Richly atmospheric, the films and installations of Chicago-based artist Melika Bass (MFA 2007) are populated by elusive figures whose enigmatic behavior suggest dark and troubling lives just beyond the screen. Working with a recurring group of performers, some of whom reappear as the same character in multiple films, Bass has developed an expansive approach to narrative: stories arc, abstract, and twist through different projects, revealing and complicating characters, relationships, and themes. She presents a selection of work from two recent and evolving projects, including Creature Companion, which features Selma Banich and Penelope Hearne engaged in a mysterious and sensual pas de deux inspired by the teachings of radical psychotherapist Wilhelm Reich. Bass also introduces a new episode in her ongoing project The Latest Sun is Sinking Fast, revisiting three isolated characters (Sarah Stambaugh, Bryan Saner, and Matthew Goulish) whose solitary habits slowly entwine.
2015-2017, USA, digital file, ca 60 min + discussion
Melika Bass in person
Melika Bass is a filmmaker and installation artist. Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2011); Comfort Station, Chicago (2012); Iceberg Projects, Chicago (2013); and the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago (2015). International screenings and exhibitions include BFI London Film Festival; Kino der Kunst, Munich; Torino Film Festival; CPH Dox Film Festival, Copenhagen. Other screenings include the Ann Arbor Film Festival; the Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York; and Anthology Film Archives, New York. She is a recipient of an Artadia Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival's Kodak/Filmcraft Award, an Experimental Film Prize from the Athens International Film Festival, and two Media Arts Fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council. Bass was one of a dozen international filmmakers commissioned by Icelandic band Sigur Ros to create an original film for their Valtari Mystery Film Experiment. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at SAIC.