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Nonsense? Nonsense! Films and Videos from Deirdre Logue and Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan

WED, JUL 22 / 7 pm
Curated by Jenny Bisch

Behind the absurd hides a genuine reality. Unique in their specific expression, each film in this program takes internal conflict and turns it out, using repetition, humour, or monologue not to resolve, but to give body to subjective discord. Through the physical manifestation of these struggles within can we finally come face-to-face with ourselves. With the 2009 Fringe Festival in full swing, this program of short films sheds the glitz of the mainstream and will capture audiences eagerly seeking and the power of raw performance.

There are worlds of moving images out there that flout the conventions of television and Hollywood. Made with tiny (sometimes solo) creative teams they connect with audiences at the individual level – as opposed to ‘the masses’ – giving us an intimate look into the minds of the artists behind them. Rather than deploy the tired tropes of cinematic illusion to represent narratives, these hand-crafted images express colour and shape, light and darkness with dense, imperfect, and human qualities. They seek a connection to the world off the screen. An experimental film or work of video art often uses nonsensical and absurd imagery to make that connection.

But behind the absurd hides a genuine reality. Film and video are thin. Crack open a VHS tape or look through reels of childhood super 8s and you will know what I mean. The medium is thin – almost nothing – but sometimes the images it holds run deep. This is especially true of the best in experimental film and video art. I swear, I could dive into Peril’s waterfall or feel the rocks grinding my knees on the Road Trip. Why? Because they invite us to a place beyond the story and its presentation to the root of these things: to our desire to tell, to be heard, and to listen to the response. They do not ask you to sit back and passively take what they have to give. Rather, they ask you to meet them halfway, to participate,
and to find yourself in the play on the screen. This is the intimacy that emerges from great performance: ultimately, you in the audience (yes, you) become a part of its world.

These are images that originate from a real, lived place and are trying to make their way back into the world that exists outside the confines of their medium. Unique in their specific expression, each film in this program takes internal conflict and turns it out, using repetition, humour, or monologue not to resolve, but to give body to subjective discord. Through the physical manifestation of these struggles within can we finally come face-to-face with ourselves.

Dir. Deirdre Logue | Canada | 2000 | 22:00 min.
Enlightened Nonsense (1997-2000) is a series of ten thematically related film works that were each shot, hand-processed and edited within a total of approximately one week. Each beginning with a specific action, the works express both the physical manifestation of different states of being and a desire to understand one’s complex relationship to our psychological limitations. Sexual deception, humiliation, injury, fear and failure are common themes, however, humour plays a critical role. Though dark, there is a funny, nonsensical quality, which provides distance from the complexity of this work as well as some comic relief.
Dir. Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan | Canada | 2000 | 9:06 min.
Peril! charts the dangerous territory of women’s everyday lives. The tightrope walker vacuums across Niagara Falls while pondering employment; the bearded lady waits by the phone while holding up the world; the human cannonball hurtles through space, unsure if she will ever land, but making the best of things. Using video imagery from Dempsey and Millan’s performance, “The Headless Woman” (The Western Front, January 1998), this video features acts of daredevilry by Sharon Bajer, Lorri Millan and Debbie Patterson. Full-sized back drops by Eleanor Bond. Music by Marilyn Lerner. Note: this video was made using stagecraft, not keyed effects!

Dir. Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan | Canada | 1992 | 10:00 min.
The story of Medusa concisely symbolizes the shift from matriarchal religion to patriarchal spiritual, economic, and social power. She is the all-powerful goddess, the snake her familiar and her consort, who is vanquished by Perseus (the male hero). In Medusa Raw, the Gorgon tells the story of her decapitation and its ramifications, from her own point of view. With all the wit and wisdom of a goddess who has been around the block a few times, she reflects upon fashion, family ties and her future.

About Deirdre Logue:
“I am interested in examining performativity and self-presentational discourse. My film, video, performance and installation work focuses on exploring the future an authentic self as well as notions of retrospection, the body as material and corporeal entity, confessional autobiography, the passage of ‘real’ time and the self-portrait. My most recent projects include Enlightened Nonsense, a series of 10 short performance films about repetition, a 12 channel self-portrait entitled WHY ALWAYS INSTEAD OF JUST SOMETIMES , and ROUGH COUNT a continuous counting work dedicated to the infinite and the endless. It is through these works that I examine how it is that we, in particular queer women, organize our images and identities for mass consumption, and how this reflects or distracts from our knowledge of the individual. I am interested in both queer and feminist theory, early video and performance art, psychoanalysis and psychosomatic illness.

As an extension of my practice, I am also heavily invested in the politics of media arts presentation and film and video dissemination theory. I have spent the past 18 years working on behalf of media artists by organizing independent film, video and new media festivals and by participating in forums and symposiums on the future of independent artistic production and film and video distribution. I was a founding member of Media City in Windsor, the Executive Director of the Images Festival of Independent Film and Video from 1995-1999, the Executive Director at the Canadian Filmmakers’ Distribution Centre from 2001-2006 and am currently the Development Director for Vtape.

About Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan:
In a collaboration that has spanned well over a decade, Winnipeg multi-disciplinary artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan have created a body of internationally acclaimed work that addresses feminist, lesbian, and social concerns with biting wit. Performance artifacts, films and videos by Dempsey and Millan are held in collections including the Winnipeg Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Regina Public Libraries, Planned Parenthood USA, American Indian Reservation Centre, and colleges and universities throughout North America.

About Curator Jenny Bisch:
Winnipeg filmmaker and curator, Jenny Bisch, has been involved in many filmmaking projects and has become fascinated by the world of short, experimental film. Her films, The Arousing Adventures of Sailor Boy, and Praying Mantis Upskirt (with Allison Bile), have been enjoyed by audiences around the world. In 2008, she curated a historical program of Manitoba experimental and animated shorts entitled EXPERIMENTAL ECHOES for Independent Film Week and more recently organized the first annual GREEN MOVIEFEST for Earth Day, 2009.

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Tue 18

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January 14 - Feb 28
Wed 19

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Sat, Jan 8 / 7:15pm
Sun, Jan 9 / 3:30pm
Wed, Jan 12 / 7pm
Sat, Jan 15 / 4:30pm
Tue, Jan 18 / 7pm
Wed 19

The Films of Roy Andersson: Giliap

Tue, Jan 18 / 9:10pm
Thu, Jan 20 / 9pm
Thu 20


Fri, Jan 7 / 7pm
Sat, Jan 8 / 2:30pm & 5:15pm
Sun, Jan 9 / 5:40pm
Tue, Jan 11 / 9:30pm
Thu, Jan 13 / 9:30pm
Sat, Jan 15 / 9pm
Sun, Jan 16 / 5:30pm
Wed, Jan 19 / 7pm
Thu, Jan 20 / 7pm


The Winnipeg Film Group is an artist-run education, production, exhibition and distribution centre committed to promoting the art of cinema.
our location

We’re located in the heart of Winnipeg's historic Exchange District in the Artspace building. We are across the street from Old Market Square at the corner of Arthur Street and Bannatyne - one block west of Main.

The Winnipeg Film Group is located on Treaty 1 Territory and on the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene Peoples and in the homeland of the Métis Nation. We offer our respect and gratitude to the traditional caretakers of this land.