Screening + Geology Walk
Organized in conjunction with Whitechapel Gallery, London, Ballroom Marfa presented the 2015 season of Artists’ Film International, a global exchange that showcases artists working in film, video and animation, featuring the work of Los Angeles-based filmmaker Brigid McCaffrey.
Many of McCaffrey’s films are set in landscapes that convey precarity and flux. Her approach to documentary focuses on environments and people in transition, and considers these subjects over long periods of time. Her works meditate on the tension between individualism and community in the midst of unstable economic and ecological realities. Shaped by the process of portraiture, the films respond to the physical and emotional changes of their subjects, creating documents that fuse representations of self and place.
Ballroom hosted a free screening of a selection of McCaffrey’s works on film, including the piece nominated for AFI–Paradise Springs–which features Ren Lallatin, an itinerant geologist who studies the Mojave Desert. The film follows the wandering geologist as she describes her interactions with the natural world, while voicing her rejection of land regulation and privatization. A conversation with McCaffrey and Lallatin complemented the screening, and the following day offered a walk-in loop of the other AFI film from around the world.
A geology walk and lecture led by Lallatin and a local geology professor, Jesse Kelsch from Sul Ross State University, added context to the films. The walk/lecture took place at the Far West Texas-based nonprofit Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute’s land reserve and geology viewing area.
Artists' Film International
Organized in conjunction with Whitechapel Gallery, London, AFI is a program that showcases international artists working in film, video and animation.
Each international venue that participates in AFI nominates a moving image work from an artist who lives and works in their country. The artists and partners for AFI 2018 include:
Cultural Centre of Belgrade, Serbia
Centre for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan (CCAA, Kabul), Afghanistan
Fundación PROA, Argentina
GAMeC (Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo), Italy
Hanoi DOCLAB, Vietnam
Istanbul Modern, Turkey
Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Germany
Para Site, Hong Kong
Project 88, India
Tromsø Kunstforening, Norway
Whitechapel Gallery, United Kingdom
Brigid McCaffrey (b.1978) is a Los Angeles-based documentary and experimental filmmaker working in film and video. Her films have screened at various venues including BAFICI, Bradford International Film Festival, Cinema du Reel, DocLisboa, L’Alternativa, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Torino International Film Festival, Other Cinema in San Francisco and the Los Angeles Filmforum. Her film Castaic Lake was awarded Best Cinematography at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2011. Paradise Springs received the Marian McMahon Award at Images Festival in 2014. She received an MFA in Film and Video from CalArts and a BA in Photography and Film from Bard College.
Rhyannon (Ren) Lallatin
Rhyannon (Ren) Lallatin is a Buddhist Lama of Native American and Celtic ancestry. As a professor, Ren offered undergraduate and graduate courses in geology/geophysics, ecopsychology and Native American studies, and all of this woven together as a unified educational whole. An avid Mojave Desert gardener, ecosystem designer and herbalist, Ren thrives on the intelligent reciprocal relationship with the sentient, living earth and universe. Being transgendered, Ren uses that word to mean transcendent of gender. This indicates original wholeness not limited by dictates of culture or current embodiment.
Jesse Kelsch has studied and worked as a geologist in her favorite place, the American Southwest, since 1993. She has a BS in Geoscience from the University of Arizona and an MS in Earth and Planetary Science from the University of New Mexico. She worked as a hydrogeologist in New Mexico and West Texas until moving to Alpine, Texas in 2006. She now teaches geology at Sul Ross. Her goal in teaching is to get her students out of the classroom and into the field as much as possible, to encourage research among undergraduates, and to cultivate scientific inquiry among anyone she can. She is also the president of the Alpine Humane Society.
Artists’ Film International – Brigid McCaffrey has been made possible by the generous support of The Brown Foundation, Inc. Houston; Humanities Texas; National Endowment for the Arts; Texas Commission on the Arts; the Ballroom Marfa Board of Trustees; and Ballroom Marfa members.
Ballroom Marfa’s local partners for AFI 2015 include the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, the Crowley Theater, Do Your Thing, and Marfa Public Radio.
In-kind support for AFI 2015 provided by Big Bend Brewing Co.
Special thanks to the Big Bend Sentinel, Joe Cashiola, CineMarfa, Chris Cole, Tim Crowley of the Crowley Theater, JD DiFabbio, Do Your Thing, Gretel Enck, David Fenster, Joselyn Fenstermacher, Jessica Fleischmann, Fusion Magazine, Peyton Gardner, Glasstire, Lisa Gordon, Mahala Guevara, Rob Gungor, Rick Herrman, Ginger Hillery, Nicki Ittner, Jesse Kelsch, Ren Lallatin, Alex Marks, Natalie Melendez, Tom Michael, Katherine Rae Mondo, Simone Rubi, Gory Smelley, Candy Stobbs, and Sul Ross State University.