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A Blank Slate, screening, discussion and reception with Sara Eliassen, Stamatina Gregory and Alaina Claire Feldman
May 21 – 22, 2015

PARMER at Abrons Arts Center
466 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002

A character is passing time in a coastal town off-season. Slowly, the loneliness and alienation she experiences in the foreign town makes her enter an uncanny delusional realm that blurs the memory of her own experiences with that of female protagonists from film history.

The starting point for the film was a text by Murakami on a man re-telling a fantasy told him by a woman; an incident/ dream where the woman sees herself having sex with a stranger (man) through the window of her own hotel room. The film utilizes the loose narrative of a woman’s encounter with solitude in a foreign town, to reflect upon the gendered gaze in cinema and further point to how this has influenced the protagonist’s ability to experience herself as an active subject. Playing with cinematic expectations; the filmic language moves between open tableaux-based scenarios onto a more direct dialogue with references that the film seeks to engage with critically.

A Blank Slate Premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2014, and has since screened at Phi Arts Centre (Montreal), Fotogalleriet (Oslo), Cinemateket (Oslo), The Norwegian Int. Short Film Festival, Bergen International Film Festival and Unge Kunstneres Samfund (Oslo). The film has been acquired by Kadist Video Collection, and was also the starting point for The Pleasure and Politics of Looking: a international four-day seminar and screening series in Oslo that aimed to re-think how desire, intimacy, gender and politics are manifested in contemporary film arts.

Sara Eliassen is an artist and filmmaker based in Oslo, Norway. Her work is a conceptual cinema-practice where she is investigating how aesthetics and narratives presented in moving images create collective memories, and how these influence the understanding of our selves as subjects. Her work often plays with narrative expectations, using film, video, text, drawing, photography and installations in a critical practice. Eliassen’s work also involves projects in public space: the activist anti-ad project Not Worth It; making false TV-ads interfering with Norwegian public and commercial TV-channels. Eliassen holds an MFA in experimental filmmaking from San Francisco Art Institute and was a studio fellow at The Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in 2011. Her films Still Birds and A Blank Slate have played extensively at international film festivals, amongst them Venice Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam and Sundance.

7:00-9:00pm, Thursday, May 21
Screening and conversation with Sara Eliassen and Stamatina Gregory, Associate Dean at the School of Art at Cooper Union, reception to follow

Stamatina Gregory is an independent curator and critic based in New York. In 2005-2006 she participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program, and from 2007-2009 she was the Whitney Lauder Curatorial Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, where she organized five exhibitions including “Carlos Motta: The Good Life,” and “Tavares Strachan: Orthostatic Tolerance.” She has organized group exhibitions and public programs at venues including FLAG Art Foundation, New York; The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene; Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia; The Armory Show, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her recent retrospective of the work of New York photographer and activist Brian Weil (1954-1996) was recently on view at ICA in Philadelphia: the forthcoming catalog is published by Semiotext(e). She was Deputy Curator of the inaugural pavilion of The Bahamas at the 55th Venice Biennale, and her exhibition (co-curated with Andreas Stadler) “An I for an Eye: Counter-Representations of Geopolitical Conflict” is currently on view at the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York. A doctoral candidate at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, she writes on contemporary landscape photography, militarism, activism, and the media. She has written for publications including Art in America, ARTNews, and Modern Painters. She has taught art history, critical theory, and writing at Hunter and Baruch Colleges, CUNY, the University of Pennsylvania, and at the State University of New York, Purchase College, where she was visiting professor in 2011-2012. She is currently the Associate Dean at the School of Art at Cooper Union.

7:00-9:00pm, Friday, May 22
Screening and conversation with Sara Eliassen and Alaina Claire Feldman, Director of Exhibitions at Independent Curators International (ICI)

Alaina Claire Feldman is Director of Exhibitions at Independent Curators International (ICI) where she oversees a program of internationally traveling exhibitions of contemporary art. Her writing has appeared in Afterall, Flash Art, and Kaleidoscope as well as numerous catalogues. She has organized exhibitions, screenings, talks, and performances with artists and groups such as Chantal Akerman, BLESS, the Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir, DISBAND, Zackary Drucker, Coco Fusco, Jef Geys, Melanie Gilligan, Gran Fury, Robert Longo, Alvin Lucier, Allen Ruppersberg, Frances Scholz, Michael Smith, Stephen Vitiello, Martha Wilson and more. Feldman previously worked at May Revue and currently organizes Other Movies, an itinerant film club concerned with global feminism and the moving image.

* image: Sara Eliassen, still from A Blank Slate, 28 min, 2014, HD.

The New York premier of A Blank Slate at PARMER at Abrons Arts Center is generously supported by OCA, Office for Contemporary Art Norway.