Experiencing Interruptions?

Spontaneous Artifacts

Two actors improvise an extended dialog, examining the way that we record and organize our experiences, and the dangers inherent in creative expression. Their words inspire a series of complex, unfolding landscapes, meticulously rendered in 3D animation, and a multi-layered musical score. Like archeologists of the unconscious, their explorations unearth images from their imaginations, as well as from our shared, cultural legacies, giving rise to vistas filled with clocks, flying pizza pies, pyramids, tarot cards, and myriad other artifacts. By turns ecstatic, reflective, illuminating and elegiac, these visually sumptuous explorations draw the viewer into an inner landscape.

  • David Finkelstein
  • David Finkelstein
  • Ian W. Hill
  • David Finkelstein
    Key Cast
  • Ian W. Hill
    Key Cast
  • David Finkelstein
    Music composed by
  • David Finkelstein
    Editing, sound mix, and visual design
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 17 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Anthology Film Archives (New Filmmakers)
    New York
    United States
    January 29, 2020
    World Premiere
  • Berkeley Video & Film Festival
    Berkeley, California
    United States
    October 29, 2022
  • Fotogenia
    Mexico City
    November 25, 2022
  • US Super 8 & DV Film Festival
    New Brunswick, NJ
    United States
    February 19, 2023
    Honorable Mention
  • Inca Imperial International Film Festival
    May 12, 2023
  • Twin Rivers Media Festival
    Ashville, NC
    United States
    July 1, 2023
  • Ragtag Cinema
    Columbia, Missouri
    United States
    August 24, 2023
Director Biography - David Finkelstein

DAVID FINKELSTEIN received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2022. He recently presented his first feature film on a tour which included Bilbao, Portland, San Francisco, Asheville, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Harrisburg, London, Porto, and Austin. He was an Invited Artist at the Traverse Vidéo Festival in Toulouse, France in 2013. His video work has been featured in one man shows at Artist Television Access (San Francisco), CRS (New York), Robert Beck Memorial Cinema (New York), Echo Park Film Center and LA Filmforum (Los Angeles), Medicine Show (New York), MSU Moorhead, and with Ross Wilbanks at Light Factory and Pura Vida in North Carolina. In France, his work has screened at Videoformes, Traverse Vidéo, Instants Vidéo, Oodaq, Marseille Underground, Bandits Mage, and Les Inattendus. His work has been screened in the Brainwash Film Festival, Leeds International Festival (UK), Cinesonika (Canada), Experiments in Cinema, Denver Underground Festival, Brick Theater, 1078 Gallery, Arthouse Festival, Outer Film Fest, Free Form Film Festival, Ybor Festival, Rubric Video, WRO (Poland) Festival, New Vision Cinema, Athens (Ohio) Film Fest, Dahlonega Film Festival, VideoBardo, Exground, Valleyfest, Big MiniDV Festival, Park City Film Music Festival, the Puget Sound Cinema Society, the Downstream Film Festival, the Silver Lake Festival, EXP2, New Filmmakers, Bearded Child Festival, X-Fest, SinCiné, and Gemini CollisionWorks. Altogether, his video works have won 20 awards at 6 different Festivals, including the Audience Favorite Award from the Berkeley Video and Film Festival for "Recording Device" and "Best of Festival: Experimental" from the Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival for "Earth and Moon in Love." He has been commissioned three times to create videos for the Outmusic Awards, and these videos were subsequently shown on the PrideVision cable network and the PBS series "Under the Pink Carpet." His work has been funded by The Fund for Creative Communities, The Field, Movement Research, Meet the Composer, The Brooklyn Arts Exchange, BACA, and other sources.

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Director Statement

My video work is constructed in layers.

To begin a new piece, I first videotape a completely improvised text, typically using two actors. I have been developing my technique of improvising text since 1993. I am interested in improvisation as a way of generating language directly from an actor's intuitive discovery of what each performance is about, as it unfolds spontaneously. A subtle and intimately physical experience between two people is thus made into audible language.

For the next layer, I listen repeatedly to the text, clarifying for myself the emotional undercurrents and musical flow which formed the underlying structure of the original spontaneous performance. During this phase, I compose a musical score for the video, which clarifies this flow for the listener.

In the final phase, I listen to the text even more (now enhanced with a musical score), and gradually develop many layers of meticulously crafted digital imagery, to further clarify the emotional and musical threads which run through the improvisation. The carefully constructed nature of the images works as a counter-dynamic against the spontaneous, liquid flow of the original improvised material. Like a dream, an improvisation seems on the surface to be full of volatile, unpredictable changes, but it is actually a completely unified form of composition, in which often every line of text can be seen to be simply a new way of looking at a single, unified idea. The images and music thus help the viewer to perceive the tremendous thematic and emotional unity which underlies the seeming changeableness of the improvisation.

The full process of creating the video in three layers (text, music, images) typically takes from six to ten months.