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Work Samples

BALTIMORE (4m excerpt)

BALTIMORE is an observational landscape film that catalogs the unforgiving landscapes and historic buildings of Baltimore City. BALTIMORE is a personal documentation of exterior spaces, pointing to possible futures. Original sound design by electronic musician, Bonnie Jones. All footage was shot with a 16mm Bolex Camera from June 2016 - July 2018.

Sympathetic Bodies (excerpt)

This film was made for the track, "Sympathetic Bodies" by sound artist, Byron Westbrook from his 2017 Body Consonance LP on Hands in the Dark Records. All footage was hand-processed and shot on 16mm B&W reversal film. The submitted excerpt demonstrates re-photography and double exposure techniques that I incorporated using the JK Optical Printer through a residency at Crater Lab in Barcelona, Spain.

departure (excerpt)

This excerpt is a digitized version of a dual 16mm projection performance I created with handmade cyanotype 16mm film loops. As the two projectors ran, I incorporated a live soundtrack and amplified the projectors motors using contact microphones. In order to create the cyanotype images, I first hand-coated clear 16mm leader with cyanotype emulsion and then took the original black and white negative (which I shot and hand processed) to create a contact print, which resulted in a final original positive cyanotype image. The cyanotype images are of my mother and sister.

Memory of August

This short 16mm film was shot and edited in-camera with a hand-cranked 16mm Bolex camera. This film documents my grandmother, Margaret, who had Alzheimer’s and was living temporarily in a rehabilitation center at the time. This was the first portrait film I made of her, which has led to a larger work in progress called, Great Hill Road.

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About Margaret

Baltimore City

Margaret Rorison's picture
Margaret Rorison is filmmaker and curator from Baltimore, MD. Her work focuses on alternative photographic processes, experimentation, and DIY methods of analog filmmaking.  Her work has been exhibited at Anthology Film Archives, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Images Festival, Miami PULSE Art Fair, Mono No Aware VI & VII, Microscope Gallery, The Moscow Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Art, and The Walker Art Center.   Rorison is the co-... more

departure

departure
2020 | 16mm | handmade cyanotypes | sound | performance

departure incorporates the alternative 19th C. cyanotype process with my passion for 16mm film and darkroom experimentation. For this short projection performance, I created handmade 16mm cyanotype film loops by coating clear leader with cyanotype iron based emulsion, then created a contact print using the original black and white negative and the coated film strips to create a final positive cyanotype image.

This excerpt is a digitized version of a dual 16mm projection performance I created with the handmade cyanotype 16mm film loops. As the two projectors ran, I incorporated a live soundtrack and amplified the motors of the projectors using contact microphones.

The cyanotype images are of my mother and sister. The audio is taken from a recorded conversation between my grandmother and myself during her final stages of Alzheimer's. This piece is an acknowledgment to the women in my family.

  • departure (excerpt)

    This excerpt is a digitized version of a dual 16mm projection performance I created with handmade cyanotype 16mm film loops. As the two projectors ran, I incorporated a live soundtrack and amplified the projectors motors using contact microphones. In order to create the cyanotype images, I first hand-coated clear 16mm leader with cyanotype emulsion and then took the original black and white negative (which I shot and hand processed) to create a contact print, which resulted in a final original positive cyanotype image. The cyanotype images are of my mother and sister.
  • Eve's Eye

    This still frame was scanned from a 16mm film that I had created by hand-coating clear leader with cyanotype emulsion, then creating a contact print using the original black and white negative and the coated film strips, to create a final positive cyanotype image.
  • Eve's Eye

    This still frame was scanned from a 16mm film that I had created by hand-coating clear leader with cyanotype emulsion, then creating a contact print using the original black and white negative and the coated film strips, to create a final positive cyanotype image.

BALTIMORE

BALTIMORE
2020 | 16mm to digital | 22m | sound

BALTIMORE is a 16mm landscape film with original sound design by electronic musician, Bonnie Jones. BALTIMORE is an observational film that catalogs the unforgiving landscapes of Baltimore City, the filmmaker's hometown. BALTIMORE is a personal documentation of exterior spaces, pointing to possible futures.

All footage was shot with a 16mm Bolex Camera from June 2016 - July 2018. Creation of this work was made possible in part by a Ruby artist project grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

  • BALTIMORE (4m excerpt)

    BALTIMORE is an observational landscape film that catalogs the unforgiving landscapes and historic buildings of Baltimore City. BALTIMORE is a personal documentation of exterior spaces, pointing to possible futures. Original sound design by electronic musician, Bonnie Jones. All footage was shot with a 16mm Bolex Camera from June 2016 - July 2018.
  • BALTIMORE (still frame)

    An observational film that catalogs the unforgiving landscapes of Baltimore City. A personal documentation of exterior spaces, pointing to possible futures. Original sound design by electronic musician, Bonnie Jones. All footage was shot with a 16mm Bolex Camera from June 2016 - July 2018. Creation of this work was made possible in part by a Ruby artist project grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. 16mm film digitization made possible with a 2019 LightPress Grant from The Interbay Cinema Society.
  • CUTS

    16mm film strips have been cut from a working edit of BALTIMORE and repurposed into an object using two planes of plexiglass and mounting hardware. The work is meant to be hung on a wall and experienced as a 3 dimensional object.

understory

understory
2019 | 16mm film to digital | 10m | sound

This short film is a personal navigation through four seasons of loss. A series of memory frames shot on expired and donated 16mm film. An ode to navigation, an adaptation to silences and deafening cries.

All footage was shot during the years of 2012-2016 in Los Angeles, Gettysburg, and Baltimore.

Sympathetic Bodies

Sympathetic Bodies
2018 | 16mm to video | 5m | sound

This film was made for the track, "Sympathetic Bodies" by Byron Westbrook from his 2017 Body Consonance LP on Hands in the Dark Records. All footage was hand-processed and shot on 16mm B&W reversal film, incorporating rephotography with the JK Optical Printer. This work was made with the support from Crater Lab in Barcelona.

"The body is an ever-compassing approach to empathy through the DIY philosophy, the hand-processing of material which allows the touch to be truly felt. The film’s rhythm corresponds to Byron Westbrook’s song of the same title -which the film was made for- but perfectly works as its own creation. Rorison’s tactile universe, in process and in the image itself, is always tangible, even in its out-of-context digital screening. Nature mirrors time, time is mirrored in our body, as the prescience of the imminent is expected with subtle calm."

- José Sarmiento Hinojosa, "CROSSROADS 202O.PROGRAM 4: ALL THOSE THINGS YOU USED TO FEEL", desistfilm , September 4, 2020

Memory of August

Memory of August
2016 | 16mm | 6m | sound

A series of moments captured in room 139. Intimate spaces of time spent with my grandmother, Margaret during a month long recovery in a rehabilitation center in Baltimore, Maryland.

Special Jury Award for Best Experimental Short, New Orleans Film Festival, 2017
Edinburgh International Film Festival, International Premiere, 2017

dark logic

dark logic
2016 |16mm to video | 5m | sound

dark logic is a short experimental 16mm film that was filmed in Los Angeles, California, twentyninepalms, and The Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum in Joshua Tree. dark logic is an ode to the restricted space and surveillance in the skies. The soundtrack is derived from a live performance by Mario de Vega​.​ This work was supported by The Echo Park Film Center Summer Artist in Residence Program.

One Document for Hope

One Document for Hope
2016 | 16mm to digital | B/W | 8m | sound

One Document for Hope is a short film shot during the 2015 Baltimore Uprising. It incorporates the sterile and procedural narrative of the Baltimore City Police Scanner recorded on Monday April 27 against precious moments of gathering, celebration and protest in Baltimore from April 28 – May 3, 2015.

Documentation: Margaret Rorison
Thanks to Karl Ekdahl for providing the BCP scanner recordings.
Baltimore, Maryland 2015

PULL/DRIFT

PULL/DRIFT
2013 | 16mm to video | 10m | sound

PULL/DRIFT is a collaborative project that evolved into many parts. In 2013, Clarissa Stowell Gregory and Joshua Wade Smith collaborated on dance & sculpture for a performance involving: water, woods and raft. Clarissa & Joshua created the site-specific performance PULL / DRIFT on September 8th at Patapsco Valley State Park, Daniels Area.

For six months, Baltimore photographers/filmmakers Liz Donadio, Carr Kizzier, and myself documented the evolution and execution of this site-specific performance, which finalized in a gallery exhibition, Pull / Drift: In the Slipstream at Gallery CA from December 6 2013 - January 10, 2014.

The documentation that I captured from the dance performance became a 16mm film with a live sound accompaniment by sound artist, Josh Millrod. This piece premiered at Mono No Aware Festival of Expanded Cinema in December of 2013.

Throughout my documentation process of Pull/Drift, I focused on the flow of the human form and its relationship to its surrounding environments. I was interested in discovering a dialogue between limbs and hips, the curves of the land, the mechanics of flesh, the rhythmic channeling through water, grass and earth. I was captivated by how the development of motion sculptured a new sense of time and established a magical sense of ritualistic bliss.

  • PULL/DRIFT

    PULL/DRIFT is a collaborative project that evolved into many parts. In 2013, Clarissa Stowell Gregory and Joshua Wade Smith collaborated on dance & sculpture for a performance involving: water, woods and raft.
  • Morph

    archival pigment print from 120 bw negative film
  • Spawn

    archival pigment print from 120 bw negative film
  • PULL/DRIFT, Gathering a Pitch of Meaning

    archival pigment print from 120 bw negative film
  • PULL/DRIFT, 35mm

    Documentation of PULL/DRIFT a live performance at MICA's Cohen Plaza July 2013
  • Pull/Drift, 35mm

    Documentation of PULL/DRIFT live performance at MICA's Cohen Plaza July 2013
  • Gallery CA installation view

    Pull / Drift: In the Slipstream Gallery CA December 6th 2013 - January 10th, 2014 Pull / Drift: In the Slipstream is a collection of photographs, video, and film from the sculpture-dance performance Pull / Drift - a collaboration between choreographer Clarissa Gregory and sculptor Joshua Wade Smith. For six months, Baltimore artists Liz Donadio, Carr Kizzier, and Margaret Rorison documented the evolution and execution of this site-specific performance, that took place September 8th, 2013 at Patapsco Valley State Park's Daniels Area.
  • Gallery CA installation view

    Pull / Drift: In the Slipstream Gallery CA December 6th 2013 - January 10th, 2014 Pull / Drift: In the Slipstream is a collection of photographs, video, and film from the sculpture-dance performance Pull / Drift - a collaboration between choreographer Clarissa Gregory and sculptor Joshua Wade Smith. For six months, Baltimore artists Liz Donadio, Carr Kizzier, and Margaret Rorison documented the evolution and execution of this site-specific performance, that took place September 8th, 2013 at Patapsco Valley State Park's Daniels Area.

DER SPAZIERGANG

DER SPAZIERGANG
2013 | 16mm | 3m | sound

The film is shot on one 100' roll of 16mm color film, all of which was composed and shot in-camera. The film is made of up single frames taken during extensive walks throughout the layered historical landscape of Berlin, Germany in April 2013.

The title, DER SPAZIERGANG (The Walk) comes from a story by German-Swiss writer, Robert Walser.

Die Leute von Lichtenberg

During a three week residency at Lichtenberg Studios in former East Berlin, I made a series of pencil and gouache drawings of various notable citizens who lived in Lichtenberg, Berlin throughout the years. The portraits include anti-Nazi fighters, former Stasi members, a nurse, actors, and members of the Social Democratic Party.

The drawings were hung in a public park across the street from the studio and Lichtenberg Museum, an area that is notable for it’s complex and violent past.

lThe work samples include documentation of the installation in the public park as well as the individual works.

  • "The Nurse"

    The Nurse, pencil, gouache, and charcoal, 24” X 36”, 2016
  • "Dr. Jur"

    "Dr. Jur" pencil, gouache, and charcoal, 24” X 36”, 2016
  • "Hedwig"

    Hedwig, pencil, gouache, and charcoal, 24” X 36”, 2016
  • "Friedrich"

    Friedrich, pencil, gouache, and charcoal, 24” X 36”, 2016
  • "Joachim"

    Joachim, pencil, gouache, and charcoal, 24” X 36”, 2016
  • "George"

    George, pencil, gouache, and charcoal, 24” X 36”, 2016
  • "Erlich"

    Erlich, pencil, gouache, and charcoal, 24” X 36”, 2016

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