Artists' Television Access

Nightmare City presents Not Free, Not Dead: The Psychedelic End

Thursday, April 26, 2012, 8:00 pm, $6

A touring program of recent San Francisco Bay Area shorts.

 Nightmare City is pleased to announce the upcoming tour of Not Free, Not Dead: The Psychedelic End, a video program of recent Bay Area shorts.

Harkening back to the tripped out psychedelic lightshows of San Francisco’s 1960s counter culture as well as early Beat Generation experiments in stop motion animation, the artists included in Not Free, Not Dead pay homage to the Bay Area’s rich relationship with the moving image while simultaneously transcribing their fragmented technological experience onto these varied strategies and materials.

Ranging from narrative to music video to experimental – these mixed shorts are united by a visual vernacular specific to California.  Cobbled together from internet search words, these kaleidoscopic fragments are informed equally by subculture, the Bay Area’s rich underground film and video history as well as Hollywood’s cult classics and formulaic genres.

These hazy dreamlike states are populated by rock-and-roll devil horns, hang-loose hands and smiley faces floating freely alongside processed clips appropriated from major motion pictures. The darker side, a bad trip, emerges as surreal worlds give way to surreal worlds in a narrative buddy film and a horror flick, twisted from the mirrored, rainbow static of California’s once frontier landscape.

Featuring recent work by Caitlin Denny, Gregory Kaplowitz, Jen Kirsten, Alex S. Lukas, Jessica Miller, Dan Olsen, Skye Thorstenson, Virtual Pubes, and Nightmare City.


Since the 1940s the existence of institutions in the San Francisco Bay dedicated to the screening, distribution, and discussion of alternative film and video art fostered an environment that facilitated and supported the thriving experimental scene.  Not Free, Not Dead: The Psychedelic End explores the extension of this trajectory in which a new crop of video artists are claiming the San Francisco Bay Area’s video landscape.  Their performative, processed, hyper-color, animated worlds of skewed, sometimes non-existent narrative are united by an aesthetic of trippiness, the values of punk cinema, and seemingly abject notions of form, notions that are disembodied by the camera, computer or projector’s consumption.


Catlin Denny is an independent curator, writer and artist based in San Francisco. In 2009 she founded, an online exhibition platform, with Parker Ito. Through videos, interactive works, installations, essays, and various fabricated ephemera, the site generated a sense of community that reflected JstChillin’s interest in collapsing the relationship between curatorial pursuit and artistic practice.  Rhizome at The New Museum is currently undertaking a complete archival of the project.  Denny recently spoke in a panel discussion on The Digital Museum at The Creator’s Project and has done projects at Xth Lyon Biennale, The Dependent Art Fair (New York), 319 Scholes (Brooklyn), Reference Gallery (Richmond), School 33 Art Center (Baltimore), Roots and Culture (Chicago), The LAB (SF), NOMA Gallery (SF) La Mama (NYC) and many other locations in the net. She currently is directing and choreographing an evening of interactive and performative installations referencing the negative reflexivity of “being-online”.  Body Manipulations will occur in June 2012 at San Francisco’s The LAB located in The Mission.  She graduated from California College of the Arts in 2009 with a BFA in Media Arts.

 Gregory Kaplowitz uses the mediums of photography and video to create painterly abstractions that result in unique photographs, editioned prints, and installations. He graduated from the California College of the Arts in 2007 with a dual BFA in photography and graphic design. Since then, he has participated in group exhibitions in New York and the Bay Area; and in 2009, he collaborated with Inbred Hybrid Collective for a solo show at the Christopher Henry Gallery in New York. Gregory Kaplowitz has also had his videos screened in programs presented in Hamburg, Berlin, Montreal, Chicago, and San Francisco. Currently, Gregory Kaplowitz is in the process of co-curating the exhibition, The Body is Missing, which has also received a 2011 Alternative Exposure Grant.

 Jen Kirsten is an Oakland, CA based film and video artist whose work is informed by the Bay Area’s punk and LGBT community.  By juxtaposing different formats, such as 16mm and VHS, and using lo-fi editing techniques like rescanning, Kirsten playfully examines the layering of identity and socially prescribed gender roles, while creating formally striking works.

 Alex S. Lukas has been active as an experimental musician and practicing sound & video artist since his teenage years, performing regularly and showing nationally and internationally.  Alex attended the MFA program of the California College of the Arts in Media Arts and holds a BFA in Film / Video / Performance.  His video work focuses on temporal manipulation and illusion, predominately on analog formats.

 Jessica Miller is an artist and designer living in San Francisco. Much of her work revolves around the subconscious symbology of color and form, and how those visual cues operate within social structures and cultural tropes.  She received her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2008, graduating with both the Toby Devan Lewis Award and the Cadogan Award. She held the 3 x 3 Residency at the Exploratorium, and has exhibited at The San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art, the San Francisco Arts Commission, Intersection for the Arts, SomArts gallery, and other Bay Area arts institutions.  She currently works as Design Manager at Pivotal Labs, a software development agency where she specializes in Interaction Design for web and mobile applications. Her design work has been recognized at SXSW, where she was part of a team that won the Best in Mobile award in 2010.

 Dan Olsen is the founding member of the ILuvMaryHartman YOUTUBE CHANNEL Fan Club.  His collages, drawings and videos pull, twist and distort the pop cultural visual landscape.  He has shown at S.H.E.D. Projects, The LAB, Shelf Gallery, Chop Chop Gallery, and The Toledo Art Museum, and his work will be on view at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery in the show 4 Dimensional Hollywood, opening March 31 2012.


 Skye Thorstenson is an interdisciplinary artist who moonlights as a music video director, notably directing the video for Myles Cooper’s “Gonna Find Boyfriends Today”.  He has exhibited at several galleries including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, David Cunningham Projects, Fringe Exhibitions, and Current Gallery.  He co-curated Channel Drift, a program of animated shorts in The San Francisco International Animation Festival and was recently awarded a grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Virtual Pubes is guided by the delirious visions of Eric Svedas and Sam Wohl.  Svedas and Whol both grew up in Southern California and share an interest the behind-the-scenes gritty, grimy magic of fabrication and special effects in big budget movie production.  Their collaborative endeavors explore the space in which fine art, performance, video and entertainment meet while dispersing authorship by expanding their collaborative net.  They often work with Sarah Bernat, producer extraordinaire,Josh Self, cinematographer and filmmaker, and Rob Spector, accomplished musician and front man of Bronze.