SIMPSON/MEADE
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IF NOW THEN

Color 16mm film with sound, 7 minutes 35 seconds, 2011


IF NOW THEN (2011) revisits the myth of the satyr musician Marysas and his fateful duel with the Greek god Apollo. Known in version and variation as the inventor of augury and defender of free speech, here Marsyas occupies the space of repetition and claims the right to begin again, to sing again, revealing gesture as the display of mediation, being-in-a-medium, and ethical potential. Shot in the chapel space of Robert Rauschenberg's former studio—previously an orphanage—the film further recalls how play and chance adhere to language, re-inventing a constructed contingency at the heart of musical composition.


Directed, edited and filmed by Mary Simpson and Fionn Meade. Includes: Dan Aran, Uri Aran, Fionn Meade, Maryam Parhizkar, Lior Shvil.
Lightpress film transfer, Seattle



Marsyas still

Marsyas

Color 16mm film, silent, 1 minute 15 seconds, 2010


Marsyas (2010) continues Simpson/Meade's investigation into ritualized narrative and structural linguistics through the rehearsal and use of gesture-as-image and image-as-gesture. Part of an ongoing project exploring the Greek myth of the satyr musician Marysas, the film follows a hand masked by the facsimile of a hand as it traces over a series of reproduced images: a Roman statuary adorned with everyday materials; legs dangling into the frame of an artist's drawing; the masked figure of a late Renaissance reveler; the shocked expression of a man looking down in disbelief at his own hands. Unmoored from their specific references, the resulting image sequence shifts emphasis from signification to associative possibility. What remains is the affective capacity of an image to desire contact, to adhere and seek out another image.


Directed, edited and filmed by Mary Simpson and Fionn Meade.
Lightpress film transfer, Seattle


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Young Americans

Color and black and white 16mm film with sound, 15 minutes 5 seconds, 2009


Filmed primarily at the House of the Good Shepherd, a home for “orphaned and wayward girls” built in Seattle in 1907, the film project Young Americans (2009) alternates between pensive shots within the empty building, and frenetic, but cryptic passages of a group reenacting archaic games. Narrative clarity is withheld from the viewer but also from the actors as internal struggles for control of the rules and story line reflect society’s increasingly fractured and even combative interpretation of daily life. Both in the film and the roles we inhabit everyday, there exists a confusion about who are the actors and who are the acted upon. Young Americans finds a poetic visual analog to this condition, suggesting that, in a sense, we may all be orphaned and wayward.


Directed, edited and filmed by Mary Simpson and Fionn Meade. Includes: Cat Clifford, Marc Dombrosky,
Heide Heinrichs, Dave Lipe, Amelia Reeber
Lightpress film transfer, Seattle


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black flags

Black Flags

Black and white Super-8 film, silent, 2 minutes 37 seconds, 2009


A gestural telling of the parable of the prodigal son wherein the rift between brothers remains open. Simple declarations of difference and otherness propel the action, flirting with but ultimately avoiding the false resolve of comedy or melodrama.


Directed, edited and filmed by Mary Simpson and Fionn Meade. Includes: Sami Ben Larbi, Tim Hyde
Lightpress film transfer, Seattle


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A man cut in two by a window

A Man Cut in Two by a Window

Black and white Super-8 film, silent, 2 minutes 14 seconds, 2009


Part stands in for whole in this study of the fragmented body as surrealist equations arise from the collapse of setting and subject, mis-en-scène and gesture.


Directed, edited and filmed by Mary Simpson and Fionn Meade.
Lightpress film transfer, Seattle


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winterreise

Winterreise

Color 16mm film with sound, 7 minutes 22 seconds, 2009


A young woman rehearses the last song from Schubert's Winterreise ("Winter's Journey") cycle, evoking a world-weary young man's farewell. Inspired by soprano Lotte Lehman's 1941 recording of Der Leiermann, this portrait of the performer emphasizes transitions in and out of character. The piece closes with three subtle variations, suspending the resolve of Schubert's final composition.


Directed, edited and filmed by Mary Simpson and Fionn Meade. Includes: Rachel Schutz, Gene McCugh
Lightpress film transfer, Seattle


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Billy in the Lowground

Billy in the Lowground

Black and white 16mm film with sound, 12 minutes 12 seconds, 2007


Billy in the Lowground (2007) brings together the ballad form with Structural film tactics—fixed camera positions, predetermined sequencing, and simplified action—to enter into the darker corners of American heritage. The murder ballad “Pretty Polly” is performed with a dispassionate intensity inherent to the form while a minimalist choreography attempts to articulate the gaps that exist between the verses of the song itself. Extended close-ups are interrupted by gestures that explore the “leaping and lingering” dynamic associated with the folk ballad form in which the telling of a story—slipping in and out of linear time, focusing on certain details and neglecting others—mirrors both memory’s acuity and lacunae.


Directed, edited and filmed by Mary Simpson and Fionn Meade. Includes: The Foghorn Stringband (Brian Bagdonas, PT Grover Jr, Caleb Klauder, Sammy Lind, Kevin Sandri), Steve Barsotti, Dave Hanagan, Nate Lippens, Michael Meade, Alice de Muizon, Amelia Reeber, Sedat Uysal
Lightpress film transfer, Seattle


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Pause

Pause

Black and white Super-8 film, silent, 1 minute 48 seconds, 2007


Departing from Samuel Beckett’s most common stage directive, Pause. depicts a non-place where the rhythm of a scuffle and the isolated steps of feet along a wall act as a metronome. The resulting “pause in motion” exists in between decisive action and rest, refusing caesura.


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