Jan 31st
Platonic: Dani Leventhal in Person

January 31st, 2015
@ MASS Gallery
507 Calles Street Suite 108, Austin, TX 78702 (map)

Free (Suggested Donation $5-$10)

Leventhal will also be giving an artist talk at the Visual Arts Center on February 3rd. Click here for more info.

Experimental Response Cinema is pleased to bring you a selection of experiential video works by Dani Leventhal, along with the artist herself. Leventhal peruses and captures her environment with a handheld camera that, as she describes it, functions as an extension of the body. Using intuitive montage strategies, she coaxes unexpected relationships out of tangled moments of curiosity, banality, terror, humor, and beauty. Conversations with loved ones are interrupted by examinations of road kill; mammograms and heart sonograms jut into lingering images of plant life, folds of skin, and ornate pressed tin ceilings. These works evoke emotional tones that fluctuate and clash in ways more similar to our experience of reality than of cinema, and yield diaristic style that isn’t simply recorded but actively hunted, poked and prodded.

Notes: Permission to Trespass: The Recent Videos of Dani Leventhal by Chris Stults.

“Since 2003’s Draft 9, Leventhal has made over a dozen films that blend diaristic fragments and staged scenes from her own life, all of them arresting, intimate, and to my mind some of the most insistently vital work made in the past decade.” – Genevieve Yue, Reverse Shot

Also see I Want the Work to be Useful: An Interview with Dani Leventhal

MASS logoMASS fosters exploratory modes of creation by encouraging artists to broaden the scope of their practice, while providing a friendly conversation space for the community to engage with contemporary art.

city of austin_550x792_139x200This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office / Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.


This program is presented with the Department of Art + Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. Special thanks to Prof. Kristin Lucas in helping us realize this event.



Draft 9
28 min / SD video / sound / 2003
“This movie was collected for four years before being sprayed scattershot over 28 minutes of psychic mayhem. The line between living and dead is a frontier crossed and re-crossed here. The living are dead while the dead are animated, breathing, swimming, giving birth. Consumed by the animal life of the city, the artist undertakes a first person journey, producing diary notes from one of the most skilled lens masters of the new generation. The camera is her company in this duet of death, the instrument that permits her to see the impossible, the unbearable, the invisible.” –Mike Hoolboom for International Film Festival Rotterdam

“…one of the best films I saw at the entire [Rotterdam] festival, Dani Leventhal’s riveting video diary, Draft 9… the craft of montage is alive and well in [her] work: delicate and harrowing juxtapositions of skinned animals, the tattooed arm of a Holocaust survivor eating donuts in a coffee shop, neon flowers on a disco floor. In her work emerges something that is extraordinarily immediate, both fresh and painful, hard to watch and yet impossible not to watch.” –Genevieve Yue, Senses of Cinema

“A masterpiece of editing, Leventhal presents rich short clips and seemingly unrelated snap-shots of daily life. Beautiful, touching, and thought provoking, Draft 9 invokes deeper understanding of everything from our relationship to animals, to quotidian routine, to the legacy of genocide.” –K J Mohr

“A beautiful, powerful and difficult meditation on human ties to animals, nature and death in autobiographical clips that meld together to create this demanding and riveting story.” –LA Film Forum website

Tin Pressed
6:29 min / HD video / sound / 2011
“Opening with jarring violence, Dani Leventhal’s Tin Pressed proceeds to negotiate a balancing act between the bewildering tonal variances of daily life — with all of its unnameable and enchantingly fragmented specifics — and the gravitational urge to construct both private and shared narratives. The world discovered through these images revolves around multiple centers. The camera’s odd equanimity feels both generous and dangerous. Leventhal’s deft oscillation between elision and inclusion reveals a brief but vast taxonomy of beauty, peace, longing and terror.” — Jeremy Hoevenaar

20:40 min / HD video / sound / 2013
“In Dani Leventhal’s Platonic, geometric specters twirl in space; pet cats foam at the mouth; a little boy mistakes his junkie dad for a superhero; and a confused adolescent worries he has sired a centaur. Platonic references both the ancient philosopher’s metaphysics of ideal Forms, which simultaneously exist outside our perceptions and yet give rise to them, and the related meaning in common parlance of non-romantic love. Leventhal trains her searching lens on the distance separating bodies, moments, and perspectives. The result is a study in the awkward gaps between appearance and reality, seeing and understanding, desire and its object.” — Anneka Herre

Hearts Are Trump Again
08:48 / HD video / sound / 2010
“By way of lush formal and associative shifts, Hearts Are Trump Again evokes the ever-present tension between seemingly polarized states of experience. Desire and repulsion; freedom and constraint; pain and pleasure all find articulation in images of ferocious dogs and mock conversations about childbearing. Tonally complex and viscerally rich, Hearts Are Trump Again is a lyrical exploration of emotional weather.”

–Brett Price

Dani Leventhal is an assistant professor of drawing at The Ohio State University. In 2009 she received an MFA in film/video from Bard College. In 2003 she received an MFA in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has screened her single-channel videos at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center, PS1, Cine Cycle, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Union Docs, and VIEWS of the Avant Guard and Anthology Film Archives. Leventhal is a recipient of the Kuzuko Trust, Wexner Center Film/Video Residency, the Milton Avery Fine Arts Award and the Astraea Visual Arts Grant. Her drawings and videos are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Vassar, UIC, Earlham College, and Yale University.