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Talk on video game and animation work of Theresa Duncan by Lia Gangitano + film by Stan Vanderbeek



Anthology Film Archives (32 2nd Avenue, New York, NY) Map it $10
E13f7fbf0aa8a68aece61ae9a7a63d7c?s=50 Flaherty Seminar

Program 4: Monday, March 3, 7pm

A screening and talk by Lia Gangitano (Director of Participant Inc.). The post screening discussion will be moderated by Lauren Cornell, curator at the New Museum in New York.

Chop Suey is “a little like Alice in Wonderland as performed by the B-52s for NPR.”
- Entertainment Weekly (1995)

The world of the Bugg Sisters, two young girls from small-town middle America, becomes radically destabilized after eating too much exotic food. What follows in Theresa Duncan’s landmark video game, Chop Suey, is a frenetic, immersive and visionary exploration experienced through two young protagonists who wholly embody the notion that there is nothing quite so empowering as the discovery of a new world.

“Chop Suey”, a talk by Lia Gangitano, Director of Participant Inc., will highlight the work of artist, animator, and critic Theresa Duncan (1966-2007), with a special focus on her 1995 experimental narrative video game, “Chop Suey”, a work created in collaboration with David Sedaris and members of the band Fugazi. In addition to video games, Duncan also made the animated film, A HISTORY OF GLAMOUR, with her boyfriend Jeremy Blake. The film was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial.


Excerpts from Theresa Duncan's work:
CHOP SUEY (video game, 1995)
ZERO ZERO (video game, 1997)

Director: Stan Vanderbeek (USA, 1959, 5 min, 16mm)

An animated and live action fantasy, the loop de loops of ten spoons, forks and tableware … a parable in the shape of a soup spoon … conceived as a children’s film.


THERESA DUNCAN(1966 – 2007) was a writer, filmmaker, and computer-game creator who became known in the 1990s for developing graphic adventure games for girls. Duncan produced three CD-ROM computer games: Chop Suey, Smarty, and Zero Zero. The games were designed to be alternatives to a traditionally male-dominated field. They are story-based and as such revolve around search and discovery. Chop Suey, created with Monica Gesue, was named “1995 CD-ROM of the Year” by Entertainment Weekly. She wrote and directed an animated film, The History of Glamour, which was selected for the 2000 Whitney Biennial. The film details the semi-autobiographical journey of a young woman from a small town to the glamour of New York; she ultimately rejects it all to return home to pursue her writing career. Duncan’s essays and film and literary criticism were published in Artforum, Slate, Salon, and Bald Ego. At the time of her death, Duncan was working on the film Nick’s Trip with her longtime boyfriend Jeremy Blake.

STAN VANDERBEEK (1927 – 1984) studied at Cooper Union and Black Mountain College, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Cooper Union in 1972. An advocate of the application of a utopian fusion of art and technology, he began making films in 1955. In the 1960s, he produced theatrical, multimedia pieces and computer animation, often working in collaboration with Bell Telephone Laboratories. In the 1970s, he constructed a “Movie Drome” in Stony Point, New York, which was an audiovisual laboratory for the projection of film, dance, magic theater, sound and other visual effects. His multimedia experiments included movie murals, projection systems, planetarium events and the exploration of early computer graphics and image-processing systems. Among his numerous awards are grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts; and an American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Award. He was artist-in-residence at WGBH and the University of South Florida, and professor of art at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. His work was the subject of retrospectives at The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. (Adapted from EAI)


LIA GANGITANO founded PARTICIPANT INC in 2001. It is a not-for-profit art space on the Lower East Side of New York, presenting exhibitions by Virgil Marti, Charles Atlas, Kathe Burkhart, Michel Auder, and Renée Green, among others. As former curator of Thread Waxing Space, NY, her exhibitions, screenings, and performances include Spectacular Optical (1998), Luther Price: Imitation of Life (1999), The Life Casts of Cynthia Plaster Caster: 1968-2000 (2000), Børre Sæthre: Module for Mood (2000) and Sigalit Landau (2001). She is editor of Dead Flowers (2010) and the forthcoming anthology, The Alternative to What? Thread Waxing Space and the ’90s. As an associate curator, she co-curated Dress Codes (1993) and Boston School (1995) for The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and edited the publications New Histories (with Steven Nelson, ICA Boston, 1997) and Boston School (ICA Boston, 1995). She has contributed to publications including TRANS>arts.cultures.media, The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema, Lovett/Codagnone, Whitney Biennial 2006-Day for Night, and 2012 Whitney Biennial. She has also served as a Curatorial Advisor for P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, a MoMA Affiliate, with exhibitions including Lutz Bacher, My Secret Life (2009).


LAUREN CORNELL is Curator of the 2015 Triennial, Digital Projects and Museum as Hub at the New Museum in New York. From 2005-2012, she served as Adjunct Curator at the New Museum and Executive Director of Rhizome, an organization dedicated to the creation, presentation and preservation of art engaged with technology. In April 2010, she initiated the seminal conference “Seven on Seven” which pairs leading artists with technologists around the creation of new work. At the New Museum, Cornell has curated “Free,” a major exhibition examining how new technologies have re-mapped public space; co-curated exhibitions including “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus”; the Museum’s inaugural exhibition “Unmonumental”; and has also curated a solo show of works by Young-Hae Change Heavy Industries. Previously, she worked in the Andy Warhol Film Project at the Whitney Museum and, from 2002-2004, she served as Executive Director of Ocularis, an organization dedicated to avant-garde cinema, video and new media.


Flaherty NYC at Anthology Film Archives: 32 Second Ave. (@2nd St.) www.anthologyfilmarchives.org (Tickets on sale at the box office day of screening)

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

- http://flahertyseminar.org/program-theresa-duncan/


Anthology Film Archives (32 2nd Avenue, New York, NY) Map it $10
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