Friday's Optic Nerve Festival Screens Miami's Best Video Art

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Justin Long's "In Search of the Miercoles"
Imagine your optic nerve went rogue and started tampering with the way your vision was processed by your brain. Instead of blue skies and green trees, those millions of nerve fibers told your gray matter you were actually seeing scenes from 1960s surgical videos. And you can blame the wayward nerve for convincing you there were ladies dressed in gold aerobics gear looming outside your bedroom window. 

That's the kind of visual trickery you can expect at this Friday's Optic Nerve XII film festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Now in its tenth year, Optic Nerve features a juried collection of the best video art by South Florida artists. Included this year are Justin H. Long, Susan Lee-Chun, David Rohn, Jillian Mayer, Autumn Casey, as well as 16 others. One of the films will be purchased for MOCA's permanent collection.

There's limited seating at this popular event, so read on to find out how to RSVP. We've also included the order of videos at no extra cost.

The videos screen twice this Friday night, once at 7 p.m. and again at 9. MOCA is located at 770 NE 125th St. in North Miami. Admission costs $5 for adults; $3 for seniors and students, and is free for MOCA members and North Miami residents. Seating is very limited and RSVP is required.  Call 305-893-6211 or email rsvp@mocanomi.org.

As reported by MOCA's Facebook feed, here's the order of screenings:

1) Autumn Casey, Getting Rid of All My Shoes 4:16 min
In this film, the artist liberates herself from what she is supposedly attached to by displacing her entire shoe collection throughout her neighborhood until she is barefoot.

2) Jillian Mayer, Scenic Jogging 1 min
"Now here you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." -The Red Queen

3) Erwin Georgi, Lines 1:50 min
Lines is a study of light and symmetry, showing how light is perceived and captured into living energy. The result is a living piece of light movement. Music by Vitalic.

4) Lew Lautin, Paris: A Ride on Le Metro 3:22 min
The artist offers a zany, fun-filled ride on the world famous Paris Le Metro, a journey unlike any other.

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Lew Lautin's "Paris: A Ride on Le Metro"
5) Juan Carlos Zaldivar, Horror (Horror Sickness) 4:38 min
Mal "Les Chants de Maldoror"has been cited by many surrealist artists as their main source of inspiration (Salvador Dalí, Jean Coteau). This short film is an attempt at drawing a parallel to Ducasse's social and moral commentary at the end of the 19th Century by questioning contemporary definition of the moral boundaries guiding our creation of digital content.

6) Juan Maristany, Leak 00:57 min
Leak is an abstract 3D animation dealing with disgust and powerlessness. The creature is the focus of an internal rage amplified and the feeling of trying to personify an insurmountably huge opponent or a daunting, non changeable situation

7) Vanessa Cruz, Eve as a Young Girl 2:09 min
The mythical and allegorical world of storytelling is at the heart of these animated films. Ancient stories are told through a modern sense of the visual.

8) Shane Eason, Works of the Flesh: Second Study 5:00 min
The film is a second in a series of studies on body modification and manipulation through a number of medical practices and procedures. The footage is found Super 8 film, circa late 1960's, which existed originally in medical institutions and universities as instructional films for medical students.

9) Scott Draft, Creation: Apocalypse 4:41 min
Creation through Apocalypse is a pun on the Discovery Channel. Just as all language contains dialectic malfunctions, the voice of the video is encoded with a limited worldview. It is an attempt to explain the unexplainable and that the devil is in the details.

10) Justin H. Long, In Search of the Miercoles 1:45 min
Rather than following in the footsteps of conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader's search for the Miraculous ultimate end-all performance, the artist seeks a little piece of paradise on a Wednesday.

11) Kristina Rodriguez, The Ecstasy of St. Theresa 1:14 min
This piece is inspired by St. Theresa of Avila's recount of a visitation from a seraph which inspired the Bernini sculpture "The Ecstasy of St. Theresa."

12) Vanessa Cruz, Lazarus 1:20 min
The mythical and allegorical world of storytelling is at the heart of these animated films. Ancient stories are told through a modern sense of the visual.

13) Emerson Rosenthal, Pseudocoma 2:36 min
This is a video collage inspired by Orwell's bittersweet couplet "Under the Spreading Chestnut tree, I sold you and you sold me"

14) Carlos Llerena Aguirre, Valor Y Fe 1:43 min
Faith, courage and loyalty are referenced in street dogs from all over the world. The film creates a contrast between the stray dogs and sacred altars as symbols of religious passage. The altars depict Gauchito Antonio Gil, a saint from Corrientes, North of Argentina. The score details the life of San Jose de San Martin, liberator of South America.

15) Dee Hood, Believe 4:22 min
This video explores ideas about belief. The artist entered the word "believe" on Twitter to explore the common use of the word with fascinating results. The scrolling text shows the bizarre range of what we believe.

16) 3PQ, You're Going to Carry that Weight, 4:52 min
In this film, artist collective 3PQ seeks to transform a static landscape into a fluid real time continuum, a sort of momentary bliss of genuine discovery and refusal where lines erase, transverse or scale infinitely as pixels on a screen.

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3PQ's "You're Going to Carry That Weight"
17) Susan Lee-Chun, Let's Suz-ercise! (Chicago-Style) 3:12 min
This film addresses notions of authenticity identity and perception. A faux entity "The Suz" is a conglomeration of three alter egos that embody the polarizing impacts of race and identity politics - Sue (assimilation), Sioux (independence) and Su (mediation).

18) Charles Chace, Amplified Proof 3:11 min
The inspiration of this video centers on an immature and unrealistic desire to elicit artist Tracey Emin's attention. The structure of the video is based on traditional song writing. The limited images of the muse (Tracey Emin), creates a nonsensical dialogue which is enhanced by the use of music, sound effects, voiceovers, and various colorful scrolling texts.

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Charles Chace's "Amplified Proof"
19) David Rohn, Construction One 5 min
Construction is a short and personal rumination on fantasy and dress-up for adults who still like to play the way they may have as kids.

20) Moira Holohan, Look at the Sign 2:17 min
This video animation with found sound includes the following processes: studio performances, green screen, video montage and drawing and painted animation.

21) Barron Sherer, Wall Street Neu! 3:08 min
This film footage is an unedited portion of a 35mm to a 16mm reduction print of a popular feature film from the 1980's. It is projected in its original 16mm format with music on CD.

22) Jeff Calvert and Ran Dolf, Mustache Chronicles 1:30 min
Inspired by dated maps and atlases, this work is short meditation on modern man and his dilemmas. With an ephemeral style of animation and narration, linked with linear continuity, the artwork suggests an infinite timeline of abstract events, suggesting progress and belief are timeless and ruthless attributes to human nature.

The Judges
Anthony Allegro: Professor, Motion Pictures, School of Communications, University of Miami
Don Chauncey: former Director for the Lynn and Louis Wolfson Florida Moving Image Archives at Miami-Dade College
Bonnie Clearwater: Executive Director and Chief Curator, MOCA
Rod Faulds: University Galleries Director, FAU School of the Arts
Juan Carlos Zaldivar: filmmaker and artist
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