Screening List

Excerpt from Robert Flaherty’s Louisiana Story (1948, 10 m from 78 m, courtesy Flaherty Film Seminar)

In an interview with Robert Gardner at Harvard’s Peabody Museum in 1960, Francis Flaherty, wife of the great filmmaker, Robert Flaherty, who died in 1951, reads from a letter sent by Standard Oil of New Jersey proposing a film that would be: “A classic—a permanent artistic record of the contributions in which the oil industry had made to civilization. A film that would present the story of oil with dignity, the epic sweep it deserved, and assure the story of a lasting place on the highest plane in the literature of the screen. The film would also be such an absorbing human story that it would stand on its own feet as an entertainment anywhere. Because of its entertainment value it would be distributed theatrically, through the regular motion picture houses, both in America and abroad.” The result of this proposal, later followed by a check for $125,000, resulted in the propaganda piece the Rockefeller’s company wanted, and for posterity a hauntingly beautiful film laced with heartbreaking irony. (Text from Richard Ward in Counter Punch counterpunch.org/ward06182010.html)

Pawel Wojtasik’s Below Sea Level (2010, 7m, courtesy Priska C. Juschka Fine Art)

The Louisiana shore before the spill, ominous shots of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico (some of them destroyed by hurricanes) and the post-Katrina New Orleans are the subjects of this short piece, partly filmed with a 360° panoramic camera. The soundscape is by Stephen Vitiello.

Liza Johnson’s South of Ten (2006, 10m)

South of Ten was made in post-Katrina Mississippi, and features real people “acting” out the tones and atmospheres of their everyday life after an enormous disaster. Gesture and performance function as alternatives to conventional interview-based forms of bearing witness.

Ghen Dennis’s Experimental Storm Surge Flood Models (digital video and hand-processed super 8 film, 2005 – 2010, 10m from 60m)

Experimental Storm Surge Flood Models is comprised of documented Hurricane Katrina-related vignettes, flood models if you will, shot in New Orleans over the last five years. Material includes found surveillance tapes, observational footage of people navigating the post-disaster recovery effort, studies of the natural and industrial Mississippi waterway, and laborers negotiating demolitions of homes and rebuilding the city’s infrastructure. These industrial and domestic scape studies illustrate the dialectics between disaster and capitalism and nature and industry.

Courtney Egan and Helen Hill’s Cleveland Street Gap (super-8 film and digital video, 2006, 2:40 m)

Mid-City, New Orleans – the bottom of the bowl. A filmmaker restores what she can of her soggy home movies, which sat in floodwater for three weeks. Another filmmaker shoots the same compositions in the same neighborhood, now abandoned, 10 months after the flood. Edited together they provide a testament to the slow nature of New Orleans’s recovery and its missing populace.

Gretchen Skogerson’s DRIVE THRU (HDV, 2006, 19:40)


DRIVE THRU is a landscape of incomplete signs. The piece takes its inspiration from the traces of destruction left by Hurricane Ivan in Miami. Despite an intense rush to rebuild, these fluorescent bulbs remained apart and largely untouched just beyond or above the city’s active construction sites. Stripped to their barest lighting elements and a few broken parts, they illuminate on a basic level. (-Gretchen Skogerson)

Tony Oursler’s Son of Oil (1982, 16m)

Son of Oil is a cautionary tale about the decline of Western civilization, as only Oursler could envision it. Oil is the central metaphor around which he constructs a burlesque critique of the cults of money and power that fuel economic and sexual systems, social pathology and cultural mythologies. Allusions to terrorists, the Son of Sam killer, the oil crisis and John Hinckley locate the dense narrative text in the media-saturated vertigo of early-1980s America. The grand dimensions of this subversive drama, in which Oursler employs actors in addition to his usual puppet-like props and objects, are played out in a deliberately claustrophobic, fantastically rendered theatrical space. (Text from Electronic Arts Intermix.)

Christina McPhee’s Deep Horizon (HD and SD, 2010, 7m)


“Deep Horizon” involves a montage around the deep ecology of Louisiana after the Gulf oil spill. Marine biologist Dr Suzanne Fredericq investigates algae depletion in the aftermath of Deepwater Horizon.

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One response

13 09 2010
Deep Horizon | Christina McPhee

[…] of coastal Louisiana in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf.  Screening: Hurricane Season, Issue Project Room, New York. 2010 cinematic video Edition of unlimited / NFS 1920 x 1080 HD […]

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