The Hummingbird Wars
Digital Video (color), 10:43 minutes (2014)
Sound Collage: Janie Geiser
Sound Mix: Kari Rae Seekins
A theatrical fiction, collapsing time and place: turn-of-the-last-century performers apply stage makeup as if for war, to engage in battle for the soul of the world. The injuries are more emotional than physical, but cut deeply just the same. A visual/aural collage film, drawing on sources as seemingly disparate as Ibsen’s A Doll House, Japanese Gagaku music, makeup illustrations for 19th Century actors, the biography of a Shakespearean performer, blooming and decaying flowers, and a World War 1 First Aid Book, The Hummingbird Wars suggests theater in a time of war, which is the theater of any time.
“Janie Geiser’s The Hummingbird Wars (2014) is a dense collage comprising nineteenth-century photographs of stage actors, theater makeup, Japanese masks, flowers in various states of decay, an autobiographical text, and a World War I first-aid book. Unveiled via a dynamic deployment of cutout black mattes, whose flitting about the frame perhaps mimes that of the titular hummingbird, the images are both free-associative and recurrent, complicated through each new, interlocking cluster, as well as by an equally evocative audio track. Like the artist making her way through the paradoxical interrelations of history, art, and consciousness, the hummingbird gently traverses the clash of images that flesh out Geiser’s mesmerizing tapestry.” —Tony Pipilo, Art Forum, reviewing NYFF Projections 2014.
Selected Screening History:
New York International Film Festival Projections (2014)
London International Film Festival, Experimenta (2014)
University of Chicago Film Studies Center (2015)
Fronteira Festival, Brazil (2015)
San Francisco International Film Festival (2015)