Industrial and Sponsored Film, Genre-Bending

Check here for the calendar of events during the month of July, organized on the occasion of Gretchen Bender: So Much Deathless. Programs are free and open to the public with RSVP. 

Seating for all events is limited. RSVP is strongly recommended or email indicating the program title in your subject line.


Meet the Makers: Rick Prelinger
Thursday, July 18

Archives came into their own during the fifteen years preceding the onset of the commercial Internet (1980-1995). During this time new collections became available, especially in New York City, enabling once-enclosed images to emerge from hiding and flow freely into artworks, independent and commercial media. Attraction to archives developed into a full-frame romance for many artists, who appropriated images that sometimes arrested the eye, but perhaps more often offered a vivid account of covert persuasions and long-lasting efforts to manufacture and sustain public consensus in the interest of profit and public order.

Beginning in 1986, Prelinger Archives began regular screenings at cinematheques, galleries, clubs, museums and homes in New York and elsewhere that were attended by many working media makers and artists. That year it also published two anthologies of sponsored and educational films (TO NEW HORIZONS and YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE) on laserdisc and VHS (later on CD-ROM) through pioneer new media publisher Voyager Company. The material in these collections found their way into countless ambient and club screenings, video artworks and public events.

This screening combines key films drawn from Rick Prelinger’s curated screenings from the late 1980s that first introduced audiences to the history of public persuasion embedded in sponsored and educational films. When first introduced, each was a small epiphany revealing corporate and elite efforts to influence and control public behavior. While this history is much better known today, the films are almost taken for granted. This screening aims to reconstruct the atmosphere of excitement and discovery that surrounded their exposure in 1980s New York.

ARE YOU POPULAR? (Coronet Instructional Films, 1947, 10 min)
A DATE WITH YOUR FAMILY (Simmel-Meservey, 1950, 10 min)
LIVE AND LEARN (Sid Davis Productions, 1951, 10 min)
LONG DISTANCE (Audio Productions for AT&T, 1941)
IN THE SUBURBS (On Film, Inc. for Redbook Magazine, 1958, 20 min)
HABIT PATTERNS (Knickerbocker Productions for McGraw-Hill, 1954, 14 min)
DESIGN FOR DREAMING (MPO Productions for General Motors, 1956, 9 min)

Rick Prelinger is an archivist, writer, filmmaker and educator. His collection of 60,000 ephemeral films was acquired by Library of Congress in 2002. Beginning in 2000, he partnered with Internet Archive to make a subset of the Prelinger Collection (now 7,000 films) available online for free viewing, downloading and reuse. His archival feature Panorama Ephemera (2004) played in venues around the world, and his feature project No More Road Trips? received a Creative Capital grant in 2012. His 25 Lost Landscapes participatory urban history projects have played to over thirty thousand of viewers in San Francisco, Detroit, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere. He is a board member of Internet Archive and frequently writes and speaks on the future and politics of archives and archival access. He is currently Professor of Film & Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz.



Exhibition Tour:  Michelle Grabner
Wednesday, July 24

On Wednesday, July 24 at 4:30 PM, curator, and artist, Michelle Grabner joins Candice Strongwater, Head of Public Programs at Red Bull Arts, for our final exhibition walkthrough.

Wisconsin-born, Michelle Grabner works in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, video and sculpture. Incorporating writing, curating and teaching with a process-oriented studio practice, she has created a multi-faceted and dynamic career. In 2012, Grabner co-organized Tracking the Thrill with artist Philip Vanderhyden, the first posthumous presentation of Gretchen Bender’s Total Recall (1987), presented alongside the artist’s commercial work at The Poor Farm, an experimental space Grabner founded with her husband Brad Killam in rural Wisconsin. The exhibition traveled to The Kitchen the next year, where Total Recall had premiered 26 years earlier. In 2014, Grabner included Bender’s iconic People in Pain(1988) in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, further shedding light on her work and legacy. As Grabner puts it, Bender was “somebody who could see value in taking existing material, whether imagery or footage from Hollywood and complicating it instead of making it digestible.”


Meet the Makers: Shu Lea Cheang
Two or three things I know about SLC:
Genre Bending
 Gender Fxxxking

Shu Lea Cheang in conversation with
Jennifer Fong, Christian Haye, Barbara London, and Nelini 
Thursday, July 25

Join us for our last program as part of the series Meet the Makers, organized in collaboration with The Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library.

On view at this year’s Venice Biennale, Paul B. Preciado, curator of artist Shu Lea Cheang’s new commission “3x3x6”, writes in the exhibition catalogue that, “Cheang does with Internet technologies what Pasolini did with film, and Kathy Acker with literature: turn a medium against itself only to reconnect it with political history and social agency. In doing so, the post-Internet digital avant-garde, to which Cheang belongs, challenges the aesthetics of Internet global capitalism and the politics of identity construction fueled by social media and exploited by marketing and political control alike.” –Dissident Interfaces: Shu Lea Cheang’s 3x3x6 and Digital Avant Garde.

On July 25, Cheang presents the last program in the series Meet the Makers, organized on occasion of Gretchen Bender: So Much Deathless.In conversation with friends, partners, collaborators, and curators, Cheang invites her lunch dates to participate in a memory reboot to help patch her endeavors throughout the decades – from her formative years in New York City’s East Village (1997-1999), homestead cyberspace (1994 -), and post net-crash (2001- ), to Enter the BioNet (2009 – ).

Shu Lea Cheang is an artist and filmmaker working with various art mediums and film formats, including installation, performance, net art, public art, video installation, feature-lengthfilm andmobile web serial. As a net art pioneer, her project BRANDON(1998-1999) was the first web art commissioned and collected by the Guggenheim Museum in New York. She drafts sci-fi narratives in her film scenario and artwork imagination, crafting her own “science” fiction genre of new queer cinema, terming them eco-cybernoia(FRESH KILL, 1994), sci-fi cyberpunk (I.K.U., 2000), sci-fi cypherpunk (Fluidø, 2017). From homesteading cyberspace in the 90s to her current retreat to post net-crash BioNet zone, Cheang takes on viral love, bio hack in her current cycle of works. This year, she is representing Taiwan with a solo exhibition 3x3x6 at Venice Biennale 2019.