saturday night. At 8 PM Black Cinema House will host a program called Radical Speculation, a collection of short films on speculative design, critical design, and design fiction. To quote the program notes: "Largely non-commercial, these tendencies question the simplistic emotional and psychological assumptions that underlay normative, mainstream 20th-century design culture. Increasingly, speculative designers use cinematic space as a tool to explore alternate proposals that provoke and engage complexity." I'm not exactly sure what that means, but the shorts sound interesting all the same, particularly those by someone named Noam Toran. His Object for Lonely Men (2011) is evidently about a man constructing "a tray that reflects the physical language" of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless; and his Desire Management (2006) is "a film comprising five sequences in which objects are used as vehicles for dissident behavior."

Across town at the Jane Addams Hull House (and starting at 7 PM), South Side Projections and the University of Illinois at Chicago will present several works by or about Vivian Maier. Maier's recently exhumed photographs (most of them taken in Chicago between the 1950s and 70s) constitute a major discovery. I was blown away by the exhibition of her still images at the Chicago History Museum, and I'm curious to see how her eight-millimeter home movies on Saturday's program reflect her distinct sensibility. Local filmmaker Tom Palozzolo, UIC photography professor Silvia Malagrino, and Mike Bullis of Vivian Maier Photography will be in attendance to discuss her work; a short film about Maier by Palozzolo and Bullis will screen as well. As we're still getting acquainted with Maier's remarkable collection (roughly 140,000 photographs, by one estimate), this event should provide some useful navigational tools.

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