This weekend, The West Harlem Art Fund will host a “pop-up” film screening on Governors Island. What better way to enjoy a house but to watch movies. And these movies deal with the issues of home, memories and important places. These films are apart of a series called Upstairs inthe Basement. Read more about each individual work and the artist.

Films: “Upstairs in the Basement”: 

My maternal grandfather was a contractor and a kind of inventor and he built our two homes in Macon,GA.The first one burned to the ground as firemen and the Salvation Army watched from several yards away.  I only knew the 2nd house built in the early sixties.  It was a fascinating collage made of discarded materials from my grandfather’s job sites (he did decorative plaster work in both antebellum mansions and modern city buildings).  As a child, I was fascinated by the precarious ladder-pull attic where he kept his inventions and other antiquated curios. I had never seen a house with an attic. 

Granddaddy loved to tell humorous stories  and jokes but he also told bible and ghost stories.  An anecdote that he would laughingly recount (to my embarrassment) was the time we were in the attic and my mother was calling me from just below.  I yelled; “I’m with grandaddy– I’m Upstairs in the Basement!!” Telling this story would bring tears to his eyes.

The Maconhouse is in ruins now; our family home inNew Rochellewas sold after 40 years when my father died and my 1st apartment of my own was overtaken by developers and recently razed.  These 3 little films all have to do with movies, memories, spaces and lost or hidden images.

 Short Films

 “Leader Film (Civitella Ranieri)” (2009) video/digital animation w/Viet Le,Vladimir Pistalo & Shyam Selvadurai. Divertissement set in the Civitella Ranieri, a castle inItaly.  This “scrappy” short video emulates a reel of discarded outtakes used as film leader and filler when learning to edit.

The Lincoln Film Conspiracy Prologue (2007) 15 minute “trailer”. A multi-generic short film and multimedia installation that combines archival film footage, new video segments and digital image manipulation, collage and montage. Based on the history of African-American independent silent and sound cinema, LFC is the story of an archivist who is investigating the disappearance of a collection of technologically progressive black films (the imaginary Lincoln Film Company and a musical comedy subsidiary, Archina Co.). Did the films disintegrate or explode like many other nitrate films? Evidence of great heat was found in the vicinity of the studio’s site.  Conspiracy theories are outlined: Was there a government plot in conjunction withHollywood to destroy these “positive” movies leaving only denigrating images of black people? Or have the movies been Abducted by Aliens?

Giallo della Paine! (2011) 8m.  A “scary” montage of vanished spaces and of my garden, playfully using the visual tropes and aural cues of, 70’s, Hammer, British and Italian horror/thriller films. 

 Ina Archer — Artist

Ina was born in Paris,France. She earned a BFA in Film/Video from RISD and a MA, in Cinema Studies at NYU focusing on race, preservation, early sound cinema and technology.  Ina’s multimedia works/films have been shown, nationally including Cinema Project’s EXPANDED FRAMES: a celebration and examination of critical cinema inPortland,OR. and “Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970”  at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, GA. and The Contemporary Art Museum, Houston. Her awards include residences at Vermont Studio Center,  Blue  Mountain Centers and Civitella Ranieri inUmbria,  Italy. Ina was a Studio Artist in the Whitney Independent Study program, a NYFA multidisciplinary Fellow and a 2005 Creative Capital grantee in film and video, and 2010 nominee for the Anonymous Was A Woman award.  Ina is adjunct faculty in Foundation at Parsons The New School for Design. She is a longtime member of NY Women in Film and Television’s Women’s Film Preservation Fund and a board member of IMAP, The Independent Media Arts Preservation.  Ina’s film writing includes pieces for The NY African Film Festival, Framework, The Journal of Cinema and Media, and Black Camera and Film Comment. Ina Diane Archer was born in Paris,Franceand now lives & works inBrooklyn,NY. She is an adjunct professor at Parsons The New School for Design in the Foundation Program of the School of Design Strategies. Ina received a BFA in Film/Video from Rhode Island School of Design, a Certificate in Film Production from NYU-SCE, and a MA in Cinema Studies at NYU.  Prior to returning to school to pursue her interest in film history, preservation and archiving, Ina was a fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program in 1996-97.