David Gatten, assistant professor in the cinema and photography department, will screen his latest film The Great Art of Knowing at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 17, in the Park Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
Over the last five 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moving image, while investigating the shifting vocabularies of experience and representation within intimate spaces and historical documents.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 and nontraditional film processes, 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. Currently Gatten is at work on a cycle of nine films about the Byrd family of Virginia during the early 18th century.
The Great Art of Knowing is the latest in this series. It combines an investigation of the Byrd family library with the words and images of Leonardo da Vinci, 17th century polymath Athanasius Kircher, and the 19th century scientist and photographer Jules-Etienne Marey.
"Gatten's approach to biography is unique: the books he cites have been selected for what they reveal about his subjects. The film's devotion to reading as a solitary and deeply personal pursuit is a romantic one, and its implication that the art we surround ourselves with will live on as evidence of our existence is both consoling and inspiring," writes Nicole Armour of Film Comment magazine.
The new film will be screened along with Gatten's previous film, Secret History of the Dividing Line. New York film curator Mark McElhatten describes Gatten's work as "some of most original work of his or any generation in American cinema since the 1970s. His Secret History reveals mysterious evocations from concrete material thresholds and sutures -- the bubblings, the glacial sheaths and slashes of film splices rendered into borderlines. Powerful abstractions worthy of Franz Kline and beyond. The work continues to steep and crystallize around a complex conceptual framework."
Gatten was one of 113 artists included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Two of his recent films premiered in New York City at Lincoln Center in the New York Film Festival. Gatten's work has been exhibited at museums and cinematheques including the Pacific Film Archive, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Art Gallery of Ontario, Cinémathèque Française, Helsinki Film Co-Op, Museum of Contemporary Cinema in Lisbon, Millennium Film Workshop, Anthology Film Archives, and Chicago Filmmakers. His films have been screened at festivals around the world including Rotterdam, New York, London, Ann Arbor, Toronto, Onion City, Ottawa, Athens, Bangkok, Impakt, Media City, Cinematexas, THAW, Chicago Underground, Black Maria, and others.
Gatten's work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as in private collections in the United States, Canada and Japan.
Contributed by Melissa Gattine