Recently I’ve turned to film and video poetry as a means of synthesizing my interests in writing, filmmaking, and voice. I love the freedom of performing my own camera and editing work without the pressures of fundraising involved in creating larger film projects or art gallery exhibitions. My research into global film/video poetry communities and venues inspires me to make new work in this field. In 2022 my experimental cine-poem, temporal assemblages, was nominated for Best Experimental Film at the 20th Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto, and that year also awarded a Special Mention at the 10th International Video Poetry Festival, in Athens, Greece. I’ve since completed two new film poems, featuring my spoken word texts with music by my longtime collaborator, Malcolm Lewis.
3 short films about love is triptych of three short pieces, each about a minute in length, exploring moods generated by the transitory nature of love.
What Remains combines images from my 1980s Super-8 film work with recent digital recordings. Images from large scale public art spectacles performed in ecological settings raise questions about the role of human capital in constructing architectures of our material histories.
This month I had the pleasure of attending the 10th Annual Video Poetry Festival, organized by The Institute for Experimental Arts, in Athens, Greece. The festival programmed my short film poem,temporal assemblages(2022) and it had a fabulous lineup of film and video projects, live performances, workshops and talks, poetry readings – a fun-filled four days with great people and an open and friendly vibe. I met people from many countries and enjoyed walking around the ancient city with its centuries of ruins counterpoised with miles of colourful graffiti, some of it quite beautiful.
EDIE STEINER RETROSPECTIVE, BORDERLAND MEMORIES June 9, 1:15PM Cinema 2, TIFF Bell Lightbox EDIE STEINER, A SHORT FILM RETROSPECTIVE AND ARTIST TALK June 10, 4PM Cinema 5, TIFF Bell Lightbox. A conversation with Edie Steiner to follow the screening. Moderated by Leslie-Ann Coles, FeFF Artistic Director.
My new film temporal assemblages (2022) is an ecological video poem exploring human presence and absence in ‘natural’ and ‘produced’ spaces. A meditation on impermanence and the transience of place, the title is inspired by assemblage art, where found elements from existing artworks are reconstituted into new artworks. Here the work features sampling from an archive of media recordings produced over a long personal artistic practice, from analogue photography, Super-8mm and 16mm film recordings, early video and sound, and mixing obsolete technologies with new recordings. Fragments of spoken word blend with scientific nomenclature in onscreen text, embedding ecological histories with the material constituents of the scene. A version of the prologue, Entering the Lake, was first published as video poetry in 2017, in The Goose, official publication of the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada (ALECC). With music by Malcolm Lewis.
temporal assemblages will screen at the 20th Female Eye Film Festival in June, 2022 in Toronto, and in September at the Institute for Experimental Arts 10th Annual International Video Poetry Festival in Athens, Greece, .
Borderland Memories is a 1-hour documentary merging the filmmaker’s family history in the post-WW2 forced migrations in Eastern Europe with contemporary discourses around immigration, kinship, and belonging.
I’ve always wanted to participate in the Ethnografilm Festival, which is usually held in Paris in April, and this year my film Borderland Memorieswas accepted. But due to the pandemic the festival decided to postpone until 2022 rather than go online at this time, so that it can once again be held at the Théâtre Lepic in Montmartre. How possible will this be in another year? Overseas travel seems like a dream now and my loved ones there speak with uncertainty of our future reunions.
At the end of this tumultuous year I finally completed my film, Borderland Memories, in progress since I first visited the ancestral village of my father’s family, formerly Ludwigsdorf, Germany, now called Ludwikowice, Poland. Over several journeys to various locations in Poland and Germany, I filmed places, visited archives, and met with scholars, artists, and cultural workers in Europe and North America. My research in 2018 and post-production in 2020 was funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. The result is a one-hour documentary essay film, distributed by Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC).
In the spring of this year as the pandemic forced us inside, filmmaker Midi Onodera invited me to participate in this participatory arts project, based on the Surrealist game The Exquisite Corpse. Each video has 4 participating artists, one each for text, image, editing and sound design. I decided to work on all 4 parts, and these and more than 60 other short films, produced by over 100 artists, can be seen on this website: https://exc-19.com/
Just days into the Covid-19 lockdown, I learned that I was fortunate to receive Canada Council for the Arts funding to support the post-production phase of my digital film project, Borderland Memories, a work in progress since 2015. I began working with my sound and picture editing collaborators via Zoom and other online platforms, and the process of editing and audio production became a slow meditation in the restructured perception of time generated by social distancing. Online work time is both more compacted and more fragmented, producing a continual reassessment of the themes I am expressing for the future screen. What will the stories I’ve been exploring in this film for the past five years mean in the larger post-pandemic histories to come? Two years ago, I was in Berlin at this time, doing archival research at the German Historical Museum, filming in the city and in places along the German/Polish border, meeting with colleagues in the Silesian countryside and in the city of Wroclaw. Although I had gathered enough material to construct my film when travel options ended, I was hoping to return to Europe this spring for some final research and image production. Now I wonder what film festivals and screenings will be like in times ahead, and what are the ethics of future travel – for work, for time with loved ones abroad, to reach into a wider world.