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For centuries, the American landscape was synonymous with pristine wilderness. In the 19th century, the development and expansion of railroads provided greater access to the frontier, and the camera brought the frontier back to cities. Thus it was the invention of screen technology that delivered much of the American landscape to the world.
In a similar way, many of our relationships to landscape today are mediated by windows or screens. To kick off Expanding the Frame this year, we will explore works that portray both urban and rural landscapes with equal parts nostalgia and wonder.
Directed by Peggy Ahwesh
Created with aerial footage of small towns and vistas, this split-screen essay film pairs Peggy Ahwesh’s images of the region with text by Marianne Shaneen. 2019, digital, 17 min.
Directed by Pat O’Neill
The title refers to the division between frames made visible by adjusting the way the reel sits in the projector. Shots are often split across the screen, juxtaposing two images in unpredictable ways. O’Neill shot this experimental film in and around Los Angeles, capturing the diverse landscape of Southern California. 2008, 35mm, 23 min.
Directed by Michael Rudnick
This film describes life in San Francisco through the windows of the director’s apartment. 1984, 16mm, 9 min.
The Penfield Road
Directed by Diane Kitchen
A fable concerning the landscape and the open road that features Starved Rock State Park and other familiar American scenes depicted in vintage postcards. 1998, 16mm, 6 min.
Broadway by Light
Directed by William Klein
Focusing on the play of lights and shadows, colors and forms in motion, the camera jumps between the flashing bulbs and neon of Times Square’s iconic advertising and the silhouettes of men at work on theater marquees. These details are counterbalanced by moments of pure color, distorted light reflections, and severed fragments of words or texts, exemplary of Klein’s life-long interest in typography. 1958, 35mm, 12 min.
Caribou in the Archive
Directed by Jennifer Dysart
Northern Indigenous women on the hunt are at the heart of this personal found footage film, which describes enigmatic events that led to saving an important piece of family history at risk of being lost forever. Rustic VHS home video of a Cree woman hunting caribou in the 1990s is juxtaposed with National Film Board archival footage of Northern Manitoba from the 1950s. 2019, digital, 9 min.
Directed by R. Yun Keagy
This film uses drone footage from the San Joaquin Valley in California, an area effected by the “single largest alterations of the land surface attributed to humankind.” 2020, digital, 5 min.
Directed by Joyce Weiland
“The word ‘sailboat’ is superimposed over an actual shot of a sailboat bouncing on the distant waves, crossing the screen from left to right. A simple, beautiful film” (Michael Snow). 1967, 16mm, 3 min.