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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Gabriella LoBue at 12:52PM
Paul Wilson

Blog posting written by Gabriella LoBue, Cinema and Photography, ’18, FLEFF Intern, Hackettstown, New Jersey.

Tucked away on the west end of the Gannett Center, and ornamented with various statues reminiscent of art museum pieces, lies the home of the Art History Department. I admit that I had never been to this part of the building before, nor was I even aware if its existence. Yet it was here that I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Paul Wilson.

Wilson is an assistant professor in the Department of Art History at Ithaca College. He instructs art history courses, and is currently researching retrofuturism and Afrofuturism in contemporary art. Wilson is also published in several art journals.

Wilson originates from Utah, and his education includes Whitman College and the University of Minnesota. He also lived in Finland on several different occasions for volunteering and to work on his dissertation research. Altogether he lived there for about three years.

Despite having taught FLEFF mini courses in years past, Wilson will be taking on a new role for the 2016 festival. This year he will be giving a walkthrough exhibition at the Handwerker Gallery, which examines Utopian art from Finland. This is a FLEFF-affiliated event that focuses on similar ideas and issues, such as this year’s landscapes theme, that will be presented at other festival events.

The exhibition includes a film about artists who visited the Finnish Archipelagos, and asked people to imagine what it might look like fifty years from present day. They then created four short fictional films replicating what was predicted. For example, one response described a wealthy tourist destination. Another pictured it as a home for climate refugees from around the world.

Wilson mentioned that during the walkthrough, there will be an opportunity for discussion from and with the group of attendees. As film festivals and their events thrive on discourse, this audience participation is aptly welcomed and strongly encouraged. The gallery artwork promotes contemplation about the relationship between humans and the natural world, and will no doubt incite a thought-provoking discussion when the time comes.

With a parting piece of advise, Wilson noted that one of the “curses of the contemporary moment” is the need to know exactly what one is getting himself or herself into before starting. However, researching the film or event prior to attending isn’t always necessary. To simply walk into the theater or exhibition, and be open to that experience, can be just as rewarding.

What non-film related FLEFF event are you most looking forward to?

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