The Media Mixer is a popular annual event wherein CFA arranges three “blind dates” between local audio and visual media artists who have never previously worked together. These newly acquainted artists are commissioned to create unique works using footage and sounds from CFA’s film collection. This year’s event will be hosted by Amy Beste, curator of Conversations at the Edge over at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, and the Director of Public Programs and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is also a member of CFA’s Board.
More on this year’s artists:
Chicago-based artist Jean Sousa has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and is the recipient of two Artist Fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and a Regional Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She was a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome in 2014 and 2017. Awards include a Fellowship for residency at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Cliff Dwellers Fellowship for Artist Residency at Ragdale, a Professional Artist in Residence at Oxbow in Saugatuck, Michigan, and an Artist Residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland.
Sousa works primarily in photography and film and her work has been exhibited at the Southeast Museum of Photography, San Francisco Camerawork, The Union League Club, the Illinois State Museum, Chicago Gallery, the Hunter Museum of American Art, and the Rockford Art Museum among other venues. Her films have screened at Anthology Film Archives in New York, the London Filmmakers Cooperative, Collectif Jeune Cinéma in Paris, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Cinematheque in San Francisco, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Her experimental films are in the Canyon Cinema Foundation Collection and are currently part of their 50th Anniversary Touring Program.
Kioto Aoki is a Chicago-based artist whose visual art practice includes photography, film, books, and installations to engage the material specificity of the analogue image and image-making process. Using the nuances of time, space, form, light and motion, her work explores different modes of perception as it relates to the space between the still and the moving image, as well as the human body within the device of the photographic frame. Curatorial projects include the ongoing Chicago Obihiro Exchange Project, an initiative to cultivate international dialogue between contemporary artists from the Tokachi Region in Japan and Chicago.
As a musician, Kioto is a taiko artist while also specializing in tsuzumi and shamisen. Performing professionally on stage since the age of 7, she has been carrying on the lineage of the Tokyo performing arts family –Toyoakimoto. She is active within the experimental and creative music communities in Chicago and the Bay Area. Kioto leads Tsukasa Taiko, the Japanese drumming program at Asian Improv aRts Midwest.
She has exhibited in Chicago, Berlin, Lost Angeles, San Francisco, London and Japan. Her work is held in the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Library. Musical projects include Yoko Ono’s SKYLANDING, Tatsu Aoki’s The MIYUMI Project, The Reduction Ensemble, and the Taiko Legacy / Reduction series at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Kioto is also a multi-year Ethnic and Folk Arts Master Apprentice Program Awardee from the Illinois Arts Council.
Jiayi Chen is an artist born in Chongqing, China, and is currently based in Chicago. She works in hand-processed film, video, installation, and photography. She is interested in language, instructions, and correspondence. Her work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, as well as local film festivals at the Nightingale Cinema amongst other venues.
Photo taken by David Silverman
Ronnie Kuller is a composer and multi-instrumentalist who has composed for Chicago-based arts organizations including the Bach and Beethoven Experience, Theater Oobleck, Mucca Pazza, the Actor’s Gym, the Neo-Futurists, and Opera-Matic. She has collaborated with and orchestrated for the Chicago Sinfonietta, and performs regularly at Weegee’s Lounge as the piano accompanist for Mister Tom Musick. Her composition “Tube Sock Tango” was recorded onto wax cylinder at Edison National Historical Park, and was also featured on the original Amazon series Transparent. Ronnie is a 2013 Arts Awardee and a 2015 3Arts Ragdale Fellow. She lives in Chicago with her husband Patrick and daughter Sylvie.
Rob Christopher is a film director, producer, and writer. He recently finished the film Roy’s World: Barry Gifford’s Chicago, a documentary exploring the author’s impactful work featuring voice performances by Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon and Lili Taylor as they read excerpts of Gifford’s stories against a vibrant visual backdrop fusing archival footage with an evocative jazz score by Jason Adasiewicz. Christopher also works at the American Library Association, and has been a regular contributor to local publications such as CINE-FILE.
David Boykin began studying music on the clarinet at the age of 21 in 1991 and first performed professionally in 1997. Since 1997 he has released over 20 recordings as a leader; appeared as a features guest on other prominent musician’s recordings; performed at major international jazz festivals and smaller jazz venues locally and globally; and founded Sonic Healing Ministries, an organization dedicated to the spiritual evolution of humanity through music.