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Big Joy Oral Histories: L

Lipzin, Janis

Interviewee: Janis Lipzin
Interviewers: Stephen Silha and Eric Slade
Date of interview: April 2009
Extent: 56 minutes, 4 seconds

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Based in Sonoma County, California, media artist Janis Crystal Lipzin, has been making art in virtually every form of reproducible media for nearly forty years and has kindled creative sparks in generations of students at the San Francisco Art Institute where she taught for three decades. Her installations, video sculpture, photography, films, audio, artist books, and media performance works have confronted an array of subjects such as pyromania, prehistoric murder, pesticide abuse, reproductive rights, immigration, and mortality. In her recent digital films, she collaborates with photo-chemistry as a dance partner, sometimes leading, sometimes following, as she blends an enduring interest in nature's volatile events with a sympathy for film's tactile response to light. Her work has been recognized by exhibits at hundreds of international venues including the Venice Biennale, Pompidou Museum, the New Museum, the Whitney Museum's 2017 Dreamlands show, MoMA, National Gallery of Art, Edinburgh Film Festival, and by 3 Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. and a grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation.

Topics discussed: Pittsburgh as a locus of experimental film in the 1970's; Sally Dixon brought SF experimental filmmakers Bruce Baillie, Scott Bartlett, Gunther Nelson, then Broughton; Difficulty of making Erogeny with local actors, who needed to take off their clothes; Broughton's philosophy of reaching, connecting, touching; no boundary between life and art; Broughton's work with Joel Singer, and how she facilitated their collaboration; Importance of cutting in cinema art. Reads from Broughton's book Seeing the Light, and its successor Making Light of It.; Broughton-Singer wedding on Alan Watts' houseboat; their domestic life; Broughton's teaching at San Francisco State and SF Art Institute: "Soul-Making" class; Impact on experimental film scene; love of film history; His love for silent films, and films of Stan Brakhage Marie Menken, Willard Maas, Maya Deren; How Broughton's films are so different from each other; his risks cost him greater fame; Broughton's relationship with Sidney Peterson, their different styles; Broughton's help in creating "Eye Music," a micro-cinema begun in the 1970s; Broughton and William Carlos Williams' ability to relate words to images to music; Beginnings of Canyon Cinema, JB's need for an audience, and the SF film revolution; Broughton's use of the nude body, in pornography-rich San Francisco in the 1960s; Broughton as Grand Marshall of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, recipient of 2 Guggenheim grants, Maya Deren Award from the American Film Institute, Alan Watts' designation of "Unofficial Poet Laureate of San Francisco"; Broughton's love of parties & celebrations, dislike of Q&As.; The Bridge was an alternative theatre where The Bed showed for a long time.

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