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"Consider the Source" — artist talk by filmmaker Bill Morrison

In this talk, internationally acclaimed filmmaker and Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Bill Morrison, who has been described as an “archival alchemist” and the “Orpheus of nitrate,” will explore the profound aesthetic, thematic, and formal imprint of diverse film archives upon his work. He will organize his work in groups by their relationship to their original source material and the archive from which they were culled.

Morrison will organize his work in groups by their relationship to their original source material, and the archive from which they were culled. He writes, “There have been films in which I have re-edited a single shot or multiple scenes from a single film, those sourced from multiple films a single archive or collection, and those that have told stories woven out of the pits and pieces of many films taken from many different archives. By examining clips from some of these titles from each category, I will draw some conclusions about how source affects intention and meaning in my work.”

Bill Morrison is an internationally acclaimed experimental filmmaker best known for films that draw upon rare and often decaying archival material as sources for profound meditations on history and memory, and the ephemerality of both human life and mass media. Morrison’s work has often been produced in collaboration with innovative and influential composers, including John Adams, Bill Frissell, Philip Glass, and the Kronos Quartet, among many others. In 2013, his 2002 feature Decasia was added to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, making it the first film created in the 21st century to appear on that prestigious list. In 2014, his feature The Great Flood (2013), was awarded a Smithsonian Ingenuity Award for Historical Scholarship.

This event is part of the 2018 Provost's Global Forum and Obermann Humanities Symposium, Against Amnesia: Archives, Evidence, and Social Justice, in which practicing archivists, engaged scholars, and interdisciplinary artists will share projects from guerrilla archiving of climate data to mining corporate records for evidence of organized violence. 

The Provost's Global Forum and Obermann Humanities Symposium is co-sponsored by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the Ida Beam Visiting Professorships Program, the Provost’s Global Forum International Programs grant, the UI Center for Human Rights, Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry, the UI School of Music, UI Libraries-Special Collections, the UI Department of History, and the UI Department of Cinematic Arts.

Thursday, March 1 at 12:30pm to 1:45pm

Adler Journalism and Mass Communication Building, E220
104 West Washington, Iowa City, Iowa

Event Type

Guest Speaker, Lecture/Discussion




International Programs, University Libraries, Research & Economic Development, College of Law, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Obermann Center, Office of the Provost, Center for Human Rights, Department of Cinematic Arts

General Interest

After Class, Arts Iowa, Film


IP; Provost Global Forum






Contact Name

Erin Hackathorn

Contact Email

Contact Phone Number



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