How can we make sense of a quickly, dramatically changing world? And how do factors like culture, family, and history influence the way we understand a threatened landscape? In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we present The Vanishing Landscape, a series of films originally selected to be part of the monthlong Expanding the Frame program. The set of short works below explores how experimental filmmakers, poets, and media artists interpret times of seismic change. Marked by wit, humor, and call to action, these pieces deal with themes ranging from Western Romanticism and decolonization to the loss of family and economic stability in a once-thriving region.
Much of the following program will be available for viewing on the Walker website through May 6.
Michael Walsh introduces The Vanishing Landscape
Cecelia Condit, Pizzly Bear, 2017, 4 min.
In imaginary landscapes where trees talk and frogs turn to handsome princes, Pizzly Bear is a story of a cross between a grizzly and polar bear. As in so many fables, the story is based in fact and this small animal is an archetypal stand-in for humanity. 2017, digital, 4 min.
Carl Elsaesser, Vague Images at the Beginning and the End of the Day, 2015, 8 min.
“A hug/punch eulogy for all things impossible now," writes Carl Elsaesser. “Vague Images is a sketchbook of images and sounds from the year wrapped around a trip out to Loomis, South Dakota, to find the abandoned farm where my grandfather grew up. At the same time the film is a travelogue of my frustrations and understandings of gay sexuality. The two are connected.” 2015, digital, 8 min.
Poetry reading by Roy G. Guzmán
Honduran poet Roy G. Guzmán reads from his first collection of works, forthcoming from Graywolf Press on May 5. Raised in Miami, Florida, Guzmán is the recipient of a 2019 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as numerous other awards and grants.
Steve Wetzel, Of the Iron Range, 2015, 20 min.
This single-channel video documents a cultural event in Cuyuna, Minnesota, the small Midwestern town that once held the nation’s supply of iron ore. Each year, people from across the region gather as hundreds of wood ticks are collected and raced. Deeply symbolic and rich in human observation, this short offers a portrait of one of America’s once-thriving industrial sites. 2015, digital video, 20 min.
Peter Burr, Drop City, 2019, 7 min.
This portrait of a computer desktop community takes its name from the first rural hippy commune in America, a settlement in southern Colorado formed in 1965 and constructed of discarded junk and salvaged car tops. A decade later, Drop City was completely abandoned. Nothing is left of it today. 2019, digital, 7 min
V. Vale and Marian Wallace, If Gaia, 2020, 4 min.
A musical performance of one-take song by V. Vale and Marian Wallace, written and recorded on April 12. Since being quarantined in their RE/Search book publishing offices in San Francisco, Vale and Wallace have been recording experiential one-take songs. Since the 1970s, V. Vale has been a leader in counterculture publishing and Marian Wallace has been making films. Combined, they create quirky of-the-moment songs that will make you smile, laugh, and possibly wince.