The Celestial Library

The Celestial Library:
Films by Jeanne Liotta

"A symphony for the senses." Sense of Cinema

Los Angeles premieres
Jack H. Skirball Screening Series

This ravishing program is an ode to the void, the stars in their courses, and the shifting earth below. New York avant-garde filmmaker and installation artist Jeanne Liotta is known for work -- both found and made -- that embraces the sensuousness of natural phenomena as much as the physical aspects of her chosen media. She is on hand for a selection of recent films and multiple projection pieces -- including the short Eclipse (2005, 3:30 min., 16mm), last seen at the Whitney Biennial. Using the otherworldly luminosity of Super 8 Kodachrome to great effect, this gem of a film beholds a lunar eclipse from a New York City rooftop.

In Person Jeanne Liotta

Artist’s Notes

With film and video areasis the main staple of my exhibition history, I have maintained a strong photographic practice, and have worked with live projection performances, curatorial projects, and on the web. My work is essentially non-narrative, conceptual, and always visually experimental. My current project, “Observando el Cielo,” encompasses a constellation of mediums in an Emersonian framework at the intersection of art, science, and natural philosophy.

Investigating the cosmic landscape, Eclipse was conceived in the spirit of Aristotle’s Lyceum. The Greek philosopher had founded the school to study natural phenomena without the aid of mathematics – which he deemed too “perfect” for this imperfect terrestrial sphere. In the same spirit of human fallibility I have undertaken to look into the Universe as anyone may know it through mundane observation, the patient gathering of starlight onto light-sensitive materials, and the sifting and decoding of the daily newspapers and archival material defining the popular scientific imagination… As Aristotle points out, what we are in fact witnessing during a lunar eclipse is ourselves in space, and this can even be seen with a Super 8 camera.

I refer to my films of the night sky as “16mm celestial field recordings” to reinforce their non-fiction status… This work is not metaphor but document. Even that light which traveled so far and so long to reach us makes its mark directly upon the emulsion…

The subject of my work is perception itself, though it is variously manifested through attention to landscape, pure abstraction, the body in space, cinema itself, or, in “Observando El Cielo,” with systems such as Science. This extends into the found film and historical/educational footage, as testimonials to the limits of our understanding at any given time. The world itself is something we find, over and over again, and interpret it each time in a different way. Within the “Observando El Cielo” project I have a short video series titled “Science’s 10 Most Beautiful” (from a poll of physicists published in the New York Times) and a DVD loop installation using archival NASA footage called ‘What We As Humans Trying Fallibly Forever’. I am presenting a screening of the project-so-far under the title “The Celestial Library.”

About the filmmaker
Jeanne Liotta was born and raised in NYC where she originally studied theatre at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts before becoming immersed in various collective art and music collaborations during the late 1980s. Since then she has worked mainly in film and other ephemera including video, photography, works on paper and projection performances. Her work has been screened at The Whitney Museum of American Art, The New York Film Festival, The New York Video Festival, KunstFilm Biennale, Cologne ArtFair, The Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Pacific Film Archives, Anthology Film Archives, and The Museum of Modern Art and has been broadcast on The Sundance Channel and PBS Reel New York. She has received grants from The Museum of Contemporary Cinema, The Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, the Experimental Television Center, and. MacDowell Colony Fellow 2002.

Jeanne Liotta is also a curator (Firefly Cinema at the 6th and B Community Garden, and Proteus Gowanus Gallery Library Exhibit). She has taught in various institutions including The Museum School in Boston, The New School University, Pratt Institute in New York, The San Francisco Art Institute, and is on the faculty of the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College, She is a researcher , scholar, and traveling lecturer for The Joseph Cornell Film Collection at Anthology Film Archives.

The Jack H. Skirball Screening Series is curated by Steve Anker and Bérénice Reynaud.

Associated Images: 

MON 2/12
8:00 pm

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff