SURFACE KNOWLEDGE centers on the tension between surface and depth in various realms of experience. In her Life of the Mind, Hannah Arendt writes about "the appearing world" as it is traditionally contrasted with interior life, a duality that calls up the long, problematic division between body and mind in the history of Western thought. Our contemporary moment, with its deluge of screens and data, confronts us with new versions of this elemental divide between what is immediately perceived, and what lies beyond it.
Through over 25 short films from the US, Brazil, France, Iran, Morocco, and elsewhere, this 20th season of Flaherty NYC meditates on the surface and superficial, probing the layers that outer forms hold - and hide. Each night looks at a different mode of epistemology and means of grasping the visible world, from optical systems of classification to the reflective pool of Narcissus. The series aims to destabilize this divide between outer and inner, evident and abstract, and consider our relation with the external layers of reality as binding, revealing, and formative.
Conceived as a space of experimentation, SURFACE KNOWLEDGE proposes several performative interventions, such as visual lecture, performance for the screen, discussion, live narration and music. The program includes cross-generational conversations between films from the origin of cinema to recent works, and features several artists in person including Joan Jonas, the opening night guest of honor on Oct 5, and visiting Iranian filmmaker Maryam Tafakory who has been awarded the Colgate/Global Flaherty filmmaker residency, on Nov 4. Film historian Jennifer Peterson presents on archival nature films and their relevance to the present moment on Oct 28, architectural historian Daniel Paul lectures on the history of mirror glass architecture as a defining feature of Los Angeles on Nov 18, and Ellie Ga performs her live narration Eureka, A Lighthouse Play on researching the actual appearance of the lighthouse of Alexandria on Dec 2. Other in-person guests include Yto Barrada, Zachary Epcar, Felipe Meres, and Joshua Gen Solondz.
SURFACE KNOWLEDGE is a six-part series that runs from October 5 - December 14, 2019. The opening and closing nights (on October 5 and December 14) take place at Metrograph. The other four nights will be at Anthology Film Archives.
SERIES DATES & IN PERSON APPEARANCES
WHAT THE GREEKS CALL---- - Anthology Film Archives
(Ellie Ga and Felipe Meres in person)
In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Co-presented with Cabinet Magazine.
Mon, Dec 2 at 7pm
CLOSING NIGHT - METROGRAPH
(Guest artists announcement coming soon!)
Sat, Dec 14 at 7pm
Still: Joan Jonas, Organic Honey's Visual Telepathy, 1972. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.
Courtney Stephens is a filmmaker and programmer based in Los Angeles. Her non-fiction and experimental films have appeared at NYFF, SXSW, Hong Kong, Dhaka, Mumbai, and San Francisco International Film Festivals, DokuFest, Onion City, Orphans Film Symposium, The Exploratorium, and elsewhere. For the past five years she has co-programmed the Los Angeles microcinema Veggie Cloud, and guest-curated programs at Union Docs, The Getty, Museum of the Museum Image, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and was recently named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine.
Mathilde Walker-Billaud is a curator and cultural producer based in New York City. She worked as an editor, programmer and manager for Centre National de la Danse, company nora chipaumire, Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, UnionDocs, and Villa Gillet (a center for fiction and non-fiction based in Lyon, France). Walker-Billaud programs and hosts at UnionDocs an ongoing interdisciplinary series of events about spectatorship entitled "What You Get Is What You See." Her writing and voice have appeared in BOMB Magazine and the podcast Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything.