label

Josiah McElheny and Jeff Preiss Light Club (stills), 2008, © Josiah McElheny, courtesy the artist
Josiah McElheny and Jeff Preiss Light Club (stills), 2008, © Josiah McElheny, courtesy the artist






PASSAGE WORKS: PAUL SCHEERBART, WALTER BENJAMIN & JOSIAH MCELHENY'S "LIGHT CLUB" FILMS
Robert Sitton and John Urang
October 19, 2013

Recalling the model of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, the wide-ranging collection of notes and folios he assembled from 1927-1940, film scholars Urang and Sitton will address constellations of topics relating to Josiah McElheny’s "Light Club" films. Among the topics are: theatrical and filmic traditions to which the films might be related and share affinities with, including the work of Proust, Chekhov, Stan Brackage and Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane;” archives and “truth” in documentary films; and desire and Freud’s question, “what do women want?” Urang and Sitton also look at McElheny’s notion of history and the historical model Benjamin attributes to Paul Scheerbart, the author of the "The Light Club of Batavia: A Ladies Novelette;” McElheny’s adaptation of the story within the context of colonialism and imperialism; naturalist Ernst Haeckel and “living crystals."

Dr. John Urang is assistant professor of Cultural and Media Studies at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon. His research and teaching interests include film and media theory, German and European cultural history, and critical theory. His first book, "Legal Tender: Love and Legitimacy in the East German Cultural Imagination" was published by Cornell University Press in 2010. He is currently working on a book about domesticity and reproduction in postwar German film. He was a visiting assistant professor at Reed College from 2007–2011 and an assistant professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute from 2011–2012. He blogs about culture and media at "The Difference Engine."

Dr. Robert Sitton is adjunct professor of Cultural and Media Studies at Marylhurst University, where he teaches courses on histories of film, technology and medicine. He has worked on the cultural news staff of the New York Times, as director of film education for the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and he developed the Portland Art Museum's Northwest Film Study Center in its formative years. He is author of  "Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film" (Columbia University Press, April 2014), the first biographical and critical study of the founder of the Film Department at the Museum of Modern Art.