2019 Visiting Artist

Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof 

Izabella is a Toronto-based filmmaker and scholar. She holds a PhD and MA in Communication and Culture from York University, and BAA in Media Arts from Ryerson University. Her interests as an artist and scholar are interdisciplinary, and her works probe the intersections of art, body, and technology. Her art practice extends beyond cinema-oriented projects to large-scale photogram collage constructions, film installations, site-specific video installations, textile environments and performance, and the use of EEG technology in moving image installations.

Izabella’s films and installations have been recognized with awards, commissions, and public grants, and have been included in over 150 public presentations at major international film festivals, art museums, and centres in Canada and abroad, most notably: TIFF, Toronto; IFFR, Rotterdam; Sundance Film Festival; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria; and ZKM, Karlsruhe. Izabella’s writings on art, experimental cinema, embodiment, technology and culture, have appeared in academic journals and book anthologies on media arts and on screendance, including chapters in the Oxford Handbook of Screendance (2016) and Dance’s Duet with the Camera(2016). Over the past twenty years, she contributed in various capacities to the Toronto arts community: as a filmmaker, an administrator, a programmer, and a member of several local arts organizations. Izabella is a co-founder of the Toronto-based experimental film collective, the Loop Collective. She is an Associate Professor at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts and is a member of three graduate programs: Communication and Culture, Documentary Media, and Film + Photographic Preservation Collections Management.

Izabella by Stephen Broomer2

Artist Talk:

Media-Meaning-Matter: Resounding Bodies and the Feminine in Experimental Cinema's Media Poetics 

Friday March 8, 2:30PM | University of Calgary (2500 University Drive NW) SS 203 | FREE

Experimental cinema has often posed challenge to film scholars. Operating at the level of affects, some experimental films are especially difficult to interpret and sometimes even to describe. Consider Stan Brakhage’s hand-painted abstract films, Kelly Egan’s sonic 35mm film quilts, or Carolee Schneemann’s sexually charged Fuses, sole description of contents often falls short of providing a satisfactory account of such works. It is no wonder that so few film scholars take interest in this genre. The tools developed by film studies are less than adequate, since film analysis does not provide adequate means for thinking about films beyond only their content and narrative structure. These works enter modes of signification beyond language and concepts, operating at deeper, corporeal levels. How do we make sense of works that resists linguistic conceptualization, operating at the level of affects, or whose form mirrors the experience of the body? What role might the medium, materiality and rhythm play in such works? Drawing on the contributions in feminist psychoanalysis and philosophy of Julia Kristeva and Braha Ettinger, this lecture will offer a sketch of a framework for interpretation of such films, by accessing signification through the feminine and its unique structuring/de-structuring processes and borderlines, which have been repressed in phallogocentric cultures. This lecture will focus on films by Carolee Schneemann, Stan Brakhage, Nazli Dincel, and Dan Browne, among others.


Make Your Own Photograms 

Saturday March 9th, Time TBA | CSIF (#100 1725 - 10 Avenue SW) | Price TBA

This workshop will introduce participants to the cameraless technique of photogram. Participants will learn how to make photograms on 16mm B&W film using two approaches: one grounded in the tradition of still photography, of placing objects on light-sensitive surfaces, and introduced to motion picture film by Man Ray in the 1920s; and the other tradition based in the materiality of the filmstrip and its contents, and introduced at the turn of the 21stcentury by Peter Tscherkassky. Participants will have an opportunity to try both techniques and produce a short 16mm photogram film.

In this workshop, participants will be exposed to historical and contemporary examples of still and moving image photogram works to get a good sense of what has been done thus far and to hopefully spark ideas for new projects. They will learn the following: process 16mm B&W orthochromatic film; do exposure tests for the above mentioned two types of photograms; identify objects appropriate for object-based photograms; work with found footage filmstrips as source material and learn how to activate both the image and sound portions in a photogram film; compose photogram films in a linear manner of frame-by-frame animation and in a synchronous manner by creating a light-sensitive canvas of filmstrips. Colour photograms will be discussed and information will be provided on how to make them, but given the timeframe of the workshop participants will only work with B&W film.