Universal Particulars: Signal to Noise - Documentary Media MFA Showcase: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Universal Particulars: Signal to Noise - Documentary Media MFA Showcase

A red-orange background with light grey text UNIVERSAL PARTICULARS
7 PM-9 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Wed June 7, 2023
7 PM-9 PM


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


Open to the public


Documentary Media MFA Showcase 2023 - Night One

Universal Particulars: Signal to Noise


Northwestern University's Documentary Media MFA cohort of 2023 is proud to present three nights of thesis project screenings. The screenings will take place on June 7th and 8th at 7 PM at The Block Museum of Art on Northwestern University’s Evanston Campus with a final presentation of two multi-media installation projects on June 9th and a closing reception to follow on June 9th at 7 PM.

The screenings will showcase a diverse range of short nonfiction films and interactive media projects, exploring themes of connection, family, societal choices, grief, and personal identity. The event is open to the public and offers a unique opportunity for audiences to engage with Northwestern’s next generation of non-fiction media makers.

Night One, titled "Signal to Noise" is a collection of five short nonfiction films that center around moments of connection and disconnection; within families, between strangers, and across memories and mediums. Engaging in essayistic, animated, analog, and magical realist modes, these films push the boundaries of the documentary form and explore the line between memories and reality.

Night One films:

How May I Help You by Ella Harmon | @mediumscandal__

Through a series of vignettes scripted from real phone conversations between call center workers and customers, How May I Help You reimagines fleeting personal encounters between strangers.

The Long Way Home by Jiaxin Wei | @patriciajiaxin

In her 25th year, Jiaxin makes a personal decision that causes a rift with her mother. In an attempt to reconnect with fond memories, the filmmaker finds herself in Paris, reflecting on the relationship.

Radio Jammer by Jacob Kessler | @catacombjamboree

A fragmentary 16mm portrait of the lonely lives that haunt Chicago’s underground rap scene.

Soft Lights and Silver Shadows by Ian Kelly | @ian_jelly

A family reconstructs the fragments of memories forgotten by a loved one, in this kaleidoscopic animated documentary.

All the Ways to Say I Love You by Maya Wanner | @themayawanner

A personal film about two generations of mothers and daughters. As the filmmaker and her mother attempt to heal their relationship, they exhume tender, haunting, complicated memories buried beneath years of silence.


About the 2023 Documentary Media MFA Showcase:

Night Two, titled The Tethered, presents films that wander through geological and emotional landscapes. From a small village in Saudi Arabia to the suburbs of Los Angeles, all the way to here in Evanston; the films’ participants, entrapped by familial obligations, societal choices, and external gazes, seek to sever the ties that hold them. The Tethered is a mosaic journey where the concrete turns liminal and the fleeting turns perpetual.

Night Three features two interactive media projects by Laura Gede and Rasheed Peters, under the name Binding Domains. Through a multi-modal sensory experience, Passive Transport and Dead Yard offer an immersive exploration of the complex nature of human experience; inviting audiences to engage with themes of memory, loss, identity, and personal transformation.

The event promises to be a unique and thought-provoking experience for all those in attendance and an exciting culmination of two years of intensive work. Following each presentation will be a Q&A session. Admission is free, and all are welcome to attend.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at block-museum@northwestern.edu