Works by Alexandra Gelis

LOMAA is excited to welcome Toronto-based filmmaker Alexandra Gelis to London to present a screening of her recent works. This event is presented in partnership with McIntosh Gallery. The artist will be in attendance to introduce the works and answer questions, following the program.

Friday February 2, 2018 | 7:30 – 9:30pm | Fringe London – 207 King Street

Program details:

English for Beginners 2:32 minutes 2009 video
The beginning, the first border crossing, the first video made after the artist’s move to Canada. Language, country, identity. It is composed in three frames, an echo of the Canadian flag. The speaking face is also divided, cut in half by the landscape that pours into the new wound of identity. (Mike Hoolboom)

Rhizomatic Directed Simulation 6 minutes 2014 16mm
The movie opens with a quote from Borges: “The best imitation consists of the original’s destruction and the creation of a self referential text.” While a galaxy of Super 8 luxuries erupt, the film hand processed, the emulsion cracked in order to reveal its silver secrets, a silhouetted camera operator attempts to contain the experience, even as he is subjected to the same chemical disintegrations. (Mike Hoolboom)

Rayado en Queer 1:43 minutes 2014 video
A remix of the previous movie (a famous American Super 8 movie from the 70s, scratched up by the artist), this time narrating the body. Fleeting texts conjure a space between genders that creates poetry out of theory: ” …the materialization of the political … increasing the level of testosterone… different than a cis-female.” The quotes are drawn from Paul Preciado’s devastating theory confessional Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era. (Mike Hoolboom)

Bridge of the Americas 2:30 minutes 2015 video
Part of an ongoing series of works made in Panama. Live animations re-animate this international bridge and border. The persistent background of life in the Panama Canal Zone are these passing ships crammed with waving travellers, the most temporary of citizens, their eyes like rain. (Mike Hoolboom)

1 min, 2011
The body as an immanent part of the landscape. About tenderness and innocence. Two Channel Video Installation. Casiteros is an observational video introducing Pachito and his kitten. They both live in a disadvantaged neighborhood called El Bosque (The Woods) in Cartagena, Colombia. In Pachitos house, there are approximately 150 roosters bred for cockfighting that sing in unison each morning. The work deals with tenderness, vulnerability, and innocence and hidden traumas.

Conchitas/ Conchs (with Jorge Lozano) 5:50 minutes 2010 video
Double screen movie about composition, memory and drowning. Like so many of this artist’s movies, these pictures are gathered as part of her living, collected with her reliable camera accompaniment. Alexandra becomes the beach sand while Jorge dissolves the picture into a gummy bear colour screen, as we hear memories of drowning on the soundtrack, the casual terror lurking in the light of the everyday. (Mike Hoolboom)

Estera (Mat)
Dual screen super 8mm, 3:43 m
As part of my investigation on the use of weeds for medicinal purposes I asked Alejandro a traditional mat maker in San Basilio de Palenque (Colombia) to make one using weeds. These plants are commonly used to shield children from wicked witches – the Mohana’s kidnappings, bad eye and other forms of evil spirits. The film registers the making of the mat and the activities going on around its making.

San Rafael 4:20 minutes 2010 video
Made in a single shot from a chance laundromat encounter. The black eye of desire. Rafael offers a reaction shot to his street cruising efforts, and the unwanted fight that ensued. In his extravagant speaking he names himself as an archangel, his chest open so that the wings of his words can lift every ordinary encounter into a queer sublime. (Mike Hoolboom)

Borders/ Bordes 3 minutes 2010 video
A masterpiece of multi-screen bodily decomposition, Borders offers a nine-screen collective portrait, made entirely out of photographs. Inviting six of her queer feminist housemates who identified as women for a suite of portrait sessions, the artist pictures the borders of skin, and by recombining them into a grid creates an always shifting composite body that floats between genders. The soundtrack is created out of the spaces between words, the beginnings of sentences, the pauses and hesitations, where the unconscious lives. (Mike Hoolboom)

Walking in circles
3:54. Super 8 mm film. 5.1 Surround sound. 2015
Experimental documentary based on the circles at York University Strike 2015.

One Dollar Click 2 minutes 2009 video
The artist makes an approach to the indigenous triumph of the Kuna on the San Blas Islands, a string of 365 islands that run between Colombia and Panama. Nearly every frame has come from a still camera, as we are led across sand and water into village life. The artist appears as an animated apparition, portraits, posters and landscapes float through her. The feeling of the land, the roots of collective experience and identity. A passing banner announces: “People who lose their tradition, lose their place.” (Mike Hoolboom)

How to make a beach (for a perfect suntan) (with Jorge Lozano)
4min, 2017, video
It is an intervention that deals with the disorientation of feeling lost at odds with
one’s immediate transformation of the environment. And the orientation, or being pointed toward a distant and disruptive possibility.

La Casa de Olga/The House of Olga 6:18 minutes 2010 video
In the most direct frames possible the movie brings us into an intimate encounter with Olga, elegant and proud, thoughtfully articulate. How happy she is that Alexandra has come at last to see her house, which she shows off with all the grace of an estate holder. She points to the rock which was her bed for many years, and which cured her of every physical ailment. Her home used to be part of the old monastery in Panama City called Ruins of the Society of Jesus, but the walls and ceilings were blown away, she lives now in the former interior, exposed to every element, taking shelter occasionally beneath her yellow umbrella, her scant belongings placed in the cracks of a wall. (Mike Hoolboom)

The island
super 8mm film hand processed, 5 min, 2018

Alexandra Gelis is a Colombian-Venezuelan artist living and working in Toronto, Ontario. Her studio practice combines new media, installation, and photography with custom built interactive electronics. Her projects incorporate personal field research as a tool to investigate the ecologies of various landscapes through examining the traces left by various socio-political interventions. She uses data capture techniques, video, sound, and spatial and electronic media to create documentary based immersive installations; single-channel videos, and experimental photography. She has exhibited internationally in North and South America as well as Ethiopia in Africa.

Alexandra Gelis has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Colombian MInister of Culture. Her research has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the ministry of Culture of Colombia. She also won the Colciencias Doctoral Fellowship Program for her PhD research “Environmental History and Aesthetics of Invasive Plants in Equinoctial America: An Arts-Based Inquiry” .

A university-based, public art gallery since 1942, McIntosh Gallery collaborates with artists, curators and academics to develop innovative strategies to interpret and disseminate visual culture. Exhibitions, educational programs and special events provide a platform for engagement with visual art and artists.

LOMAA is an emerging, enthusiastic and devoted non-profit artist-run collective that fosters collaboration, investigation and innovation by tapping into the talent and serving the needs of media artists in the London region.

LOMAA would like to thank London Arts Council for their support of this program, as well as Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts for this continued backing.

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