MUSEUM AND GALLERY EXHIBITION

Currently on display at the Taube Museum of Art.
Films listed alphabetically.

Highlighting the talents of avant-garde artist artists using innovative techniques in storytelling to highlight important human rights issues.

A special one-night theatrical screening will take place July 9, 2020 of 7 films at the historic Oak Park Theatre. Click here to learn more.

Build Up

 

Year: 2019 | 1 min 30 seconds
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): English
Directed by: Vada Murphy
Country of Origin: United States

Build Up examines social space and the ensuing anxiety of existing. The physical ticks which we use to comfort ourselves in the company of others are small indicators of the truth of a feeling.

Social nervousness and discomfort are influenced by unfamiliar surroundings and noises. These subtle fidgets exist in order to let out these feelings of tension while not disrupting the expectation of space. Build Up records body language and gesture in order to create an anxious environment.

Cornered

 

Year: 2019 | 8 min
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): Wolof
Directed by: Raquel Salvatella de Prada
Country of Origin: Spain

Part sculpture, part light installation and video animation, Cornered is an immersive visual experience that represents the motivation and struggles of migrants leaving their home country and making an attempt, most often failed, to cross the border from Morocco to the Spanish cities of Melilla and Ceuta, the only European cities on Africa’s mainland.

Director's Statement

The installation projects an original dance performance interlaced with stylized visuals on an intricately patterned and light filled structure, which reminisces a Moroccan table, covered on top by a screened dome that serves as a rear-projection screen for a short throw projector within the sculpture. The visuals and the original scores are experienced by walking around the structure, immersing the viewer in the light patterns that emanate from it to cover floors and surrounding walls.

Combining sculpture, light, filmed performance, and original soundtrack, Cornered creates an atmospheric audio-visual experience of the contrast between hope and desperation felt by migrants. Its completion comes at an opportune moment, when it complements a broader awareness of the crisis.

Desplazado (Displaced)

 

Year: 2019 | 13 min
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): English
Directed by: Alex Mendez Giner
Country of Origin: United States

I belong to the Venezuelan Diaspora. I’m an immigrant, descendant of immigrants. More than eighty years ago Franco pushed half of my family out of Spain. They found refuge in Venezuela. I’m still on a journey. This is my lament. My attempt at understanding. Absurd historic recurrence.

Director's Statement

I am a descendant of immigrants who became an immigrant myself. Half of my family fled Spain during the Spanish Civil Revolution, arriving in Venezuela just after World War II. I grew up with a grandfather who impressed upon me the importance of Spain as our Motherland. Now I find myself repeating my family’s story, but the idea of a Motherland is not clear anymore.

Across the last seven years, I have experienced firsthand what it means to be an immigrant. I belong to the so-called “Venezuelan Diaspora,” often defined as the voluntary emigration of millions escaping the Bolivarian Revolution regime. During the long years of political oppression and economic failure under president Hugo Chavez, Venezuela became a monumental airtight cell, where we all slowly began to asphyxiate.

Without initially realizing it, I became a pawn on history’s chess board, relegating my “personal process” to a series of moves in a larger historical game. It has been seven years now since I was welcomed in the US and in a way, granted a sort of reincarnation in life. These years as an immigrant have given me a new perspective about migratory processes.

In 2014, I began to develop a video project that would explore immigration issues from an intensely personal perspective. While I recognize that every art work is to some degree political, my idea was not to produce a documentary about immigration and immigration policy in the U.S.—far from it. My goal was intimate: to explore my observations, experience and feelings as an immigrant today.

The project takes the form of a poetic experiment. In the piece, I explore my recent experiences of constant movement between distant geographic spaces, from Venezuela to the US, to Italy, Thessaloniki, Colombia, Laos and beyond. I attempt to understand my thoughts and feelings as a self-recognized immigrant. This process began long before I was born and constantly brings me to the words of Brazilian writer Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes in his essay “Cinema: A Trajectory within Underdevelopment” (1973):

“Not European, not American. Having no original culture, nothing is foreign to us because everything is foreign. Our painful self-creation develops between the rarefied dialectics of not to be or being other.”

Through this project I have discovered that home is a fluid word and belonging a state of mind.

Dungeons and Dairy

 

Year: 2018 | 3 min
Genre: Animation
Language(s): English
Directed by: Jacob Lenard
Country of Origin: United States

A comedic twist on the Dungeons and Dragons theme. In this story, a lactose intolerant hero battles a bovine dragon to save a damsel in distress. Created at Exceptional Minds by artists on the autism spectrum.

Flag Country

 

Year: 2019 | 6 min
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): English
Directed by: Pamela Falkenberg
Country of Origin: United States

Outlier Moving Pictures’ new poetry film is based on Dave Bonta’s haibun poem, “Flag Country,” which tells a story about an unplanned stop during a road trip, arrested to see an enormous flag at a car lot in Orbisonia, PA. Our mesmerizing views of the flag furling and unfurling in the wind, along with the “skywritten” text, induce the hypnotic state described in the poem, accompanied by a soundscape that conducts a whirlwind tour of American aspirations and moments of civil dissent, revealing the challenging gaps that continue to exist between our ideals and our actual achievements.

Gulf

 

Year: 2019 | 10 min
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): English
Directed by: Walter Mzengi
Country of Origin: Tanzania

Facing a dire situation, a woman flees her badly governed homelands; heading north with the desperate dream of finding a better life. Although she later discovers that to be fully accepted into the community, means losing a part of herself.
Director's Statement
Gulf is a film about identity through the perspective of a refugee, and how much of yourself do you have to compromise in order to feel belonging.

HOPE

 

Year: 2019 | 5 min
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): English
Directed by: Wrik Mead
Country of Origin: Canada

Hope is the final instalment from a trilogy of films that look at the global push back on the civil liberties of the LGBTQ community. A kaleidoscope of anti gay protests, captured and posted on the internet almost always erupt into violence. From the chaos comes hope, the lasting message of the film and the pursuit for a better future.

Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana

 

Year: 2010 | 15 min
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): English
Directed by: Ken Kimmelman
Country of Origin: United States

A dramatic montage based on the “Nation” magazine prize poem by Eli Siegel, combining photographs, live-action and special effects to show how a hot afternoon in Montana is related to the whole world. It so deeply honors earth–its land, its history, its people.

Lo Que Significa el Agua (How We See Water)

 

Year: 2019 | 25 min
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): English/Spanish
Directed by: Robin Starbuck
Country of Origin: United States

“How We See Water” follows the lives of two young women, Juana Gomez Ramirez and Rosa Maria Hernandez, in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, as they grow from girls to young women and struggle to fulfill their dreams of obtaining an education while also serving a vital role in earning a living for their families.

The survival of children in indigenous Chiapian Mexico is both fragile and resonant with community. Working with the guidance of several San Cristobal organizations, Melel Xojobal and the Na Bolom Museum, Starbuck filmed with these young girls and their families for over four years.

Structurally, ‘How We See Water” utilizes both realistic and non-realistic devices and a shifting temporal emphasis throughout. The film combines footage of Chiapan life with animation, interviews, and dance. Both the visual and aural components of this film seek to interrogate conventional narrative structure and how this is represented in documentary film. In uncoupling the relationship between sound and image, the film attempts to capture an essence of place, history, and personal struggle, rather than communicating these directly.

Director's Statement

I first lived in San Cristobal, Mexico in the early 1990’s when I was an artist in residence at the Na Bolom Museum. At that time I traveled with the San Cristobal photographer and social activist, Trudy Blom to her camp with the Lacandon tribe in the Mexican jungle. These were pre-tourist days and Trudy’s close relationships in the the tribe, and her deep understanding of the need for indigenous cultural preservation, proved a great influence on me.

Returning to San Cristobal in 2015, many years after the Zapatista uprising, I was interested to see dramatic changes in both the town itself and in the surrounding Chiapan indigenous communities – some of these good, many concerning. After meeting Juana Gomez Ramirez and Rosa Maria Hernandez in Chiapas, I decided to make a film about these two very different young girls who none-the-less shared a dream to earn an education and to forge new paths in life for themselves. There followed four years of my filming in Chiapas on every possible occasion and, in doing so, participating in the life journey of both girls.

I have structured “How We See Water” as a poetic, essay film because I believe this form best suits the visual nature of indigenous Chiapas and, more specifically, introduces the contradictory struggles and variant accomplishments of these now young women. Ultimately, my intention with this film of montaged images, music, and voice, is to provide a framework for understanding the experiences of indigenous girls in southern Mexico and to invite action for equality in education world wide, while still of course leaving room for open curiosity.

As a short addendum, my home and studio were destroyed in a fire in March 2019. As a result, I lost a large portion of the footage and all of my field journals for this film. When loss like this occurs with a project, the construction of film time and film flow are interrupted. In quoting the experimental filmmaker Farocki, ‘under these conditions one has to (then) put together separate elements, a montage of ideas and images that invite us to fill in the lack, fill in the spaces.” In this film therefore, the images themselves make demands, they function in dialogue with viewers own experience, and allow for an array of interpretations.

Once Upon a Territory

 

Year: 2019 | 23 min
Genre: Experimental
Language(s): English
Directed by: Fiona Morrison
Country of Origin: Andorra

 

On route filming from East to west North America, and West to East Canada, showing all the names of Native American Territories, it is a deep homage to them.

Passage

 

Year: 2019 | 5 min
Genre: Animation
Language(s): English
Directed by: Asavari Kumar
Country of Origin: India

 

Finding herself in a state of limbo, an Indian woman revisits her immigration journey and voyages through a tempestuous emotional landscape of memory, identity, belonging and the illusion of the American Dream.
Director's Statement
After the presidential elections of 2016, like many others I felt an ominous paradigm shift. Rising anti-immigrant sentiment and white nationalism mixed in with the horrors brought to light by the MeToo movement, created a perfect storm of fear, disillusionment and helplessness. Passage was created in response to these forces while exploring the intersecting narratives of varied immigrant experiences. The film is based on my own immigration experience and hopes to steer the conversation away from divisive discourses within the immigrant community and shift focus towards more hopeful and inclusive narratives and discover overlapping experiences. I chose to be intentional not just about what I make but about who I worked with. In the creation of this project I sought out collaborators and artists that believed in the ethos of the film and were conscious of the lack of representation of women and POC artists in the entertainment and media Industry. The team is spread across Los Angeles, San Francisco, Copenhagen, New Delhi and Norwich, bringing a wealth of professional and cultural insight to this film.

The Last Adjunct

 

Year: 2019 | 6 min
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): English
Directed by: Dorothea Braemer
Country of Origin: United States

 

A 6-minute, 3-Act contemplation about an adjunct who becomes and activist and then a tenure-track professor, raising questions about social responsibility in an exploitative system.

INCLUSION

 

Year: 2019 | 15 min
Genre: Experimental Film
Language(s): English
Directed by: Kevin Tengesdal
Country of Origin: United States

 

Transforming the LGBTQ+ pride flage in recognition of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and the legacy of Pride – bringing inclusion to the Rainbow Flag.

Director's Statement

In the early 21st century social policies advancing the LGBTQ+ community continue to flourish. The Rainbow Flag has seen triumphs and tragedies, and continues to fly over many communities, festivals and parades. New and innovative themes and designs of flags celebrate human diversity, sexuality and gender equality.

For the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, graphic artist and social activist Kevin R. Tengesdal of North Dakota designed an LGBTQ+ Inclusion Flag. He began with the internationally accepted six-stripe Rainbow Flag. In the upper section of the flag, he placed a circle as the rising sun. He chose the circle shape to represent the earth and inclusion.

At the base of the circle he added three stripes: Black, Brown & Grey to represent the brilliant spectrum of skin colors and races. In the top half of the circle he added three stripes: Light Blue, Pink & White to represent the array of gender identities. In this Inclusion Flag, the circle of earth encompasses people of all colors, gender identities, abilities & beliefs on a rainbow field which stands for the greater LGBTQ+ community, their diversity, and their allies.

“Overall, in time, it is my hope this Inclusion Flag will celebrate peace & unity, equality & respect among all of humanity.” — KRTengesdal

Philosopher Kings

 

Year: 2019 | 4 min
Genre: Animation
Language(s): English
Directed by: Thomas Rush
Country of Origin: United States

 

This official video for Tom Rush’s “Philosopher Kings” (featuring music and vocals by Far Pines) tells the story of a fox living in Looneytown who wonders why every one he comes across seems to hate him for no reason.

Director's Statement

For as many crappy people as there are in the world, there are an awful lot of good ones. Join our main character, The Fox, as she roams from town to town in search of inspiring folks.

The Rope

 

Year: 2019 | 1 min
Genre: Animation
Language(s): English
Directed by: Stephen Storti
Country of Origin: United States

A young boy fears the worst as he is forced to climb a rope in gym class.. Animated and Directed by Stephen Storti, a young man with autism. Created at Exceptional Minds – a professional academy and studio for individuals with autism.

The Scar Runs Through the Pupil

 

Year: 2019 | 7 min
Genre: Experimental
Language(s): English
Directed by: Amanda May
Country of Origin: Canada

Using a discarded textbook, Amanda depicts her journey as a foster child in the education system. The unforeseen events disrupt the learning narrative.

…so it goes

 

Year: 2019 | 2 min
Genre: Animation
Language(s): English
Directed by: Jim Hall
Country of Origin: United States

A dictator with an orange for a face becomes the new symbol of fascism in this experimental FilmPoem.

The color orange morphs into the ultimate hue of hate and destruction,
the flame that ignites the world in a nuclear fireball.

…so it goes

Umbrella Dance for Hong Kong

 

Year: 2019 | 15 min
Genre: Experimental
Language(s): Chinese
Directed by: WONG King Fai
Choreography by: MUI Chuek Yin
Country of Origin: Hong Kong

 

The Dance Film is mainly responded to Hong Kong Anti-extradition Bill Movement in 2019. The umbrella dance is recorded Hong Kong history from Mainland China took over Hong Kong in 1997, The Umbrella Revolution in 2014, to nowadays revolution. Hong Kong top modern dancer and choreographer MUI Cheuk Yin had co-operated with Pina Bausch. She mixed the Chinese dance and western modern dance to develop her own Hong-Kong style independent dance. The film director WONG King Fai was award-winning scriptwriter. He had very good narration skills and developed new film language to think about how to breakthrough the boundary between a closed stage and an opened real scene. And he explored to mix the different genres with dance film and documentary.

Mui Cheuk-yin is an internationally renowned solo artist and dance ambassador for Hong Kong. Her choreography has a distinctive aesthetic voice and, while contemporary, often incorporates Chinese elements. Her unwavering commitment and passion to strive for the best in dance has earned her numerous honours from the Hong Kong community, including four Hong Kong Dance Awards (2000, 2001, 2009, 2013) and the Distinguished Achievement Award (2012) presented by the Hong Kong Dance Alliance for her dedication and long-standing commitment to developing dance in Hong Kong.

She has been invited to many international arts festivals including Hong Kong Arts Festival (1994, 2001), Belgium International Arts Festival (1994), Lisbon Culturgest (1995), Re:Orient Dance Festival in London (1995), Hong Kong Festival at the Berlin Tacheles (1996), la Biennale du danse de Val-de-Marne (1997), Ein Fest in Wuppertal 25th & 35th (1998, 2008), Venice Biennial Dance Festival (1999), Dancing-World Festival in Copenhagen (2000), the Lyon Biennale de la Danse (2000), Beijing Modern Dance Festival 2001, Dance Biennale Tokyo (2002) and the Images of Asia Festival in Copenhagen (2003). In 2000, Mui was invited by Pina Bausch & Folkwang Tanzstudio to choreograph Whispering Colour and to perform as a guest dancer in The Rite of Spring with Tanztheatre Wuppertal.

Director's Statement
Under the Water Revolution or Anti-Extradition Movement at Hong Kong in 2019, I am thinking how to show the beauty and courage of HongKongers to the world? Mui’s umbrella dance is a prefect icon. First of all, Mui’s dance is a fusion of East and West, which is the characteristic of Hong Kong. Secondly, the oil paper umbrella was a traditional element in Chinese. The umbrella represented the new colonial history of Hong Kong from Britain to China. Actually, Only Hong Kong and Taiwan preserved the traditional Chinese history and Arts during the Cultural Revolution in China in 1960s-70s. The most interesting thing is the umbrella was made by Taiwan(not by China). We want to preserve the traditional arts and develop the modern beauty. In the other words, dancing with the umbrella is an arts form to respect the importance of history. Thirdly, The Umbrella is the symbolic meaning of freedom and democracy. Hong Kong protesters were using umbrella against Tear Gas at Umbrella Revolution in 2014. While the umbrella were used to fight for freedom against bullet in Water Revolution in 2019.

The structure of the film is consist of three parts. First part is concerning China took over Hong Kong from Britain in 1997. Mui discovered the umbrella, which was the symbol of HongKonger’s identity. The harmony atmosphere has changed to a stressful environment immediately. In the second part, we could see Mui dancing with umbrella surrounded by police. And she was defeated by the unequal force. In the third part, Mui waked up to fight for freedom with her umbrella. Even though the Police force is full-gear and well equipped, Mui was not afraid. She represented the Hong Kong protesters against the evil force. She was not sure whether the success would be come. But she never give up. She is brave. And the story of fighting for freedom is going on…

The visual experiment is creating a space in between real and unreal, but also in between documentary and dance film. The idea of art form is inspired by Ukiyo-e from Japan. Layers covered Layers. The bottom showing the documentary of real world was a 2D projection. We set up some real objects in between the dancer and the projection screen. In this film, we could have a new visual experience. I would like to think about the relationship between history background and the body of single person. In fact, even the dancer was dancing in a safe studio and her dance form was coming from 1995. But the background was the real and up-to-date Hong Kong Water Revolution in 2019. So, the dancer’s body language, emotion and spirit is to reflect to the up-to-date movement. In the meantime, she did not get rid of traces of history. All the documentary materials were shot by my team. In other words, my film was thinking how to combine the documentary and dance film, as well as how to connect the city’s memories and the feeling in the moment nowadays. How to do conversation with the society in the form of the dance film?

Another symbol in the film is the snow. Hong Kong is a city with no snowing. But Snowing in June is a metaphor coming from a traditional Chinese tales. Actually, June is not winter. Snowing in June is impossible. When there was an injustice case among the common people who were bullied by the government or power class, the great grievance from the common people would cause snowing in June. The water revolution in Hong Kong started from June 2019. The image of snowing in Hong Kong has an evitable symbolic meaning in the dance.

Through the film, I want to develop the modern artistic form of Hong Kong in the times, to show the beauty, courage, and spirit of Hong Kong.

Wardi (The Tower)

 

Year: 2018 | 70 min
Genre: Animated Feature
Language(s): Arabic
Directed by: Mats Grorud
Country of Origin: France

 

Stuck between heaven and hell, forever camping. The history of Palestine told from a refugee camp in Beyrouth.
The mission of the North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival is to educate, engage, and facilitate discussion around local and world-wide human rights topics through the work of artists. The experimental and animated film series highlights the talents of avant-garde artist artists using innovative techniques in storytelling to highlight important human rights issues.

The exhibition is made possible in part through the generosity of The Arts Partnership, with support from the Cities of Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo; North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Fargo Human Relations Commission; J&S Productions; and through the support of the Plains Art Museum, the Bismarck Downtown Artists CoOp; and the Taube Museum of Art.

Theatrical Screening


As part of the North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival, a special theatrical screening of select films from the exhibition will take place on Thursday, July 9 at the historic Oak Park Theater in Minot, North Dakota. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and films begin at 7. The series is free and open to the public. To learn more about the theatrical screening, follow the link below.

#NDHRAF20