Radiant Cinema: Reflections on Light and Shadow

A Film Program Inspired by Artist Bob Miller

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 • 6:30 p.m.

Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco


The Exploratorium Cinema Arts program, in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library, is pleased to present this very special film program to accompany Light Walk, an exhibition on view at the Main Library from October 25 to February 5, 2015.

Bob Miller was a natural philosopher and poet of light. His unlimited imagination, playful insights, and questioning nature powerfully influenced the way those around him saw the world. His investigations into light and shadow acted as a physical and philosophical matrix on which to muse and discover, both at the Exploratorium and far beyond the museum walls.

Miller's methods of inquiry are the inspiration for Radiant Cinema, a program that incorporates light as both a medium and a tool for weaving together abstractions. Some films take direct inspiration from Miller, while others embody the type of radiance and mystery he saw in everyday reflections. The cinematic environment gives us a chance to consider the light shining from the projector as a wonder in itself, a portal to discovery.

Films include:

Looking at the Light (2014, 3 min., video, color, sound), by David Barker, captures the light artist Bob Miller at home philosophizing and at play during the later part of his life.

Lightwalk (1993, 3 min., 16mm, b&w, sound), by Michael Walsh, is a cinematic ode to Bob Miller shot one summer afternoon at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco and in the Marin Headlands. "Amazing effects stream past our retinas while we are busily distracted by our lives. Using in-camera effects, this film attempts to capture everyday images we might overlook." —Michael Walsh

Stately Mansions Did Decree (1999, 6 min., 16mm, color, silent), by Stan Brakhage, fills the screen with spectacular, hand-painted shards of red and orange that invoke a universe ablaze with energy.

Glistening Thrills (2013, 8 min., 16mm, color, sound), by Jodie Mack, is a shiny otherworld of holographic reverie that pairs dollar store gift bags and a haunting vibraphone soundtrack to create an effervescent melancholy in three parts. Featuring compositions by Elliot Cole.

Additional films to be announced. For more information, visit the library’s calendar.

Image credit: Glistening Thrills by Jodie Mack