still image from The Gentleman Bank Robber: The Life Story of rita bo brown

    The Northwest Film Center announces: 2017 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship Winner

    (PORTLAND, OR)  The Northwest Film Center, Oregon Arts Commission, and Portland Film Office are pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship (OMAF): Julie Perini.

    Julie Perini is a Portland-based media who works in experimental and documentary film and video, installations, and live events. Originally from Poughkeepie, NY, she has been exploring her immediate surroundings with cameras since age 15 when she discovered a VHS camcorder in her parent’s suburban home. Perini’s work often explores the areas between fact and fiction, the staged and improvised, and the personal and political, often in response to social movements happening locally and globally. Perini's work has exhibited and screened internationally at such venues as the Centre Pompidou-Metz (France), Artists' Television Access (San Francisco), Visible Evidence XX (Stockholm), The Horse Hospital (London), Cornell Cinema (Ithaca, NY), Microscope Gallery (New York City), among others. She has been awarded artist residencies at Yaddo, Signal Fire, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program and is currently employed as an Associate Professor in the School of Art + Design at Portland State University. She has received grants and fellowships in support of her work from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, The Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon Arts Commission, and The Precipice Fund.

    The $5,500 Fellowship award will go towards funding The Gentleman Bank Robber: The Story of Butch Lesbian Freedom Fighter rita bo brown, is a feature-length documentary that tells the story of bo brown, a white working-class butch from Klamath Falls, Oregon who was a member of the revolutionary George Jackson Brigade, an underground, militant revolutionary prison abolitionist group based in Seattle, Washington in the 1970s. As a member of the George Jackson Brigade, bo became known as “The Gentleman Bank Robber” for combing her butch style of dress with a polite way of demanding funds from bank tellers, one of the ways the Brigade funded its militant activities to protest military aggression, injustice, and exploitation.

    The Oregon Media Arts Fellowship supports filmmakers who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the media arts. Jurors reviewed 42 submissions from applicants throughout the state, weighing artistic merit, the potential of the proposed activity to advance the artists work, and the feasibility of the projects proposed. The Fellowship is funded by the Oregon Arts Commission and the Portland Film Office and administered by Northwest Film. 

  • new video: cups & cranes

    Over the course of the past few days, I made a video contribution to A Tale of Two Cities: Portland and Seattle, an exquisite corpse experimental film organized by Seattle artist Salise Hughes. I had to begin my video with a shot that included a coffee cup, and end it with a construction crane. Fortunately for me, in Portland right now there are many areas where the two objects appear in the urban landscape almost simultaneously. Where there are construction cranes creating new luxury condos, there are invariably new coffee shops nearby, serving $3 cups of drip coffee to prospective residents. 

    I did not have to travel far to make this video. I walked a few blocks down the street from my studio to the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd & NE Couch Avenue where "The Fair-Haired Dumbell" is being erected, an office building that "sits squarely in the center of the action, and doesn't shy away from attention." When I first noticed this construction a year or so ago, I was immediately irritated - I had thought this little patch of land was a scraggly, ignored, tiny public park. There is a bus stop there and it was a small, open green space that afforded motorists and pedestrians a clear view of the west side over the Burnside Bridge. It was also a hotspot for protestors - this major crossroad of the city was a common site for small groups of people to gather with signs and stand for the day, reaching thousands of people with their message. I asked a friend who works for City Parks about this little spot of land and it turns out it had always been privately owned.

    Overall this was an interesting experience for me to make this video quickly. I regularly assign video art students at Portland State to make videos in public space - just last term I assigned them to make a video about one block of Burnside Street, which I was basically doing with this piece. It's not easy to be alone in public with a camera, sensitively composing shots and paying attention to sounds, while ignoring stares from construction workers and acting like I don't realize horn-honking is directed at me. I went back several times to this area however, shooting first with my little Flip camera to get a sense of what I wanted, returning later and shooting more efficiently with my HD camera. It felt good to be back in that uncomfortable space, wondering why I feel like I don't have the right to document activities in public, or make art about shared, common, public spaces. It is important to continue to push against those social norms and make works that contribute to the visual record of this region. My agenda, unlike other image-producers for this spot of land, is not to maximize profits but to process experience critically.

  • They have a name for girls like me.

    Thank you to everyone who visited Upfor Gallery's They have a name for girls like me. exhibition, screenings, and artist talk on January 27 & 28! This is how I felt:

    Punch (2002, Canada) starring Melissa McGeachie as Julie

    The final version of the video contains clips from 35 films and clocks in at 38 minutes and 44 seconds. I created four new Flattened Videos for a total of eight pieces hanging on the walls of the gallery. I also produced a small publication, using text and images from the Instagram posts I'd been making about the development of the project over the past several months.

    Flattened Video detail. From Julie Johson starring Lily Taylor & Courtney Love.

    Special Agent (1935, USA) starring Bette Davis as Julie

  • First 100 Days: United in Resistance

    First 100 Days: United in Resistance

    It's official: we in the United States have a terrible new rapist/racist president, filling cabinet positions with goons and villains and worse. More people than ever feel their lives are under threat, because they are. Since November I've been organizing with several of Portland's most committed and most fun artists/activists. We're ambitious in our efforts to bring together political education, skill sharing, community building, and creative response: take a gander at Educate + Agitate, our January 14/15 weekend of events at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Stay tuned to our website and FB to keep up with our activities. 

    Next event: January 28: Organize (Pacific Northwest College of Art)

  • They have a name for girls like me.

    They have a name for girls like me.
    on view as a 45-minute loop: Fri. Jan. 27 & Sat. Jan. 28 / 11am-6pm
    Artist Talk: Sat. Jan. 28 / 12:15pm / screenings of complete video at 11:15am & 1:15pm
    Upfor Gallery
    929 NW Flanders Street
    Portland, Oregon

    Three dozen films, all of them featuring main characters named Julie, from around the world and throughout film history. All chopped up so that only utterances of the word "Julie" remain. I have been working on this project since 2006, adding about one per year. I just did a big push to add many more films to the project. A new short publication about the project (free) + 2D printed works (not free) will also be available.

  • Freedom Fighters in Portland

    On Wednesday I quickly wrote up this list of community groups so my students at Portland State could find hope and places to channel their energy. I decided to share the list more widely. Add to it. Spread the word. - JP

    FREEDOM FIGHTERS: Leftist / Socialist / Feminist / Anarchist / Environmental / POC-led / Anti-Racist / Police Accountability / Queer / Labor / Anti-Capitalist GROUPS in PORTLAND
    Most of these groups have Facebook or other social media accounts too - those sites may be more current.

    Get involved! Suicide prevention lines at trans/queer centers are ringing off the hook, instances of hate speech and crimes are spiking, harassment of people of color, muslims, women, people with disabilities, queer folks is already on the rise. Learn from and work with these groups that have already on the ground doing the hard work of supporting marginalized communities and building a stronger more liberated future for all people and the planet. Find one or more you connect with and stay connected. Or start your own group.

    At PSU:

    Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER)

    Portland State University Student Union

    PSU Students for Unity

    PSU International Socialist Organization

    PSU Women's Resource Center

    PSU Queer Resource Center

    PSU Multicultural Student Center

    PSU La Casa Latina Student Center

    PSU Native American Student & Community Center

    PSU Pan African Commons

    PSU Pacific Islander Asian and Asian American Student Center

    Around Town:

    In Other Words Feminist Community Center

    All African People's Revolutionary Party - Oregon

    Black Lives Matter PDX

    Don't Shoot PDX

    Portland Copwatch

    Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform

    Justice for Keaton Otis

    Portland Anarchist Black Cross

    Unite Oregon (formerly the Center for Intercultural Organizing)

    SURJ PDX (Showing Up for Racial Justice)

    Marilyn Buck Abolitionist Collective

    Q Center

    PDX Trans Pride

    KBOO Community Radio

    Portland Community Media

    Anarres Infoshop & Community Space

    YGB Portland

    One Flaming Arrow

    RISE: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment

    Pochas Radicales

    Brown Hall PDX

    VOZ Worker's Rights Education Project

    Portland Jobs with Justice

    International Workers of the World - Portland

    Burgerville Workers Union

    BARK Portland

    Signal Fire

    Rising Tide Portland

    Rosehip Medic Collective

    Portland Tenants United

    Allies in Change

  • Altered States of America

    I made a short video out of The Real DNC broadcast material. It screened a couple of times:

    The Third Party
    Sat. Sept. 24, 2016
    Squeaky Wheel
    Buffalo, NY

    On Democracy
    curated by Claartje van Dijk, International Center of Photography
    October 7-29, 2016
    reception: Fri. Oct. 7, 6pm-8pm
    Newspace Center for Photography
    Portland, OR

    "The Five Art Galleries We're Most Excited to See at First Thursday"
    by Jennifer Rabin, Willamette Week, October 5, 2016

    "5 Things to Do in Portland this Weekend"
    by Dillon Piloget, The Oregonian, October 6, 2016

  • Report from Signal Culture / New York

    It’s been a magical month! Let’s start with the weeklong Signal Culture residency in the small village of Owego, NY. I showed up on Thursday, July 21 with few expectations, just a general idea that I would play with the analog and digital video imaging tools available at this special center for experimentation with signal processing. I had no idea my exploration would take me down such unexpected, thrilling paths. I have long been curious about these mysterious analog video processing devices that had been available at the Experimental Television Center prior to the close of its residency program in 2011. Jason and Debora Bernagozzi started the Signal Culture residency in 2014, carrying the signal processing torch. 

    It is important to note that I arrived in the thick of the 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions - Trump gave his speech the night I arrived in Owego and as I write this, Clinton is gearing up for her big speech tonight. I do not generally follow these spectacles that accompany electoral politics, I am much more invested in following actual grassroots movements for social and environmental justice. However, this year’s circus that is the presidential election has been just too fascinating to miss.

    When Hank Rudolph showed me how to use the analog tools on Friday, such as the wobbulator (developed by Nam June Paik & Shuya Abe ) and the David Jones colorizer, my first impulse was to pull up Trump’s speech from the previous night as material to manipulate. As much as the speech was sickening, it was also something I felt comfortable messing with. I was excited to destroy it. Also, it was still on my mind from the night before - it contains so many creepy lines.

    Trump with the wobbulator from Julie Perini on Vimeo.

    During those first few days with the equipment, I became compelled by several aspects of the Signal Culture studio: the constant streaming of images on multiple channels simultaneously, the realtime manipulations that are possible with the digital and analog tools, and the idea that the video signal itself is a material. This last idea, about the materiality of video, made a profound impact on me. The signal is voltage, it’s electricity, and we can manipulate it. For more than twenty years I’ve been working with video and manipulating signals, but I had never become intimately acquainted with this fundamental fact, I’d never seen the raw signal on the screen, the wave form vibrating on a monitor. 

    By the time Signal Culture’s Debora and Jason took me to visit David Jones’ studio on Saturday night, where he showed off his latest signal processing system, my mind was completely blown. 

    On Sunday, an idea occurred to me: What if we rigged the studio to use the processing tools to manipulate the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week…live? I was now invested in this political spectacle. It was like bad a TV show where I had to see what happened next. Since I planned to watch it anyway, so wouldn’t it be more fun to enhance the signal with Signal Culture's psychedelic colors and processes? And then turn it around immediately to share with the world? Jason and I set up the system on Sunday night to turn tfhis idea into a reality. I set up a Ustream account and The Real DNC channel was born.

    The next night, Day One of the DNC, Jason and I jammed the signal all night long, using every combination of digital and analog processor we had at our fingertips. It was a blast! Our social media feeds were blowing up. This 5-hour session was exhilarating and exhausting. 

    The Real DNC @ Signal Culture: Day 1 from Julie Perini on Vimeo.

    I spent the following day a bit stunned, filled with ideas for future such live broadcast processing. I was on another planet. It was just so fun do be in the moment, live with the television feed, manipulating it and playing with it and sharing it with friends in the room and around the world. I did think about the political or critical dimensions of this act. It didn’t feel as pointedly political as other media work I’ve done. Indeed, at times it felt wrong to mess with images of really powerful and moving DNC speakers - at those times, we used the processors to enhance their image or message, attempting to make them seem even more powerful or supernatural. Overall however, I felt a kind of engagement with mass media that I don’t typically feel. I felt, however slight, more like a participant than usual.

    By Wednesday I had calmed down, and decided that I would go it alone for one more night of The Real DNC broadcasting. Since I do not understand the Signal Culture studio super well, I was limited to the analog tools, but I actually really loved the limitation and the solitude in the studio, it allowed me to familiarize myself more deeply with these few tools and get to know their responses better.

    The Real DNC @ Signal Culture: Day 3 from Julie Perini on Vimeo.

    By the end of the night, I was making completely abstract compositions. My friend the artist Sarah Paul was cheering me on through texts and social media all night long. 

    Some speeches, like Tom Kaine's, seem to drag on forever, so I did some live actions in front of a camera with objects. Check it out:

    Tom Kaine with Toothbrush from Julie Perini on Vimeo.

    Other New York updates: I did fun talks with the students and faculty (Bob, Ghen, Billy and more) at the New York State Summer School for the Media Arts, and at the New York Arts Practicum (run by Michael Mandiberg). Visited some museums: MoMA, 9/11 Museum (bizarre-o!), International Center for Photography, Frances Lehman Loeb Art CenterHessel Museum of Art, and the Memorial Art Gallery. I assisted with install of Sarra Brill’s latest curatorial project, which is just lovely, at Kristen Lorello

    Thank you to the Regional Arts & Culture Council for supporting my travel to New York in July. I certainly feel the professional and artistic development. And thank you, Signal Culture, for keeping the signal processing alive!

  • Summer Adventures

    Summer Adventures!

    1. Deliver talk about Sophie Calle at Portland Art Museum and co-guide incredible artist's backpacking trip in the Siskiyou Mountains in Northern California with Ryan Pierce of Signal Fire: Done.

    2. Cruise around New York State giving artist talks at the New York State Summer School for the Media Arts and the New York Arts Practicum, landing at the Signal Culture artist residency for a week where I will create work for a Pure Surface event in Portland: Coming up in July.

    3. Finally really finish The Gentleman Bank Robber film, work on 100 Years of Juliewhich will be a finalized version of my ongoing video using films with characters named Julie, and keep up the Minute Movies: August and September, it's all you.

    Thank you to the Regional Arts & Culture Council for supporting my travel to New York in July.