ArtPace presents its second installment of its fall film series

The second installment of ArtPace's 2003 fall film series includes Matt McCormick's 16-minute, 16mm medley, "The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal," and Deborah Stratman's "In Order Not to Be Here" (33 minutes). Through persuasive imagery and careful narration, McCormick's "Graffiti Removal" transforms the city workers of the Pacific Northwest into inadvertent minimalist painters. Stratman's film confronts suburban America with its intrinsic contradictions: our utopian ideals of privacy and security, and the underlying fear of the world at large that borders pathological.

Thursday, September 4
445 Main St.
"Graffiti Removal" is a subtle mockumentary on the widespread practice of graffiti removal. Covering clandestine tags - evidence of the existence of disenfranchised inner city youth - is better funded than public art in this country, despite the futility of the process. A cycle of writing and odd rectangular whitewashing cakes the corridors of urban America. McCormick treats these impromptu "collaborative murals" as a valid, yet subconscious form of high art in the making, comparing the haphazard compositions to the abstract genius of Rothko and Malevich. His theory is delivered through the deadpan narration by Portland-based performance artist Miranda July.

McCormick's Peripheral Produce company, "a one-stop for all your experimental cinematic needs," produces an annual film festival in Portland and distributes the work of fellow experimental documentarians Brian Frye, Craig Baldwin, Bill Daniel, and Vanessa Renwick. McCormick's own work is universally well-received, and has garnered multiple best-of awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the New York Underground Film Festival, and the Chicago Underground Film Festival. The filmmaker has also screened his work at Sundance, South X Southwest, and the Rotterdam International Festival.

Chicago-based Stratman's aesthetic is much gloomier than McCormick's, though her approach to filmmaking is just as stylish, trained at the strangely deserted nighttime streets of suburban America. Unlike urban centers that spring to life at dusk, people of the suburbs experience a nightly virtual lock down - a practice that the filmmaker interprets as white-collar fear. This routine produces a surreal interim landscape eerily devoid of human activity - a barren environment witnessed only by omnipresent security cameras and intermittent police sirens. Stratman's work has been screened at international film festivals including Sundance, Rotterdam, and Vienna, and at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and the San Francisco Art Institute. •


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