POE/MOLA is a performance film based on an imagined meeting between two 19th century authors: Charles Baudelaire from France, and Edgar Allan Poe from the United States. In reality, Baudelaire never met Poe, but was obsessed with his writings and spent much of his life translating the works of Poe into French, making Poe famous in Europe. Our fictional story is that Baudelaire time travels to modern-day New York to give a lecture on Poe, and assisted by technology, is able to depict scenes from Poe’s colorful life and stories.
Date: Wednesday, December 16, 6pm
Location: Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave (@ 2nd Street, New York City, NY, USA)
Tickets and information: http://www.newfilmmakers.com/
POE/MOLA is a large scale collaboration between visual artists, actors, dancers, musicians and puppeteers and was filmed during a 2 month residency of rehearsals and performances at the 3LD Art and Technology Center in August 2010.
This project explores the tension between human desire and reality. Throughout history humans have aspired to overcome their physical limitations with the use of technology, whether it is called a cave painting, the Oracle at Delphi, magic, virtual reality or stem-cell research – the drive to exceed our limited bodies remains a deep and permanent desire. This desire to transcend our bodies through technology has brought with it a loss a physicality – of ‘touching’ another human. There is a sadness in this loss, even though the ‘virtual,’ whether it be a photograph or film, promises a form of immortality.
The film includes the participation of these (and many more) artists:
Performers: Theo Bleckmann (Poe), Rinde Eckert (Baudelaire), Pamela Z (Techne), Laurel Tentindo (Virginia), Luis Tentindo (Roderick), David Tirosh (Poe’s step father), Misha Yacoby (young boy).
Musicians: Kevin James, David First, Tom Chiu, Elise Kermani, Paul Geluso, Nashwa Zaman
Visual Artists: Solomon Weisbard (lighting), Barbara Kilpatrick, Vladimir Kucherov (color correction).
Cinematography: Ivaylo Getov, Alan McIntyre Smith, Natasha Kermani, Tim Wu, Alex Smolowe (editor), Stefanie Koseff (video design).
Directed and written by Elise Kermani with texts by Charles Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe.
Research and dramaturgy by Jeanne Blum Lesinski, Jay Stern, M. Sweeny Lawless.
(All photographs are taken by Natasha Kermani for the POE Project, copyright MiShinnah Productions, Elise Kermani, Director)
Elise Kermani, Writer/Producer/Director
Elise Kermani is a sound media artist based out of New York City and Delmar, New York. She is the creator and artistic director of MiShinnah Productions, a company dedicated to promoting collaborative cross-genre artwork. Most recently, MiShinnah has produced three projects: JOCASTA, POE, and Iphigenia: Book of Change (the last of which is still in-progress). Inspired by magical realism, these pieces mix ancient stories with modern sensibilities. There is little interest in precise historical accuracy; the inspiration merely comes from old stories with universal themes. History, however, is essential: as the foundation for the times we now live in. Fascinated by origins, Kermani wishes to explore where things come from and how differing time periods might relate to one another.
Kermani is primarily interested in adapting classic material and crafting her own unique, modernized interpretations; her projects consistently feature strong elements of music and dance. Particularly prevalent in the work is the idea of collage; not necessarily two-dimensional collage, but the layering of time itself, expanding a story back into the past and also forward into the present. Using varying levels of sound and fragmented visuals to comprise diverse, experimental performance pieces, Kermani aims to evoke a trance-like state—hypnotizing and even submerging a viewer within a strange new world. The music (much of which is composed by Kermani herself) is “post-modern,” emerging as a kaleidoscope of noise, a comingling of every kind of sound imaginable.
Kermani’s passion is collaboration: with musicians, composers, performers, visual artists and dancers. Regularly arranging music for and overseeing other people’s work, Kermani is always looking for new collaborations, admiring the skills others have in their particular fields. So many things happen in each piece—adding to the collage, layered feeling—it’s almost too much to take in all at once. Because the work is non-linear, viewers should be given the choice to step back, divert their attention, and maybe not even watch the entire thing. Kermani does not consider herself a straight-up filmmaker, thus her pieces should not be surveyed as straight-forward movies; she is a visual and audio artist. She seeks to blur the lines between live performance and film, breaking the fourth wall, shattering the ritual, and pushing fantastical stories forth into reality.
Kermani received a PhD in Media and Communications from the European Graduate School, and currently teaches Media Arts at SUNY/Empire State College. Her book “SonicSoma: Sound Body and the Origins” of the Alphabet is available at Amazon.com
The official POE trailer:
“The gorgeously eclectic sound design, by Elise Kermani, often seems to play from far away – now a tango, now a marching band – hinting at worlds beyond the one directly in front of us.”
∼ Siobhan Burke, Dance Magazine
“JOCASTA is a stunning example of how original and diverse independent film making can, and should be.”
∼ Dan Angeloro, New Roots Project
“It’s not just Ms. Shick who is perfect. “Pathétique” is her seventh collaboration with the costume designer Barbara Kilpatrick and the sound designer Elise Kermani. This is one of the most reliably beguiling teams in dance. That consistency might seem to preclude surprise — each work is quite similar to the others — yet it is nevertheless surprising how these three, every time, find or make fresh magic.”
~Brian Siebert, New York Times, April 18, 2014
1) Interview of Elise Kermani with Evelin Stermitz:
2) Interview with Gina Myers: