Luminous Encounters: Expanded Cinema of Emily Chao and arc: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Luminous Encounters: Expanded Cinema of Emily Chao and arc

A view of a rocky coastline distorted by curved windows
"Light Signal" by Emily Chao
7 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu September 28, 2023
7 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


Luminous Encounters: Expanded Cinema of Emily Chao and arc

16mm and Digital program with artists in person


Vital members of the San Francisco experimental cinema scene, film artists Emily Chao and tooth join us for a shared showcase of their recent short films along with a new expanded cinema performance.

For these multi-disciplinary celluloid practitioners, the analog materiality of film extends limitless formal, perceptual, and social possibilities. Chao’s 16mm films offer fragmented meditations on place and memory through a range of gestures, optical effects, and sonic incidents. For tooth (who makes films and performs as arc), the photochemical manipulation of light induces an experience of cinematic trance in which the perceptual is political. Alongside their unique independent practices, Chao and tooth bring a community-centered approach to their collaborative work in Light Field, an analog-only experimental film festival, and Black Hole Collective Film Lab, a DIY, artist-run resource for film processing and knowledge sharing.

Following the screening and performance, Chao and tooth will appear to discuss the relationship between their creative practice and the multiple dimensions of underground and independent artmaking and cinema-work in the Bay Area.


About the artists:

Emily Chao is a filmmaker and independent curator based in the Bay Area. Her films have screened at the Viennale, IFFR, Sheffield DocFest, BAMPFA, MoMI, Wexner Center for the Arts, and elsewhere. She is a co-programmer of Light Field, an international exhibition of recent and historical moving image art on celluloid, held in the San Francisco Bay Area and a member of Black Hole Collective Film Lab in Oakland, CA. She is from San Jose, California and earned her MFA in Film/Video at the California Institute of the Arts. Website:

tooth is an artworker and anarchist, living somewhere in so-called California. they are involved in the process termed arc. arc operates as a collective entity which seeks to work outside of a framework that privileges the solitary authorship of objects as a point of artistic creation and finitude, looking instead to a process of intersubjective communal encounter as a locus from which the work generates. As conductive vessels, a configuration of material elements are used to initiate this process, including (but not limited to): photochemical film, performance, sound & light installation, written language, & time-based sculpture. arc work has been presented at numerous galleries, museums, and exhibition spaces around the world, including: The Lab, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, The Stud, Sutro Baths Cave, Ann Arbor Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Glada Sprutan (Stockholm), Spectacle Theater (Brooklyn), Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center (Buffalo), NDSM Treehouse (Amsterdam), All Hallows Church (London), Atelier Äuglein (Berlin), L'Abominable (La Courneuve), Les Innatendus Film Festival (Lyon), La Cueva (Mexico City), among others.

Films courtesy of Canyon Cinema and the artists.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at