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Inner Journeys in Photochemical Lands: Films from L’Abominable

  • MassArt - East Building, Film Screening Room 1 621 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA, 02130 United States (map)

AgX is excited to co-present a program of 35mm and 16mm films from L’Abominable, an artist-run film laboratory near Paris. Filmmaker Stefano Canapa will attend in person for the screening. Co-sponsored by AgX, Emerson College, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Suggested Donation: $4 (except for AgX members, MassArt students and Emerson students)

Location: Mass College of Art and Design, 621 Huntington Avenue, East Building, Film Screening Room 1. 

Glass door entrance, take a left where the guard is located, before going up the stairs then a right. Walk down the stairs through an underpath, at the end of the path go up the stairs and you’ll find the main door of the screening room.

Film program:

MARISA 2007 / 16mm / color / sound / 10' / by Yoana URRUZOLA

Meeting with Marisa Guevara in an apartment on Reconcquista Street, Montevideo, Winter 2007.

AUTREMENT, LA MOLUSSIE (Extrait) / 2012 / 16mm / color / sound / 7'00 / by Nicolas REY

With the agreement of the author, who accept to make an exception, we show one of the 9 reels that make up his feature film Differently, Molussia. The camera slowly move on a seaside while someone tell us a tale of sailors and phantoms.

ILE DE OUESSANT / 2010 / 16mm / color / silent / 10' 20 / by David DUDOUIT

For this film, four rolls of 16mm film were patiently exposed frame by frame over the course of a stay on Ouessant Island in Brittany. Here, observation of nature and its phenomena is paired with striking formal experimentation, which alters our perception of the real.

LE PAYS DÉVASTÉ / 2015 / 35mm / color / sound / 11' 30 / by Emmanuel LEFRANT

- What do you see? - A place not suited for human beings

Le Pays Dévasté relates to the Anthropocene, the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

SEPTIEME FRACTION / 2015 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 7' 00 / by Guillaume MAZLOUM

« What thIngs were interred and sacrificed amid magic incantations ! » Taken from « One way street » by Walter Benjamin.

Fractions is a seven films series. Seven sequences, each with a pattern and a reference to a text of a political nature, to create a space for reflexion on the scope and responsibility of these images.

PROMENAUX / 2000-2001 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 12' 00 / by Stefano CANAPA

At first it’s just a take on reality, a game of observation amongst an anonymous crowd. Then it’s a strange night fall with words from Rimbaud with the search for new images becoming primordial. In the morning we discover a fascinating reality, a space without limits, fluctuating in a dreamlike state.

KAIROS / 2016 / 35mm / b&w / sound / 11' 15 / by Stefano CANAPA & Elisa RIBES

Kairos is a poetic dance film set against a Mediterranean background. Film, nature and the body are brought together to produce an interconnected material choreography. Kairos talks about the loss of the myth of Mermaids while also evoquing the odyssey of the today's migrants, between exil and resistance. For the Greeks, Kairos signifies the point where everything can happen, that point you can choose to do something or not.

A RADICAL FILM / 2017 / 35mm / b&w / sound / 2' 40 / by Stefano CANAPA

Radical, means what has to do with roots. The film is made with black radish: minced and cut in parts, then patiently placed and exposed on film. In a digital age, we go back to the roots of cinema!

JERÔME NOETINGER / 2018 / 35mm / b&w / sound / 11' 40 / by Stefano CANAPA

Solo in front of the camera, the musician/improviser Jérôme Noetinger plays his reel to reel tape recorder, the Revox B77. For the duration of a 16mm film reel, he brings to life and manipulates a complex sonic organism through the power of recording - using microphonic captures, electromagnetic static, and random radio. Stefano Canapa decided to set down this improvised instant with a deliberately simple cinematic device, giving the spectator a poetic and delicate experience without neglecting a certain pedagogical aspect. The film is at the same time a portrait, a study of movement, and a sound piece in its own right, fixed on a perennial support: a strip of traditional black and white 35mm film.


Stefano Canapa (b. Turin, Italy, 1977) graduated in 2001 in Film History and Aesthetics from DAMS University in Turin. After moving to France, he combined his training with his experience from the research lab L'Abominable, and contributed to creating similar kinds of structures (experimental, artisanal, self-managed) in Turin and Montevideo. He is part of the French artist collective Group ZUR (Zone Utopiquement Reconstituée) since 1998. He has been increasingly involved in projects with live components since 2002: installations, performance art, multidisciplinary improvisations, and plays for theatre. He co-directed, with Catherine LIbert two feature documentary film, "Les Champs Brulants" and "Des Provinces Lointaines". His last short film - Kairos - is signed with dancer Elisa RIbes. -SC

L’Abominable is an artist-run film laboratory near Paris. Since 1996, it's offered filmmakers the tools to work with silver-based film material: super-8, 16mm and 35mm. Different machines used for film production have been pooled together: one can develop negative or reversal originals, create blow-ups or optical printer effects, edit, work on sound or strike prints.

The filmmakers who already know how to work these machines train the ones who are just starting out. After this support period, each filmmaker can be independent in his or her work and explore the technical possibilities on one’s own.
In this way, without a selection process for projects, a wide variety of films are produced including “live” film performances or installations using the film medium. The scope of what is produced there and the specificity of practices make L’Abominable a unique place of creation, a living conservatory of cinematographic techniques.

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