“The Library, The Archive, The Collection: Research as Studio Practice in the Art of the Moving Image”
Tuesday, 6 April, 12:30 – 2:00, Perkins Library, Biddle Rare Book Room
Award-winning, avant-garde filmmaker and Guggenheim Fellow David Gatten will give a talk and present his 2004 film The Great Art of Knowing. Gatten is the 2010 Duke Distinguished Visiting Filmmaker in the Program of the Arts of the Moving Image. His residency is funded by the Provost's Council for the Arts Visiting Artist Residency grant.
Over the last ten years David Gatten's films have explored the intersection of the printed word and the moving image, while investigating the shifting vocabularies of experience and representation within intimate spaces and historical documents. Through traditional research methods (reading old books) and non-traditional film processes (boiling old books), the films trace the contours of both private lives and public histories, combining elements of philosophy, biography and poetry with experiments in cinematic forms and narrative structures.
The Great Art of Knowing is one film in a series by Gatten that explores the extensive library of William Byrd II, a prominent eighteenth century Virginia landowner and author. Taking as a point of departure the volume of the same title by the 17th century Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher, this film attempts a reanimation of the lives of William Byrd and his daughter Evelyn, underlining the centuries-old desire to build systems of total knowledge and complete understanding. Additional material is drawn from Byrd’s papers, Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds, as well as writings by Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jules-Etienne Marey. The black and white, silent film is approximately 40 minutes long.
Gatten's films have been included twice in the Whitney Biennial. and are screened regularly in the world’s most prestigious film festivals, museums and galleries. His work resides in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as in numerous university and private collections. Sponsored by the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
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