Monday July 25, 7:30pm
Christopher Harris: Films & Videos
artist in person!

Still from “Photography and Fetish” (Christopher Harris, 2014) – Image courtesy of the artist

Microscope Gallery is very pleased to present a solo screening of works by Christopher Harris, an artist and filmmaker based in Orlando whose experimental documentaries, found footage films and re-enactments “excavate repressed histories and cultural memories”. The artist who received a Creative Capital grant in 2015 will be in New York for the screening to introduce his work and for a Q&A after the screening.

The program features seven selections from Harris’s 16mm film, multi-channel, pin-hole camera and HD video works made roughly over the past decade including his latest piece, “Distant Shore” a new 3-minute video involving a boat tour along the Chicago shoreline during which ominous intrusions of other voyages interrupt the sunny day. Among other works are “A Willing Suspension of Disbelief” (2014) a three-channel video in which the artist restages photographic daguerreotypes of slaves; “28.IV.81 (Descending Figures)” (2011) shot at a Florida amusement park during a presentation of Christ’s Passion; and “Sunshine State (Extended Forecast)” (2007) described as “the biggest story ever told through a pinhole” by the jury of the Hamburg International Short Film Festival.

“Harris’s work is in dialogue with the nature of the film medium and with what it means to work, observe, and think as an artist, living between the ideals of American happiness and the realities of American inequality.” – Terri Francis, Film Quarterly, Summer 2016

general admission $7
students w/ ID $5

Christopher Harris is a filmmaker and professor at the University of Central Florida School of Visual Arts & Design. Harris has screened his work throughout North America and Europe, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the 2014 Artists’ Film Biennial at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the VIENNALE, the San Francisco Cinematheque, the Leeds International Film Festival, and Rencontres Internationales Paris, among others. In 2015, Harris was awarded a Creative Capital grant for his film “Speaking in Tongues”, currently in production.


Distant Shores
16mm-to-HD, 2016, 3 minutes
“A sunny afternoon on a tour boat in Chicago is haunted by the specter of other voyages.” Premiere screening of the artist’s newly completed work.

16mm-to-HD, 2016, 4 minutes
A performer lip-synchs to archival audio featuring the voice of author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston as she describes her method of documenting African American folk songs in Florida.  By design, nothing in this film is authentic except the source audio.  The flickering images were produced with a hand-cranked Bolex so that the lip-synch is deliberately erratic and the rear projected, grainy, looped images of Masai tribesmen and women recycled from an educational film become increasingly abstract as the audio transforms into an incantation.

A Willing Suspension of Disbelief
16mm-to-HD, 3-channel video installation, 2014, 9 minutes
“I applied the term ‘a willing suspension of disbelief’ to my restaging of the slave daguerreotype as a double gesture of meaning. … scientific racism [employed by slave daguerreotypes] required a kind of disavowal, but the audience for my restaging requires a suspension of disbelief … the viewer is asked to suspend disbelief regarding the original daguerreotypes.” – CH

Photography and Fetish
16mm-to-HD, split screen video installation, 2014, 7 minutes
“I thought of the actual moment that the photographs (daguerreotypes) were taken as an encounter between the angel of death (the photographer) and the sitter (Delia, the maiden). … According to Freud, the fetish is integral to the process of disavowal since it is the thing that allows us to pretend even in the face of the truth; it is the thing we fetishize (in this case Delia or blackness itself is the fetish for the whiteness of scientific racism).” – CH

28.IV.81 (Descending Figures)
16mm double projection, 2011, 3 minutes
“28.IV.81 (Descending Figures) is comprised of footage Harris shot at a performance of Christ’s Passion, staged as an attraction of a Florida amusement park. … This flimsy display of devotion is shown up by something genuinely overpowering, or at least recognizably real. In a way, this seems to sum up Harris’s practice. Filmic images are things with actual impact in the world, and as such they have an unavoidable ethical dimension.” – Michael Sicinski, “Between Two Eyes: Four Emergent Avant-Garde Film/Videomakers for the New Decade.” – Cinema Scope

28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark)
16mm, 2009, 3 minutes
“You know Nathanial Mackey’s Bedouin Hornbook. … The phrases ‘Bedouin spark’ and ‘descending figures’ are from passages in the book, referring to flares, something flaring; there’s a lot of light imagery in the book. But what I like about it is that it’s about how flashes of revelation, illumination or insight, are so fleeting that once you grasp them they’re gone.” – CH

Sunshine State (Extended Forecast)
16mm, 2007, 8 minutes
“With both feet firmly on the ground, human existence is placed in the right proportions of the cosmos around us.” – CH

Reckless Eyeballing
16mm, 2004, 14 minutes
“I think Reckless Eyeballing was an exorcism of a certain ambivalence that they try to instill in film students about The Birth of a Nation. You know, the great but flawed film sort of conventional party line. … I don’t think that the destructive force of The Birth of a Nation can be overstated. It is the blueprint for so much of what is wrong today. Gus is what every white cop sees in Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Freddie Gray, and the countless others who are ‘demons’ who must be shot, in many cases, virtually on sight.” – CH


Still from “Sunshine State (Extended Forecast)” (Christopher Harris, 2007) – Image courtesy of the artist

Microscope Gallery Events Series 2016 is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).
With the underwriting support of the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation.

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