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March 28, 2016

CFA Media Mixer 2016: Meet this Year’s Artists

Our annual video remix benefit is BACK this year with yet another amazing lineup of artists working together to create new video works out of digitized items in our vault. Right now, three extraordinary filmmakers are loading up with massive amounts of footage culled from the deepest corners of our collections – including some rare, little-seen gems and a few staff favorites – which they’ll edit, re-interpret, transform, and kick over to three of Chicago’s most imaginative musicians to score. Then, come June 9, you’re all invited to the Hideout to celebrate the world premiere of their collaborations, along with raffle prizes, auctions, and more. It’s CFA’s Media Mixer 2016!

This year’s artists (filmmakers listed first, followed by musician(s)) include:

Melika Bass + Coppice
jonCates + Jeff Kolar
Andrew Mausert-Mooney + Bobby Conn

More on this year’s artists…

THE FILMMAKERS:

Melika-Bass-©-Ray-Pride

Melika Bass is a filmmaker and installation artist currently living in Chicago. Bass is the recipient of an Artadia Award, two Media Arts Fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, the Kodak/Filmcraft Imaging Award from the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and an Experimental Film Prize from the Athens International Film Festival. In 2013, Bass was appointed the Pick-Laudati Artist in Residence at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, at Northwestern University. Screenings and exhibitions include the Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York; Kino der Kunst, Munich; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (solo exhibition, February 2011); Torino Film Festival, Italy; Anthology Film Archives, New York; Ann Arbor Film Festival; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; BFI London Film Festival; Athens International Film Festival; Segal Center for the Performing Arts, Montreal; Hamburg International Film Festival, Germany; and the Split Festival of New Film, Croatia. Her work has been profiled and reviewed in Filmmaker Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Bad at Sports, Art Daily, Rolling Stone Italy, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Pitchfork, and the Chicago Sun-Timeshttp://tenderarchive.com/

jonCates

jonCates works at the intersections of Noise and New Media. His projects are presented internationally in cities such as Aix-en-Provence, Austin, Berlin, Beijing, Boston, Cairo, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Linz, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, New York, Singapore, Vienna, Warsaw, Zagreb and widely available online via the Internet. His research and writings appear online in digital forms and physically in print publications from MIT Press, Gestalten, The Penn State University Press, Intellect and Unsorted Books. In 2005 he created the concept of Dirty New Media and is widely recognized as developing concepts, communities and discourses of the unstable arts now known as Glitch Art. http://systemsapproach.net

Andrew Mausert-Mooney

Andrew Mausert-Mooney is a Chicago-based artist working with 16mm film, video, performance and television. Andrew’s work has showed in festivals, galleries and exhibition series around the world including the American Film Institute, CineVegas, Chicago Underground, Gallery 400, Pleasure Dome and Other Cinema. He received his MFA from the University of Illinois-Chicago in the Spring of 2012. Currently Andrew is a co-director and station manager of ACRE TV, an artist-run livestream tele-vision network. https://vimeo.com/amm

 

THE MUSICIANS:

Coppice

Coppice is nexus. Since its foundation in 2009, Coppice has departed from bellows and electronics to create compositions, installations, discography, instruments, arrangements for performance, software, and sculptural objects. Drawing from its expanding glossary of study, they’re currently focused on expansions and emulations of their sonic foundations (in bellows and electronics) using a newly designed musical infrastructure that departs from physical modeled instruments and modular synthesis. Coppice is currently transitioning onto a new world of finer sonic illusions of digitally-seeded air, binary clocks, and impossible musical objects. Recordings of Coppice music have been made available by the following artist-run labels: Agxivatein (GR), caduc. (CA), Category of manifestation: (US), Close/Far (US), Consumer Waste (UK), Hideous Replica (UK), Notice Recordings (US), Pilgrim Talk (US), Quakebasket (US), Rhizome•s (FR), Senufo Editions (IT), and Triple Bath (GR). http://www.futurevessel.com/coppice

JeffKolar

Jeff Kolar is a sound artist, radio producer, and curator working in Chicago, USA. His work, described as “speaker-shredding” (Half Letter Press), “wonderfully strange” (John Corbett), and “characteristically curious” (Marc Weidenbaum), includes cross-platform collaboration, low-powered radio, and live performance. His work activates sound in unconventional, temporary, and ephemeral ways using appropriation and remix as a critical practice. His solo and collaborative projects, installations, and public performances often investigate the mundane sonic nuances of everyday electronic devices. Jeff is a free103point9 Transmission Artist and the Founder and Artistic Director of Radius, an experimental radio broadcast platform. His work has been comissioned by the Propeller Fund, a re-granting agency of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and free103point9, a re-granting agency of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Arts Council. He has given lectures, performed, and exhibited widely across the United States, and at international venues and festivals. http://jeffkolar.us

BobbyConn

Bobby Conn is an avant-garde, pop-rock musician and longtime staple of the Chicago scene. Since beginning his career in the late 1980s, Bobby has a developed a reputation for outlandish and exciting performances that emphasize the theatricality of musical art. Not content to work alone, he is also known for his extensive collaborations on stage and record that draw in musicians across all genres and stylings. (Another fun fact: Bobby played live at our second Media Mixer event in 2013, though this is the first time he’s created a piece for us!) https://facebook.com/thebobbyconn

More on Bobby Conn via AllMusic:

The once self-proclaimed antichrist Bobby Conn is in a league all his own when it comes to performing live as well as creating his tongue-in-cheek chameleon-like pop that genre-hops with a decadent flair. Conn got his start playing guitar in the Chicago prog rock trio Conducent in 1989; by 1994 the group called it quits and Conn went solo. Conn received attention quickly in the Windy City’s live circuit for his outlandish live shows that verged on performance art and theater. Whether dressed as a priest, wearing mud on his face, or just dishing out hugs and kisses to unsuspecting fans, Conn defiantly didn’t go unnoticed. His first lineup consisted of ex-Conducent member DJ Le Deuce on turntables, as well as Julie Pomerleau (aka Monica BouBou) on electric violin.

In 1995 and 1996 Conn released two EPs, then in 1997 he released his self-titled debut album on the Truck Stop label, but it was 1998′s Rise Up! LP that extended Conn’s musical palette and got music fans outside of Chicago to take notice. Then in 1999, Conn released the Llovessonngs EP (on Chicago independent label Thrill Jockey), which showcased the hilarious French disco tune “Virginia.” Into the millennium, Conn released The Golden Age and toured with the support of the Glass Gypsies, featuring Pomerleau/BouBou on organ as well as guitarist Sledd, keyboardist Pearly Sweets, bassist Nick Macri, and drummer Colby Starck. Released in 2004, Homeland cast a satirical gaze at America and the war in Iraq, while 2007′s King for a Day tackled fantasy, celebrity, and the media. Rise Up! was reissued just in time for Conn’s 2011 tour playing the album in its entirety. For his 2012 full length Macaroni, Conn formed backing band The Burglars from some of Chicago’s leading players. The Burglars included long time drummer Josh Johannpeter (also active in Lazer Crystal and Mahjongg) as well as keyboardist Jon Steinmeier and bassist Jim Cooper of The Detholz. 

Again, we hope to see you on Thursday, June 9 at the Hideout! Head on over to the event page for more information! http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org/current-events/5th-annual-cfa-media-mixer

March 11, 2016

The arrival of the Kinetta Archival Film Scanner

Amy here. I arrived at CFA two months ago to serve as Digital Collections Manager. One of the cardinal reasons I was brought onto the CFA team was to help guide a refining and expansion of the archive’s digital initiatives, with the Kinetta Archival Film Scanner being a big part of the initiative. As we awaited the arrival of the scanner, I took the time to familiarize myself with the digital collection and how it’s currently organized.

CFA’s current digital collection is largely comprised of standard definition video files that act as surrogates for access to films in the archive. Many of the files have been generated by digitizing our films with our Tobin telecine machines and processed using various video editing softwares; tools which have been integral to our client services and internal operations for years. The few high definition video files that exist in CFA’s digital collection have been acquired from vendors that have processed our preservation works, partly thanks to grants funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF). CFA puts a huge emphasis on access, and although providing access to moving image film is the archive’s focus, providing access to films via digital media has been a crucial and realistic action for our operation. As I rifled through the archive’s various digital storage drives and digital metadata in the database, I got a clear impression that CFA was absolutely ready to formalize and intensify their digital collection holdings.

And then the Kinetta film scanner arrived. And we turned it on. And we ran a film through it that showed up so sharp on the monitor that it made us catch our breath. We were definitely not looking at a film anymore, but we were looking at a gorgeous interpretation of a film.

The Kinetta, a creation developed by Jeff Kreines, was made with an archival environment in mind. The scanner can accommodate the handling of a film in healthy condition, and it can handle a film that has been beaten up and shrunken. CFA has films that fall into both of those categories and every category in between. Jeff sat with the staff for a week to help us acclimate to the new equipment, new related softwares, and new file creation capabilities. Jeff knows film, and has made digital technology its true complement with the scanner.

jeff_scanner

Jeff at the controls

So, now that we have the Kinetta, what does this mean for CFA? This means new things in the face of preservation and access. In terms of preservation, CFA will absolutely continue photochemically preserving films in our collection whenever possible. In the event that we don’t have the financial support to preserve a film photochemically, we now have the capability to create a digital video file that can act as a preservation element. When we come up against a film in our collection that can no longer survive physical handling, we can scan it and preserve its contents via digital video file. In terms of access, we can now create digital elements that comply with a wider range of screening venues, especially venues that don’t support film projection. We also have gained the capability to capture a digital image from a film at a resolution that far surpasses the visual quality of the standard definition files that make up our current digital collection. Therefore, not only can we provide access to our films in more locations, but we can also provide access to details of our films that we could have never seen so clearly as we can now.

What does the Kinetta mean for our stock footage, transfer, and rental clients? More digital output options, crisper images, and the possibility to obtain preservation files of their own work. Essentially, new things in the face of preservation and access for them too.

What doesn’t the Kinetta mean? It does not mean that we will scan everything in our collection – obtaining digital storage to accommodate such a project is not within CFA’s reach, and we consider film a more stable format than digital files. It does not mean that our main focus will shift away from film – we will exhibit film when we can exhibit film, and we will preserve films photochemically when we can. The scanner is meant to support our films, not replace them.

The arrival of the scanner is the sort of the beacon of change for CFA. We are taking our time to learn the equipment and new software to ensure that our operators have a firm grip on it. We are developing a solid new workflow for digitizing our collection items. We are developing a realized set of scanner services for our stock, transfer, and film rental clients. We are taking time to fully understand and implement the expansion and security of our digital initiatives, which encompasses realistic and safe digital storage methods as well as a review of digital file organizational methods and metadata collection. We are brainstorming how the scanner will affect our future screenings and grant proposals. We are getting new furniture. It’s a lot. And it’s awesome.

People and entities who have helped us get to this point are Jeff Kreines and Tom Aschenbach, the DEW Foundation and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Many many thanks. We are so grateful. We would also like to thank the MacArthur Foundation for acknowledging this new milestone as one of the reasons to award CFA sustenance funds.

Because all this awesome stuff comes along with getting the scanner, we are aiming to offer client services for it by summertime. We want to be truly ready for you. So please sit tight for a little longer. We’ll keep you posted. We are excited.

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