Spark of Being. 2010. USA. Directed by Bill Morrison. Courtesy of Bill Morrison

Filmmaker Bill Morrison (American, b. 1965) has spent more than two decades integrating archival footage in various states of decay into new artworks, frequently collaborating with contemporary composers who create scores for the resulting work.

Morrison's robust and diverse filmography—more than 30 projects to date—has been presented in museums, theaters, galleries, and concert halls around the world. Morrison uses the physical decomposition of 35mm nitrate film as the catalyst for his existential narratives, creating work that investigates the tension between archives and memory. His 1996 film The Film of Her, for example, while not his first to use found footage, was the first to concern itself with the direct metaphor of the fragility of motion picture film, using its inherent predisposition towards chemical decomposition to express the ephemeral nature of love.

Bill Morrison: Compositions is a comprehensive view of the filmmaker's work at mid-career, with a full retrospective of more than two dozen shorts and feature films, along with three live film/musical performances, including Spark of Being (2010), a retelling of the Frankenstein story, with a live performance by composer Dave Douglas & Keystone; cellist Maya Beiser performing a suite to accompany a program of Morrison's short films, including All Vows (2013); and a closing-night presentation of Morrison's epic retelling of the Mississippi River flood of 1927 in the feature-length film The Great Flood (2013), with a searing original score composed by BIll Frisell, featuring musicians Frisell, Ron Miles, Tony Scherr, and Kenny Wollesen.

Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film and Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.

Prints courtesy of Bill Morrison and Icarus Films.

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