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Welcome to Aurora Picture Show's SATELLITES section! This regularly updated space showcases various short works, film excerpts, and more–all related to Aurora’s ongoing investigations into experimental media arts. 

Dumpster 4 by Cuyler Ballenger
This short was made in 2020 by Houston-based filmmaker and video artist Cuyler Ballenger, whose work employs elements of personal documentary to open up larger themes such as addiction, family, and labor. Ballenger’s video work Inheritance was recently exhibited at Lawndale Art Center. 


Stories Within City Limits: Jake Margolin by Ronald Llewellyn Jones

Jake Margolin shares a personal memory in this 2018 installment of Stories Within City Limits, a series by Houston artist Ronald Llewellyn Jones capturing shared stories from individuals in Houston and beyond. Jones recently exhibited his sculptural installation work in the show Wave (Goodbye) at the Galveston Art Center. Jake Margolin works with his partner Nick Vaughan on an ongoing series of installations responding to little-known Queer histories.




Swell by Chris Doyle
This animated work by multimedia artist Chris Doyle was inspired by painter Thomas Cole’s Course of Empire cycle. Swell depicts a growing and expanding city, with industrialization giving way to a digital future. The music was composed by Jeremy Turner and performed by Flux Quartet. Aurora has previously exhibited Chris Doyle's work, and recently partnered with Weingarten Art Group and GreenStreet to create a downtown installation of two works by Doyle. This installation is currently running inside the Polk St. entrance of the Greenstreet complex in downtown Houston, though public accessibility has been very limited during the pandemic.  



Fair Use Hawaii
by Lani Asuncion
Artist Lani Asuncion’s Fair Use Hawaii is a critique of tourist activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and of the commodification of Hawaii as a paradise and an escape for those living overseas on the mainland. (Asuncion will be a guest in Aurora's upcoming conversation with filmmaker Miko Revereza.)


Bee Film by Cathy Lee Crane 
Aurora commissioned and premiered Cathy Lee Crane’s multiple-projection piece, Bee Film, in 2015. In that live presentation, the physical media (long 16mm loops moving through the space) and its operators (Crane, assisted by Camilo Gonzalez, Tish Stringer, and Bill Daniel) were as much a part of the work as its imagery of bees and their human caretakers in Hilo, Hawaii. Improvised musical score by Beth Custer.


Juneteenth Procession in Africa Town by Lisa E. Harris (2020) 
Freddie Douggie (Ben LaMar Gay and Jayve Montgomery) along with Lisa E. Harris embark on a tour throughout Southern and Middle U.S.A. in celebration of Juneteenth. The particular procession documented here took place in Africa Town, Alabama on June 19. 2019. Ben LaMar Gay (trumpet); Lisa E.Harris (voice, tambourine); Jayve Montgomery (hand drum); Flags by Cauleen Smith. 

Lights by Marie Menken
An early silent work by experimental filmmaker and visual artist Marie Menken, Lights (1964-66) was shot along late-nights outings in New York during the Christmas seasons. With her hand-cranked 16mm Bolex camera, Menken transformed Park Avenue lights, store decorations, window displays, fountains, public promenades, and buildings into a collaged kinetic light work. 


Mussafa (excerpt) by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy
This excerpt from a 49-minute film by artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy is a slow tracking shot through Mussafah, the manufacturing zone of Abu Dhabi. Far from the glittering skyscrapers and beaches, this area is where 24-hour work shifts fabricate signs, fix motors, etc. Jennifer and Kevin McCoy were at Aurora in 2018 to present their film Broker and a version of this film as installation. 

The Polaroid Job by Mike Plante
Mike Plante’s short film The Polaroid Job recounts a brief time in the 1980s when his parents ran a small business taking polaroid photographs at Halloween haunted houses and other holiday events. Posed moments with Frankenstein’s Monster and the Easter Bunny conjure his time in the unusual DIY family business of homemade masks and analog instant photos.


Vote by Mail by Karina Aguilera Skvirsky
Multidisciplinary artist Karina Aguilera Skvirsky uses personal narratives as a springboard for larger questions of place, identity, and nationhood. Aurora presented her performance The Poems of My Mother Recited and film The Perilous Journey of María Rosa Palacios in 2018 as part of CounterCurrent. This new short work, Vote by Mail, is part performance, part documentary, and part PSA, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement by recognizing women who never had the right to vote, and acknowledging the importance of voting today. 

Ma by Vanessa Godden
Vanessa Godden, a Queer Indo-Trinidadian and Euro-Canadian artist based in Toronto, explores personal histories through video and performance. This three-minute film is a personal investigation of and connection with their maternal, Trinidadian grandmother.


From Sea to See by Eve-Lauryn LaFountain
The work of Los Angeles-based multimedia artist Eve-Lauryn Little Shell LaFountain (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) explores identity, history, indigenous futurism, feminism, ghosts, magic, and her mixed Native American and Jewish heritage. Shot on Ektachrome Super 8 film, From Sea to See is about the legacy of manifest destiny.


FLARMINGOS augmented reality app demo by Kristin Lucas
Aurora has featured a number of works by Austin-based media artist Kristin Lucas, and she was in attendance last September's Powerful Vulnerable: Mirroring program. We thought this little demo video for her augmented reality app populating one’s surroundings with life-size AR flamingos might be a fun, late-summer viewing for those in search of new imaginary roommates. FLARMINGOS was animated by human motion capture of the artist performing courtship displays researched by scientists, and a flocking algorithm that influences their group behavior.


The following eight short films are selected "found footage" pieces that were made for our previous “Mess With Texas” programs–a generative project co-presented by Aurora Picture Show and the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI) and organized by Peter Lucas which has challenged contemporary Texas artists to select and creatively rework regional archival media from the TAMI collection.

In Search of Jackalope by Prince Varughese Thomas 
Houston-based Indian American artist Prince Varughese Thomas works in photography, video, drawing, and installation, often examining sociopolitical issues. This short film is a tongue-in-cheek reworking of material from a 1975 documentary on the Texas visual art scene. (His recent video America The Beautiful can be seen here.)

by Nick Bontrager
Fort Worth-based interdisciplinary artist Nick Bontrager’s work explores the physical and conceptual natures of media, game-based interactions, and replication. For Target, Bontrager reactivates pieces from ten educational and industrial films from the 1950s-70s in the TAMI’s collection. 

by The Art Guys
Houston’s legendary, multidisciplinary art duo of Jack Massing and Michael Galbreth (who died last fall), The Art Guys created blends of performance, conceptual, and visual art since 1983. For the “Mess With Texas” project, they selected only one media source from the archive –a silent amateur film–and made only minimal changes to push the unusual material further into the realm of the absurd. 

Is It True What They Say by Scott Stark

Scott Stark is an experimental film, video, and installation artist, and founder of Austin’s long-running Experimental Response Cinema series. For this film, created as part of the “Mess With Texas” program, Stark engages with films in TAMI’s collection made by Texas itinerant filmmaker Melton Barker with local children in towns across the country between the 1930s and 50s. 


The Rancher
 by Kelly Sears
Experimental animator Kelly Sears creates alternate stories from a range of cast-off imagery from American culture and politics. This film, the Rancher, reworks 1960s footage of President Lyndon Johnson.


Black Space
by Robert Pruitt
Now based in New York, Houston artist
Robert Pruitt's drawings, sculptures, photographs, and videos engage in a fictional ethnography rooted in African American identity. For Black Space, he culled segments from a variety of films made between the 1940s and 70s. 


VIRAGO by Jennifer Lane
San Antonio-based Jennifer Lane is a visual artist and filmmaker, as well as co-founder and programmer of the CineMarfa festival with partner David Hollander. Her haunting collage film makes use of imagery from a variety of 1970s films from TAMI's Don Stokes collection. 

Eyes On Texas by Krista Steinke
Houston-based artist Krista Steinke uses unconventional methods in her experimental photography, film, video, and installation work–often informed by human-environmental relationships. 

Fleur de Lys
by Michèle Magema

Born in the Congo, Paris-based artist Michèle Magema focuses on articulating the exchange between her Congolese culture and her adopted French culture, as well as her feminine identity through displaced time, memory, and history. Her dual-screen video Fleurs de lys is a remembrance of pain and a meditation on a complicated symbol in France. Symbolizing purity and submission to the divine will in the Christian tradition and as the emblem of arms in France, the lily flower has often been used to legitimize violent acts. The flower was an emblem of torturous dehumanizing when it was branded onto the shoulders of escaped slaves. In this work, chains buried in the earth echo the painful historic memory of mass enslavement, while the planting of these flowers is a poetic reminder of the cycle of existence.

by Wura-Natasha Ogunji

Nigerian-American artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji investigates connections between Africa and the Americas via the black female body. She has said, “I use my body to understand and experience acts of return and recollection.” This simple video, belongings, conjures complex struggles of migration and immigration. Aurora previously co-presented her live video and performance Radio Kaduna with the Menil Collection.


The Robes by Kawita Vatanajyankur 

Thai artist Kawita Vatanajyankur's The Robes (below) is part of her “Tools” series of performative videos portraying female figures as still objects within domestic work spaces and referencing elements of traditional 17th century painting. Aurora featured works by Vatanajyankur in the “Powerful Vulnerable” series in September and in a downtown public installation in 2017.


Dinner As I Remember
by Francis Almendárez 

Houston-based artist Francis Almendárez uses personal experience as springboards for works that collapses time and reconstructs fractured identities. Dinner As I Remember mixes childhood memories of dinner time with images of typical dishes eaten in Central America and the Caribbean. The short film expresses a longing for familial/cultural belonging, and encourages a look at the larger concept of “family dinner” as communal, sacred tradition. Aurora looks forward to the upcoming premiere presentation of Navigating the Archives Within–a new, live, multimedia work by Francis and his brother Anthony Almendárez tentatively scheduled for October. 

Letter From Grandma by Eric Craig

Eric Craig’s short, simple, personally-inspired film was shown at Aurora as part of the Extremely Shorts Film Festival. Dedicated to his grandmother, Letter features a young woman (Destiny Johnson) honoring her grandmother by playing a song passed down to her: “God Rode In A Windstorm.” 

Behind Every Good Man
by Nikolai Ursin 

Produced several years before the historic Stonewall uprising for LGBT rights (51 years ago this week), the rarely-seen Behind Every Good Man (ca. 1966) is a pioneering film portrait of one African American trans woman. Both the film and its subject resist classifications, providing a rare cultural artifact of queer expansiveness for the era. Restored by the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, Aurora included the 16mm film as part of last year’s “No Matter What Sign You Are” program, presented in in collaboration with QFest and the Station Museum.

The Cry of Jazz
by Edward Bland

This remarkable 34-minute film is as bold in message and method today as it was in 1959. An experimental hybrid of fiction and documentary, the film uses Jazz as metaphor for the African American situation. Scenes of life in Chicago’s black neighborhoods are intercut with a scripted conversation and music performances (featuring a young Sun Ra and his band). Director Ed Bland, then a postal worker and part-time studio musician/arranger, worked with Mark Kennedy, Nelam Hill, and Eugene Titus to write, plan, self-fund, and shoot the low-budget film with an entirely volunteer cast and crew. Completed more than 60 years ago, this often-overlooked work of truly independent African American cinema has particular relevance in current contexts. (If you’re interested, a recently restored version of “The Cry Of Jazz” with extra commentary features is available for paid streaming.)


Many Thousands Gone
by Ephraim Asili

Aurora hosted filmmaker Ephraim Asili in October for a special presentation of films comprising his “Diaspora Suite”. Shot on 16mm film in locations around the globe, these poetic short films reveal hidden resonances that connect the black American experience to the greater African diaspora. Many Thousands Gone combines footage shot in Salvador, Brazil (the last city in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery) and Harlem, New York, and features an original score by jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee.

Lore by Sky Hopinka
We are looking forward to bringing filmmaker
Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) to Aurora in late-September to present and discuss his films in person! This 2019 short film is a rumination on passed down knowledge and memory, with images of friends and landscapes being fragmented and reassembled on an overhead projector while a story is told about a not-too-distant past.  



by Semiconductor

Aurora has shown a number of works by the UK duo Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt) over the years. This short film, 20 Hz, observes a geo-magnetic storm occurring in the Earth's upper atmosphere, for which they collected and creatively reinterpreted data from the CARISMA radio array. 


At Land by Maya Deren
In celebration of pioneering filmmaker Maya Deren’s birthday (April 29), we’re sharing her dream-like 1944 film At Land, which Aurora presented in last year’s “Powerful Vulnerable” series. Deren’s avant-garde films in the 1940s and 1950s forever changed the medium and have influenced generations of artists. 


Ice of the World by Cristina Molina 

This short 2016 video, Ice of the World, is part of artist Cristina Molina’s series "The Matriarchs" for which she collaborated with all of the women in her family. Molina has said of the work, “The images emphasize physical gestures of connectivity, hierarchy, balance, and tension–all allusions to the relational dynamics that exist between women in family units.”


TB TX Dance
by Roger Beebe

Aurora brought film artist Roger Beebe to present a fantastic, multi-screen 16mm show in 2015. This dual-screen film commissioned for a Cinematexas event was made by printing patterns and shapes directly onto 16mm film, and is a nod to Bruce Conner’s 1966 film Breakaway.



Antes de la television by Ximena Cuevas

Mexican video artist Ximena Cuevas is legendary. Aurora was honored to have her here last fall to participate in screenings and discussions in our “Powerful Vulnerable” series. One of her earliest independent works, this very short satire film was shot on Super-8 film in 1983.


by Thomas Gleeson

Thomas Gleeson’s beautifully minimal film follows the journey of a house in motion. Shown in Aurora’s “Architecture of Family” program in 2017, its particularly resonant now as we shelter in place and consider more closely what makes a home. 


Carolee, Barbara, and Gunvor
 by Lynne Sachs

When Aurora brought filmmaker Lynne Sachs last year to present her film Tip Of My Tongue, she also presented this lovely, personal piece featuring pioneering film figures Carolee Schneemann, Barbara Hammer, and Gunvor Nelson. These glimpses were still on our minds when, within weeks, both Carolee Schneemann and Barbara Hammer died. Their deaths were especially heavy for our hearts at Aurora, as we’ve hosted and honored both here and beyond admiring their work, we’d gotten to know them. We’re grateful for Lynne’s portrait film, and we're happy to share it with you.



Bent Time by Barbara Hammer

We’re all in such surreal circumstances now that time feels fluid, “bent.” Though its not one of her better known films, we thought this excerpt of Bent Time, made by Barbara Hammer in the early-1980s and featuring music by Houston-born Pauline Oliveros, reflects this sort of unmoored space and time. 

All My Life
by Bruce Baillie
We are sad to hear of the passing of Bruce Baillie, a real poet of experimental cinema since the early-1960s and founder of Canyon Cinema–an artist co-op film distributor that has served venues and organization (including so many Aurora programs) for over 50 years. He was an artist-in-residence at the Rice Media Center in the early-1970s, and our friends at Rice presented some beautiful 16mm prints of films by Baillie and his contemporaries as part of their 50th anniversary programs in February. This is one of Baillie's simplest–a single-shot love letter told in music and landscape. 


Blanket Statement #2: It’s All or Nothing
by Jodie Mack

Aurora brought film artist Jodie Mack to Houston to present her “Let Your Light Shine” film program in 2014, and we included a version of this film in the downtown video installation “Color Play”–part of our 2017 Sidewalk Cinema series in collaboration with the Houston Downtown Management District. Let this short film be your “comfort blanket.”



Myth and Infrastructure
by Miwa Matreyek 

Shadow, projection, puppetry and animation all come together in Miwa Matreyek’s gorgeous constructions of other worlds and spaces. Aurora has presented multiple live cinema performances by Miwa in the past, and we’re very excited to be presenting her newest project Infinitely Yours in the coming year! Keep your eyes open for news about that. In the meantime, transport to a dream world through this excerpted documentation of her Myth and Infrastructure.

 by Cauleen Smith

Referencing John Williams’ repeated five-note musical sequence in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Cauleen Smith’s short film H-E-L-L-O is a playful and profound journey through New Orleans. It’s a nice film in our current circumstances, as it encourages us to listen to our cities in different ways. Aurora featured this at our Home-Hogar event in the fall of 2018, and we brought Cauleen to Houston in 2015 to present Black Utopia LP–a performance featuring sounds and images from the Sun Ra archives.


Journey to the Cosmic Womb by JooYoung Choi

Aurora has commissioned a new immersive video and installation work by fantastic Houston artist JooYoung Choi that will premiere here in November. We’re excited about this! And we’re thinking that right now you may just need a bit of the magic of her created worlds. 


Check back in, as the content here changes regularly.

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