Revolutionary Experimental Cinema in the Bay Area
by Dominic Angerame

This course will bring people to a closer understanding of experimental and avant garde cinema. Experimental Cinema is a revolution of poetic visual moving images and a rebellion against the constrictions of the commercial narrative and documentary cinema. San Francisco has become one of the world’s capitals for creative experimental cinema. For decades film artists have been making films that do not tell stories and attempt to explore cinema as a unique art form. Several different venues that show experimental cinema are featured and they include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Other Cinema, Artist Television Access, and the SF Film Society.

The Uneasy Interior
by Anthony Discenza

I’ve always found myself primarily a consumer of fiction, for better or worse, principally those fictions that orbit around the imaginary, the fantastic, the spectral, and the speculative.  As an artist, I find that much of my ideas have their origin point from within an interior mental space heavily colored by these influences, but I sometimes notice that those sources somehow don’t always receive their proper due when I discuss my work. This observation is echoed by my sense that the role of imagination and irrationality play in artistic practice often gets downplayed in our current discourse.  So, even as contemporary artistic practice seems to be continually more outwardly directed to the daylight world of social structures and networks, I thought we would conduct a brief foray into the more twilit and occasionally claustrophobic realms that lie within, and examine what they still have to offer as a source of inspiration--as well as dread. As part of the class, there will be a series of short fiction readings that will be provided shortly after sign-up as .pdfs. A group session will be scheduled towards the end of the term to discuss these readings.

Celebrating Dilettantism
by Derek Fagerstrom & Lauren Smith

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” -Thomas H. Huxley Throughout history our culture has celebrated the exploits of professional dabblers who have exploded boundaries in fields as diverse as art, science, education, and design. These big thinkers have shunned specialization, and instead pursued lives and careers based on an enthusiasm for a wide range of topics. Using both their minds and their hands they have established a connection between curiosity, creativity and a passion for exploration that has guided their work in the creation of new fields of study. In this course we will explore contemporary examples of professional polymaths, while engaging in a bit of “dilletantism” ourselves. Through a short series of film screenings and lectures, we will gain inspiration from artists and makers whose diverse backgrounds and interests have guided their creative output and unique careers. This will be followed by activities that will encourage students to explore diverse avenues of hands-on creativity and learning.

The Autumn before the Winter of our Discontent
by Josh On

This pre-election period of rampant right-wing politics from above has been a challenge to my ever optimistic feeling that the day of reckoning for this system must be just around the corner. The fall sampler of music, connection with a radical past, discussion of political specter’s, utopia dreams of others and participation in a local protest for justice -  will hopefully be a good antidote to the scheduled politics of austerity and hate on offer this season.

Do-it-yourself, Together
by Elizabeth Thomas

Performance is everywhere lately, or so it seems. I mean, it has always been everywhere, from school pageants to the Catholic church, student protests to Broadway musicals. It’s the basis of collective activity, and of course, with some exceptions, we always knew our roles, performer or audience, active or passive. But a lot of that has changed, especially as performance moves out of a theater and into a museum, or away from a script and into the extemporaneous, or beyond fiction and into reality. Performance as broadly defined now implies experience, not just given, but generated. It implies speech, not in monologue, but in dialogue. It implies movement, not just physically but politically and socially. And it implies participation in the world, not an escape from it. How do these differing forms, from guided exercises to dinners, discussions to re-enactments generate different roles for us? What motivates our desires to submit, to be directed, be surprised, be uncertain, be activated, be together? This course includes direct, participatory performance experiences as well as critical reflections on the collective and social aspects of performances that engage in this shift of performative subjectivity.

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1Dominic Angerame

has made more than 35 films that have been shown and won awards in film festivals  around the world.  He has also been honored by two Cine Probe Series at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City -- in 1993 and in June 1998. His film Anaconda Targets (2004) was exhibited at the Whitney Biennial (2006). Also in 2006 Angerame presented his “City Symphony Series” along with Pixiescope, Waifen Maiden, Consume,  and Anaconda Targets at the Havana Film Festival (Festival International del Nuevo Cine Latinamericano). This was the first time experimental cinema had been presented at this festival in the past 28 years. His most recent film The Soul of Things (2010) has been shown at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Onion City Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival and the Viennale Film Festival.

Angerame has been the Executive Director of Canyon Cinema for the past thirty years. Under his leadership Canyon Cinema has become one of the world’s most renowned distributors of avant garde and experimental films. Canyon Cinema’s contribution to the field of experimental/avant garde filmmaking is historic and heroic.

2 Derek Fagerstrom & Lauren Smith

are writers, curators, and owners of the Curiosity Shoppe and Gallery. They are the Creative Directors of Pop-Up Magazine, an event featuring non-fiction writers, documentary filmmakers, photographers, artists, and radio producers presenting their work live on-stage in magazine format.

3Josh On

is a web artist, designer and activist living and working in San Francisco. In 2001 he made the www.theyrule.net, an interactive representation of the interlocking directories of the most powerful companies in the U.S.A. The project received the Golden Nica award for 'Net Excellence' at Prix Ars Electronica and was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. In 2008 he and artist Shaun O’Dell organized a series of talks about art and politics at SFAI called “the New New Masses.”

4 Anthony Discenza

is an artist working primarily with video, but also and more recently with text and street signage. His projects have focused on the ubiquitous presence of mainstream media in contemporary life.  By extracting and reprocessing material taken from sources such as commercial film, television, and the internet, he has produced works that seek to amplify both the assaultive and anaesthetizing effects of our information-saturated culture. Discenza’s solo and collaborative work has been shown at numerous national and international venues, including the Getty Center, SFMOMA, The New York Video Festival, The Pacific Film Archive, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The European Media Arts Festival and The Australian Center for the Moving Image. Currently, Discenza works as a Senior Lecturer at the California College of Art.  He is represented by The Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco and the Video Databank of Chicago.

5 Elizabeth Thomas

is a curator and writer. She is currently the Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, where she produces contemporary projects by local, national, and international artists, often commissioning new work that uses the university as a site and context for research-based practices. Recent and upcoming artists in the series include Martha Colburn, Patricia Esquivias, Omer Fast, Futurefarmers, Mario Garcia Torres, Brent Green, Jill Magid, Ahmet Ogut, Trevor Paglen, Olivia Plender, Emily Roysdon, Tomas Saraceno, Allison Smith, Tris Vonna-Michell, and David Wilson. Before moving to California she was the Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at Carnegie Museum of Art, working on the 2004-5 Carnegie International, a major international survey exhibition, as well as overseeing a series of project exhibitions with artists such as Cory Arcangel and Paper Rad, Edgar Arceneaux, and Christian Jankowski. As an independent curator and writer she co-organized The Believers with Nato Thompson at Mass MoCA and The 'F' Word at The Andy Warhol Museum, and was also a founding editor of the Chicago arts and culture magazine Ten by Ten.

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PICKPOCKET ALMANACK is curated by Joseph del Pesco and commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Design and typsetting by Scott Ponik
Web development by Chadwick Wood

Thanks to: Dominic Willsdon, Brian Conley, Anne Walsh, Renny Pritikin, and Helena Keeffe.

Download Pickpocket Almanack Spring 2010 Pickpocket_Spring_2010.pdf Also, download Pickpocket Almanack 2009 Pickpocket_Almanack_2009.pdf