Conversations at the Edge (CATE) Returns to the Big Screen Thursday, September 19

Conversations at the Edge (CATE)—the screening and visiting artist series organized by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation (FVNMA) in collaboration with the Video Data Bank and the Gene Siskel Film Center—returns to the big screen Thursday, September 19 with a visit from pioneering Mexican video artist Ximena Cuevas. The complete schedule for this newest season is available below and on the web with presenter interviews, preview videos, critical reviews, and more at

Cuevas, the first Mexican video artist ever collected by the Museum of Modern Art, will screen a selection of work from the past decade in celebration of the Video Data Bank’s release of her retrospective box-set, Half-Lies: The Video Works of Ximena Cuevas. Her videos have shown widely in exhibitions and screenings including the New York Film Festival, Sundance, the Berlin International Film Festival, and the Montreal International Film Festival.

Additional highlights include a rare joint appearance from filmmaker Takahiko Iimura and Tokyo-based sound artist Tomomi Adachi on September 26. Artist, animator, and author Erin Cosgrove visits on October 3, followed by Austrian artist and visiting SAIC faculty member Kurt Hentschläger on October 10. Curator Pablo Marín explores the history of Argentine experimental film on October 17, showcasing a number of works never before seen in the US. Pittsburgh-based artist Brett Kashmere previews his new film From Deep on October 24, followed by a visit from experimental animator, filmmaker, and SAIC alumna Jodie Mack (MFA 2007) on October 31. Media artist Jennifer Chan investigates the relation between body and the screen in contemporary performance and web-based video on November 7, followed by a special preview of SAIC faculty member Tirtza Even’s feature-length documentary Natural Life on November 17.

FVNMA Department Chair Jon Cates notes, "A spectrum of approaches to experimental Media Art makes Conversations At the Edge a literal meeting place for a series of investigations into the making of meanings and changing cultures."

All programs take place Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 North State Street, unless otherwise noted. Full schedule and program descriptions are below and at

$11 general admission, $7 students, $6 GSFC members
$4 Art Institute of Chicago staff and SAIC faculty and staff
FREE to SAIC students with a valid school ID
All tickets may be purchased at the Film Center Box Office. Both general admission and Film Center member tickets are also available through Ticketmaster, 800.982.2787,, and all Ticketmaster outlets.

For more information about the Gene Siskel Film Center, visit or call 312.846.2800 (24-hour movie hotline) or 312.846.2600 (general information, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Monday–Friday).

Program Details:

Thursday, September 19, 6:00 p.m.
An Evening With Ximena Cuevas
Ximena Cuevas in person
(2003–10, Mexico, multiple formats, ca 75 min + discussion)

Pioneering Mexican video artist Ximena Cuevas creates smart, playful works that mix performance, autobiography, and mass-media’s excesses to explore national identity, celebrity star worship, and life’s everyday melodramas. She returns to CATE after more than a decade to celebrate the Video Data Bank’s recent release of her retrospective box set Half-Lies. Cuevas screens a selection of her latest videos, including the 2010 experimental biography, Marina Abramovic, From Tuesday to Friday in which she follows Abramovic as the artist prepares for her first exhibition in Mexico. Co-presented by the Video Data Bank.

Ximena Cuevas (b. 1963, Mexico City, Mexico) studied film at the New School for Social Research and Columbia University in New York City. Her videos have been exhibited at Sundance and the New York, Berlin, and Montreal Film Festivals, and are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Thursday, September 26, 6:00 p.m.
Tomomi Adachi and Takahiko Iimura: Films and Performances
Tomomi Adachi and Takahiko Iimura in person
(1962–2013, Japan/USA, multiple formats, ca 90 min + discussion)

In a rare joint appearance, filmmaking luminary Takahiko Iimura and Tokyo-based sound artist Tomomi Adachi present an evening of films and performances. Since the early 1960s, Iimura has been renowned for his groundbreaking films and videos, ranging from surreal underground narratives to elegant explorations of time and perception, many produced with performance artists and avant-garde composers. Adachi has garnered similar acclaim for his work with voice, electronics, and self-made instruments. The two will present four of Iimura’s early films, a series of Adachi’s works, including the Chicago premiere of the ten-voice Song for Everyone, and a new collaboration for film, voice, and electronics. Co-presented by the experimental music series Lampo with support by SAIC’s Department of Sound.

Takahiko Iimura (b. 1937, Tokyo, Japan) is a pioneering figure in the world of experimental and underground cinema in the United States and Japan. His work spans film, video, and computer art and has been exhibited widely, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; among many others. He currently divides his time between New York and Tokyo.

Tomomi Adachi (b. 1972, Kanazawa, Japan) is a performer, composer, sound poet, installation artist, and theater director, working in voice, live electronics, and self-made instruments. Adachi has presented works around the world, including at the Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Museum of Art Osaka; La Mama Theatre Melbourne; among others. He lives in Tokyo and Berlin.

Thursday, October 3, 6:00 p.m.
Erin Cosgrove: What Manner of Person Art Thou?
Erin Cosgrove in person
(2008–12, USA, multiple formats, ca 75 min + discussion)

Los Angeles–based artist, animator, and author Erin Cosgrove mixes pop culture and a range of historical references—Fabio, the Baader-Meinhof gang, America’s founding fathers, Bible fan fiction—to offer dark and often wickedly funny critiques of contemporary political culture, particularly the role of history and religion. Cosgrove screens a selection of recent shorts alongside her 2008 tour-de-force animated feature, What Manner of Person Art Thou? Drawn in the style of a medieval tapestry, the film relates the twisted tale of Elijah Yoder and Enoch Troyer, true-believers whose faith puts them at odds with modern society.

Erin Cosgrove (b. 1969, St. Paul, MN) has exhibited her work at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Printed Matter, New York; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; among others. In 2008 she received a Creative Capital Film Grant and in 2004 was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

Thursday, October 10, 6:00 p.m.
Kurt Hentschläger
Kurt Hentschläger in person
(2003–12, multiple countries, multiple formats, ca 60 min + discussion)

An evening with Austrian artist (and SAIC visiting faculty) Kurt Hentschläger whose work explores human perception through intricate, multi-sensorial environments and live, audiovisual performances. Renowned for his immersive installations, the majority of Hentschläger’s works are generated or orchestrated by computer, employing atmospheric and drone soundscapes, figurative visuals, and strobe lights. He provides an overview of his practice and a live demonstration of his sophisticated real-time process.

Kurt Hentschläger (b. 1960, Linz, Austria) began his career building surreal machine-objects before turning to video, computer animation, and sound. Selected exhibitions include the Venice Biennial;the Venice Theater Biennial; National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; PS1 New York; and Creative Time, Inc., New York; among many others. He is a visiting artist at SAIC and lives in Chicago.

Thursday, October 17, 6:00 p.m.
Ghost Anthology: A History of Argentine Experimental Film
Curator Pablo Marín in person
(1976–2013, Argentina, Super-8mm, ca 75 min + discussion)

Organized by Buenos Aires-based filmmaker and curator Pablo Marín, Ghost Anthology charts an eye-opening course through the last 40 years of Argentina’s rugged experimental film history, showcasing a collection of films rarely exhibited in the US. The movement exploded in the 1970s, just as the country came under the control of a military dictatorship. Forced underground, artists experimented with small, consumer-grade film cameras and developed informal collectives to produce collaborative, deeply personal, and formally dazzling works. Included here are films by such pivotal makers as Narcisa Hirsch, Horacio Vallereggio, Jorge Honik, Gabriel Romano, and Claudio Caldini, as well as contemporary artists Sergio Subero, and Pablo Mazzolo, among others.

Pablo Marín (1982, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a filmmaker, curator, and scholar. His works have been featured at the London, Oberhausen, and Rotterdam Film Festivals; Austrian Film Museum, Vienna; Anthology Film Archives, New York; and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; among others. He has presented programs of Argentine films throughout Europe and curated the DVD Dialéctica en suspenso: Argentine Experimental Film and Video, published by Antennae Collection. He writes about the history of Argentine experimental film on his website, La Región Central ( He lives and works in Buenos Aires.

Thursday, October 24, 6:00 p.m.
Brett Kashmere: From Deep
Brett Kashmere in person
Special preview
(2013, USA, HD Video, ca 85 min + discussion)

Pittsburgh-based artist Brett Kashmere presents a special preview of From Deep, which looks at basketball and its profound role in American life—as an everyday street game played by millions around the country; a force in fashion, music, and mass media; and a platform for broader issues of race and class. Drawing his imagery from neighborhood pick-up games, contemporary films, music videos, and spectacular sports footage, Kashmere charts a history of the game over the last century, including its rapid cultural rise in the 1980s.

Brett Kashmere (b. 1977, Saskatchewan, Canada) is a filmmaker, curator, and writer. His experimental documentaries have screened at festivals, microcinemas, cinematheques, and galleries around the world. His curatorial projects include the touring expanded cinema installation and DVD-format catalog, Industry: Recent Works by Richard Kerr and the touring retrospective Arthur Lipsett: About Time. Kashmere is also the founding editor and publisher of INCITE Journal of Experimental Media and his writing on film has appeared in The Canadian Journal of Film Studies and Millennium Film Journal, among many others.

Thursday, October 31, 6:00 p.m.
Jodie Mack: Let Your Light Shine
Jodie Mack in person
(2013, USA, multiple formats, ca 80 min + discussion)

Jodie Mack’s handmade films are vibrant examinations of the decorative detritus that accumulates around us. With cast-off bits of wrapping paper, calico fabrics, and magazine clippings, she crafts exquisite stroboscopic abstractions and poignant fables of the pitfalls of modern materiality. The SAIC alumna returns to Chicago with a special show featuring four brand-new shorts, live songs, and the city’s premiere of Dusty Stacks of Mom: The Poster Project (2013). An animated-personal-essay-cum-rock-opera, the film adapts the music of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to meditate on the demise of her mother’s mail order poster business in the face of e-commerce’s rise.

Jodie Mack (b. 1983, London, UK) is an experimental animator whose work has screened at Anthology Film Archives, Los Angeles Filmforum, and the Rotterdam and New York Film Festivals, among others. She received her MFA from SAIC in 2007 and teaches at Dartmouth College.

Thursday, November 7, 6:00 p.m.
Now: The Body and the Screen
Curator Jennifer Chan in person
(1973–2013, multiple countries, multiple formats, ca 60 min + discussion)

In the early days of video, artists explored the camera’s influence on the way we understand ourselves by mixing performance and the medium’s capacity for instantaneous playback. In a seminal example Lynda Benglis directed, questioned, and even kissed a screen image of her own self in the 1973 video Now. Forty years later, video art has become a hybrid practice that spans from performance-for-the-webcam to online remixes. Curated by new media artist Jennifer Chan, this program extends Now’s concerns into the era after the internet, showcasing politicized, carnal videos by artists Alexandra Gorczynski, Georges Jacotey, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Faith Holland, Eduardo Menz, Ei Jane Janet Lin, and more.

Jennifer Chan (b. 1988, Ottawa, Canada) works with video, performance, and web-based media. Recent solo exhibitions include the Marshall McLuhan Salon in the Embassy of Canada in Berlin for Transmediale 2013 and Vox Populi, Philadelphia. Her curatorial projects have appeared at Trinity Square Video, VTape, and InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Center. Her writing has been published in West Space Journal, Rhizome, Networked_Performance (, Art F City, and Junk Jet. She is a recipient of the 2008 Mississauga Art Awards for Emerging Visual Talent.

Thursday, November 14, 6:00 p.m.
Tirtza Even: Natural Life
Tirtza Even in person
Special Preview!
(2013, USA, digital file, ca 85 min + discussion)

For more than 15 years, video artist and documentary filmmaker Tirtza Even has created a body of work that addresses an array of complex social and political issues in Palestine, Turkey, Spain, Germany, and the US. Her latest project, Natural Life, is a feature-length documentary about six individuals who, as youths, received the most severe sentence given to convicted adults—“natural life” or life without parole. Pairing interviews with inmates and those involved in their cases (family members, attorneys, police officers, and victims) with documented and staged scenes, Even’s film is an elegant and unflinching challenge to the inequities of the juvenile justice system.

Tirtza Even (b.1963, Jerusalem, Israel) is a video artist and documentary filmmaker based in Chicago. Her work has appeared widely at international festivals, galleries, and museums. She is an Associate Professor in SAIC’s Film, Video, New Media, and Animation department.

Image credit: Still from Natural Life (Tirtza Even, 2013) courtesy of the artist.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
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Download Release (printer-friendly version): Fall 2013 Conversations at the Edge.

Still from "Natural Life" (Tirtza Even, 2013) courtesy of the artist.

Press/Media contact

Bree Witt
P: 312.499.4211 (office)