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Sight Unseen, Open Space considering future plans

July 1, 2013

fraw5uggjsq83g3zkxvnSight Unseen‚ÄĒthe year-old roaming experimental film/video and¬†expanded cinema series founded and programmed by artists/curators Lorenzo¬†Gattorna, Margaret Rorison, and Kate¬†Ewald‚ÄĒreports that it is considering partnering with Open¬†Space, the artists-run gallery damaged by a fire in March, during its current search to find a¬†permanent home base/exhibition space. The film series originally¬†planned to hold its June program, Out There, Over There, at the¬†Remington gallery but moved it to the Current Space¬†and turned the evening into an Open Space benefit (note: City¬†Paper designer Jasmine Sarp is an Open Space member/resident).

Sight Unseen’s eclectic mix of time-based work that’s not quite¬†conventional movies or visual art that requires a different type of¬†venue, which is why the series is in the very early stages of trying to become nonprofit en route to securing funding and eventually¬†locating a more permanent home. “The grand scheme is to bring¬†challenging media work to Baltimore and to setup a space where there¬†is a lot of potential to show and exhibit different types of work,”¬†Ewald says by phone. She reports that the series joined Fractured Atlas for fiscal sponsorship and is in¬†the process of putting together its paperwork toward nonprofit status.

“The plan for [a venue] is to not necessarily have it be a theater,¬†not necessarily be a gallery, not necessarily be a show space, but be¬†some kind of hybrid of those things,” Ewald continues. “I think some¬†[local] spaces show work [similar to Sight Unseen's programming] but¬†it’s not necessarily conducive to those spaces, or work like this gets¬†overlooked because people are more comfortable showing work that is¬†object-based in gallery settings, such as painting or sculptures or¬†prints, something that you can tangible acquire or enjoy in that¬†regard. A lot of time-based media is overlooked because that isn’t¬†easily commodified.”

The series continues its nomadic partnerships with venues at least¬†through December, with some exciting events coming up. This fall the series screens the hypnotic Portuguese film Palaces to Pity, a guest curator in August,¬†and in July the series welcomes American badass Leslie¬†Thornton and her epic magnum opus Peggy and Fred in Hell, a¬†film cycle she’s been working on since 1984. (This Ed Halter¬†Artforum article ["<PDF] is a good¬†introduction.)

“We’re really going to be lucky to have her to present that in person,” Ewald says of Thornton’s July appearance, and that excitement about the artists and works it brings to town lends Sight Unseen’s efforts a refreshing dose of curatorial advocacy. “We’re just coming from a passion that we really care about this work and we want this type of work to be seen.”

Over the weekend, Ewald noted in an email that Sight Unseen and Open Space are exploring the possibility of finding a location that could house both organizations. “Right now we’re also in discussion with Open Space to potentially find a larger venue that could house both organizations (since we’re both homeless right now),” she writes. “This certainly isn’t set in stone, but we’re starting the process of searching together while keeping open minds about finding something individually as well. If we find a place that suits both of our needs as collectives, we’ll probably end up sharing a space in the future.”