CASSILS’S INEXTINGUISHABLE FIRE TO MAKE U.S. PREMIERE

AT THE  2016 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

The installation from Canadian, Los Angeles-based artist Cassils uses techniques borrowed from Hollywood stunts to speak to the violence of war.

Inextinguishable Fire put a match under our certainties and perceptions, making you confront what you might prefer to ignore.” – The Guardian

Los Angeles — An installation of the film Inextinguishable Fire created by Cassils, will make its U.S. premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
The piece will be displayed as part of the New Frontier program in Park City, UT from January 21-31 in Park City.

A recent live performance of the work at London’s National Theatre as part of the SPILL Festival prompted rave reviews from The Guardian and a feature in the New York Times.

WATCH TRAILER

Since 2005, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Cassils has embarked upon a series of projects that investigate the theater of war present in mass media and  the overlap between the military industrial complex and the Hollywood film industry.   Inextinguishable Fire aims to make spectators engage with the media’s often constructed images of violence and war. Witnessing it’s impact in the form of a slow motion video displaying Cassils being set on fire, this performance for the camera features the artist engaged in a treacherous fire stunt. The final film makes the stunt’s theatrics as visible as the ostensible risk.

Using techniques borrowed from Hollywood stunts, the 14-second live burn is extended to 14 minutes of slow motion flame, shot at 1000 frames per second. Slowing the burn down requires the viewer to spend time in a world reduced to fleeting headlines on our Twitter and Facebook feeds. The film plays on a continual loop referencing the cycles of political uprising and apathy, life and death, ignition and extinguishment. The title of the piece references Harun Farocki’s eponymous 1969 film, which reflects on the impossibility of effectively representing the horror of napalm on film.

“When we show you pictures of napalm victims, you’ll shut your eyes. You’ll close your eyes to the pictures. Then you’ll close them to the memory. And then you’ll close your eyes to the facts.” -Harun Farocki, 1969

Cassils commenced this line of inquiry 2005 when they attended the United Stuntman’s Association’s International Stunt School and made Simulation In Training, an experimental documentary which investigates the theater of war present in American mass media. Though the stunt is a simulation of violence, it still presents real danger. This possibly volatile situation is captured to create an image where immanent physical danger, empathy for those experiencing violence, and the privilege of distance from such circumstances operate simultaneously in one transparent performance. Although Inextinguishable Fire is a simulation of violence, it still presents real danger. This possibly volatile situation is captured to create an image where immanent physical danger, empathy for those experiencing violence, and the privilege of distance from such circumstances operate simultaneously in one transparent performance. Previous films by Cassils include Hard Times, 2011-2013Fast Twitch// Slow Twitch, 2011Tiresias, 2010 and 10104 Angelo View Drive (At Home With the Toxic Titties)2016 (all distributed by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts).

IMAGES

Image Credits: Photo 1 by Robin Black, Photos 2-4 by Clover Leary

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FILM CREDITS

INEXTINGUISHABLE FIRE

Dir. Cassils

2015, Video, color, 26 minutes, continuous loop

SYNOPSIS

Inextinguishable Fire speaks to the radical unrepresentability of certain forms of trauma and violence. How can we enact empathy when our own situation is so removed from the atrocities of torture and war?  Inextinguishable Fire articulates the space where this overlap occurs. This performance for the camera features Cassils engaged in a treacherous fire stunt. The final film makes the stunt’s theatrics as visible as the ostensible risk.  Using techniques borrowed from Hollywood stunts, Cassils experiences the very real human terror of being lit on fire.  The fourteen-second live burn is extended to fourteen minutes of slow motion flame, shot at 1000 frames per second.  Slowing the burn down requires the viewer to spend time in a world reduced to fleeting headlines on our Twitter and Facebook feeds. The title of the piece references Harun Farocki’s eponymous 1969 film, which reflects on the impossibility of effectively representing the horror of napalm on film. Cassils’ gesture of self-immolation speaks to both the desire for and the impossibility of knowing such horror even while decisively aiming to approach it. Though the stunt is a simulation of violence, it still presents real danger. This possibly volatile situation (and the attempt to control it) is captured to create an image where immanent physical danger, empathy for those experiencing violence, and the privilege of distance from such circumstances operate simultaneously in one transparent performance. 

Director / Performer Cassils

Producer Nicole Ettinger

Director of Photography Alison Kelly

Stunt Coordinator Mark Chadwick

Editor Nick Tamburri

Sound Designer Kadet Kuhne

1st Assistant Director Buzz Hughes

Production Coordinator Valeria Lopez

1st Assistant Camera Ryan Guzdzial

2nd Assistant Camera Will Zignego

Phantom Tech Enrique del Rio

Still Photographer Graham Tallman

Portrait Photographer Robin Black

Gaffer Dean Hayasaka

Key Grip Anhit Naik

Dolly Grip Nick Bodkin

Grips/Electric Sam Phillips

Preston Wood

Zac Donner

Wardrobe Franc Fernandez

Sound Mixer A. Tad Chamberlain

Boom Operator John Carchietta

Color Correction Harris Charalambous

Stunt Assistants Jim Churchman

Ben Hoffman

Pyrotechnician Frank Ceglia

Set Medic Alonso

Stage Manager Vic Anthony

Production Assistants Robbie Ettinger

Cristy Michel

CASSILS – Director, Visual Artist and Performer

Listed by the Huffington Post as “one of ten transgender artists who are changing the landscape of contemporary art,” Cassils has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. Featuring a series of bodies transformed by strict physical training regimes, Cassils’ artworks offer shared experiences for contemplating histories of violence, representation, struggle, and survival, often juxtaposing the immediacy, urgency and ephemerality of live performance against constructed acts for camera in order to challenge the “documentarian truth factor” of images.  Bashing through gendered binaries, Cassils performs transgender not as a crossing from one sex to another but rather as a continual process of becoming, a form of embodiment that works in a space of indeterminacy, spasm and slipperiness. Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art, gay male aesthetics, Cassils forges powerfully trained bodies for different performative purposes. It is with sweat, blood and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique around ideologies and histories. Cassils is a founding member of the Los Angeles performance group the Toxic Titties.

Cassils’ recent solo exhibitions include MU Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Trinity Square Video, Toronto; and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York. Their work has also been featured at the Institute for Contemporary Art and The National Theatre, London; MUCA Roma, Mexico City; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City; ANTI Contemporary Performance Festival, Kuopio, Finland; Museo da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo, Brazil; Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San José, Costa Rica; and Deutsches Historishes Museum, Berlin, Germany. Cassils is the recipient of a 2015 Creative Capital Award as well as the inaugural ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, Rema Hort Mann Visual Arts Fellowship, California Community Foundation Grant, MOTHA (Museum of Transgender Hirstory) award, and Visual Artist Fellowship from the Canada Council of the Arts. Cassils’ work has been featured in New York TimesWiredThe GuardianTDRPerformance ResearchArt Journal, and Vogue Brazil and is the subject of the monograph Cassils published by MU Eindhoven in 2015.

NICOLE ETTINGER – Producer

Nicole Ettinger is a producer and line producer with a background in entertainment law and film finance. Among her credits is the co-production of the critically acclaimed film Natural Selection, which won the SXSW Film Festival in 2011 and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. In 2012 she line produced the first season of the Hulu series East Los High, a half-hour drama about teenagers living in East Los Angeles, and she has produced and line produced features and web series for Fox Digital Entertainment, NewForm Digital and Maker Studios. In addition to her work as a producer on independent films, Ettinger also worked as an executive for Grosvenor Park Media, a film finance company specializing in gap and tax-based financing.

Ettinger received her M.F.A. in Producing from the American Film Institute in 2004. Prior to AFI, she practiced law in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco where she represented media companies in all aspects of corporate law. She received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and her B.A. in English from the University of California, Davis. She continues to practice entertainment law on a contract basis.

ALISON KELLY – Director of Photography

Alison Kelly started working in film because she loves telling stories with images.  As director of photography, she has shot award-winning films such as Make A Wish, Freedom to Choose, and Fourteen, as well as numerous television shows, including Finding Carter and Blue. She loves working with visual artists and is a longtime collaborator with Cassils. More of Kelly’s work can be seen at www.alisonkelly.net.      

MARK CHADWICK – Stunt Coordinator

Forthcoming

NICK TAMBURRI – Editor

Noted documentary and art film editor Nick Tamburri has been creating both long and short form films since 2004.  His work has been featured at the Sundance Film Festival, New York Film Festival, MOCA, Art Basel, Fondazione Prada, and MU Eindhoven.  Recent projects have received mention in Artforum, Interview, T Magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Vogue Italia, i-D Magazine, Nowness, Wired, and La Repubblica.  A native of California, Tamburri graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and currently resides in Atwater Village.

KADET KUHNE – Sound Designer

Kadet Kuhne is a media specialist with two decades of experience creating content for multiple industries and genres. As the owner of a post-production sound studio, Audible Shift, Kuhne has worked on award-winning films that have screened at festivals such as Sundance, Cannes and Toronto, produced and composed soundtracks for commercials by Adidas, Toyota, Vail, and Volkswagen, and designed for interactive clients such as Electronic Arts, Google, Disney, Konami, and Fisher-Price. She recently worked on the latest release of SimCity, and continues manifesting her specialty in interactive design as a Sound Director on mobile and iPad apps. In addition to studio jobs, Kuhne works as a professor teaching audio related courses with an emphasis on sound design, theory and emerging media. As a visual and sound artist, Kuhne’s original works take form in video, installation, album releases, performance, interactivity, 3D printing and 2D print. Her works have been presented nationally and internationally at select venues such as the Museum of Art Lucerne, Contemporary Art Center Villa Arson, Sundance, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LACE Gallery, de Young Museum and Crossroads Film Festival. Kuhne has been curating film and sound art since 1997 for notable festivals and events, and is the President of the Board of Directors for SF Cinematheque, one of the most respected showcases of experimental film in the world.  audibleshift.com | kadetkuhne.com

Powers That Be [210 Kilometers], 2015

Performance, Photographs, Video, and Audio Installation

Inextinguishable Fire, 2014

Performance, Video, Photographs, and Mixed Media

Becoming An Image, 2013-14

Performance, Sculpture, Photographs, and Audio Installation

Cuts: A Traditional Sculpture, 2011-13

Durational Performance, Video, Photographs, Watercolor, and Mixed Media

Tiresias, 2009-10

Performance, Video Installation, Photographs

Hard Times, 2009-10

Performance, Photographs, and Video

Simulation in Training, 2007

Performance, Video, Photographs, Digital Collage

10104 Angelo Drive, 2004

With Toxic Titties in collaboration with Dorit Margreiter

Film, Photographs

Be My Patron, 2003

With Toxic Titties

Performance

Toxic Troopers, 2003

With Toxic Titties

Performance

Toxic Union, 2002

With Toxic Titties

Performance

VB Intervention, 2001

With Toxic Titties

Performance, Mixed Media Drawings, Publications

CASSILS – FILMOGRAPHY

Inextinguishable Fire, 2015, video, 26 minutes

Hard Times, 2011-2013, video, 3.5 minutes

Fast Twitch// Slow Twitch, 2011, video, 11 minutes

Tiresias, 2010, looping video installation, 15 minutes

Simulation in Training, 2008, video, 20 minutes

At Home with the Toxic Titties/10104 Angelo View, 2006, in collaboration with Toxic Titties and Dorit Margreiter, video, 6 minutes

Promise, 2002, in collaboration with Toxic Titties, four channel video installation, 60 minutes

L.A.T.T. (Los Angeles Toxic Titties), 2002, in collaboration with Toxic Titties, video, 5 minutes

IKEA Project, 2001, in collaboration with Toxic Titties, video, 4.5 minutes

Beautiful Strangers, 2000, in collaboration with Toxic Titties, four channel video installation, 5 minutes

Cassils Studio

1932 Clinton Street, Los Angeles, 90026

www.heathercassils.com

For general press correspondence and interview requests, cassils.ks@gmail.com

Cassils is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

31 Mercer Street, New York, New York 10013

(212) 226-3232

www.feldmangallery.com

For sales inquiries, marco@feldmangallery.com

For publications inquiries and biographies, kara@feldmangallery.com

For publicity, press, press requests, advertising, michael@feldmangallery.com

MEDIA CONTACT

The artist will be in attendance Jan. 21-26th. To schedule an interview or for any inquiries please contact Kyle Stephan, Studio Manager for Cassils: cassils.ks@gmail.com

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ON GENDER AND PRONOUN USAGE  
Cassils is a gender non-conforming trans masculine visual artist.    Cassils uses plural gender-neutral pronouns (they, them, their) and asks that journalists do likewise when referring to them. This plurality reflects through language the position Cassils occupies as an artist.    For guidelines on writing about gender non-conforming people, please reference the GLAAD Media Reference Guide on Transgender Issues: http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender.