Seven moving image artists present new work investigating the concept of timelessness to reveal the science and magic behind cinema
"FUNERA ET SERPENTIUM" (film still), Paul Clipson, click here to download a high-res version

Brianna Nelson, Communications & 
Community Engagement Coordinator, 
415-863-1414 x103,

SOMArts Cultural Center Presents

Exhibition February 18–March 23, 2016
Opening reception & performances Thursday, February 18, 6–9pm
Seven moving image artists present new work investigating the concept of timelessness to reveal the science and magic behind cinema

January 6, 2016, San Francisco, CA—SOMArts Cultural Center presents Timeless Motion, a group exhibition that reveals the science and magic behind cinema through photography, collage, drawing, celluloid, sculptural installation and projected light. On view from February 18 to March 23, 2016, the exhibition features new artwork from seven moving image artists, exposing the ways in which moving image art is created and perceived. Activated by a series of live cinema performances and a panel discussion with Bay Area underground cinema experts, Timeless Motion shows how the human response to visual phenomena drives the entrancing illusion of movement.

Timeless Motion is the final exhibition in SOMArts’ Commons Curatorial Residency 2015–16 season. Curatorial residency recipient Kerry Laitala and co-curators Antonella Bonfanti, Kathleen Quillian, Scott Stark and Mark Wilson use the residency to examine and connect pre-cinematic forms to contemporary imaging technologies, bridging the analog and the digital in a dynamic artistic environment. 

“We are most interested in technologies that existed before they were described as ‘technologies.’ We love anachronistic mechanisms such as moving shutters, spinning sprocket wheels, and flickering lights that, when studied closely, reveal the fundamental nature of cinematic illusion,” said Laitala, “So-called ‘movies’ do not move at all; they are made up of sequences of still images that, when articulated via mechanical means, form the appearance of continuous movement. This movement is not inherent to the technology itself; rather, it is created in the mind of the viewer.”

Opening with a public reception on Thursday, February 18, 6pm to 9pm, Timeless Motion kicks off with a ceremonial performance of “TEA” by Jeanne Liotta, featuring musical accompaniment by Laetita Sonami. Referencing a Japanese tea ritual, Liotta will use a scroll as a screen for projected ink slides and shadows while serving tea in the light beam of a variable speed movie projector. Special presentations include two newly commissioned live cinema performances by local moving image artists.’s [sic] dual projector work is a reimagining and reframing of 1950s home movies, as photographed through the same movie camera by two generations of a family. The A/V artist duo Beige will manipulate image and sound live with their multi-projector work creating a moving painting that pays homage to a work by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, an 18th century Italian painter.

Encouraging deep exploration in an intimate gallery setting, Timeless Motion allows visitors the opportunity to engage with the fundamental elements of cinema through cinematic installations that freeze and extend time, function independently of time, or work where the concept of time resides only in the mind of the viewer.

A large pile of tree branches and other natural ephemera will fill the center of the gallery for Stark’s “Low-Res Arborscope.” Moving images are filtered through wooden stakes dangling from the ceiling and projected into the pile, creating a glittering spectacle of light, shadow and organic ephemera. Visitors will be invited to play the hanging wooden stakes, xylophone-style, producing crude musical tones as the images and shadows waver in response.

Re-mounted on its twentieth anniversary, Laitala’s “The Retrospectroscope,” presents moving images as sculpture, unshackled from their usual constrictions of linear time. Displayed in conjunction with “The Retrospectroscope,” a debut work commissioned by The Princess Grace Foundation, “The Cosmoscope” explores how observing extreme distance complicates our understanding of the relationship between space and time. By animating images of nebulae and other interstellar phenomena from the edges of the visible universe, this kinetic sculpture investigates the cyclical aspects of time as well as the perceptual illusion of motion.

Cut-out collage images by Quillian reveal the mechanics of motion in animation and illustrate the different ways a viewer can experience the same imagery. Quillian's short animated videos play on a loop at the standard cinematic speed of 24 frames per second alongside images from the animations mounted as linear, sequential collages depicting large-scale panoramas of single frames frozen in time. 

Wilson’s “Phenakistoscopes” and “Ghost Dance” are companion pieces of ten inkjet prints and an animated video sourced entirely from the same drawings. In the prints, pictographic figures on a disc are shown static and fragmented. The video animation rotates the figurative fragments, appearing to unify them in the performance of a ritual dance. Each disc of animated drawings completes a full revolution every second, effectively functioning as a timepiece.

Jeanne Liotta’s scientific animations illustrate the relative experience of simultaneous time. Digital prints act as screens for animated film projections, resulting in an image that combines two mediums, one moving and one still.

Inside a remnant of SOMArts’ industrial past, a former sand-casting pit in the gallery floor, Keith Evans creates a small moving system of weathered objects. Visitors can observe the objects in multiple ways, including through a telescope pointed to a moving panorama box mounted high at the opposite end of the gallery where the image is projected via radio signal.

In the gallery’s annex a 16mm projector loops a cinemascope film-collage by Paul Clipson, exploring the anamorphic photographic process in layered, superimposed, hallucinatory color and black and white, with sound by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma.

Additional public programming includes a panel discussion on Wednesday, March 9, 6pm to 9pm, in which key participants in Bay Area underground cinema will speak to the history of Bay Area venues, political cinema and interactive cinema arts as they discuss the challenges faced by the community and offer speculations for its future. Films and ephemera will be projected to illustrate the ingenuity and spirit of Bay Area moving image artists. 

The closing reception, Thursday, March 17, 6pm to 9pm, opens with a short screening of projects made in cinegram and animation workshops led by Timeless Motion curators for the students of Sixth Street Photography Workshop. The evening also features two premieres of live cinema works from local artists. Greta Snider’s performance with stereoscopic slides and film projection is informed by the sensory deprivation strategies used in Guantanamo. A multimedia performance by Bryan Boyce, Adrianne Finelli and Jackie Jones creates a 3D environment with 2D elements—drawings, prints and photographs—to explore the moments in life when time appears to slow down or stop.


Exhibiting Artists
Paul Clipson
Keith Evans
Kerry Laitala
Jeanne Liotta
Kathleen Quillian
Scott Stark
Mark Wilson

Performing Artists
Jeanne Liotta and Laetitia Sonami
Bryan Boyce, Adrianne Finelli and Jackie Jones
Greta Snider


February 18–March 23, 2016
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm

Opening Reception 
Thursday, February 18, 6–9pm
The opening night celebration kicks off with a toast to time and special presentations, including newly commissioned live cinema performances by local moving image artists. To learn more, visit

Panel Discussion 
Wednesday, March 9, 6–9pm
Film artists, scholars and curators who have been key participants in the Bay Area underground cinema movement address the challenges faced by the community and offer speculations for its future. To learn more about the panelists, visit

Closing Reception 
Thursday, March 17, 6–9pm
Timeless Motion’s closing reception opens with a short screening of projects made in cinegram and animation workshops led by the exhibition’s curators and features two premieres of live cinema works from local artists. To learn more visit,

The exhibition, opening and closing receptions and panel discussion are free to attend and take place at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th Streets), San Francisco, CA, 94103. SOMArts is wheelchair/ADA accessible. 

To learn about more Timeless Motion events—including additional live cinema performances, workshops and film programs—taking place in San Francisco and Oakland, visit


The Commons Curatorial Residency Program nurtures a creative cultural environment in the Bay Area by providing space and support for exhibitions that take risks, promote cultural connectivity and learning, and instigate accessible, multifaceted participation in the arts. Selected artists and groups receive support consisting of a $3,000 grant, a month-long exhibition at SOMArts, 80+ hours of technical assistance, and help with traditional and social media outreach to connect their work with new audiences. Through this support, Bay Area artists can engage the community, expand their practice and turn vision into reality.


SOMArts Cultural Center, founded in 1979, cultivates access to the arts within the Bay Area by collaborating with community-focused artists and organizations. Together, we engage the power of the arts to provoke just and fair inclusion, cultural respect and civic participation.

SOMArts plays a vital role in the arts ecosystem by helping activate the arts citywide. We do this by providing space and production support for non-profit events, as well as fairs and festivals throughout the Bay Area, and offering a robust program of art exhibitions, classes, events and performances that are affordable and accessible to all. SOMArts’ exhibition programs receive critical support from the San Francisco Arts Commission and The San Francisco Foundation, and are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts.

SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan Street—between 8th and 9th—within 2 blocks of 101, I-80, Muni lines and bike paths. For public information call 415-863-1414 or visit Stay connected by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


"The Retrospectroscope" Kerry Laitala, click here to download a high-res version
"Diagram Squared" Jeanne Liotta, click here to download a high-res version
Timeless Motion logo, courtesy of the curators, click here to download a high-res version

“Ghost Dance” Mark Wilson, click here to download a high-res version

"Expanded View" Kathleen Quillian, click here to download a high-res version
"Low-Res Arborscope" Scott Stark, click here to download a high-res version
Copyright © 2016 SOMArts Cultural Center, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences