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Elisabeth Subrin
Lost Tribes and Promised Lands
December 6 - 29, 2013

Continuing her exploration of minor histories, Lost Tribes and Promised Land examines Subrin’s own past by revisiting documentary footage she filmed soon after the 2001 attacks on the WTC, when her working class Italian neighborhood was dramatically transformed with patriotic fervor. Seven years later, before the 2008 elections, she attempted to retrace her steps, now only half-remembered, and matched the original footage with a poignant recreation. The resulting two-channel projection and photographs becomes an analogy for a fraught American decade through the subtle political and economic shifts of one gentrifying neighborhood.

The work is presented both as a two-channel projection, and, space permitting, with a wall made of the distressed, reused plywood found covering luxury condo building sites, always salvaged from past projects.

Three diptychs of photographic reproductions from the film provide an prologue for the installation, priming the viewer to the distinctions between the 2001 and 2008 footage.

Elisabeth Subrin is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and artist, and a professor in the Film and Media Arts Department at Temple University. Her award-winning films and videos have been screened extensively in the United States and abroad, including at The New York Film Festival, The Whitney Biennial, The Vienna International Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art, American Film Institute, The Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Vienna International Film Festival, The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, the VIPER International Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, The Guggenheim Museum, The Sundance Channel, PBS, and numerous other major film festivals, museums, and arts institutions. Her narrative short The Caretakers, starring Cara Seymour, premiered at The New York Film Festival. Her video Well Well Well, created for the electro-pop feminist band Le Tigre, has been screened and broadcast internationally. The Fancy premiered at the New York Video Festival and was awarded the 2001 VIPER International Award for Film/Video. Shulie received the 1998 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Independent Film and Best Experimental Film at the 2000 New England Film and Video Festival. Swallow was awarded First Place Experimental at the 1996 USA Film Festival, and Juror’s Choice at the 1996 Charlotte Film and Video Festival. In 2012, Shulie was selected for the once-a-decade British Film Institute’s Sight&Sound Magazine Critic’s Poll for “Greatest Films Ever.”

She has received grants and fellowships from The Rockefeller Foundation, The Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, and The Annenberg Foundation, and she has been a fellow five times at The MacDowell Colony and as well as Yaddo. She has received film commissions from The MacDowell Colony and The Danish Arts Council for recent projects, The Caretakers (2006) and Sweet Ruin (2008). She participated in the Sundance Institute Screenwriting and Directing Fellowships with her feature film project, Up. Her advisors were Stephen Gaghan, John Gatins, Robert Elswit, Sally Field, Miguel Arteta and Kathryn Bigelow, among others.

In February 2010, Sue Scott Gallery in New York mounted a 20-year retrospective of her film and art work, Elisabeth Subrin: Her Compulsion To Repeat, including her 2010 video installation Lost Tribes and Promised Lands, her 2008 two-channel film projection Sweet Ruin, as well as selected films, videos, and large-scale photographic stills from 1990-2010. Lost Tribes and Promised Lands was subsequently presented at MoMA/PS1’s 2010 Greater New York exhibition, as well as at La Muse?e d’Art Contemporain de Val De Marne, Paris, The Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, PA, Fittja Open in Stockholm, Sweden, and at the Marquette Museum of Art in Milwaukee in 2012. In 2011, her work was the subject of solo exhibitions at The Jewish Museum in New York and VOLTA NY 2011. A new work, Damage Report, was commissioned by The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia for 2014. Her second feature screenplay, A Woman A Part, is in preproduction.

Subrin lives in Brooklyn, New York.