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Filmmaker Rima Yamazaki to produce new documentary on Buffalo architecture

As part of University at Buffalo’s Creative Arts Initiative (CAI), independent documentary filmmaker Rima Yamazaki will be dedicating an upcoming residency (Sept. 1 to Oct. 31) to producing a new documentary on Buffalo architecture. It’s the perfect time to showcase this city’s impressive built environment, as there are plenty more preservation opportunities on the horizon – documentary films of this nature have the ability to stimulate a variety of calls to action. 

Yamazaki is considered a ‘one person’ film crew. She is a highly regarded filmmaker with a bent on contemporary art and architecture. 

“I’d like to reveal something that cannot be expressed in words,” she says. “This is to be a cinematic study on the relationship between architecture, society and people.”

The CAI is a university-wide initiative dedicated to the creation and production of new work upholding the highest artistic standards of excellence and fostering a complementary atmosphere of creative investigation and engagement among students, faculty, visiting artists and the community.

“Buffalo is a good example that embodies various aspects of architecture,” she says. “Architecture can be a treasure or a burden to a city. A building is a big expensive thing, not only to build, but also to maintain. It’s not just a place for people to live and work; it also reflects the society and people’s lives.”

Once the documentary is complete, a film screening will be held in Buffalo

Yamazaki’s residency will include a screening of her 2010 film “Nakagin Capsule Tower: Japanese Metabolist Landmark on the Edge of Destruction,” Wednesday, Sept. 13, from 6-7:30 p.m. in room 403 of Hayes Hall on the university’s South Campus. A discussion with Yamazaki and Nicholas Bruscia, clinical assistant professor of architecture, who leads UB’s study abroad program in Tokyo, will follow the screening. This event is free and open to the public.

The remaining CAI artists in residence for 2017-18 include:

  • Joshua Stein (Oct. 10-25 and March 3-26), the founder of Radical Craft and the co-director of the Data Clay Network, a forum for the exploration of digital techniques applied to ceramic materials. Radical Craft is a Los Angeles-based research and design studio operating between the fields of architecture, art and urbanism. Radical Craft advances design saturated in history (from archaeology to craft) that inflects the production of contemporary urban spaces and artifacts, evolving newly grounded approaches to the challenges posed by the virtual, velocity and globalization.

Stein’s project aims to recover the history and repercussions of the dismantling of Buffalo’s streetcar system.

  • Olivier Pasquet, a sound, visual artist and music producer (Oct. 16-Nov. 19 and Jan. 22-Feb. 12). Olivier’s generative pieces are contextualized within a rationalist theory-fiction. Besides music and installation, he is also involved in performance pieces such as dance, theater and opera that have a strong relationship with architecture and design.

His project involves the creation of a site-specific sound and light performance installation in the Greatbatch Pavilion at the Martin House.

  • Joshua Williams, director and translator; Deadria Harrington, a multifaceted theater artist based in New York City; and Khalil Sullivan, a singer-songwriter, guitarist, playwright and educator (Nov. 9-19).

This creative team will conduct site-specific rehearsals and concert readings of a new musical in development about race and the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, titled “At Buffalo.”

Race was on display at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. In exhibits like “Darkest Africa,” “Old Plantation” and “The American Negro Exhibit,” concessionaires presented unique, and often conflicting, visions of race in America at the turn of the 20th century. These exhibits left behind a fragmented archive of descriptions, newspaper articles, photographs and film clips that shed new light on a critical moment in the construction of modern black and American identity. “At Buffalo,” a landmark new musical, brings this archive to life.

  • The Wooster Group, a company of artists who make work for theater, dance, and media. Their productions tour nationally and internationally (Feb. 4-11). The Wooster Group has received numerous BESSIE and OBIE Awards for individual productions and for sustained achievement.

The Wooster Group’s CAI residency will include four performances, Feb. 8-11 at UB’s Center for the Arts, of THE B-SIDE: “Negro Folklore From Texas State Prisons” A Record Album Interpretation,” workshops, and public discussions at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the African American Cultural Center. The production was inspired by an album recorded, edited and annotated by Bruce Jackson in 1965 of work songs, blues, spirituals, preaching and toasts performed by the men of Texas’ segregated agricultural prison farm units. The songs are part of a tradition that ended when the prisons were integrated. In the performance, Eric Berryman channels the album (using an in-ear receiver), transmitting voices from the past into a theatrical space.

  • Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger an Israeli-born painter, philosopher, psychoanalyst and writer who is considered to be a prominent figure among both the French painters’ and the Israeli arts scenes (April 7-May 19).

Ettinger’s residency will center on an exhibition of her work at the UB Anderson Gallery with an associated catalogue featuring photographic reproductions of Ettinger’s work along with essays by prominent scholars in psychoanalysis and art history. She will also offer a public lecture and gallery talks.

  • Jaakko Kuusisto, internationally renowned violinist and composer (May 7-14).

Kuusisto has performed with the Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne orchestras, the Hannover NDR Orchestra and the Belgian Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as most of the major Finnish orchestras. As a composer, his output includes chamber and vocal music, orchestral works, film music and operas.

His CAI project will include rehearsals, public lectures and appearances. Kuusisto will also work with UB students while preparing for the New York premiere of a new trumpet concerto.

Lead image: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Walter V. Davidson House

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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