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MicroCinema: The films of Karen Yasinsky (Q&A w/ filmmaker to follow)

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The birth of the Rhizome MicroCinema! First Thursday of the month from now until evermore….

Thursday January 3 * 7pm * $10

An uneasy wind blows through Karen Yasinsky’s films. It rustles clothing indoors and makes green grass wiggle in unnatural ways. It sends tumbleweed rolling east and west. A sense of dislocation and a disturbing tranquility share a stage where everything is in constant motion or very, very still. Her characters are awkward and anatomically incorrect, and sometimes you can see up their skirts. Their arms and legs twitch restlessly, and then suddenly they stand up and twirl like jewelry-box ballerinas. There is no storyboard, no dialogue. Silence and sound alternate, forming a conversation of their own, while the music is most often a chorus of otherworldly voices and instruments—a fitting accompaniment for the ragtag band of magical homemade figures that form Yasinsky’s cast. (Laurie Simmons: Essay. Hammer Museum.)

Using hand-made puppets, quirky rotoscoped animation and re-purposed footage (citing the likes of Cassavetes, Bresson and Tarkovsky among others), the films of Karen Yasinsky address deep themes of empathy, violence, spiritual grace and redemption as they veer between the cloyingly cute and the viscerally confrontational. Karen Yasinsky will appear in person to present a survey of works, followed by Q&A.

I’m most interested in things that we’re capable of experiencing that have nothing to do with language. I’m interested in violence, not how it feels to be hurt but how we process violence within the world. I’m very interested in desire and the emotions that are unresolved, that bring up challenges. (Karen Yasinsky Talks Surrealist Animation and Boredom (an interview with Kyle Harris): Westworld)

Art is religion: art is this transcendence. When it is at its best, when it hasn’t been acculturated, it can be strange and difficult. Art doesn’t have to be understood to powerfully connect with us and move us on a non-verbal level. I don’t think about heaven or paradise, I think when we die we die. But I do think that while we are here, we have art and that can give hope. The ability to create things that try to make sense of things that don’t make sense, is the best thing we have. (Karen Yasinsky interviewed by Mark Alice Durant: Saint Lucy)

Karen Yasinsky is an artist and filmmaker working with animation, collage, painting and drawing. Her video installations and drawings have been shown in many venues internationally including the Mori Art Musuem, Tokyo; PS1 Contemporary Art, NY; UCLA Hammer Museum, LA; the Wexner Center, Columbus, Museum Folkwang, Essen and Kunst Werke, Berlin. Her films and videos have been screened worldwide at various venues and film festivals including the National Gallery of Art, DC, MoMA, NY, the New York Film Festival's Views from the Avant Garde, Crossroads, SF, the San Francisco International, Images Festival, Toronto, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Ann Arbor Film Festival where she won the Leon Speakers Award for Best Sound Design in 2013. She is the recipient of a Baker Award, Guggenheim Fellowship and is a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin and the American Academy in Rome. She teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Film and Media Studies.