Corporalities: Films & Video by Chicago Artists | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Corporalities: Films & Video by Chicago Artists

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All the works in "Corporalities: Films & Videos by Chicago Artists" are by former or present students of the School of the Art Institute. The five films vary in quality, but three or four are similar enough to suggest a "school style"--collagelike combinations, image modification through optical printing, enigmatic, often autobiographical content, and the use of personalizing voice-over narration--which at times becomes self-indulgent. Edward Rankus's video Nerve Language doesn't focus on personal emotions; its precisely composed, tableaulike images present human physiology, nature, and video technology as inextricably linked. Hanging strings represent nerves; twigs and tree branches with video-modified colors suggest nerve networks. The piece is structured around the principle of transformation; images of angellike figures reappear in a variety of different contexts; some trays of chemicals appear to dissolve a jar; near the end we see rotting fruit. Many images are taken through smoke or glass, implying that there is no pure, unmediated vision, that everything we see is altered by context as well as by our physiology. The video's imagery, editing, and its sampled and altered musical sound track by Bob Snyder thoughtfully and powerfully depict humans and nature as irretrievably altered by technology. Also on the program are films by Deborah Stratman, Zack Stiglicz, Jim Flannery, Stephen Velky, and Ya-shan Kuo. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, Friday, September 22, 8:00, 384-5533.

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