Experimental Media is the Theme of the 2014-15 Season of Schnitzer Cinema

This annual film series begins on Wednesday, October 8 with “Free Radicals: The History of Experimental Media”


EUGENE, Ore. -- (September 25, 2014) – The 2014-15 season of the Schnitzer Cinema, curated by Cinema Pacific director Richard Herskowitz, will be devoted to American experimental media, with a special emphasis on the history of American avant-garde film. All films begin at 7 p.m. at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus and include free refreshments.


The series begins October 8 with a personal overview of experimental film history by filmmaker Pip Chodorov and continues on November 5, with a live “expanded cinema” projection performance of a Harry Smith film by Dennis Nyback. The fall’s last program, on November 19, will feature guest video artist Julia Oldham. Sponsored by Cinema Pacific and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Schnitzer Cinema returns in the spring with more classic and contemporary experimental media art.


“After devoting most of our Schnitzer Cinema program last year to one artist, the UO alum James Blue, we discovered that our audience appreciates it when we delve into a subject in depth. So this year, we are going to give people a broad overview of the history of American experimental media,” says Herskowitz. ”Our series, which will continue through our spring season, is going to introduce audience to experimental pioneers  like Jonas Mekas and Harry Smith and  also contemporary artists like Julia Oldham.”


On Wednesday, October 8, the series opens with Free Radicals: The History of Experimental Media.” Avant-garde filmmaker Pip Chodorov’s affectionate overview of some of the leading figures of 20th century experimental film combines extensive film clips with conversations with such luminaries as Hans Richter, Robert Breer, Michael Snow, and Stan Brakhage.  The personal tales of the filmmakers (such as Ken Jacobs’ memories of dumpster diving), and Chodorov’s exploration of the immigrant backgrounds of artists like Jonas Mekas, give a strong sense of the socio-historical and artistic contexts of classic avant-garde films.  


Following the screening, Richard Herskowitz, joined by other local avant-garde aficionados, will discuss personal experiences of encountering, being repelled by, and falling in love with experimental film and media art.


On Wednesday, November 5, Schnitzer Cinema presents a live projection of Harry Smith’s “Heaven and Earth Magic” by Dennis Nyback. In 1957, Portland-born Harry Smith, legendary producer of the “Anthology of American Folk Music,” began work on a feature length cut-out animated film he shot entirely alone in a tiny East Side apartment in New York. Using his own bed as an animation stand, he appropriated images from 19th century sources to tell an eerie, visually austere, surrealistic story about a woman, a watermelon, and a toothache. Film historian Dennis Nyback researched the expanded cinema techniques Harry Smith used in presenting his film in 1961 and will recreate them in real time, moving between multiple film and slide projectors to create a layered image onscreen.


The fall season closes on Wednesday, November 19, with The Video Art of Julia Oldham. Casting herself in the role of lover, wanderer, and scientist, Oldham combines science fiction and dreamy mythology to create fantasy worlds that she inhabits in her videos. Her work frequently combines live action, animation and handmade costume and sets; and music and soundscape play an important role in her storytelling. Six of her short films will be screened.



About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About Cinema Pacific

Cinema Pacific is an annual film festival based at the University of Oregon in Eugene that is devoted to discovering and fostering the creativity of international films and new media from Pacific-bordering countries, including the U.S. Through onsite and online presentations, the festival connects stimulating artists and ideas with a diverse public, furthering our understanding of world cultures and contemporary issues.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,