Saturday, January 23, 2010
7:00 pm
International House, Philadelphia

Experimental Medical Films

Curated by experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer, this program showcases artists’ representations of medical encounters. Exploring a variety of medical situations, these filmmakers examine medicine, surgery, disease and treatment in illuminating new ways.

Twist of Fate
dir. Karen Aqua, US, 2009, 35mm, 9 mins, color

With experimental animation and collage techniques, Karen Aqua presents a beautiful and astonishing account of her experience with cancer.  Twist of Fate is less a literal representation of events than an expressionistic rendering of Aqua’s diagnosis, treatment and recovery.  The film improbably explores a frightening experience with a surprisingly light touch.
Karen Aqua's website

A Horse is Not a Metaphor
dir. Barbara Hammer, US, 2008, HDCam, 30 mins, color

Fighting stage 3 ovarian cancer, Barbara Hammer returns to her experimental roots in a multilayered film blending numerous chemotherapy sessions with images of light and movement that take her far from the hospital bed.  A cancer ‘thriver’ rather than ’survivor’, Hammer rides the red hills of Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, the grassy foothills of the Big Horn in Wyoming and leafy paths in Woodstock, New York, changing illness into recovery.  
Barbara Hammer's website

Sanctus
dir. Barbara Hammer, US, 1990, 16mm, 20 mins, color

Hammer manipulates the re-photographed x-rays of Dr James Sibley Watson to highlight the central contradiction of these rare and beautiful images.  Though the original ‘films’ reveal the miracle of the human body and its internal structures in motion, they also question the value of medical imaging when the very process of visualization is dangerous itself. Sanctus is a fascinating and elegant investigation of the life and death forces.

Qualia Diaries
dir. Emily Mode, US, 2009, DVD, 17 mins, color

After her diagnosis of a seizure disorder, Emily Mode explores her place between reality, fantasy and memory.  While describing the horrifying side effects of several anti-convulsive prescriptions, Mode recounts the origins of her condition nd identifies its earliest symptoms from her childhood games.

Colon Karaoke
dir. Brina Thurston, US, 2008, DVD, 6 mins, color
Colon Karaoke is taken from a documented medical procedure where the song Sledge Hammer comes on the radio in the operating room. A voice-over was added in postproduction of the patient singing along to the radio. Colon Karaoke highlights the absurdity we endure in the most personally penetrating modern day experiences. It also plays with issues of power, sex and humility in popular culture.
Brina Thurston's website