Terrace 49, 2004
16mm Film still

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. “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)

Recent News:

 Janie Geiser's new performance FUGITIVE TIME premiered on September 21, 2014 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara.  FUGITIVE TIME had its Los Angeles première on September 26, 2014 at automata, with a sold-out  two-week run.


FUGITIVE TIME was co-commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara and First Works (Providence), with further support from the Center for Cultural Innovation and our hatchfund campaign.

Conceived/directed by Janie Geiser, and developed with an ensemble of Los Angeles performers and designers, FUGITIVE TIME is a multidisciplinary performance inspired by the dual histories of illness and health in early 20th century los angels. FUGITIVE TIME merges puppetry, miniature landscapes, film, live-feed video, and music/sound to create an immersive, elliptical meditation on the body, illness, nature, and time. FUGITIVE TIME will be touring in summer/fall 2015.

Geiser is currently collaborating with playwright Erik Ehn and scene designer Shannon Scrofano on Tungsten (artery), which will be presented as a work-in-progress at the Getty villa in Los Angeles in February 2015, and will premiere in November 2015 at Automata in Los Angeles.

Geiser's 2014 film The Hummingbird Wars recently premiered at the 2014 projections series of the NY film festival, and Experimenta, the avant-garde series of the London international film festival.

Geiser's exhibition Object Permanence at China Art Objects in Los Angeles featured photographs and film projections.

Geiser collaborated with playwright Erik Ehn on Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone), which premiered in February 2013 Automata in Los Angeles for two sold-out weeks.  Clouded Sulphur was reprised for 10 more performances as part of the 2013 Radar La Festival in September 2014.  

Geiser was awarded a 2012 Mapfund grant for Clouded Sulphur, as well as a 2011 Center for Cultural Innovation grant and a project grant from the Jim Henson foundation.

Geiser is the recipient of a 2011 California Community Foundation Fellowship For Visual Artists.

Geiser's film Kriminalistik was screened as part of the 2013 Views from the Avant-Garde (NY Film Festival).  Her film Arbor screened at views in 2012, and in London’s Experimenta (London International Film Festival)

Other recent screenings include the Centre Pompidou’s "Minor Cinema" series, the Strasbourg Museum's exhibition "Cine-Collage" as well as the "s8" festival in la Corunna, Spain, and the Charleroi Mediatheque festival in Belgium, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

Geiser's 1994 film "the red book" was selected for the 2009 national film registry.

Films selected for the registry are included in the collection of the Library of Congress, to be preserved as “cultural, artistic, and/or historical treasures for generations to come”.  

Geiser's film The Fourth Watch was selected by Film Comment as one of the top 10 experimental films of the past decade. Geiser was listed as one of the top 15 experimental filmmakers of the decade.

 One of the pioneers of the renaissance of American avant-garde object performance, Geiser creates innovative, hypnotic works that merge puppetry, film/video  and performance.  Geiser’s performances have toured nationally and internationally, and her films have been screened at museums and festivals around the globe. Geiser has been recognized with an a  Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as funding from the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Henson Foundation, Creative Capital, Jerome Foundation, the Center for Cultural Innovation, MapFund, the Durfee Foundation, and others. 

Geiser’s films have been screened at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, Pacific Film Archives, the San Francisco Cinematheque, LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Berkeley Art Museum,  and at numerous festivals, including 6 New York Film Festivals, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival, the London International Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.  She also designed puppets for Jessica Yu's documentary film Protagonist, which premiered in 2007. She was recognized in the LA Weekly’s 2006 State of the Arts as one of 100 significant Los Angeles Artists.   Her films are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Geiser is a Co-Artistic Director of Automata, a Los Angeles nonprofit dedicated to the creation, presentation, and preservation of puppet and object performance, experimental film, pre-cinematic attractions, and other lost and neglected forms. Geiser is on the faculty of the School of Theater at CalArts, where she teaches puppet and object theater, as well as interdisciplinary performance.