CIRCUIT Symposium 2017: The Thickness of Cinema

Still from FOR THIRTY YEARS, NANCY WOULD SIT OUT ON THE STREET CORNER AND WATCH THE SUNSET (2017) Sam Hamilton​. Anamorphic 16mm film, 11:25mins, stereo sound. Transferred to Digital Video.

CIRCUIT is proud to announce The Thickness of Cinema, a one day symposium exploring cinema’s sensorial capabilities and notions of embodiment and experience, presented by CIRCUIT at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu on Saturday 26 August 10-4pm. With support from Creative New Zealand, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Foundation, The Physics Room, Canada Council for the Arts, The Free Theatre and Canterbury Workers Education Association.

The Thickness of Cinema is CIRCUIT’s 5th annual symposium exploring artists moving image practice in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.

This symposium presents responses to the following; What might be the role of the body and the sensorial experience in the emergence of cinematic intelligibility and meaning? How does film affective experience contribute to our knowledge of the world? In what ways might we be able to analyse and get beyond sensation and emotion to explore cultural, gender or ideological implications? How have cinema, and phenomenological approaches to film, been influenced by and respond to recent technological developments in our digital age that offer new and expanded sensory and experiential dimensions? What might the cinematic experience be destined to offer us in lieu of the new sensorial experiences brought by these technological advances?

The Thickness of Cinema is curated by CIRCUIT 2017 curator-at-large Dr. Mercedes Vicente, an independent curator and writer who has recently completed her PhD at the Royal College of Art, London, on the work of New Zealand pioneer video artist Darcy Lange.

Delivering the keynote speech is Dr. Erika Balsom (CAN). Erika Balsom is a senior lecturer in film studies and liberal arts at King's College London. She is currently visiting film curator in residence at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery/ Len Lye Centre. Erika’s research interests include moving image installation, experimental cinema, the history of film theory, and documentary cinema. Her most recent book, After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation, was published by Columbia University Press in 2017. She is author of Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (2013), the co-editor of Documentary Across Disciplines (2016), and a frequent contributor to Artforum and Sight and Sound. Her work has appeared in publications such as Grey Room, e-flux, Cinema Journal, and numerous exhibition catalogues.

On Friday 25 August at 7pm CIRCUIT will premiere the screening Thick Cinema, five new artist cinema commissions curated by Mercedes Vicente and featuring work by Fiona Amundsen, John Di Stefano, Sam Hamilton, Kim Pieters, Joyce Campbell. Vicente asked each of the five artists to respond to the same provocations that make up the symposium. Three of the artists (Fiona Amundsen, Kim Pieters, Joyce Campbell) will also take part in the symposium as speakers/panelists.

The 2017 CIRCUIT Symposium is preceded by an Artist’s Week of screenings, installations in a variety of locations across Christchurch, and features works from New Zealand, USA, Austria and Canada.

CIRCUIT Director Mark Williams says “We are delighted to present our first symposium in the South Island in Ōtautahi / Christchurch. We are excited about all of the many partnerships we’ve established locally which reflect what a vibrant cultural hub the city is. This years theme is cinema, and we hope to compliment the upcoming International Film Festival with a programme that emphasizes radical possibilities by artists from Aotearoa and around the world”.

Tickets $45 Waged / $20 Unwaged. Register online here: