Jessica Bardsley

Liquid Histories, Affective Topographies: Moving Image Work by Jessica Bardsley

Roots & Culture

On Sunday, May 23, Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center will screen Liquid Histories, Affective Topographies: Moving Image Work by Jessica Bardsley. The program includes works made 2011-2014, and will be screened on video. The filmmaker will attend to introduce the program and discuss the work with the audience.
Jessica Bardsley's moving image works combine essayistic, personal, and observational modes, exploring the liquid forms and riotous affects of history. Time drips and drifts, breaks at the shore, evaporates; it is driven by wind, turbulent and errant, its flows various and contradictory. In A Past of Plank and Nail (2013), Emily Dickinson’s Massachusetts home is reawakened by a tempestuous presence, an audible spectre that still lingers. Southern Land (2014) charts a solemn journey through the flows of Antarctica’s filmic archive, as The Art of Catching’s (2011) changing form maps familial history onto the topography of the landscape. The teardrop connects depression and kleptomania, the personal and the popular, through its slow and quivering fall in The Blazing World (2013).
Jessica Bardsley is a film artist and critical writer exploring experimental non-fiction forms. Her work has screened across the U.S. and internationally at esteemed venues such CPH:DOX, Visions du Reél, Antimatter Film Festival, European Media Arts Festival, Kasseler Dokfest, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid, Images Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Rooftop Films and more. She is the recipient of a Princess Grace Award in Film (2010), a Flaherty Fellowship (2011), Director's Choice at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival (2012), Grand Prix at 25FPS (2012), and the Eileen Maitland Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival (2013). She was a 2012-2013 Artist in Residence as part of HATCH Projects at the Chicago Artists' Coalition. She received an MFA in Film, Video, New Media and Animation as well as an MA in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is now a PhD student in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University. 
Southern Land (8:30; archival film and found video on video, silent; color; 2014) 
Southern Land, composed of archival film and found video depicting Antarctica, silently charts a journey from the enchantment of discovery, to scientific domestication, through to the slow collapse of a melting world. 
The Art of Catching (35:00; 16mm film and archival film on video; sound; color and b+w; 2011)
Memory, geography, science and mythology merge in this film, which chooses not to stick to just one strategy, but to multiply its plots as its characters, its sources as its materials. The contemporary reality of Florida's marshlands alternates with visions of its past emerging carefully, putting the whole work in a historical perspective that is also personal.
 A Past of Plank and Nail (6:30; 16mm film on video; sound; color; 2013) 
A Past of Plank and Nail depicts poet Emily Dickinson’s Massachusetts home, now preserved as a museum. Images of household furniture, familial ephemera, and the house’s worn walls evoke a presence, an audible spectre that still lingers.
The Blazing World (20:00; found film and video on video; sound; b+w; 2013) 
A troubling relationship arises between the character played by Winona Ryder in the film Girl, Interrupted, the genuine depression experienced by the actress, and the shoplifting of which she was accused. Consisting entirely of clips stolen from existing films, this video essay, which ultimately turns out to be profoundly personal, explores possible links between depression and kleptomania.