Filmmaker to produce new documentary on Buffalo architecture as part of UB’s Creative Arts Initiative

Rima Yamazaki.

Rima Yamazaki. Photo courtesy of Rima Yamazaki.

Release Date: August 30, 2017

“I’d like to reveal something that cannot be expressed in words. This is to be a cinematic study on the relationship between architecture, society and people. ”
Rima Yamazaki, artist in residence
Ub Creative Arts Initiative

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Rima Yamazaki, an independent documentary filmmaker specializing in contemporary art and architecture, will be in residence at the University at Buffalo Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 as part of the university’s Creative Arts Initiative (CAI), producing a new documentary on Buffalo architecture.

Yamazaki’s residency is part of the program’s ambitious and multidimensional schedule for 2017-18 that opened in April with New York City-based composer Laura Kaminsky and virtual artist Rebecca Allen and continued with Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista in July, which included the unveiling of “Beat Blossom,” Buffalo sculptor Shasti O’Leary Soudant’s public art installation in the Percussion Garden of Artpark, in Lewiston, New York.

In addition to Yamazaki, the 2017-18 schedule features digital artists, writers, theater performers, painters, instrumentalists and music producers.

Yamazaki is an internationally respected one-person film crew who directs, films and edits all of her work. Her practice explores cinematic expression in documenting, studying and reflecting on the arts.

Her Buffalo project will not be a journalistic presentation but will instead delve into Yamazaki’s personal observational style.

“I’d like to reveal something that cannot be expressed in words,” she says. “This is to be a cinematic study on the relationship between architecture, society and people.”

Yamazaki’s Buffalo film will juxtapose shots of architectural masterpieces and abandoned houses, preservation and demolition.

“Buffalo is a good example that embodies various aspects of architecture,” she says. “Architecture can be a treasure or a burden to a city. A building is a big expensive thing, not only to build, but also to maintain. It’s not just a place for people to live and work; it also reflects the society and people’s lives.”

Yamazaki’s residency will include a screening of her 2010 film “Nakagin Capsule Tower: Japanese Metabolist Landmark on the Edge of Destruction,” Wednesday, Sept. 13, from 6-7:30 p.m. in room 403 of Hayes Hall on the university’s South Campus. A discussion with Yamazaki and Nicholas Bruscia, clinical assistant professor of architecture, who leads UB's study abroad program in Tokyo, will follow the screening. This event is free and open to the public.

A screening of Yamazaki’s work-in-progress is also planned, with the time and date to be determined.

The remaining CAI artists in residence for 2017-18 include:

  • Joshua Stein (Oct. 10-25 and March 3-26), the founder of Radical Craft and the co-director of the Data Clay Network, a forum for the exploration of digital techniques applied to ceramic materials. Radical Craft is a Los Angeles-based research and design studio operating between the fields of architecture, art and urbanism. Radical Craft advances design saturated in history (from archaeology to craft) that inflects the production of contemporary urban spaces and artifacts, evolving newly grounded approaches to the challenges posed by the virtual, velocity and globalization. Stein’s project aims to recover the history and repercussions of the dismantling of Buffalo’s streetcar system.
  • Olivier Pasquet, a sound, visual artist and music producer (Oct. 16-Nov. 19 and Jan. 22-Feb. 12). Olivier’s generative pieces are contextualized within a rationalist theory-fiction. Besides music and installation, he is also involved in performance pieces such as dance, theater and opera that have a strong relationship with architecture and design. His project involves the creation of a site-specific sound and light performance installation in the Greatbatch Pavilion at the Martin House.
  • Joshua Williams, director and translator; Deadria Harrington, a multifaceted theater artist based in New York City; and Khalil Sullivan, a singer-songwriter, guitarist, playwright and educator (Nov. 9-19). This creative team will conduct site-specific rehearsals and concert readings of a new musical in development about race and the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, titled “At Buffalo.” Race was on display at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. In exhibits like “Darkest Africa,” “Old Plantation” and “The American Negro Exhibit,” concessionaires presented unique, and often conflicting, visions of race in America at the turn of the 20th century. These exhibits left behind a fragmented archive of descriptions, newspaper articles, photographs and film clips that shed new light on a critical moment in the construction of modern black and American identity. “At Buffalo,” a landmark new musical, brings this archive to life.
  • The Wooster Group, a company of artists who make work for theater, dance, and media. Their productions tour nationally and internationally (Feb. 4-11). The Wooster Group has received numerous BESSIE and OBIE Awards for individual productions and for sustained achievement. The Wooster Group's CAI residency will include four performances, Feb. 8-11 at UB’s Center for the Arts, of THE B-SIDE: “Negro Folklore From Texas State Prisons” A Record Album Interpretation,” workshops, and public discussions at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the African American Cultural Center. The production was inspired by an album recorded, edited and annotated by Bruce Jackson in 1965 of work songs, blues, spirituals, preaching and toasts performed by the men of Texas’ segregated agricultural prison farm units. The songs are part of a tradition that ended when the prisons were integrated. In the performance, Eric Berryman channels the album (using an in-ear receiver), transmitting voices from the past into a theatrical space.
  • Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger an Israeli-born painter, philosopher, psychoanalyst and writer who is considered to be a prominent figure among both the French painters' and the Israeli arts scenes (April 7-May 19). Ettinger’s residency will center on an exhibition of her work at the UB Anderson Gallery with an associated catalogue featuring photographic reproductions of Ettinger’s work along with essays by prominent scholars in psychoanalysis and art history. She will also offer a public lecture and gallery talks.
  • Jaakko Kuusisto, internationally renowned violinist and composer (May 7-14). Kuusisto has performed with the Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne orchestras, the Hannover NDR Orchestra and the Belgian Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as most of the major Finnish orchestras. As a composer, his output includes chamber and vocal music, orchestral works, film music and operas. His CAI project will include rehearsals, public lectures and appearances. Kuusisto will also work with UB students while preparing for the New York premiere of a new trumpet concerto.

The CAI is a university-wide initiative dedicated to the creation and production of new work upholding the highest artistic standards of excellence and fostering a complementary atmosphere of creative investigation and engagement among students, faculty, visiting artists and the community.

Through its Artist-in-Residence program and its innovative, interdisciplinary offerings for students, CAI is raising the profile of UB and Buffalo in the world of artistic expression and revitalizing the initiative’s proud tradition as a leader in contemporary art.

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