Imagination Is Power: Be Realistic, Ask the Impossible
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Imagination Is Power: Be Realistic, Ask the Impossible

What motivates demonstration and uprising? These short films explore inequality and agitation related to living conditions and urban planning through works by artists, governmental propaganda footage, and newsreels by journalists and activists. Each reflects a different approach to change or dissent, showing how things are or offering a vision of what could be. Includes historical KSTP footage of St. Paul. Introduced by Válerie Déus, Artist and poet.

Postscreening conversation with Valérie Déus (artist and poet) and Jay D. Peterson and Chris Fischbach (Coffee House Press).

Tickets will be available at the Main Lobby Desk from 6:30 pm the day of the event.


Lessons in Semaphore
Choreographer Taisha Paggett activates a vacant lot in the Washington Park Neighborhood on the south side of Chicago and enjoys an encounter with young resident, Maylk Singleton. While working in Chicago, Cauleen Smith’s work explored the intersection of art, protest, commerce, and community on Chicago’s South Side. Directed by Cauleen Smith. 2015, US, 16mm film transferred to digital, 4 minutes. Courtesy the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, and Kate Werble Gallery, New York.

Rondo Ave (1965–1966), Echo of the Past Herald to the Future (excerpt)
An excerpt from a KSTP public television broadcast features Rondo residents discussing the controversy, difficulties, and impact of the I-94 construction that divided the heart of St. Paul’s largest African American neighborhood. Directed by KSTP. 1990, US, digital, 10 minutes. Courtesy of KSTP and Minnesota Historical Society.

A Place to Live
This City of Chicago–sponsored film commissioned by Lewis W. Hill for the Department of Urban Renewal attempts to defend the city’s redevelopment plan for residential and commercial urban renewal. As the narrator succinctly states, “we are tearing down what stands in the way of a better city.” Directed by DeWitt Beall. 1968, US, 16mm, 29 minutes. Courtesy the Chicago Film Archives.

Tower XYZ
Tower XYZ explores the theme of gentrification from a youth perspective. Accompanied by a lilting soundtrack, Ayo Ankingbade features her own experiences as a young British Nigerian woman living in the ever-changing landscape of Hackney in East London. Directed by Ayo Akingbade. 2016, UK, digital, 3 minutes. Courtesy the artist.

Fluid Frontiers
In the fifth and final film in the ongoing series entitled The Diaspora Suite, Asili examines his personal relationship to the African Diaspora. Shot along the Detroit River, Fluid Frontiers explores the relationship between concepts of resistance and liberation, exemplified by the Underground Railroad, Broadside Press, and artworks of local Detroit Artists. All of the poems are read from original copies of Broadside Press publications by natives of the Detroit Windsor region. Directed by Ephraim Asili. 2017, US, 16mm film transferred to digital, 23 minutes. Courtesy Video Data Bank.

Two friends recount their experiences of the besieged Yarmouk Camp near Damascus, Syria. Director Abo Gabi, who fled to Beirut, video chats with Ayham, who still lives in the camp. Ayham plays the piano in the streets and sings with his community in an attempt to bring a message of joy and relief to people in an almost destroyed landscape. Abo Gabi tries to reconnect to the people in his homeland, often struggling with the feeling that he has abandoned them. Directed by Abo Gabi. 2014, Syria, digital, 12 minutes. Courtesy Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts.

  • The Walker Art Center’s Expanding the Frame is made possible by generous support from Elizabeth Redleaf.