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FNews alums at Sundance; MLK mural

by Robyn Coffey

Former F Newsmagazine staff members screen at Sundance

(above) stills from "How She Slept at Night" by Lilli Carré

SAIC alumnus, and former F Newsmagazine editor-in-chief Paul Chan, presented his film “Paul Chan Connects” on January 20. The film is being shown as part of a new program, called New Frontier, at the annual Sundance Film Festival in Utah. The film contains several short interviews with political activists who have been incarcerated for their work. Chan interviews lawyer Lynne Stewart, convicted two years ago of aiding terrorism. SAIC alums Jim Fetterly and Angie Waller talk to Steve Kurtz, the artist and teacher who was accused of bioterrorism after his wife passed away and paramedics found the biological samples and lab equipment— tools he uses in his work with the Critical Art Ensemble. Alumnae Mary Billyou and Annelisse Fifi depict the life of Mohamed Yousry, a naturalized citizen who lived in New York City for twenty uneventful years before being arrested by the FBI on his doorstep two days after September 11.

New Frontier celebrates the convergence of film and art as an emerging hotbed for new ideas and experimentation,” according to the online Sundance Film Guide. The program’s inaugural year showcased “moving-image installations, live performances, microcinema screenings, and new media technology.”

Lilli Carré, whose comic strip “Woodsman Pete” used to appear regularly in F Newsmagazine, created a short animated film titled “How She Slept At Night,” which screened preceding Nina Menkes’ black-and-white film “Phantom Love.”

SAIC students’ murals eatured in honor of MLK Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.Five SAIC students participated in a competition to create murals in the second-story windows of the Hostelling International (HI) building at 24 E. Congress Parkway. The competition was sponsored by HI Chicago, SAIC, Columbia College, and the Peace Museum, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

The murals, on view through February, are part of an exhibition called Until Justice Rolls Down Like Waters, which includes MLK Jr. memorabilia from the Peace Museum’s permanent collection. The participants are sophomore Reed Kirst, senior Jiwon Lee, alumnus Jung Ji Lee, senior Alex Shumlynanskiy. Also participating was senior Shaz Taylor, who, with co-collaborator Max Sansing, won the first place prize of a three-night stay at a San Francisco hotel and a gift certificate for Southwest Airlines.

HI Chicago Educational Programs Coordinator Arielle Semmel said that the inspiration for the project was “to create murals that not only honor the life and work of Dr. King, but also portray the continuing struggle for social justice today. One is an abstract self-portrait that addresses the challenges of living between cultures. One portrays civil rights workers from the sixties in almost sepia tones, with individuals addressing civil rights today in color. One portrays a parent holding a child, both of whose skin is left uncolored to allow the cityscape and sky to filter in.”

Painting student Reed Kirst depicted Dr. King at the bottom of his mural, mid-speech. “Around him are clouds with thunder, rain, and lightning coming down,” said Kirst. “Above that in the clouds stands Lady Justice, and representations of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Above that are the children of Dr. King’s dream, dancing and playing … I deliberately left a lot of the window open, so that people could see through to the street outside. This represents the ‘real world’ that Dr. King [hoped] his dream would influence.”

The exhibition embodies a unique opportunity for educational organizations and not-for-profits to work together to sponsor local art. HI’s website (www.hiusa.org) outlines its goal of local and international dialogue, “to help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling.” The Peace Museum calls itself simply “a museum dedicated to peace through the arts.”

Kirst hopes the murals will promote King’s ideas. “I think with all of the murals there together, someone has to get something out of it. With all of them there, you basically have to stop and look. After that, hopefully the viewer will start thinking about the message. The message, however, I think is meant for every day, not just MLK Day.”

illustration by Amanda Sukenick



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