location: Los Angeles, California
“Geiser shares with filmmakers such as Jan Svankmajer the rare ability to make children’s toys and seemingly innocent objects … resonate with the most unsettling, arcane, and adult fears. Better still, Geiser gives voice to the reaches of the unconscious, pointing to the abandoned splendor that exists prior to the rules of society and language.” (Holly Willis, Res, 2004)
News! JANIE GEISER awarded a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award.
Janie Geiser is an internationally recognized visual/theater artist and experimental filmmaker, whose work is known for its investigation of the emotional power of inanimate objects, its sense of mystery, and its strength of design. One of the pioneers of the renaissance of American avant-garde object performance, Geiser creates innovative, hypnotic works that integrate a singular visual aesthetic, puppets, film/video and performing objects. Geiser has been recognized with an a Guggenheim Fellowship, an OBIE Award, and funding the Rockefeller Foundation, the Henson Foundation, Creative Capital, Jerome Foundation, MAPfund, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and a 2011 Fellowship for Visual Artists from the California Community Foundation.
Geiser’s films have been screened at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, MOMA, Pacific Film Archives, the Centre Pompidou, the Salzberg Museum, San Francisco MOMA, LACMA, and at 9 New York Film Festivals, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival, the London International Film Festival, and more. Geiser’s films are in the permanent collection of MOMA, and her film The Red Book was selected for inclusion in the Smithsonian's National Film Registry.
For links to recent films and performance excerpts, click here.
Clouded Sulphur, 2013
Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone)
Performance (75 minutes) (2013)
Presented at Automata in Los Angeles, and as part of the 2013 RadarLA Festival.
Clouded Sulphur is a multidisciplinary performance directed by Janie Geiser, written by Erik Ehn, with music by Valerie Opielski.
Created in response to the tragic, unsolved murder of a 15 year old Los Angeles girl, Clouded Sulphur navigates a complex terrain of family, loss, revenge, and unexpected hope through a multidisciplinary performance work that merges puppetry, projection, text, and music. Set at the edge of Los Angeles, where the untamed landscape meets the city, the performance centers on absence and the range of feelings that flow through brokenness (revenge, disbelief, unexpected floods of compassion and hope).
Clouded Sulphur began to emerge after I read about an unsolved Los Angeles crime- the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Brenda Sierra. She disappeared one morning on her way to school. Her body was found the next day, October 19, 2002, near the Crestline Highway in the San Bernadino National Forest, two hours from Los Angeles.
Informed by Bunraku theater and by the complex emotional landscape of Los Angeles, Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone) explores the terrain of this unsolved crime from the point of view of those who remain: brothers, mothers, lovers, sisters, friends dealing with the presence of absence, and the lack of finality that comes with horrific or unimaginable loss.
(No suspect was named in this case until 2015, when three people were arrested and charged with her murder. They still await trial.)