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Femme Fantastic: The Carnal Screen Featuring Media Studies Professor MM Serra

Femme Fantastic: The Carnal Screen
Wednesday, December 7th @ 7pm
Ludlow House
139 Ludlow Street

Limited seating. RSVP REQUIRED.
Free Admission!

Sexy films produced and directed by three local artists: Peggy Ahwesh, Katherine Bauer and MM Serra.

This program of films will present an alternative image of the body, of sex, and of intimacy – images that are about individuality and freedom of expression, rather than standardization and profit. They present truthful depictions of a vital part of human nature; they facilitate the cathartic release of repressed anxieties; and they allow us to think critically and engage in serious conversations about the complex political issues that surround representations of sexuality in contemporary society.

Artists present. Q&A following screening.

Films to be screened:

New York Honeymoon (1946), Evergreen Collections. 10mins.
Stag Film.

Darling International (2000), by MM Serra. 18 mins.
An exploration of sexual fantasies of a NY metal worker. “An evocative work whose sexual sadomasochistic scenario, grainy visual texture and layered soundtrack render it highly tactile, fairly begging to be touched.” – Shannon Kelly, Sundance Film Festival 2000, Festival Guide. With Jenn Reeves. Winner of Honorable Mention at Sundance Film Festival.

Trick Film (2006), by Peggy Ahwesh. 6 mins.
Activities at home with the Mistress and her naughty pet.

Crystallus; Discintinuity and Nucleation (2012) by Katherine Bauer. 20 mins.
From the Shiny Sorceress’ belly, blood crystals have fallen to Earth, now lost within its cold crust. Matter is multiplying itself. The air is becoming saturated. The thickness of minerals that mingle under the Earth are sucked away. The saturation is becoming thicker and thicker. The process of crystallization has started to take place. It will trap her within an infinite reflection of herself.

The Color of Love (1994), by Peggy Ahwesh. 10 mins.
“The last word in ready-mades, Peggy Ahwesh’s The Color of Love … is a slightly slo-mo, optical reprint of an obviously ill-treated ’70s porn movie in which the chemical rot that’s already eaten away the edges of the image threaten to censor it entirely … a ur-text for Ahwesh’s work, The Color of Love is an almost Rose Hobart for the ’90s.” – Amy Taubin, The Village Voice.

Teacher’s Pet (2006), by Peggy Ahwesh. 8 mins.
A pupil who has won the teacher’s special favor. A person who is treated as a favorite by one in authority. A complete suck-up. Never gets in trouble and gets away with everything!

Teen Dream (2015), by Katherine Bauer. 8 mins.
Teen Dream takes up the narrative and material themes of crystalline structures, which evoke life but are not themselves alive. These structural arrangements mutate in the carbon cycle, fuse human flesh to steel, and translate the chaotic flux which we call memory into the emulsive surface of the film. There are shrines to dead cats, old flames, teenage crushes, veins of American rust. The extreme, high-frequency concentrations of the blue light burn at the tip of the welding torches like vigils for a lost adolescent fury. They build layers upon layers, burying the narrative sparks of dreams beneath the solid ground of the celluloid. Footage shot and re shot frame by frame, hand-processed, crunched, and crystallized.

Heiress (2015), by Katherine Bauer. 8 mins.
In and out of the eye and in and out of the mouth. Blood pulsing as cells split and gems are passed in and out of the body. Transfigurations of the bodily dejecta. Where does the self end and the other begin?

Enduring Ornament (2015), MM Serra. 15 mins.
Late in 2004, MM Serra discovered a box of short 16mm pornographic films outside of a semi-defunct adult bookstore on 42nd Street. These films, created cheaply in the 1940s for use in coin-operated peepshow booths, were some of the final remnants of Manhattan’s disappearing sex district. Historically, these were a form of male entertainment that featured short, soft core vignettes of amateur female performers. The abandoned reels of 16mm film could not have found a better rescuer, since Serra’s own film and video work often examines the corporeal worlds of gender, sexuality, and explicit images.


Peggy Ahwesh
Since the 1970’s, Peggy Ahwesh has traversed a variety of technologies and styles in her work that forms the basis of her inquiry into feminism, cultural identity and genre. Ahwesh’s art practice insists on political and social topicality and theoretical rigor, while incorporating humor and the absurd in an open embrace of the inexplicable. Ahwesh studied with Tony Conrad, Paul Sharits and Janis Crystal Lipson at Antioch College. Recent exhibitions include: Two Serious Ladies (2015) Murray Guy, NYC; Plagiarist of My Unconscious Mind! (2015) Château Shatto, LA and Kissing Point (2014) Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn.

Katherine Bauer
Katherine Bauer works primarily with 16mm film and its material potential for sculpture, photography and installation. Much of her work involves mythologies, folklores, and narratives. Her work has previously exhibited at Participant Inc., NY; Shoot the Lobster, Dusseldorf, Germany; Place Gallery, Portland, Oregon; and Immanence Gallery, Paris, France among others. Bauer was awarded a 2012-13 Cité Internationale des Arts Paris Residency and was a recipient of a Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation Fellowship (2012-13). Bauer holds a BA in film and electronic arts from Bard College and a MFA from NYU Steinhardt (2013). Bauer was born in Houston, Texas and currently lives and works in New York.

MM Serra
MM Serra is an experimental filmmaker, curator, author, and the Executive Director of Film-Makers’ Cooperative, the world’s oldest and largest archive of independent media. MM Serra’s work has screened at the New York Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight Series. Her film “Bitch Beauty” was part of a program “Cinema as Death” at the International School of Cinema and Television (EICTV) of San Antonio de los Baños in Cuba. Awards include the Kathy Acker Award for Lifetime Achievement of Excellence in Avant-Garde Art and the Director’s’ Choice prize at the Black Maria Film Festival. She has curated film screening that have been shown at the Pacific Design Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Office of Contemporary Art in Oslo, Norway, as well as programs in Warsaw and Paznan, Poland. MM Serra teaches in the Media Studies program at the New School on topics such as horror films, sex and gender, as well as avant-garde cinema.


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