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About stephanie

Baltimore City

Stephanie Barber is a multimedia artist best known for her poetic and conceptual films, videos and writing. James Glisson at Artforum wrote "the films of Stephanie Barber engage universal themes; time, death, memory, forgetting, frustration." Max Goldberg at Cinema Scope Magazine wrote"… “intentional interaction with uncertainty”—Barber’s art in a nutshell. DAREDEVILS is her most elegant articulation yet of a self-conscious style alive to ideas and emotions, one through the other. As ever, the... more

In The Jungle 2017 HD 60min.

Equal parts musical, performance, and poetic lecture, In The Jungle is an experimental narrative originally created as a musical composition and live performance. In the summer of 2015 I shot the piece as a single channel video featuring Baltimore performers MC Schmidt and Cricket Arrison at The Theatre Project on a 4k R3D camera. The piece is currently in post production with a completion date of December 2016.

This theatrical video plays with the porous divisions between theatre and cinema, both conceptually and visually. The sets for In The Jungle are composed of video images of jungles collaged and projected through and onto the sculptural structures of trees and vines and mosses. The sets so clearly avoiding naturalism call into question our heroine's sense of reality; in this way the form of the piece suggests the unreliable nature of the character and her situation.

The jungle in this piece serves as an extended metaphor for excessive and continual growth and death and fear and sustenance; a metaphorical space of chaos in which the scientist finds solace and which stands in contrast to the human jungle of "civilization".

In The Jungle, playfully and sorrowfully tells the tale of an unreliable narrator in a self-imposed exile. Given a grant to study the equivalent of animal cries and whines in jungle flora our heroine has lived for 1, 612 days deep in an unnamed jungle. The piece opens with a musical journal entry through which we discover that she must return to "civilization" to deliver a lecture on her discoveries to the board which funds her work. The typewriter on which she impresses her thoughts about this upcoming journey is turned into a melodic instrument and accompanied by an antique toy piano and Berg-like vocal punctuations so that the entirety feels like a circuit bent atonal opera. What becomes clear is an encroaching madness and reluctance to leave the sheer terror of thousands of square miles of rapid life and growth.

The journey to “civilization” is represented by a tiger running, leaping through 300 design magazine living rooms to arrive at the National Association of Botanists.

A lecture on the epiphytic and resiniferous vegetation of the jungle is then delivered. Or rather, it is skillfully, strangely and poetically side-stepped and whipped into an emotional, philosophical frenzy. The lecture folds a poetic narrative into a roving philosophical inquiry and botanical primer.

The scientist then returns to the jungle just in time for her to listen to her favorite radio show which provides the courage and fortification of a direct god line to the jungle floor through a mellifluous dj and prescient pop songs.

Mostly she is terrified and interested in being terrified; thinking of all the implications of fear and understanding...the way these two ideas are constantly referenced, metaphorically, in the flora she set out to study.

DAREDEVILS 2013, HD 85min

DAREDEVILS, written and directed by Stephanie Barber
HD 85minutes
Premiered October, 2013 at New York Film Festival's Views from the Avant-Garde.

A portrait of risk and language, the experimental narrative DAREDEVILS, presents a writer as she interviews a well-known artist and feels the reverberations of their discussion throughout her day. Visually spare, still and verbose, the video considers three formal handlings of language—a dialog, two monologues and a song.

Starring KimSu Theiler, Flora Coker & Adam Robinson and featuring the voices of Susan Howe and Jenny Graf, DAREDEVILS constructs a metaphor of an artist’s life and work as daredevilry.

The piece sits gently between video art, narrative and poetic essay. The classic rising action, climax and denouement are sculpted, not by cause and effect, but by the subtle movements to and from understanding that are inherent in conversation. Bubbles of intimacy are blown and popped, begin to be blown again.

website: http://daredevilsmovie.com/

All The People

Published by Ink Press Productions in June 2015, All The People is a collection of 43 very short stories which sit carefully between poetry and story. Like much of my work these stories am interested in the upsetting of genre and media as an element of the project. All The People wants to be a book of photographs, wants to be a treatise on need.

Horizon

A brief poetic collage of 16mm home movie footage from Egypt in the 1950s, elements of Capra's "Lost Horizon" soundtrack and a small and frustrated boy. There is so much to say about Shangri-La. It is, like the horizon, always present, always out of reach. You need not attach whistles to the wings of birds to locate it. It is right over there. look.

Horizon has screened at The New York Film Festival; The Edinburgh Film Festival; KLEX, Kuala Lampur; Fronteira Festiva, Brazil; Manchester Film Festival and others.

  • Horizon, still

    Still of the short, poetic film "Horizon" made in 2014.

Night Moves

Night Moves is a conceptual book of poetry, a collection of thoughts and conversations about Bob Seger's classic song of the same name, all culled from YouTube. Poignant, disturbing and incisive, the collection deepens and takes on a cultural significance beyond the initial artistic impetus. A collaboration is created—twisting through the nostalgia for youth and the collective ownership of pop music, the book becomes a moving document of how strangers communicate about art, and what the song and the sentiment of the song means to different people.

jhana and the rats of james olds or 31 days/31 videos

jhana and the rats of james olds:
Between June 25th-Aug. 7th 2011 Stephanie Barber moved her studio into the Baltimore Museum of Art where she created a new video each day in a central gallery open to museum visitors. The goal of this project, entitled jhana and the rats of james olds or 31 days/31 videos, was to create a series of short, poetic videos in the playful and serious footprints of Oulipo games and daily meditations; creating one new video each day. The exhibit was both a constantly changing installation as well as a collaborative performance in which museum visitors were present as spectator and often creative partner. Each of these videos was created on one of the exhibition days.

"I am thinking about the emphasis given to product over production, or display over creation. The piece is a video screening and an installation and a performance??a spiritual obeisance, an athletic braggadocio, a consideration of marxist theories of production (with the assembly line so lovingly lit). It is a funny game for me to play, an exercise in concentration, discipline and focus, an extension of my everyday. It is a greedy desire to squeeze a massive amount of work out of myself; a dare; a show I would like to see myself. It is like the back story before the story, an inversion of the way we usually experience art work. A moving from the inside out. I was thinking how the interiors of museums are really only able to share what is almost the exterior of a piece of art work??and though this colliding of the interior and exterior is fuzzy??a step towards the interior of any art piece might be the making of that piece. I'm interested in the tedious and repetitive qualities of meditation and art work, the difference and similarities in these two practices. The practice and work of these practices??the dispelling of the so-seductive myth of artist as creating through a vague and florid explosion of inspiration??or perhaps interested in romanticizing the effort and challenging technical, logistical, practical elements of creation. The tedious as IT. Or one of the ITs. Like all pieces of art, this project is accordion in its intentions, shrinking and expanding upon use." ?Stephanie Barber

Press on jhana and the rats of james olds can be found here:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2011/07/a-film-a-day-for-sondhei...
http://citypaper.com/arts/visualart/finalist-words-1.1171218
http://thefastertimes.com/writersonwriting/2011/07/13/almost-everyone-is...
http://htmlgiant.com/author-spotlight/stephanie-barber-works-at-a-museum/
http://www.examiner.com/arts-in-baltimore/poetry-of-the-sondheim-artscap...
http://publishinggenius.blogspot.com/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/exhibits/sondheim-artscape-prize-2011-...
http://charmcitycurrent.com/bolger/2011/07/08/sondheim-artscape-prize-ex...
http://www.baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/be-a-part-of-art-with-stephanie...

  • jhana and the rats of james olds written about at The National Poetry Foundation blog Harriet

    jhana and the rats of james olds written about at The National Poetry Foundation blog Harriet
  • (small piece of) I LOVE YOU

    This is a short excerpt from a 50 minute film in which 689 people say "I Love You" one after another. All the people in the piece were passing through the exhibit and agreed to be in this piece.
  • miniatures

    Stephanie Barber | U.S. | 2011 | 2m color | sound | DV from Jhana and the Rats of James Olds A series of sentences read by museum visitors inspired by, and paired with, a number of miniature Elizabethan portraits. Words and paintings??each seem equally able and unable to represent a life. The man who reads the line ?I think constantly about my coming demise? came through the exhibition several times and participated in a few different pieces. He is big, young, strong and confident. I had him read the line many times before he got it just right.
  • still from The Badger and The Hare

    A musical telling of an old chinese myth. Made in collaboration with Smelling Salt Amusements.

razor's edge

RAZOR'S EDGE
by Stephanie Barber and Xavier Leplae
35mm 48 min. 2010

A 35mm film collaboration with Wisconsin Artist Xav Leplae. The entire piece is shot in Baltimore, in the alleys and barber shops, sno-cone shacks, abandoned buildings and mall-like harbor. A remake of the Somerset Maugham novel The Razor's Edge written, created and performed by Barber and Leplae:

One friend tells another friend what she remembers from reading the Somerset Maugham novel The Razors Edge 10 or 15 years ago. It is a sketchy and slanted remembering. They decide to shoot a film of this memory, a foggy tale with scant connection to the original but feeling the patronage of that text. Being artists and tricksters they do it as a game, all in one week, with donated short ends and gestural implications to narrative. What they really do is visit after years of not visiting. Endless talks about the state of the planet and our access to knowledge--power or ineptitude of art. All this talking and the film turns out with almost no dialog, sweeps through the city of Baltimore which is often destitute, tropical and friendly.

This film was shot in Baltimore, MD and processed and edited in Mumbai, India. It premiered at the 2010 New York Film Festival and has screened since then in numerous festivals and museums. The piece is distributed by Fandor.com

BUST CHANCE

BUST CHANCE 2010 miniDV 7min.

the audience's engagement with the smallest subtleties and less than (usually considered) spectacular elements of theater is impressive and speaks volumes on the patience and acuity of modern viewers. their finely tuned sense of humor and rapt and continuous focus warms the cynics' icy exterior. likewise, the feedback loop of mutual artistic understanding and respect from the performing elements and receptive viewers, and back again, fortifies those who wish to love art and believe it must have revolutionary value. all are satisfied and feel good in the showing of satisfaction.

BUST CHANCE was originally created in 2008 for Light Industry's memorial show for Bruce Conner during which I performed a live soundtrack with several musicians. The film was completed as a self contained piece which premiered at the 2010 New York Film Festivals Views from the Avant-Garde and has since screened at The Rotterdam International Film Festival, EX-IS Korea, Onion City Festival and Migrating Forms NYC among others.

A small bit of this piece can be viewed at VDB: http://www.vdb.org/titles/bust-chance

Lawn Poem

This is a project which started as a conceptual piece and became an installation in 2009. I began this piece as an experimental essay presented in various galleries as a lecture with slide show and later published online by Publishing Genius Press. The essay and slides deconstruct the contexts in which we read poetry (paper, screens) and suggest the possibility of using our lawns to express these poetic impulses. Prototypes are suggested and considered. In 2009 I was invited to install an actual Lawn Poem in the grounds of alternative art space The Poor Farm in Manawa, Wisconsin. The piece is approximately 300 ft wide and 60 ft high. A four line poem cut out of one shade of grass and inlaid with a deeper denser grass, with 2 ft by 2 ft. letters. I will present this lecture at Philadelphia gallery and performance space Vox Populi on November 25th, 2011.

  • Lawn Poem

    This is an installation shot from a Lawn Poem I installed at Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam's project space in Northern Wisconsin named The Poor Farm.
  • still from essay FOR A LAWN POEM

    read the book here: http://issuu.com/publishinggenius/docs/barber
  • still from essay FOR A LAWN POEM

    read the book here: http://issuu.com/publishinggenius/docs/barber
  • Baltimore Urbanite

    Article about the installation at the Baltimore Urbanite.
  • Oh My Sod!

    Article about the installation in HTMLGiant. http://htmlgiant.com/author-news/oh-my-sod-stephanie-barbers-lawn-poem/
  • Poetry for Bare Feet

    Article about Stephanie Barber's installation in the Utne Reader. http://www.utne.com/arts/lawn-poetry-for-bare-feet-stephanie-barber.aspx
  • Lawn Poem detail

    This is an installation shot from a Lawn Poem I installed at Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam's project space in Northern Wisconsin named The Poor Farm.
  • Lawn Poem

    This is an installation shot from a Lawn Poem I installed at Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam's project space in Northern Wisconsin named The Poor Farm.
  • Lawn Poem detail

    This is an installation shot from a Lawn Poem I installed at Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam's project space in Northern Wisconsin named The Poor Farm.
  • Journal Sentinel Review of The Poor Farm in Manawa WI

    from an article by Mary Louise Schumacher on the Great Poor Farm Experiment at Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam's exhibition space in Northern Wisconsin. http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/52921762.html

dwarfs the sea

dwarfs the sea stephanie barber 2007 dv 7 min
small biographies and musing generalizations--men?s relations to each other and their lives. there is hope and loneliness, companionship and isolation and the simplest of filmic elements to contrast the complexity of human emotions. the delicacy of the formalist writing moves the listener from intimacy to universalism and back again, swaying gently to and fro like the rocking of a ship.
A small bit of this piece can be viewed at VDB: http://www.vdb.org/titles/dwarfs-sea

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