Magnetic Sleep


Episodes 1-9

Digital Video (shot on 16mm film), black and white, 2006-2009

Total Running Time:

Magnetic Sleep, is a nine-part serial about a woman hypnotist, Marceline, and her journey across an ever-changing landscape. While the work combines a number of textural elements—collage animation, hand-painted film, superimpostion, re-photography, along with performance—it is essentially cinematic, channeling early experimental filmmakers such as Man Ray and Maya Deren. We follow Geiser’s protagonist, in early melodrama style, through self-contained worlds and facades of glass, fabric, and celluloid, towards a mysterious destination divined through Marceline’s own desire. As she treads the border between dreams and reality, the goal becomes not to show her in realistic space, but to induce a space of distant thought and nostalgia, where the shapes of memory seem ever-impressionistic. A term used during the 19th century, “magnetic sleep” refers to the hypnotic trances that German physician Franz Mesmer induced in patients with the aid of magnetic and electrical forces. This program also includes an earlier 16mm work, Babel Town, which extends Geiser’s expertise in puppet theatre to the realm of cinema.

Selected Screening history:
Cinema Project (2009)
Wexner Center (2009)
Rotterdam International Film Festival (2010)
Cinemaspace, Montreal (2011)

Janie GeiserMagnetic Sleep