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.
The Reptile Under the Flowers, 2009
The Reptile Under the Flowers (in-progress) is a multimedia peepshow/diorama/performance with miniature puppetry and live video.
In The Reptile Under the Flowers, the elliptical narrative is constructed through the accumulation of scenes and events, most of which are contained in performed dioramas, single or multiple viewer peepshows, puppet attractions, and shadow plays. The Reptile Under the Flowers suggests two overlapping narratives. In one, a white collar criminal returns home, only to remain an absent presence, living in the top floor of his home, his pacing a constant reminder to the family below (inspired by the title character of Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman). The second narrative involves his son, who becomes a soldier, experiences unknown horrors, and goes awol. The son slowly travels across the world to return home---when he returns, he can never enter the house. In the end, their world crumbles under the weight of the winter snows, shrouding longing and desire in a soft, smothering denial.
Scene 10: Looking through the peephole, the audience sees a scene with a spinning house; the son is circling the house, the father (projection) is pacing above, and the wife/mother looks for the son.
Music by Valerie Opielski