Every second Sunday near the Temescal Art Center, you will see anywhere from fifteen to fifty people file into a dark room with hushed tones, curious glances, and knowing smiles. While you wait for your pupils to dilate, you can sip on a delicious beverage, often donated by Linden Street Brewery or home-brewed by Gilbert Guerrero himself. (The last one, I heard, was a blackberry wheat with hops and berries from his own garden. I was partial to his jalapeno saison myself.) Then the lights go dim, a projector reel whirrs, and you’re ready to explore a unique installation of “Expanded Cinema,” a term that encompasses a wide range of exploratory practices that transgress the boundaries separating media.
Shapeshifters Cinema is a monthly series curated by Gilbert Guerrero and Kathleen Quillian, both long time participants in the Bay Area media arts community with close ties to Artists’ Television Access, San Francisco Cinematheque, the Illuminated Corridor and Temescal Street Cinema. All programs in the Shapeshifters series feature “live cinema,” which means some part of the presented work is expected to be created live, with a certain element of improvisation. This might include a score or sound track created live from composed or found material, the manipulation of imagery as it is projected, live interaction with audio or visuals, or any number of other possible actions. In this way, each Shapeshifters presentation is a unique experience, for both artist and audience.
“There are so many good video artists around, now it’s just about getting out there and seeing work.” The Bay Area is known for its strong experimental, avant-garde film and video culture, something that Guerrero says inspired Shapeshifters. And now thanks to Gilbert and Kathleen, they’re bringing these artists to North Oakland.
The next Shapeshifters Cinema takes place December 8th with the work of Alex MacKenzie, a Vancouver-based media artist working primarily with 16mm analog film equipment and hand-processed imagery. “Inspired by the work and thought of 1940s, marine scientist Ed Ricketts, and the technical approach of French filmmaker Jean Painleve in the same era, INTERTIDAL presents a submersive exploration of the tidal zones and marine life off the shores of Western Canada. Using both camera and non-camera approaches, this performance-based work, presented on two analytic 16mm projectors, speaks to the fragility of both the film medium and the marine environment explored. A project of process through exploration, INTERTIDAL is a marine ecology for emulsion: teeming and tenuous, fleeting and alive.”
Shapeshifters Cinema takes place the second Sunday of every month, from 8 to 9 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) at Temescal Art Center in North Oakland. Shows are free, beverages are often provided, and donations are warmly received.
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