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Adam R. Levine

Assistant Professor of Art, Film and Media Studies

Departmental affiliations: Art and the History of Art; Film and Media Studies

Professional and Biographical Information

Degrees

M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts (2010) 

B.A., University of East Anglia (2000)

 

Teaching Interests

I view filmmaking as an integrated practice that combines criticality, creativity and technique. To make moving image art, we have to study its effects, turn it into a vehicle for our ideas, and learn to think through our tools rather than obsess over them. On one hand, the language of film and television is one in which we are all conversant, and yet every semester I see students develop their own uniquely visual lexicons. Students in my classes are not expected to imitate existing cultural forms but to think through their own relationships to media and, by extension, the world around them. 

In my Foundations class, students are taught a flexible and scalable model of filmmaking, learning every role and function of production so that they finish the semester equipped to make work both as single artists and in collaborative groups, depending on the types of projects they choose to pursue. My other classes concentrate on the non-fiction, experimental and hybrid modes of filmmaking that I often pursue in my own creative work, which sits somewhere between the black box of the movie theater and the white cube of the gallery space. These include classes on the film portrait, the essay film, found-footage collage and lyrical or abstract experimental film. In the near future, I hope to teach more on new narrative forms, video installation and to co-teach additional integrated courses with colleagues from critical studies and the history of art.

 

Creative Work

My own practice in film and video largely encompasses non-fiction and experimental forms, often in combination. I work with both analogue film and digital video and have exhibited in all kinds of venues, from festivals, screening rooms and galleries to backyards and empty warehouse spaces. I do feel that the projected experience is a singular one and, as I stress to my students, I feel that it is important to consider the kinds of venues our films might be exhibited and to integrate this into the work itself. 

My analogue format of choice is 16mm and I do my utmost to explore its specific material possibilities. In various bodies of celluloid work, I have subjected the film strip to multiple exposures, scratched emulsion away like paint and developed my own footage by hand. As one might imagine, the results are unpredictable, surprising, sometimes almost magical. It's as if the film itself is talking or fighting back, staking its claim in the physical world. 

When working with digital video, I am often drawn to the American landscape I've come to know as my own since moving here from London in the 2000s. Filmmaking has been a way to meet interesting strangers and investigate previously alien terrain. It's the greatest excuse for being intrusive (let's just say curious) that I've yet to find. With camera and sound recorder in hand, I've explored the Chinatowns of California's Central Valley, watched fishing communities in the Gulf of Thailand, and spent time with a working Blacksmith in rural Indiana. My current project, and by far my most extensive, is Communion Los Angeles, a feature-length experimental animated documentary about a Los Angeles freeway, made in collaboration with the filmmaker Peter Bo Rappmund. I'm also currently developing another feature documentary on a long-forgotten parapsychology lab that once existed at UCLA during the 1970s.

 

Selected Screenings

Antimatter Film Festival, Victoria BC, Canada (2013)

Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013)

TIE-The International Experimental Cinema Exposition, Boston, MA (2012)

The Light Factory Museum of Photography and Film, Charlotte, NC (2012)

Montreal Underground Film Festival, Montreal, Canada (2012)

Rome Independent Film Festival, Rome, Italy  (2012)

Iowa City Documentary Film Festival, Iowa City, IA (2012)

Flatpack Festival, Birmingham, UK (2012)

Strange Beauty Film Festival, Durham, NC (2012)

Artists’ Television Access, San Francisco, CA (2011)

Festival des Cinémas Différents et Expérimentaux de Paris, Paris, France (2010)

Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film and Video Festival, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2010)

Vienna International Film Festival, Vienna, Austria (2010)