On Monday, March 11, Harpur Cinema and the women, gender and sexuality studies department will host a co-sponsored screening of experimental short films by queer artists.
Titled “Dirty Looks: Eight Years On,” the program will celebrate the eighth anniversary of Dirty Looks, a queer avant-garde film collective founded in 2011. Program curator Bradford Nordeen, director and founder of Dirty Looks, will speak at the event.
Binghamton University will be Nordeen’s first stop on a month-long tour that includes talks at colleges, museums and film centers across the country. Michael Robinson, a member of the Dirty Looks collective who used to teach at BU as a visiting professor for the cinema department, recommended the University’s film department to Nordeen as a potential stop on the tour. Founded in New York and now based in Los Angeles, Dirty Looks provides a platform for queer avant-garde performers and filmmakers to curate and produce films and performances, distribute art, host screenings and keep archival histories of queer film alive.
Chantal Rodais, a lecturer in the cinema department, said the organization’s work is largely based on the goal of preservation.
“They are connecting in order to spread LGBTQ history in the arts, but also this idea that art is a way to preserve this history,” she said. “They are particularly dedicated to preserving the work of many artists who died of AIDS, to keep their voices heard.”
Nordeen’s touring program will feature eight films directed by Robinson, Warren Sonbert and Wendy Appel, Brontez Purnell, Jill Reiter, Lila de Magalhaes, Chris E. Vargas, Aimee Goguen and Mariah Garnett. While six of the eight films are from the past decade, the program represents a range of time periods, with the earliest film having been made in 1966 and the latest in 2017.
Rodais said Nordeen’s presentation will likely touch upon the collective’s geographic range and the challenges of bringing screenings to different cities.
“He became very aware of the fact that you don’t put on shows in Los Angeles the same way you do in New York City, so he’s very sensitive to that, to the audience,” she said.
While Harpur Cinema recently brought a director to BU as part of the program’s semesterly screening series, Rodais said it has been a while since the department hosted a more niche screening of this kind. The program is distinct from Harpur Cinema’s usual selection in that it is more experimental and more targeted, and according to Rodais, Dirty Looks’ dedication to experimentation reflects a belief in avant-garde cinema as a means of more unique and specific storytelling.
“They believe in the value of experimental cinema and experimental aesthetics to better translate the queer experience and its subjectives,” she said. “It opens more doors to specific experiences.”
“Dirty Looks: Eight Years On” will be held on Monday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Hall 6.