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Februrary 10 - February 12, 2012

David Gatten's Secret Histories

Over the last 15 years, David Gatten (b.1971) has explored the intersection of the printed word and moving image. The resulting body of work illuminates a wide array of historical, conceptual and material concerns, while cataloging the variety of ways in which texts function in cinema as both language and image, writing and drawing, often times blurring the boundary between these categories. Using traditional research methods (reading old books) and non-traditional film processes (boiling old books) the films trace the contours of private lives and public histories, combining philosophy, biography and poetry with experiments in cinematic forms and narrative structures. Exploring the archive in unexpected ways and making connections across categories of knowledge and fields of meaning, Gatten’s films construct new compositions and generate novel conclusions from 19th century scientific treatises, “out-dated” 20th century instructional texts, and rare books from 17th and 18th century personal libraries.

Among the leading figures in a diverse movement dedicated to mining the fullness of 16mm film’s expressive possibilities in the digital era, David Gatten – in the words of film scholar Scott MacDonald – “continues to find new creative possibilities in the continued premonitions of film’s demise.” A recent Film Comment critics’ poll of avant-garde filmmaking in the 2000’s saw Gatten place within the top ten filmmakers and included two of his films in a list of the fifty best individual works of the decade. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Gatten and his films have been included in two Whitney Biennials and have appeared at countless film festivals, museums, and cinematheques around the globe.

At the mid-point in the completion of his magnum opus Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts (1996-), this retrospective provides the most complete survey to date of this project, which Artforum called “one of the most erudite and ambitious undertakings in recent cinema.” The two programs devoted to the Secret History series are rounded out by a third consisting of other smaller – but no less vital – series, providing an extensive overview of Gatten’s substantial and accomplished body of work at a remarkable moment in his career. – Chris Stults, Wexner Center for the Arts, Program Curator


Special Event Tickets $12 - David Gatten in Conversation with Film Curator Chris Stults
Friday February 10 at 7pm

Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts (Parts I - IV)

Directed by David Gatten, Appearing in Person. TRT: 101 min


Secret History of the Dividing Line

US 2002, 16mm, b/w, silent, 20 min

The Great Art of Knowing

US 2004, 16mm, b/w, silent, 37 min

Moxon's Mechanick Exercises, or, The Doctrine of Handy-Works Applied to the Art of Printing

US 1999, 16mm, b/w, silent, 26 min

The Enjoyment of Reading (Lost and Found)

2001, 16mm, color, silent, 18 min



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Special Event Tickets $12 - David Gatten in Conversation with Film Curator Mark McElhatten
Saturday February 11 at 7pm

Four Films Toward Part V of Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts

Directed by David Gatten, Appearing in Person. TRT: 50 min


The Matter Propounded, Of Its Possibility or Impossibility, Treated in Four Parts

US 2011, 16mm, b/w, silent, 13 min

How to Conduct a Love Affair

US 2007, 16mm, color, silent, 8 min

So Sure of Nowhere Buying Times to Come

US 2010, 16mm, color, silent, 9 min

Film for Invisible Ink, Case No. 323: Once Upon a Time in the West

US 2010, 16mm, b/w, 20 min



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Special Event Tickets $12 - David Gatten in Conversation with Film Curator Chris Stults
Sunday February 12 at 4:30pm

Silent Mountains, Singing Oceans, and Slivers of Time

Directed by David Gatten, Appearing in Person. TRT: 67 min


Film for Invisible Ink, Case No. 71: Base-Plus-Fog

US 2006, 16mm, b/w, 10 min

What the Water Said, Nos. 1-3

US 1998, 16mm, color, 16 min

Journal and Remarks

US 2009, 16mm, color, silent, 15 min

Shrimp Boat Log

US 2006/2010, 16mm, color, silent, 6 min

What the Water Said, Nos. 4-6

US 2007, 16mm, color, 17 min

Film for Invisible Ink, Case No. 142: Abbreviation for Dead Winter [Diminished by 1,794]

US 2008, 16mm, b/w, 13 min



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